This is the first of a new series of Pantheon Poets Latin medleys – a selection of Latin poems which share a common theme. The first is love, and specifically love that is happy – so far. You can hear the Latin and follow in English by following the links, and on each poem page you will find another link if you would like to see a blog post with an illustration.

We start – where else – with one of the most celebrated love poems in any language: Catullus inviting Lesbia to live and love, and not to mind the gossip or count the kisses.
Vivamus, mea Lesbia

Next, Virgil in the Aeneid describes Dido, the Queen of Carthage, falling for Aeneas, the brave and noble Trojan Prince who is her guest.
Dido falls in love

In this extract, Ovid expresses some of the free and easy attitudes to love that we believe got him into trouble with the Emperor Augustus – a great believer in conservative family values – and earned him a one-way ticket to an unhappy exile by the Black Sea.
Ovid’s broad-minded advice to his mistress

Propertius has been out for a night on the tiles and makes a dawn visit to his lady-love, Cynthia.
Propertius and his sleeping beauty

Ovid has been courting. Finally he has had his wicked way, and seems not to care who knows about it.
Ovid’s triumph

Back finally to Catullus, doyen of love poets. How many kisses are enough for him and too much. How many??!!
How many kisses

Links to new selections will be posted in the index here.

Ovid and Horace's different takes on love

Recent additions to the Latin poetry pages include the first of what will be quite a few extracts from the works of Ovid, the last of the Big Four – the others being Horace, Virgil and Catullus – to feature. If you want to know more about them, there is information and the Augustan age in which the last three wrote on the “About the Poets” page. The piece – “Ovid’s broad-minded advice to his mistress” – is from his Amores and exemplifies his enthusiasm for good, old-fashioned sex. Continue reading “Ovid and Horace’s different takes on love”

In his poem, the Metamorphoses, Ovid is telling the story of King Midas, who should have been more careful what he wished for. In today’s blog illustration, Midas is shown demonstrating that his poor judgement in asking for the golden touch was not a one-off: he is awarding Pan the victory in a musical competition against the God Apollo. See and listen to the poem here.

Scythians at the Tomb of Ovid

More than 2,000 years after Augustus banished him to deepest Romania, the poet Ovid has been rehabilitated.

Rome city council on Thursday unanimously approved a motion tabled by the populist M5S party to “repair the serious wrong” suffered by Ovid, thought of as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature along with Virgil and Horace.

Best known for his 15-book epic narrative poem Metamorphoses and the elegy Ars Amatoria, or the Art of Love, Publius Ovidius Naso was exiled in 8 AD to Tomis, the ancient but remote Black Sea settlement now known as the Romanian port city of Constanța. Continue reading “Ovid’s exile revoked”

Ovid vividly tells the tragic story of Phaethon, the son of the Sun God, Phoebus Apollo, who unwisely dared to try to drive his father’s fiery chariot across the sky.

Hear Ovid’s Latin and follow in English here, as Phaethon sets out on his doomed adventure.

To be continued …