Ovid’s Views on Love Compared to Modern day Notions of Love

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Ars Amatoria which today is known as The Art of love is a book written by the author Ovidius Naso otherwise known as Ovid. The book was comprised of three miniature books. Book one involved teaching men about the art of getting a woman, the second book was to teach men how to keep their woman happy and satisfied, the third and final book was written for the ladies. In the third book Ovid reiterated what he had stated in the first two books but through the female’s perspective as well as informed the females how to keep their love interest happy and engrossed.

Today being able to talk to the opposite sex is an imperative life skill to have and unfortunately men seem to struggle with this the most. When it comes to the first book in The Art of Love , Ovid is like most of today’s dating coaches and experts. The first step Ovid talks about is choosing the right woman and making sure your compatible. The trick is to win over her mind and the rest will naturally fall into place. “The fowler and the huntsman know by name, the haunts, and harbors of their game” (Ovid page 11). A fowler is a hunter of birds and a huntsman is a hunter of wild game. Through careful analysis you’re able to deduce that Ovid is referring to women as the game and men are the hunters but sometimes hunters don’t always catch their prey which are the haunts he is referring to. He then goes on to mention that the theater is a good place to take a date but if you want to win her over, take her somewhere adventurous and thrilling because it allows more room for physical touch. It has been proven that physical touch is vital for a relationship to progress and succeed. “Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language, and the last, and it always tells the truth. – Margaret Atwood” (Dr. Gary brown) This quote is true because body language says it all and you can feel emotion and sincerity through touch. Ovid sates just like most professionals today that confidence is of the upmost importance. If you don’t believe you can get the woman then you are already failing.

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Within Ovid’s passages, his sense of sexuality and gender are made quite apparent. He draws a clear line where he believes too much feminine traits on a man causes a negative response and diminishes his luck on finding love with a woman. He expresses that a man should not shave his body hair or style his hair in any feminine way. He strongly appeals his viewpoint of heterosexual men and women. Which can pose to be an issue in society today due to the expansion and embrace of the homosexual agenda. Although this is his opinion there is no argument that love is a universal language so in turn you can apply Ovid’s words to any circumstance no matter what your sexuality is. “In a book whose title obviously suggests a discussion of love, readers may be surprised to find that Ovid spends a long time writing about the art – or more appropriately, technique – of seduction.” (Chris Wurster paragraph 2). This is a very reasonable quote because if you read deep into the text Ovid mentions numerous times about physical and superficial points sometimes objectifying women. This differs from today because the status of women has changed to where they are more than just an item to be used.

Book two in particular mentions the different ways to keep your partner satisfied. In his text he states, “Her words approve, deny what she denies, like what she likes”. (Ovid Page 48) This is because women like approval and validation, it makes them feel like they are being listened to which in turn creates trust.” Even if you’re too poor to afford anything else, a few heartfelt words will let your beloved know how much you cherish him or her”. (Meg Boeni) Real love would mean that the person loves you for better or worse and all professionals know that as long as you can talk to females it doesn’t matter what your financial situation is. A majority of these points that Ovid brings up have not changed even in the modern age which means that throughout the ages the way people went about finding love has remained the same. For something to remain the same for so long means that it works.

The third book was quite amusing due to the fact that Ovid was a man telling women how to keep their love interest happy and satisfied. In modern days women would be appalled but the fact that all he has mentioned for them to do actually works to keep men interested. Humans are jealous creatures; Ovid knows this which is why he tells women to invoke jealousy in men. Jealousy will make anyone want to try harder, so they don’t lose what is there’s. This way of thinking will keep men coming back which in turn will keep women satisfied via both parties are happy. Ovid uses extreme comparisons in the book as well some that modern-day professionals might question. One of these comparisons explains how women have higher sexual drives rather than men. As he continues, he uses quite inappropriate examples of how this is true which can be read off as humorous or highly offensive. Even today professionals will argue who has the higher sex drive between the two, there is no sure way of measuring it because every individual is different and so is there sex drive which would mean that he can’t make that accusation because it’s not a fact rather it is an opinion.

Ovid lays down a solid foundation for his readers to build on and find their way, but it is just that a foundation. His notions are a little dated but some of the information he mentions is reliable because it is what most coaches and experts will say today. The three-part book will give you insight on little mistakes you might be making or can give you tips and tricks to have your love interest in the palm of your hand. The major points to take away from book one is be confident in yourself, Know they type of person you’re going after to make sure you’re compatible, and makes sure you take her on a date where you can have a lot of physical touch. The takeaway from book two is make sure you make your partner feel wanted and appreciated. Even if you don’t always agree being able to listen is an important factor in a relationship. Lastly book threes main take away is to have that jealousy factor in will show how much one cares about you. People only get jealous when they either can’t have something, or they think they are losing something which means they care about that certain someone enough to not want to lose them.

Works cited

  1. Boeni, Meg. “11 Dating Tips from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria.” Mental Floss, 11 June 2013, www.mentalfloss.com/article/51032/11-dating-tips-ovid%E2%80%99s-ars-amatoria.
  2. Brown, Gary. “Why Physical Touch Is So Important in Relationships.” Gary Brown, 27 Apr. 2019, drgarybrowntherapy.com/physical-touch-important-relationships/.
  3. Lamont, Meg. “‘When a Text Isn’t Funny Anymore: Ovid’s Art of Love.’” Literary Matters, 22 Feb. 2017, www.literarymatters.org/1-2-when-a-text-isnt-funny-anymore-ovids-art-of-love/.
  4. Naso, Ovidius. Ovid’s Art of Love, Books 1 thru 3, Together with The Remedy of Love & The Court of Love. AMS, 1977.
  5. Wurster, Chris. “The Art of Seduction.” Columbia University in the City of New York, www.columbia.edu/itc/lithum/gallo/wurster.html.


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