Ovid’s Fasti is a journey through ancient Rome, using the calendar as a guide. The reader of this poem tours the monuments of the Augustan-era city, witnesses both urban and rustic seasonal festivals, and commemorates the epic events of long-past history. The reader also experiences the passage of the year, as measured by the natural world: the rising and setting of constellations, the migration of birds, and the comforting rhythms of agriculture. Throughout, Ovid enlivens the narrative with myths, including Romulus and Remus, Callisto and Jupiter, Lucretia and Tarquinius, Hercules and Cacus, and many more. In doing so, he evokes the questions of what constitutes justice, or glory, or patriotism. The result is a lively tour of the Roman year—sometimes thoughtful, sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant or even farcical—that interweaves human customs into the natural world, and gives occasional glimpses of awe-inspiring divinities on the streets of Rome.
This volume covers the first half of the Fasti (Books I-III), including the original Latin text and also a new translation in clear, idiomatic prose on facing pages. An introduction on Ovid’s life and Augustan literature, as well as an incisive commentary with up-to-date bibliography, give the reader extensive background to interpret the text.