What Did Ovid Advise on the Art of Making Love?

The Roman poet of the ancient Roman Empire is well known by many love scholars for his “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love)-an instructional series in three books of poems about what is love and how to make love with the art of seduction and intrigue. Ovid’s very practical instructions on making love have been quite popular among educated and aristocratic people throughout centuries.

Who was Ovid?

Ovid was a famous Roman poet who lived between 43 BCE and 17 CE in the ancient Roman Empire.He was well known for his Metamorphoses, a collection of mythological and legendary stories that he told in chronological order, from the beginning of the world until the 1st century BCE.

The Ars Amatoria, written by Ovid in three books, presented a fascinating depiction of the sophisticated and hedonistic life of the Roman aristocracy. The books advised men on how to find a woman and how to keep her. The books also gave women advice on how to win and keep the love of a man.

How Did Ovid Advise Men and Women to Love?

 Ovid was a very good observer and psychologist. He knew a lot about modern women’s and men’s natures.

The primary purpose of Ovid’s “Ars Amoris” was to teach men how to out-trump the presumably natural cunning of women. Nevertheless, he did not forget the female readers. He provided them with many tips on the effective means of enticing fickle men.

In the Remedia Amoris, Ovid described a variety of remedies for curing Cupid’s wounds. Many of them are still suitable today. Ovid’s Elegies and Heroides are full of modern references and insights into the meanings of love.

Several of these points are briefly mentioned below.

How Ovid Depicts Female Sexuality and Passion

Ovid’s poems frequently describe the images of female sexuality and passion as excessively gross and malicious. They are, however, not so crude and cynical as those of Martial and Catullus, two other great Roman poets of that time.

Ovid’s poems still frequently express frivolity that may mislead the current generation’s aesthetic judgment. They still support the myth that Virgil and Horace are better poets than Ovid. Nevertheless, Ovid appears by far the best in terms of originality and inventiveness.

Ovid was unquestionably the first poet who had a conception of the high possibilities of love. According to Henry Finck’s judgment, he was the greatest and the only great love-poet before Dante. Even so, he was wholly devoted to the ancient sensual side of love. His genius enabled him to anticipate and depict the modern images of love (Finck (1887/2019, p. 91).

Some of Ovid’s Advice on Making Love

Roman women in Ovid’s poems often display their coyness in a crude way, as if to a savage. However, it doesn’t seem like all of them understood its full value. So, the poet often gives them advice on how to use it in a more subtle way. One of his rules for women was that if they hurt a man’s feelings, the best way to make him forget it is to hurt themselves. This will bring things back into balance.

Another passage shows that when women are aware of their beauty, this makes them brave, coy, and cruel.

Ovid also knew that a short absence favors and a long absence kills passion.

He warns men against feigning love, which can spark real passion.

Men are told that having courage and confidence is half the battle when it comes to making love.

Ovid also said that disappointed lovers should know that failure can be a good thing if it makes people feel sorry for them and lets love come in as friendship. 

How Ovid Depicts Mixed Feelings in Love

Ovid tends to use emotional exaggeration and depict the mixed feelings that come with love.

He compares the number of love’s tortures to the number of berries on the trees or the number of shells on the beach. He says that true love always causes pain and suffering. He said that “the sweetest torture on earth is women.”

The two things that go with Cupid’s love arrows are flattery and illusion. “

But “even if the beloved misleads me with false words, hope itself will give me great pleasure” could only have been written by someone who knew that love is also creative. In another part of the poem, the poet says that intellectual culture must replace the charms of youth that have worn off.