The Indian Myth of Kamadeva, the Hindu God of Love

Many modern Western symbols of love date back to the early Greeks and Romans. Eros was the Greek god of love, while Cupid was the Roman god of love and desire.

The image of a chubby Cupid aiming love arrows at unwary people’s hearts appears to be a typical Western symbol of love. Americans and Western Europeans can widely see him on greeting cards and chocolate boxes on Valentine’s Day.

What about Eastern cultures, such as Hinduism? Does Cupid trick them too? Or do they have their own “Cupid”? People from all over the world, especially Indo-European cultures, have sacred stories that are a lot like Hindu stories about gods.

Who Is Kamadeva, the Hindu God of Love?

In Indic traditions, Kamadeva represents the Hindu equivalent of Cupid and Eros. Kamadeva is known as the Indian or Vedic Cupid. He is the Hindu god of love, desire, and infatuation.

Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, USA, explored the old Indian scriptures about Kamadeva.

Kamadeva is the god of desire and love. The word Kama comes from Sanskrit, meaning “sensual desire.“ He is accompanied by his wife, Rati, a goddess of love and sexual passion.

Different from Cupid, however, Kamadeva is depicted not as a plumpy cherub but rather as a handsome young man who rides on a majestic green parrot named Suka. He is riding a parrot’s back with a sugarcane bow, a honeybee bowstring, and flower arrow points. Kamadeva, the Hindu Cupid, also shoots his love darts into people’s hearts.

This is how the Rigveda, the most ancient of Hindu scriptures dating back at least 3,000 years, describes Kamadeva.

Each of these elements of his description represents the inherent sweetness of love. Additionally, they elicit the spirit of the spring season, when new life arises in the world. Suka, the parrot of Kamadeva, symbolizes both the spring season and the notion of love, as parrots frequently live in pairs.

The Tensions of Hindu Love

The stories of love in Hindu culture illustrate the tension between the most deeply held Hindu values. Love is a highly valued belief, especially in the context of families.

The highest ideal of life, however, is liberation from the cycle of rebirth. To reach this goal, spiritual people must give up worldly attachments, including love relationships. They should seek meditative solitude instead.

Shiva, a highly esteemed Hindu deity, embodies this tension by combining the qualities of a devoted yogi with a loving husband and father.

What Happens When Kamadeva Intervenes Life with His Love Arrows?

One time, during a period of intense meditation, Kamadeva was going to pierce his heart with an arrow. Then Shiva, angered by the interruption of his meditation, blasted the unfortunate god of love with a powerful beam of energy emanating from his renowned third eye.

Actually, Kamadeva’s intention was good. It was not meant to whimsically pierce Lord Shiva’s heart. According to the Indian story, a dangerous demon, known as Taraka, endangered the world. None of the gods could defeat this terrifying demon.

Only Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva, and his wife, the Mother Goddess Parvati, could defeat this demon, according to a prophecy. However, Kartikeya had not yet been conceived. Shiva was the patron deity and embodiment of yoga, so he unlikely could do this anytime soon given his dedication to meditation. So, the Hindu gods sent Kamadeva to do just that: to make Shiva fall in love with Parvati and wake him up from his meditation so he could have the child who would save the world.

Shiva demonstrates mercy despite his proneness to anger. Heartbroken over the death of her beloved, Rati begged Shiva to bring Kamadeva back to life, which he did. Following this, Shiva and Parvati had a son named Kartikeya, who later killed the demon.

What Was the Message of This Story?

It says that erotic love is important in all religions, even ones that value asceticism and meditation as ways to reach the ultimate goal of freeing people from the cycle of rebirth and its pain. Not only is Kamadeva a fun thing to look at, but it also does good things in the world.

When Ancient People Began to Kiss for Love

Anthropological studies of modern societies have revealed that sexual and romantic kisses are not universally present across different cultures. Such a display of affection as kissing was once considered obscene. Who first thought of kissing as a way to show affection for one another?

Historical analyses of ancient civilizations have shown that romantic and sexual kisses appeared quite late in human history and evolved in different cultures independently (Crawley, 2005; Danesi, 2013). Recent archaeological studies have reconstructed the “evolution” of kissing around the world.

A New Archaeological Study Revealed the Ancient History of Kissing

Sophie Rasmussen, Professor from Linacre College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, and Troels Arbøll, Professor from the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, studied the cuneiform texts on clay tablets from Mesopotamia (located on the territories of modern-day Iraq and Syria) and Egypt.

Researchers found on these clay tablets clear examples of intimate kissing. In their article The Ancient History of Kissing, published in the journal Science, the authors contend that kissing has been a widespread and established part of romantic relationships in the Middle East since at least the late third millennium B.C.

“Kissing was not a custom that arose suddenly at any one point. The behavior seems to have been common in many cultures.”

– Professor Arbøll said.

Authors have suggested that the earliest description of kissing was engraved on the Barton Cylinder, a clay tablet from the mid- to late-third millennium BCE with a Sumerian creation myth. In the second column of text, a male deity, possibly Enlil, makes love to the mother goddess Ninhursag and then kisses her. What is interesting is that in depictions of kissing in Sumerian literature, individuals first engage in sexual intercourse and only then kiss each other.

Sumerian written history goes back to the 27th century BC and ends a millennium later, when civilization collapsed after the Elamite invasion.

Friendly-Parental and Sexual-Romantic Kisses

Researchers found that the Akkadian language (a Semitic language related to today’s Hebrew and Arabic) distinguishes kissing into two categories: “friendly-parental” and “sexual-romantic.” (Arbøll & Rasmussen, 2023).

The friendly-parental kiss is a display of familial affection, respect, or submission (including when a royal subject kisses the feet of the ruler).

The sexual-romantic kiss has to do with love and sexual acts, and it is not culturally universal.

The republicans of ancient Rome formulated a hierarchy of kisses and gave each type a suitable name:

The osculum (a chaste but affectionate kiss on the hand or cheek) was used as a greeting.

The basium showed the bond between close friends with a closed mouth and lips, and the savium was the forerunner of the modern French kiss.

When Kisses Were Permitted and When Not

In ancient Mesopotamia, kissing outside of marriage was discouraged. Extramarital sex was considered a crime on par with adultery. But the Romans also considered public displays of affection in the form of kissing to be obscene.

In some cases, the Romans even considered it a health risk. For example, in the first century A.D., Emperor Tiberius tried to ban kissing at state gatherings, probably because of an epidemic. By the way, many medical writings from Mesopotamia mention a disease called bushanu, the symptoms of which resemble those of herpes.

Professor Rasmussen believes that kissing originally evolved as a way to assess potential partners by smell. Healthy people smell good, have no dental problems, and are therefore more attractive. From this idea came the cultural tradition of kissing, especially on dates.

A Woman Should Enjoy Her Body in Bed

In the poems of Ars Amatoria, Ovid taught Roman men and women the art of love. For example, in one of his poems, he advised a woman that she should enjoy her body in bed.

The Roman poet Ovid lived in the Roman Empire from 43 BCE to 17 CE. He was well known among educated and aristocratic Roman citizens. Three books of poems, “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love), made him especially famous. The books of Ars Amatoria were an enthralling depiction of the hedonistic and refined lifestyles of the Roman aristocracy at the time.

Ovid instructed men on the art of love. He explained how to find, win, and seduce women, as well as maintain sexual relationships with them. His books also instructed women on how to attract, be lovable to, and maintain relationships with men.

For centuries, “The Art of Love” has been popular among educated and aristocratic people in Western societies. Ovid’s poems of love have been translated into English several times. Among the recent translations were the publication in prose by Henry Riley in 1885 (reprinted on December 16, 2014) and the publication in poetic forms by Anthony Kline in 2001 (Kline, 2001, Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love).

Is Ovid’s Wisdom in “The Art of Love” Still Relevant Today?

Many modern scholars of the humanities and educated people are familiar with his trilogy of poems.

I believe that Ovid’s advice is still relevant today. We must admit that the ancient Romans had a different culture and way of life than we do. However, there are some historically and cross-culturally universal aspects of love. So, modern men and women can still learn interesting and useful lessons about love from Ovid’s poetry. The books’ poetry teaches men and women the art of love, sex, and relationships.

How to Read Ovid’s Art of Love

I’ve included excerpts from his books here for those who want to learn about the lives, love, and relationships of the ancient Romans. Some of Ovid’s love recommendations may appear cynical, ironic, and manipulative. Others reveal useful kernels of the naked truth about love.

I said in my first blog post about Ovid’s “The Art of Love” that his instructional books talk about what love is and how to make love through seduction, manipulation, and intrigue.

Yes, some of Ovid’s recommendations on love may come across as cynical, ironic, and manipulative, yet others reveal useful kernels of the naked truth about love.

Nevertheless, modern men and women can learn helpful tips from his poetry of “Ars Amatoria” on how to find, draw, and keep a partner. On the one hand, Ovid’s first two poetry collections instruct men on how to approach, court, and seduce women. On the other hand, the third book teaches women how to entice men and keep them as lovers by being alluring and seductive.

You can find some other posts with Ovid’s advice interesting and useful for you:

They cover such topics as “how to find her, around the dinner-table and on the beach,” “at the races or circus,” “while at the theatre,” and “what is his task. Ovid explains that triumphs are good to attract a womanand gives advice how to captivate a woman,” “how to seduce her,” “how to win her”,  “how to be attentive to her,” “how to know her,” how to make promises and deceive,”  and how tears, kisses, and taking the lead help in love affairs.”

Ovid’s advice for women teaches women how they should act with men they love. Among other suggestions are “how to use makeup,” “how to appear,” “how to keep taste and elegance in hair and dress,” “how to hide defects in appearance,” “how to be modestly expressive, how to beware of false lovers, how to “try young and older lovers,” how to ”avoid vices and favor poets,” “how to use jealousy and fear in love affairs, make him believe he is loved,” and how to play the game of love with “cloak and dagger.”

The last article of the blog even quotes Ovid’s poetic wisdom, explaining that the way women eat and drink can affect their love affairs.

Here’s another poem for girls and women from Book III of “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid says that a woman should enjoy her body in bed and in sexual relationships.

Ovid Encouraged a Woman to Enjoy her Body in Bed and Sex

“To have been taught more is shameful: but kindly Venus

said: ‘What’s shameful is my particular concern.’

Let each girl know herself: adopt a reliable posture

for her body: one layout’s not suitable for all.

She who’s known for her face, lie there face upwards:

let her back be seen, she who’s back delights.

Milanion bore Atalanta’s legs on his shoulders:

if they’re good looking, that mode’s acceptable.

Let the small be carried by a horse: Andromache,

his Theban bride, was too tall to straddle Hector’s horse.

Let a woman noted for her length of body, 

press the bed with her knees, arch her neck slightly.

She who has youthful thighs, and faultless breasts,

the man might stand, she spread, with her body downwards.

Don’t think it shameful to loosen your hair, like a Maenad,

and throw back your head with its flowing tresses.

You too, whom Lucina’s marked with childbirth’s wrinkles,

like the swift child of Parthia, turn your mount around.

There’s a thousand ways to do it: simple and least effort,

is just to lie there half-turned on your right side.

But neither Phoebus’s tripods nor Ammon’s horn

shall sing greater truths to you than my Muse:

If you trust art’s promise, that I’ve long employed:

my songs will offer you their promise.

Woman, feel love, melted to your very bones,

and let both delight equally in the thing.

Don’t leave out seductive coos and delightful murmurings,

don’t let wild words be silent in the middle of your games.

You too whom nature denies sexual feeling,

pretend to sweet delight with artful sounds.

Unhappy girl, for whom that sluggish place is numb,

which man and woman equally should enjoy.

Only beware when you feign it, lest it shows:

create belief in your movements and your eyes.

When you like it, show it with cries and panting breath:

Ah! I blush, that part has its own secret signs.

She who asks fondly for a gift after love’s delights,

can’t want her request to carry any weight.

Don’t let light into the room through all the windows:

it’s fitting for much of your body to be concealed.

The game is done: time to descend, you swans,

you who bent your necks beneath my yoke.

As once the boys, so now my crowd of girls inscribe on your trophies ‘Ovid was my master.’

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

The Way You Eat and Drink Affects Your Love Affairs

The excerpts from Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria” suggest that in love affairs, women should be mindful of what and how they eat and drink.

Many scholars are familiar with the writings of Ovid, the ancient Roman poet. He rose to prominence as the author of three books titled “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love). The poems in these books offered men and women advice on what love is and how to make it.

Ars Amatoria was a fascinating depiction of the hedonistic and sophisticated lives of the Roman aristocracy at the time. The books taught men the art of love, including how to find, win, and seduce women, as well as how to maintain sexual relationships with them. The books also taught women how to attract, be lovable to, and keep men in love affairs.

Translations of Ars Amatoria into The Art of Love

Over the centuries, Ovid’s poems have been translated and published several times.

For instance, Henry T. Riley translated and published Ovid’s works in English in 1885 (reprinted on December 16, 2014).

In 2001, Anthony Kline translated and published Ovid’s poems, Ars Amatoria, in their poetic forms (Kline, 2001, Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love).

Do We Still Need Poetic Advice on “The Art of Love” Today?

I think that today’s people can still benefit from Ovid’s counsel. We certainly must acknowledge that the ancient Romans had a different culture and way of life than our own. However, there are some historically and cross-culturally enduring things in the art of love. Therefore, Ovid’s poetry can provide interesting and useful lessons about love to educated modern men and women.

Therefore, I have provided samples from his books here for those interested in reading about the daily lives, love, and relationships of ancient Romans. Some of Ovid’s recommendations and advice on love may come across as cynical, ironic, and manipulative, yet others reveal useful kernels of the naked truth about love.

His poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” has good advice for modern men and women on how to find, attract, and keep a love partner. On the one hand, Ovid’s first two books of poetry teach men how to meet, date, and seduce women in a relationship. The third book, on the other hand, tells women how to be attractive and tempting so that men will fall in love with them and stay with them.

Here are some previously published blog posts regarding the art of Roman love:

I’ve written on this blog before about how Ovid’s poetry can aid men in their art of love. His lovely poems cover a variety of topics, including “how to find her, how to search for love around the dinner-table and on the beach,”  “while at the theatre,” “at the races or circus,” and “what is his task. Ovid also teaches the Roman men that triumphs are good to attract a woman.He gives men advice how to captivate a woman,” “how to win her“, “how to seduce her,” “how to know her,” “how to be attentive to her,”“how to make promises and deceive,and  Ovid shows how tears, kisses, and taking the lead help in love affairs.

Also, the blog posts on this site include advice from Ovid about how women should act with men they love. In particular, Ovid tells women “how to appear,” “how to use makeup,” “how to keep taste and elegance in hair and dress,” “How to be modestly expressive,how to hide defects in appearance,” how to beware of false lovers, how to ”avoid vices and favor poets,” how “try young and older lovers,” “how to use jealousy and fear in love affairs, how to play the game of love with “cloak and dagger,” and to make him believe he is loved.

Here is another poem for girls and women from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid says that women should be careful about what and how they eat and drink and how this affects their love affairs.

As I mentioned in my first blog post about Ovid’s “The Art of Love,” his instructional poetry books discuss what love is and how to make love through seduction, manipulation, and intrigue.

The verse line on how to “Watch How You Eat and Drink,” which I quote here, may appear manipulative and cynical, but it contains kernels of truth.

Here Is What Ovid Advises Women to “Watch How They Eat and Drink

“But to resume the work: bare facts for me

so that my weary vessel can reach harbour.

You’re anxiously expecting, while I lead you to dinner,

that you can even ask for my advice there too.

Come late, and come upon us charmingly in the lamplight:

you’ll come with pleasing delay: delay’s a grand seductress.

Even if you’re plain, with drink you’ll seem beautiful,

and night itself grants concealment to your failings.

Take the food daintily: how you eat does matter:

don’t smear your face all over with a greasy hand.

Don’t eat before at home, but stop before you’re full:

be a little less eager than you can be:

if Paris, Priam’s son, saw Helen eating greedily,

he’d detest it, and say: ‘Mine’s a foolish prize.’

It’s more fitting, and it suits girls more, to drink:

Bacchus you don’t go badly with Venus’s boy.

So long as the head holds out, and the mind and feet

stand firm: and you don’t see two of what’s only one.

Shameful a woman lying there, drenched with too much wine:

she’s worthy of sleeping with anyone who’ll have her.

And it’s not safe to fall asleep at table: many shameful things usually happen in sleep.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

Step 3 to Make Him Believe He Is Loved, as Ovid Wrote

Here I quote step 3 of how to “Make Him Believe He Is Loved,” as Ovid recommended women master the art of love with a man. Many people who study love are familiar with the works of the Roman poet Ovid. He rose to prominence as the author of three books titled “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love).

Ars Amatoria was a fascinating depiction of the hedonistic and sophisticated lives of the Roman aristocracy at the time. The poems offered Roman men and women advice on the art of love, how to make love, including how to find, win, and seduce women, as well as how to maintain interpersonal relationships. The books also taught women how to attract, be lovable to, and keep men in love affairs.

Is Ovid’s poetic advice on “The Art of Love” still applicable in modern times?

I think that Ovid’s advice is true in some contexts of modern interpersonal relationships. This is the reason why his poems have been translated and published numerous times over the last few centuries.

The Romans lived in a different cultural era and had a different way of life than we do. Nonetheless, the art of love can endure through the ages. The poetry of Ovid can teach educated men and women interesting and useful lessons about love. Consequently, I have included excerpts from his books on this website for those interested in learning about how ancient Romans lived and loved. Some of Ovid’s love advice and recommendations can sound cynical, ironic, and manipulative, while others can reveal kernels of true wisdom.

His poems in “Ars Amatoria” offer modern men and women helpful advice on how to find, attract, and maintain a romantic partner. In his first two collections of poetry, Ovid instructs men on how to approach, court, and seduce women in romantic relationships. The third book, on the other hand, instructs women on how to be alluring in order to entice men to fall in love with them and maintain those relationships.

In previous posts, I quoted the first and second sets of advice of what Ovid advised women to do to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved.”

Here’s another verse for girls and women from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid illustrates how to make him believe he is loved. 

Please keep in mind that these poetry collections discuss the art of making love through manipulation, seduction, and intrigue. You can see Ovid’s cynical and manipulative style in the verse below on how to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved” that is quoted here. Nonetheless, I believe it contains some truth.

Here Is Step 3 to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved”

“The place, the name, the witness, command belief,

and the mind always thinks what it fears is true.

She saw signs that a body had pressed down the grass,

her chest throbbed, quivering with its anxious heart.

Now noon had contracted the thin shadows,

and dawn and twilight were parted equally:

behold, Cephalus, Hermes’s child, returned to the wood,

and plunged his burning face in the fountain’s water.

You hid, Procris, anxiously: he lay down as usual on the grass,

and cried: ‘Come you zephyrs, you sweet air (Aura)!’

As her joyous error in the name came to the miserable girl,

her wits and the true colour of her face returned.

She rose, and with agitated body moved the opposing leaves,

a wife running to her husband’s arms:

He, sure a wild beast moved, leapt youthfully to his feet,

grasping his spear in his right hand.

What are you doing, unhappy man? That’s no creature,

hold back your throw! Alas, your girl’s pierced by your spear!

She called out: ‘Ah me! You’ve pierced a loving heart.

That part always takes its wound from Cephalus.

I die before my time, but not wounded by a rival:

that will ensure you, earth, lie lightly on me.

Now my spirit departs into that air with its deceptive name:

I pass, I go, dear hand, close my eyes!’

He held the body of his dying lady on his sad breast,

and bathed the cruel wound with his tears.

She died, and her breath, passing little by little from her rash breast, was caught on her sad lover’s lips.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

Step 2 in Making Him Believe He Is Loved, as Ovid Advised

Here I quote step 2 of how to “Make Him Believe He Is Loved,” as Ovid suggested women learn the art of love with a man.

Many Western scholars are familiar with the poems of Ovid, the ancient Roman poet who lived from 43 BCE to 17 CE. He rose to prominence as the author of three books titled “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love). The poems in the books offered men and women advice on how to make love.

Ovid’s Ars Amatoria fascinatingly depicted the hedonistic and refined lifestyles of the Roman aristocracy at the time. The books instructed men on the art of love, including how to find, win, and seduce women, as well as maintain their sexual relationships. The books also instructed women in the art of love, including how to attract, be lovable, and maintain relationships with men.

Is Ovid’s Poetic Advice on “The Art of Love” Still Applicable in Modern Times?

I believe Ovid’s advice is still applicable to modern society. This is the reason why his poems have been translated and published numerous times over the last few centuries.

We must acknowledge that the Romans lived in a different cultural era and way of life than us. However, the art of love has withstood the test of time. Ovid’s poetry can teach educated men and women about love in a fun and practical way. As a result, for those interested in learning more about how ancient Romans lived and loved, I’ve included excerpts from his books on this website. While some of Ovid’s love advice and recommendations may appear cynical, ironic, or manipulative, others may reveal kernels of true wisdom.

His poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” includes practical advice for modern men and women on how to find, attract, and keep a love partner. On the one hand, in his first two books of poetry, Ovid instructs men on how to approach, court, and seduce women in a relationship. The third book, on the other hand, teaches women how to be attractive and appealing in order to entice men to fall in love with them and maintain those relationships.

In previous post, I quoted the first thing, which Ovid advised women to do to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved.”

Here’s another verse for girls and women from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria,” in which Ovid advise how to make him believe he is loved.

Dear readers, please note that these books of poems speak about how to make love with the art of manners, manipulation, seduction, and intrigue. In the verse below on how to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved” which is quoted here, you may notice Ovid’s cynical and manipulative style. Yet, I believe it has some truth.

Here I Continue the Further Advice Ovid Gives Women to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved”

“The many kinds of leaves and grass-heads tremble

at the touch of light winds and refreshing breezes.

The quiet pleased Cephalus: leaving men and dogs behind,

the weary youth often settled on this spot,

‘Come, fickle breeze (Aura), who cools my heat’

he used to sing, ‘be welcome to my breast.’

Some officious person, evilly remembering what he’d heard,

brought it to the wife’s fearful hearing:

Procris, as she took the name Aura to be some rival,

fainted, and was suddenly dumb with grief:

She grew pale, as the leaves of choice vine-stalks

grow pale, wounded by an early winter,

or ripe quinces arching on their branches,

or cornelian cherries not yet fit for us to eat.

As her breath returned, she tore the thin clothing from her breast,

and scratched at her innocent cheeks with her nails:

Then she fled quickly, frenzied, down the ways,

hair flowing, like a Maenad roused by the thyrsus.

As she came near, she left her companions in the valley,

bravely herself entered the grove, in secret, on silent feet.

What was in your mind, when you hid there so foolishly,

Procris? What ardour, in your terrified heart?

Did you think she’d come soon, Aura, whoever she was,

and her infamy be visible to your eyes.

Now regretting that you came (not wishing to surprise them) now pleased: doubting love twists at your heart.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

Step 1 in Making Him Believe He Is Loved, as Ovid Advised

Ovid said, “Make Him Believe He Is Loved,” thus suggesting women learn the art of love in a relationship with a man. Here is step 1.

Many scholars of love are familiar with the works of Ovid, the ancient Roman poet. The series of three books titled “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love) brought him fame. The books contained poems that offered men and women advice on how to make love.

Ars Amatoria depicted the hedonistic and sophisticated lives of the Roman aristocracy at the time in a fascinating way. The books taught men the art of love: how to find, win, and seduce women, as well as how to sustain their interpersonal encounters. The books also taught women the art of love—how to attract, be lovable, and keep men in love affairs.

Is Ovid’s Poetic Advice on “The Art of Love” Still Relevant These Days?

I believe Ovid’s advice can still be useful for modern people. This is why his poems have been translated and published several times in the last couple of centuries.

In 1885, the translation and publication of Ovid’s works by Henry T. Riley (reprinted on December 16, 2014) presented only a literal English translation in prose.

However, Anthony Kline did the poetic translation of the original poetic form and published it in 2001. (Kline, 2001, Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love).

We should admit that the Romans lived in a different cultural era and way of life than we do. However, the art of love can still endure through the centuries. Ovid’s poetry can teach educated men and women about love in an interesting and useful way. As a result, I’ve included excerpts from his books on this website for those who want to learn more about how ancient Romans lived and loved. Even though some of Ovid’s love advice and recommendations can sound cynical, ironical, and manipulative, others can reveal for us the kernels of true wisdom.

His poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” contains useful advice for modern men and women on how to find, attract, and keep a love partner. On the one hand, Ovid instructs men in his first two books of poetry on how to approach, court, and seduce women in a relationship. The third book, on the other hand, instructs women on how to be attractive and tempting in order to entice men to fall in love with them and keep those relationships going.

Here Are Some Previously Posted Blog Articles about the Art of Roman Love

In past blog posts, I talked about how Ovid’s poetry can help men find love. These beautiful poems are about a wide range of things, such as “how to find her, how to look for love around the dinner-table and on the beach,”  “while at the theatre,” “at the races or circus,” and “what is his task. In addition, Ovid educates Roman men that triumphs are good to attract a woman.He offers men guidancehow to captivate a woman,” “how to win her”, “how toseduce her,” “how to know her,” “how to be attentive to her,”“how to make promises and deceive,and  Ovid illustrates how tears, kisses, and taking the lead help in love affairs.

Also, the blog posts on this website have advice from Ovid about how women should act in their love relationships with men. Specifically, Ovid teaches women “how to appear,” “how to use makeup,” “how to keep taste and elegance in hair and dress,” “How to be modestly expressive,how to hide defects in appearance,” how to beware of false lovers, how to ”avoid vices and favor poets,” how “try young and older lovers,” “how to use jealousy and fear in love affairs”, and ”how to play the game of love with “cloak and dagger.”

Here’s another poem for girls and women from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid explains how to make him believe he is loved.

As I noted in my first blog post about Ovid’s “The Art of Love,” his educational books of poems speak about what love is and how to make love with the art of manipulation, seduction, and intrigue. The verse on how to “Make Him Believe He’s Loved” which is quoted here, may sound cynical and manipulative, yet it contains the seeds of truth.

This Is What Ovid Advises Women to Do: “Make Him Believe He’s Loved”

“What am I talking of, madman? Why show a naked front

to the enemy, and betray myself on my own evidence?

The bird doesn’t show the hunter where to find it,

the stag doesn’t teach the savage hounds to run.

Let others seek advantage: faithful to how I started, I’ll go on:

I’ll give the Lemnian girls swords to kill me.

Make us believe (it’s so easy) that we’re loved:

faith comes easily to the loving in their prayers.

let a woman look longingly at her young man, sigh deeply,

and ask him why he comes so late:

add tears, and feigned grief over a rival,

and tear at his cheeks with her nails:

he’ll straight away be convinced: and she’ll be pitied,

and he’ll say: ‘She’s seized by love of me.’

Especially if he’s cultured, pleased with his mirror,

he’ll believe he could touch the goddesses with love.

But you, whatever wrong occurs, be lightly troubled,

nor in poor spirits if you hear of a rival.

Don’t believe too quickly: how quick belief can wound,

Procris should be an example to you.

There’s a sacred fountain, and sweet green-turfed ground,

near to the bright slopes of flowered Hymettus:

the low woods form a grove: strawberry-trees touch the grass,

it smells of rosemary, bay and black myrtle:

there’s no lack of foliage, dense box and fragile tamarisk,

nor fine clover, and cultivated pine.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

Women Can Play the Game of Love with “Cloak and Dagger”

Quotes from Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria” imply that women should play the game of love with a “cloak and dagger” approach.

The famous Roman poet Ovid, who lived from 43 BCE to 17 CE, penned “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love). His poetry trilogy “Ars Amatoria” has been a classic text on love affairs in many countries among educated and affluent readers for centuries. Humanities scholars in the West have read and praised Ovid’s texts on “The Art of Love.”

Ovid counseled Roman men and women on love in his poems. He teaches them how to engage their partners’ interests and maintain love affairs. He also teaches them how to play the art of love in their interpersonal encounters.

Is Ovid’s “Art of Love” Still Relevant Today?

The Romans lived in a different cultural era and had a different way of life than we do. But I believe that Ovid’s poetry can teach educated men and women something interesting and useful about love. This is why I placed excerpts from these books on this website for those interested in learning more about how ancient Romans lived and loved. Some of Ovid’s love advice and suggestions are still relevant today.

His poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” has good advice for modern men and women on how to find, attract, and keep a partner in love affairs. On the one hand, in his first two books of poetry, Ovid tells men how to talk to, court, and seduce women in a relationship. On the other hand, the third book tells women what they should do to be attractive and tempting, get men to fall in love with them, and keep those relationships going.

Here Is the Art of Roman Love Posted Previously on Blog Posts

In previous blog posts, I discussed how Ovid’s poetry can aid men in their love lives. These lovely poems cover a wide range of topics, including “how to find her, how to search for love around the dinner-table and on the beach,”  “while at the theatre,” “at the races or circus,” and “what is his task. In addition, Ovid teaches a Roman man that triumphs are good to attract a woman.He gives a man advicehow to captivate a woman,” “how to win her“, “how toseduce her,””how to know her,” “how to be attentive to her,”“how to make promises and deceive,and  Ovid describes how tears, kisses, and taking the lead help in love affairs.

In addition, the blog articles on this website contain Ovid’s advice on women’s love and what women should do in their love affairs. In particular, Ovid teaches women “how to appear,” “how to use makeup,” “how to keep taste and elegance in hair and dress,” “How to be modestly expressive,how to hide defects in appearance,” and how to beware of false lovers.”

Here are the poems for girls and women in Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid tells them how to play the game of love with “a cloak and a dagger” in their love affairs. As I noted in my first article about Ovid’s “The Art of Love,” his instructional books of poems talked about what love is and how to make love with the art of seduction, manipulation, and intrigue. The game of love with “cloak and dagger,” which is quoted here, ironically illustrates this matter.

Here’s How Ovid Tells Women to Play the Game of Love with “Cloak and Dagger”

“I nearly forgot the skilful ways by which you can

elude a husband, or a vigilant guardian.

let the bride fear her husband:  to guard a wife is right:

it’s fitting, it’s decreed by law, the courts, and modesty.

But for you too be guarded, scarcely released from prison,

who could bear it? Adhere to my religion, and deceive!

Though as many eyes as Argus owned observe you,

you’ll deceive them (if only your will is firm).

How can a guard make sure that you can’t write,

when you’re given all that time to spend washing?

When a knowing maid can carry letters you’ve penned,

concealed in the deep curves of her warm breasts?

When she can hide papers fastened to her calf,

or bear charming notes tied beneath her feet?

The guard’s on the look-out for that, your go-between

offers her back as paper, and takes your words on her flesh.

Also a letter’s safe, and deceives the eye, written with fresh milk;

you read it by scattering it with crushed ashes.

And those traced out with a point wetted with linseed oil,

so that the empty tablet carries secret messages.

Acrisius took care to imprison his daughter, Danae:

but she still made him a grandfather by her sin.

What good’s a guard, with so many theatres in the city,

when she’s free to gaze at horses paired together,

when she sits occupied with the Egyptian heifer’s sistrum,

and goes where male companions cannot go,

when male eyes are banned from Bona Dea’s temple,

except those she orders to enter?”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

Ovid continues with more advice after that…

“When, with the girls’ clothes guarded by a servant at the door,

the baths conceal so many secret joys,

when, however many times she’s needed, a friend feigns illness,

and however ill she is can leave her bed,

when the false key tells by its name what we should do,

and the door alone doesn’t grant the exits you seek?

And the jailor’s attention’s fuddled with much wine,

even though the grapes were picked on Spanish hills:

then there are drugs that bring deep sleep,

and close eyes overcome by Lethe’s night:

or your maid can rightly detain the wretch with lengthy games,

and be associated herself with long delays.

but why use these tortuous ways and minor rules,

when the least gift will buy a guardian?

Believe me gifts captivate men and gods:

Jupiter himself is pleased with the gifts he’s given.

What can the wise man do, when the fool love’s gifts?

He’ll be silent too when a gift’s accepted.

But let the guard be bought for once and all:

who surrenders to it once, will surrender often.

I remember I lamented, friends are to be feared:

that complaint’s not only true of men.

If you’re credulous, others snatch your joys,

and that hare you started running goes to others.

She too, who eagerly offers room and bed,

believe me, she’s been mine more than once.

Don’t let too beautiful a maid serve you:

she’s often offered herself to me as my lady.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

How Women Can Use Jealousy and Fear in Love Affairs

The excerpts from Ovid’s poems in “Ars Amatoria” quoted here suggest that women can use jealousy and fear to fuel love affairs.

Ovid, a famous Roman poet who lived between 43 BCE and 17 CE, wrote “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love). For centuries, his poetry trilogy “Ars Amatoria” has been a classic text on love affairs among educated and noble readers in many countries. Western scholars of the humanities have read and praised Ovid’s texts of “The Art of Love.”

In his poems, Ovid gave love advice to both Roman men and women. He tells them how to get their lovers’ attention, keep them interested, and keep the relationship going. He also tells them how to use the art of love in their relationships with each other.

Is Ovid’s “Art of Love” Still Applicable?

The Romans lived in a different time than we do and had a different way of life. But I think that educated men and women can learn something interesting and useful about love from Ovid’s poetry. I put excerpts from these books on this website for people who want to learn more about how Romans lived and loved in the past. Some of Ovid’s advice about love and relationships is still useful today.

His poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” gives modern men and women good advice on how to find, attract, and keep a partner in love. In his first two books of poetry, Ovid tells men how to talk to, court, and seduce women in relationships. The third book suggests women learn how to be attractive and enticing, make men seduce them, and keep loving relationships with the men running.

Here Is What I Wrote about The Art of Roman Love in my Other Posts

In earlier blog posts, I talked about how Ovid’s poetry can help men in love affairs. These lovely poems are about many different things, such as “how to search for love while at the theatre,” “at the races or circus,” around the dinner-table and on the beach,” “how to find her, and “what is his task. Ovid also teaches a Roman man that triumphs are good to attract a woman.He advises a man how to know her,” “how to win her“, how to captivate a woman,” “how to be attentive to her,”“how to make promises and deceive,and how to seduce her.” Ovid explains how tears, kisses, and taking the lead help in love affairs”.

Furthermore, the blog articles on this website contain Ovid’s wisdom on love for womenhow to keep taste and elegance in hair and dress,” “how to appear,” “how to use makeup,” “How to be modestly expressive,how to hide defects in appearance,” and how to beware of false lovers.”

Here are the poems for girls and women from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid explains how effective it is to utilize jealousy and fear of their lovers in their relationships.

Women May Employ Jealousy and Fear of Their Lovers in Love Affairs

“Let all be betrayed: I’ve unbarred the gates to the enemy:

and let my loyalty be to treacherous betrayal.

What’s easily given nourishes love poorly:

mingle the odd rejection with welcome fun.

Let him lie before the door, crying: ‘Cruel entrance!,

pleading very humbly, threatening a lot too.

We can’t stand sweetness: bitterness renews our taste:

often a yacht sinks swamped by a favourable wind:

this is what bitter wives can’t endure:

their husbands can come to them when they wish:

add a closed door and a hard-mouthed janitor,

saying: ‘You can’t,’ and love will touch you too.

Drop the blunted foils now: fight with blades:

no doubt I’ll be attacked with my own weapons.

Also when the lover you’ve just caught falls into the net,

let him think that only he has access to your room.

Later let him sense a rival, the bed’s shared pact: remove these arts, and love grows old.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

Ovid then proceeds with more counsel…

“The horse runs swiftly from the starting gate,

when he has others to pass, and others follow.

Wrongs relight the dying fires, as you wish:

See (I confess!), I don’t love unless I’m hurt.

Still, don’t give cause for grief, excessively,

let the anxious man suspect it, rather than know.

Stir him with a dismal watchman, fictitiously set to guard you,

and the excessively irksome care of a harsh husband.

Pleasure that comes with safety’s less enjoyable:

though you’re freer than Thais, pretend fear.

Though the door’s easier, let him in at the window,

and show signs of fear on your face.

A clever maid should leap up and cry: ‘We’re lost!’

You, hide the trembling youth in any hole.

Still safe loving should be mixed with fright, lest he consider you hardly worth a night.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.

You Should Try Young Lovers as Well as Older Lovers

The article brings in practical quotes for women from Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria,” suggesting trying young lovers as well as older lovers.

Ovid was a distinguished Roman poet who lived from 43 BCE to 17 CE. His “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love) poetry trilogy has been a favorite among educated and noble readers for centuries. Numerous contemporary humanities experts have read and praised Ovid’s “The Art of Love.”

In his poems, Ovid provided Roman men and women with his love advice. He instructs them on how to attract, entice, and maintain a relationship with their lovers. He also instructs them on how to apply the art of love to their sexual relationships.

The Romans lived in a different time period and had a different lifestyle than we do. However, I believe that Ovid’s poetry can teach educated men and women of today something interesting and useful about love. For those interested in learning more about how ancient Romans lived and loved, I have included excerpts from these books on this website. Some of Ovid’s advice applies to contemporary life, love, and relationships.

His poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” provides helpful suggestions to contemporary men and women on how to find, entice, and maintain a partner in a relationship. Ovid’s first two poetry books offer advice for men on how to approach, court, and seduce women. The third book teaches women how to be alluring, lovable, and maintain loving relationships with the men they love.

The Art of Roman Love Shared in my Previous Blog Posts

In previous blog posts, I shared some of Ovid’s poetry-based advice for men. These lovely verses cover a variety of topics, including: “how to search for love while at the theatre,” “at the races or circus,” around the dinner-table and on the beach,” “how to find her and “what is his task.  Ovid also educates a Roman man that triumphs are good to attract a woman.He teaches a man how to know her,” “how to win her“, how to captivate a woman,” “how to be attentive to her,”“how to make promises and deceive,” and seduce her.” Ovid illustrates how tears, kisses, and taking the lead help in love affairs.”

Furthermore, the articles on this blog include Ovid’s wisdom on love for womenhow to keep taste and elegance in hair and dress,” “how to appear,” “how to use makeup,” “How to be modestly expressive,how to hide defects in appearance,” and how to beware of false lovers.”

Here are some poems for girls and women from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria.” Ovid tells them how important it is to try young lovers as well as older lovers to get their experience of love.

Ovid Tells Women to Try Young Lovers and Older Ones to Learn Love

“No rider rules a horse that’s lately known the reins,

with the same bit as one that’s truly mastered,

nor will the same way serve to captivate

the mind of mature years and of green youth.

This raw recruit, first known of now in love’s campaigns,

who reaches your threshold, a fresh prize,

must know you only, always cling to you alone:

this crop must be surrounded by high hedges.

Keep rivals away: you’ll win while you hold just one:

love and power don’t last long when they’re shared.

Your older warrior loves sensibly and wisely,

suffers much that the beginner won’t endure:

he won’t break the door down, burn it with cruel fire,

attack his mistress’s tender cheeks with his nails,

or rip apart his clothing or his girl’s,

nor will torn hair be a cause of tears.

That suits hot boys, the time of strong desire:

but he’ll bear cruel wounds with calm mind.

He burns, alas, with slow fires, like wet straw,

like new-cut timber on the mountain height.

This love’s more sure: that’s brief and more prolific: snatch the swift fruits, that fly, in your hand.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.