Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor A.G. McKay


This study attempts an overview of Ovid's attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and thoughts with respect to the religious, moral, and social framework of his day. It proceeds by extensive quotation from the poet's works, and these quotations are arranged by topic and theme. The rationale for this approach is set forth in the "Introduction".

There are three major chapters: the first and third deal respectively with religion and morality (using those terms with their widest connotations); these chapters examine Ovid's interaction with both native Roman and Hellenistic Greek traditions; the second chapter deals with Ovid's beliefs about those important subjects poetry and love.

For each chapter and each new topic relevant background information is given, while a running commentary strings the quotations together. The conclusions proceed from what the poet has written, and each chapter has its own concluding section. There is also a formal "Conclusion" to the thesis which examines the relationship between the poet's subject matter and his on-going popularity.

This thesis attempts to add more definition to Ovid's worldview than has hitherto been possible. For each topic the relevant quotations are given, and the relations among topic areas are indicated. Thus this work can serve variously as a reference for specific topics, as a guide to the place of individual topics in the context of Ovid's thought, or as an overview of the poet's attitudes and beliefs.

Although the nature of this thesis precludes any claim to startling originality, it does happen that this approach sometimes shows the poet in a new light. Examples of this would include the evidence of estrangement between the poet the his third wife cited in Chapter Two; and, in Chapter Three, the intimations of parody of imperial marriage legislation (in the abortion elegies), and of a female audience for Ovid's works.

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