Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Classical Studies

First Advisor

Joseph Farrell


In this dissertation, I examine the early reception of Ovid in satirical authors from the time of Ovid’s death in 17 AD through to the early years of Neronian rule. I argue that in this earliest period of Ovidian reception, writers of satire, broadly defined, were reading and engaging with Ovid in their own writings and treating him as an important predecessor in facing the problem of how to write under restrictive, imperial circumstances. In each chapter, I focus on a single text — Phaedrus’ Fables, Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis and Persius’ Satires — and consider how each author interacts with Ovid to develop his own position as social critic under imperial rule and to communicate ideas that are difficult or dangerous to express more openly. In the first chapter I argue that Phaedrus situates both the struggles of the animals in the world of the fable and poets writing under powerful regimes as post-Augustan and post-Ovidian. In the second chapter I examine how Seneca engages both with the Metamorphoses and the Fasti as prequels for the action of the Apocolocyntosis to consider what kind of sequel the Apocolocyntosis is. In the final chapter I argue that in Satire One Persius provides a picture of contemporary poets who are trying hard to be like Ovid, but are failing to do it well, while also engaging himself with Ovid as a poet who had important insights about the difficulties of living and writing under empire that Persius makes applicable to his own situation as an imperial satirist. In each chapter I demonstrate how the author forges connections with Ovid in his own individual ways, but across the three authors I argue that Ovid’s poetry provides a point of intersection at which two important issues for these satirical authors meet, the theme of freedom of speech and the problem of how to face the pressures of the imperial discourse. The conjunction of these themes provides a shared basis for this strand of Ovidian reception at this time period.

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Classics Commons