The Art of Making Love in Roman Culture, Parts 7 and 8

The three books of “Ars Amatoria” were composed by the Roman poet Ovid around the second century A.D. It was a popular collection of poems depicting the life of the ancient Roman aristocracy. The books demonstrate that the wealthy of the Roman Empire once lived in elegance and comfort. They enjoyed entertaining themselves with hedonistic pleasures and the adventures of making love.

Beautiful and insightful advice for men and women alike on how to search for and retain a lover can be found throughout Ovid’s verses on love, which he wrote. The books educate readers on how to pursue, entice, and make love with a partner in an amorous relationship.

Later on, “Ars Amatoria” was translated into English as “The Art of Love” and quickly rose to prominence among educated individuals in other nations. The books became literary classics, frequently cited by scholars who study love. When they were translated into English in 1885, they were literal prose translations, not the original poetry.

In 2001, Anthony Kline, an English poet and translator, translated his version of these Ovid’s books.

I think that even though modern men and women live in different cultures, they can still find these old Roman books interesting. Several passages from these books have been taken and reproduced in other articles that I’ve written 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), “Triumphs that Are Good to Attract a Woman”(Part 6).

Here is Part 7, telling Roman men how… Look for Love around the Dinner-Table

“The table laid for a feast also gives you an opening:

There’s something more than wine you can look for there.

Often rosy Love has clasped Bacchus’s horns,

drawing him to his gentle arms, as he lay there.

And when wine has soaked Cupid’s drunken wings,

he’s stayed, weighed down, a captive of the place.

It’s true he quickly shakes out his damp feathers:

though still the heart that’s sprinkled by love is hurt.

Wine rouses courage and is fit for passion:

care flies, and deep drinking dilutes it.

Then laughter comes, the poor man dons the horns,

then pain and sorrow leave, and wrinkled brows.

Then what’s rarest in our age appears to our minds,

Simplicity: all art dispelled by the god.

Often at that time girls captivated men’s wits,

and Venus was in the vine, flame in the fire.

Don’t trust the treacherous lamplight overmuch:

night and wine can harm your view of beauty.

Paris saw the goddesses in the light, a cloudless heaven,

when he said to Venus: ‘Venus, you win, over them both.’

Faults are hidden at night: every blemish is forgiven,

and the hour makes whichever girl you like beautiful.

Judge jewellery, and fabric stained with purple, judge a face, or a figure, in the light.”

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

Here is Part 8, Telling Roman Men how… Look for Love on the Beach

“Why enumerate every female meeting place fit for the hunter?

The grains of sand give way before the number.

Why speak of Baiae, its shore splendid with sails,

where the waters steam with sulphurous heat?

Here one returning, his heart wounded, said:

‘That water’s not as healthy as they claim.’

Behold the suburban woodland temple of Diana,

and the kingdom murder rules with guilty hand.

She, who is virgin, who hates Cupid’s darts, gives people many wounds, has many to give.”

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