The Art of Making Love in Roman Culture, Part 6, Our Triumphs Are Good to Attract a Woman

The three books of “Ars Amatoria” were written around the 2nd century A.D. by the Roman poet Ovid. It was a popular collection of poems portraying the life of the aristocracy in ancient Roman culture. The books show that the wealthy people in the Roman Empire used to live in style and comfort. They liked to entertain themselves with hedonistic pleasures and amorous adventures.

Ovid’s beautiful verses about love are full of good and smart advice for both men and women about how to find and keep a partner. The books teach how to seduce and treat someone in a love relationship.

Centuries later, “Ars Amatoria” was translated into English as “The Art of Love” and became well-known by educated people in other countries. The books also became classics of writing, often cited by scholars who study love. When they were translated into English in 1885, it was just a literal translation into prose, rather than the original poetry.

 In 2001, English poet and translator Anthony Kline translated these books of Ovid again.

I believe the book written many centuries ago in Roman culture can still be interesting for modern men and women despite differences in cultural contexts.

Several excerpts from these books were published in my other articles about… What Is His Task” (Part 1), “How to Find Her” (Part 2), “Search for Love While Walking” (Part 3), “Search for Love while at the Theatre” (Part 4), “Search for Love at the Races or Circus” (Part 5).

Here is Part 6, telling Roman men how…

Triumphs Can Be an Excellent Way to Attract a Woman! 

“Behold, now Caesar’s planning to add to our rule

what’s left of earth: now the far East will be ours.

Parthia , we’ll have vengeance: Crassus’s bust will cheer,

and those standards wickedly laid low by barbarians.

The avenger’s here, the leader, proclaimed, of tender years,

and a boy wages war’s un-boy-like agenda.

Cowards, don’t count the birthdays of the gods:

a Caesar’s courage flowers before its time.

Divine genius grows faster than its years,

and suffers as harmful evils the cowardly delays.

Hercules was a child when he crushed two serpents

in both his hands, already worthy of Jupiter in his cradle.

How old were you, Bacchus, who are still a boy,

when conquered India trembled to your rod?

Your father’s years and powers arm you, boy,

and with your father’s powers and years you’ll win:

though your first beginnings must be in debt to such a name,

now prince of the young, but one day prince of the old:

Your brothers are with you, avenge your brothers’ wounds:

your father is with you, keep your father’s laws.

Your and your country’s father endowed you with arms:

the enemy stole his kingship from an unwilling parent:

You hold a pious shaft, he a wicked arrow:

Justice and piety stick to your standard.

Let Parthia’s cause be lost: and their armies:

let my leader add Eastern wealth to Latium.

Both your fathers, Mars and Caesar, grant you power:

Through you one is a god, and one will be.

See, I augur your triumph: I’ll reply with a votive song,

and you’ll be greatly celebrated on my lips.

You’ll stand and exhort your troops with my words:

O let my words not lack your courage!

I’ll speak of Parthian backs and Roman fronts,

and shafts the enemy hurl from flying horses.

If you flee, to win, Parthia, what’s left for you in defeat?

Mars already has your evil eye.

So the day will be, when you, beautiful one,

golden, will go by, drawn by four snowy horses.

The generals will go before you, necks weighed down with chains,

lest they flee to safety as they did before.

The happy crowd of youths and girls will watch,

that day will gladden every heart.

And if she, among them, asks the name of a king,

what place, what mountains, and what stream’s displayed,

you can reply to all, and more if she asks:

and what you don’t know, reply as memory prompts.

That’s Euphrates, his brow crowned with reeds:

that’ll be Tigris with the long green hair.

I make those Armenians, that’s Persia’s Danaan crown:

that was a town in the hills of Achaemenia.

Him and him, they’re generals: and say what names they have, if you can, the true ones, if not the most fitting.”

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