Ovid's Fasti, Livy and the History of Rome from Romulus to the Gallic Siege

  • Liz Chandler

Student thesis: Phd


Ovid's Fasti has been the subject of renewed interest over the past few decades. However, analysis has often been limited to the exploration of a number of well-established themes and emphases such as genre, intertextuality and Augustan discourse. The study of 'history' in the Fasti has been largely neglected. This thesis will attempt to establish that 'history' is generally more important in the poem than previously appreciated. Within the category of history, Ovid's relationship with Livy is particularly significant: it is only through the poet's engagement with the historian that the full extent of the historiographical significance of some passages in the Fasti can be gauged. While a relationship between Ovid and Livy is - to a certain extent - already recognised, it has been the subject of few, if any, systematic investigations in recent years (since the 1950s). Furthermore, such work is mainly concerned with establishing piecemeal similarities and differences between the poet and the historian in individual passages. This thesis will attempt a relatively systematic investigation of the way Ovid engages with Livy in the Fasti. In doing so, it will argue that a close examination of the relationship between Ovid and Livy reveals that the Fasti can be seen to contain a version of a narrative of the 'history of Rome', something that has not been acknowledged by critics so far. Ultimately, through examining Ovid's narration of individual historical events both within the context of his overall presentation of a 'history of Rome', and in conjunction with Livy, it will emerge that a set of relatively coherent emphases and themes offers some unity to Ovid's 'history of Rome'. Above all, Ovid appears to display a stronger interest in the 'plebeian' aspects of Roman history than does Livy. By developing a 'rustic'-'plebeian' theme throughout his 'historical' narration in the Fasti, Ovid can be seen to be commenting on the presentation of Roman history in its most recent and authoritative version in Livy's history.
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRoy Gibson (Supervisor) & Maria-Ruth Morello (Supervisor)

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