Was the book “The Art of Fancy” the reason for the exile of the Roman poet Ovid?

No two books are similar, and sometimes to the point of congruence, such as the book “The Art of Passion” by the Roman poet Ovid, which appeared simultaneously with the emergence of the Christian religion, and the book “The Dove’s Collar” by the Andalusian philosopher Ibn Hazm, which appeared about a millennium after him. Nevertheless, there is no one among historians who reaches the point of saying that the second of them quoted from the first, or quoted from him even selected parts of his author. What is important here is two issues that combine in terms of the general structure of the two books. In the history of world thought, they were originally written and each of them in their time, describing each of them as an educational text aimed at indoctrination to certain listeners of the various arts, techniques and interpretations of passion with a scientific logic that is not intended to be pornographic, provocative or vulgar. The prohibition, while caution was not more than what the book of Ibn Hazm faced, not to mention that both writers gave his work a scientific character, and wrote it in an exquisite poetic language.

A place for antidote too

As for the “art of passion”, Ovid, whose full name is Publius Ovidius Nazo, who lived between the year 43 BC and the year 17 AD, praised his book with another book entitled “Antidal of Passion”, in which he expanded on how to survive the consequences Anguish and longing and everything that affects the soul and heart as a result of the love experienced by the two lovers, those results that he expanded on to talk about in that wonderful poetic text that knew how to live through the ages until today, erasing in its way hundreds of other similar texts by poets belonging to all nations, just as he lived Ibn Hazm’s text is superior to hundreds of similar texts in Arabic thought.

scientific rigor

As we have indicated, “The Art of Passion” and its appendix “The Antidote for Passion” can be considered a long poetic poem consisting for the first book of three sections written in the form of letters, addressed to a people interested in teaching them those arts that were treated randomly before that, despite the poetic The language in which the texts of the three poems were written, it is clear that in the background of the book as a whole there is a scientific rigor that suggests that Ovid, in his writing, tried to follow the path of those who delve into scientific issues, writing about algebra, eloquence, or science in an abstract way. Which will give passion throughout the ages its character as a science of science, a matter that reached its climax in the Arab/Islamic heritage, as thinkers started writing, directing their words in a scientific language to the ministers and even the caliphs, even when the text was pornographic to surprising limits.

listen boy

In the first poem of “The Art of Passion,” which occupies what is considered the “first book,” the poet teaches his supposed male disciple and, as a true educator, the safest and most effective method of controlling his female lover, beginning by expanding on the places The encounters available and in which that female could be found, such as the theaters and swimming pools on the beaches, and even the temples which Ovid considered the best place where the desired tale of love could begin.

Perhaps one of the first advice Ovid conveys to his student is to take care, as a basic principle, to be able to manage his strategy in conquering the beloved Fouad, by simulating his immersion in the anguish of love, but without stopping to display his talents and enable him to control those talents.

How to conquer the female heart?

In “The Second Poem,” Ovid teaches his reader how, after he has conquered a female’s heart, he must work to preserve her love for him for as long as possible, “given that attaining the desired cannot be everything, but is outweighed by the importance of working to keep Love is burning in the heart of the beloved.” Therefore, as Ovid asserts, there are ways and means that one learns scientifically, including that “it is not enough for the lover to remain kneeling at the feet of his beloved in order to obtain from her in return what he aspires to obtain.” And therefore it seems very important that he continue to give her gifts And not to stop sending letters, not to mention that he should always show her a cheerful and elegant humor in which she always pleases, and in return it may be necessary to deceive her from time to time, at least, to make her jealous and want to hold on to the lover, perhaps because of her desire to win the “competition for him.” More than her desire to exchange his love.

And then, when the third poem arrives, we find that the tone has changed completely and for a completely clear and logical reason. Until now, we had only looked at matters of love from the male point of view, but now Ovid is moving to the opposite side, to discuss the issue from the female point of view, looking He pointed out that it is necessary to establish a fair balance between the sexes, and thus he addresses in his speech this time to that female who must follow many paths and procedures “if she wants to remain loved and desired by her lover.”

In this context, the poet’s first advice to the female is to know how to always preserve her beauty and the freshness of her youth, especially when she knows that she will meet her lover or even those who are related to him, and she knows that he may ask them about her, and to this she must learn how to attract Competitors of her lover, so that he will always be longing for her and afraid of preferring one of those others over him, she must also “learn how to diversify her methods of attracting men according to their position, age, or passion, or even according to their own temperaments.”

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An extensive picture of social life

Those are the advice that Ovid gives in “The Art of Passion” to males and females, and as we indicated above in that scientific language that he knew how to use here, but it would be unfair for this foundational book to be content with saying that it is an educational text, in fact it is much more than that. In the end, we are here on the one hand that seems equivocal at first, in front of a wonderful description of life in the Roman era with all its ramifications, including an accurate description of morals and social customs, even clothes and ways of behaving in meetings and the relationship between young people and their families, without forgetting the writer to describe commercial relations and roads followed in the verbal exchange between males and females, in addition to the extensive talk about the relationship of all this to the prevailing arts of that era, through the description of theatrical parties and wrestling arenas meetings, in the end all of this is found in the “art of fancy” against the background of a bright image that it presents to a life of entertainment and luxury under the Emperor Augustus ruled, not forgetting the noisy parties that were held in the palaces of dignitaries, especially in the imperial palace.

Penetration into a woman’s heart

But above all, we must return to what is the basis here, which is Ovid’s expression of his deep knowledge of his subject, especially his penetration into the heart of women to an astonishing degree, and his ability to rise from all of that with a moral view that might make him one of the great moral philosophers of his time In fact, that dimension is best illustrated in his next text, “Antidal for Passion,” in a way that makes one ask 1,000 questions and questions about the motives that led the emperor to exile him, where he will live the last years of his life in a small town on the shores of the Black Sea, gloomy and devoted to writing, which he practices until his last days, to leave a rich poetic text that places him with Virgil, the author of the “Aeneid”, as one of the greatest representatives of Roman literature.

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