O is for Ovidiu (Ovidius)


One of the strongest Latin influences on the Romanian language is in the form of names — Ovidiu (female: Ovidia) from the Latin Ovidius/Ovid.  Another great influence: literature.

The most famous Ovid in Romanian/Latin history is the Roman poet himself. It’s been said that to understand Greco-Roman mythology one must be familiar with Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

I’m still working my way though the opus, but at its foundation Metamorphoses is a collection of stories from Greek and Roman legends on divinity, humanity, and the interaction between the two. A tall order, but not for this writer.

Ovid, the poet

Ovidius or Ovid was born a year after the assassination of Julius Cesar, 43 B.C., a time that shaped his views and writing, in Sulmo (modern Sulmona, Italy).  Avoiding the career chosen by his father (politics), Ovid put his education to work in his poetic writing.


Modern Sulmona, place of Ovid’s birth, and his statue

Ovid as Fluff

John Porter says: Ovid’s poetry is often dismissed as frivolous fluff, and to a large degree it is. But it is very sophisticated fluff …

Maybe viewed as fluff by some, Ovid’s writing influenced Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dante, among others. His passion for writing, his obsession with detail, shows in all his work.

In 8 AD, he was exiled to Tomis, on the Black Sea, for having knowledge of a conspiracy against Emperor Augustus, where he later died. Ovid was celebrated in Romanian literature for centuries with works like God Was Born in Exile, by Vintila Horia.

Among Ovid’s many famous phrases:

Abeunt studia in mores                                                    Practices passionately pursued become habits. ~~ Ovid



Image courtesy: www.theaudiobookstore.com; Ovid in Sulmona, picture taken by Idefix, Wikimedia, CC


34 responses to “O is for Ovidiu (Ovidius)

  1. There was this piece of music that I practiced when I was younger. Something called Metamorphoses after Ovid. Something like that…

  2. Interesting. The only Latin poem I remember from school turns out to be written by Catullus. Sue

  3. I suffered with Ovid at school.

  4. Practices passionately pursued become habits. ~~ Ovid
    That seems rather apt for this challenge:)

  5. Great post, Sylvia. I knew nothing much about Ovid,except the time in which he lived, and that his name is frequently found in crossword puzzles.
    Now I need to read more!

  6. I have read Metamorphoses, but remember little. Thanks for the lesson on Ovid! I will check out the book link. Happy Thursday, Denise

  7. You share this information in a very accessible format. I don’t know Latin and not familiar with Ovid but at least now I know more than I did yesterday

  8. I love your posts because you always cover a topic just enough, and yet make it interesting enough that you inspire me to learn more. Thanks for that.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

  9. I know the name Ovid the poet, but have never read anything. Interesting post–thanks!

  10. Hello Silvia, heading over from the #azchat I read a bit of Ovid’s Metamorphoses at University but that’s about it. This is a great post and I am very glad to find your blog. I blog at
    The Book Drifter

    Drifting Traveller

    Looking forward to connecting more with you soon.

  11. I didn’t know how much he influenced other writers. Another great post!

  12. I just knew about the name and him being a roman poet…nice post. We came to visit from the #AZChallenge ….hello from http://www.bayessence.com

  13. that doesnt really sound like fluff. thanks for dropping by the chat!
    Pam, An Unconventional Librarian
    Co-host, Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

  14. Popping in from the twitter chat too at #azchat I learnt latin at school, or rather my latin teacher said I learnt a few words and then translated the rest based on the pictures… he thought I would make a good writer lol!

    Curling Stones for Lego People

  15. Interesting. I did not know this about him, but I’m now that much more interested in reading his works. Fluff is fine, as long as it’s pretty. =)

    True Heroes from A to Z

  16. Thank you for posting this! Ovid is someone I bump into often when researching things – even seemingly unrelated things. Amazing that someone who lived so long ago can reach all the way up to the present and be part of our lives now.

    ~Tui Snider~ I’m dropping by from today’s #AZchat on Twitter!
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

  17. I can’t say that I’ve ever read any Ovid, but I think we might have a book of his writings somewhere in our house. We have a lot of books like that around here that I’ve never read.

    Visiting from #AZchat. Join in for next Twitter chat tonight at 8 PM Eastern Time #atozchallenge

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  18. I was cheated out of taking Latin my last two years of high school when my family moved back to Pennsylvania right before my junior year. My third high school did offer Latin, but for reasons I can’t remember, I chose Italian instead of Latin for my other language my senior year, since I didn’t want to continue with French. I often wish I could’ve taken Latin at some point, so I could read all these classic works in the original.

  19. Silvia,

    I only know of Ovid through Shakespeare. (We are passionate about Shakespeare in my family!) Your post inspired me to do a little research and I found a book called ‘Shakespeare’s Ovid’. That might be the perfect book for us!

    ‘Life is a story. Might as well write it.’ I couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. It’s good to meet you!

  20. Thanks for this Silvia – it’s an important work I have yet to discover. We had a bit at school but I don’t really remember much. Will check out the links in the fullness of time.

  21. I too vaguely remember him from school…I bitterly regret not paying more attention in Latin, what Latin I do remember has been a tremendous help with life in Brazil and understanding Portuguese.
    Loving the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

  22. Hi Silvia – I know Ovid as a Greek poet – and that would about be it – I’m in awe of all of you, who have studied first poetry and literature, and then Greek, Roman and Latin .. way above me – but I still love the learning … the book Shakespeare’s Ovid sounds fascinating …

    Happy Easter – cheers Hilary

  23. I did a year of Latin in high school, which was just enough to get a taste of how influential the language and the works written in the language were on everything to come afterward. It’s amazing how many ideas/tropes of literature are carried over generation-by-generation, and often it’s not even realized how many iterations there’ve been. Thanks for the link to Metamorphoses too, I try to make mythological references in my writing and will definitely be using it as reference. Thanks Silvia! — Matt

  24. very informative and never heard about this before …,

  25. Choosing poetry as his passion probably saved his life, as Rome was in such turmoil.

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