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Fasti (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Ovid , Anthony Boyle , Roger Woodard
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Written after he had been banished to the Black Sea city of Tomis by Emperor Augustus, the Fasti is Ovid's last major poetic work. Both a calendar of daily rituals and a witty sequence of stories recounted in a variety of styles, it weaves together tales of gods and citizens together to explore Rome's history, religious beliefs and traditions. It may also be read as a subtle but powerful political manifesto which derides Augustus' attempts to control his subjects by imposing his own mythology upon them: after celebrating the emperor as a Jupiter-on-earth, for example, Ovid deliberately juxtaposes a story showing the king of the gods as a savage rapist. Endlessly playful, this is also a work of integrity and courage, and a superb climax to the life of one of Rome's greatest writers.

Editorial Reviews


<div>"Fasti has burst upon the scholarly scene as a work of tremendous importance for our understanding of religion under the Principate...have provided us with what must be seen as a new commentary upon the poem...But the real value of this new Fasti, of course, lies not in its front or back material but in the lively rendition of Ovid''s own words...Boyle and Woodard have given us a fresh-sounding poem with updated diction." --Christopher Brunelle, Boston College


' ... a breakthrough in the study of classics ... it will secure a place in every undergraduate curriculum of Roman history.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 2833 KB
  • Print Length: 414 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140446907
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (October 28, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9XCO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done! January 23, 2008
This Penguin edition is very well done and preserves the meaning of the Latin without distorting or mangling it. The book also contains copious and well-researched notes to explain the numerous festivals, minor dieties, and individuals that Ovid mentions. The Fasti is invaluable as a glimpse of Roman culture, not only as a product of the Etruscan influences, but those of the other Italic peoples and the Greeks as well. Ovid skillfully adapts a plethora of "sacred rites unearthed from ancient annals" (1.7-8). What those "sacred annals" contained, we don't know for sure, but many of Ovid's stories included in the poem allude to and are corroborated by the works of Hesiod, Livy, Catullus, Lucretius, Vergil, and others. Ovid however puts his "slant" on things and makes associations that some argue are erroneous. Perhaps. But, taken as a whole, the Fasti is a great poem to also put Roman history into perspective. Ovid again and again stresses Rome's humble beginnings and it's current (for him) preeminence in the world -- "imperium sine fine."

A very well done translation of an amazing work that is not widely read in schools.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Counting the days, at "the end of the world"... January 20, 2004
This one volume work in the Loeb Classical Series (# 253) is
Ovid's remarkable combining of poetry, myth, astrology,
astronomy, and commentary on Rome.
Apparently the work was written, or completed, while
Ovid was in exile in what is today Romania (in the
ancient city of Tomis), having been sent there by the
Emperor Augustus.
Ovid's life there must have been misery, anguish, and
hardship (how different from the famous poet all
Rome had talked about before his fall!). The poems
about that exile, along with letters which he sent back
to Rome, can be found in Loeb Classical volume, # 151,
-Tristia, Ex Ponto- (ISBN: 0674991672).
This present volume "is a poetical treatise on the
Roman calendar, which it discusses in chronological
order, beginning with the first day of January and
ending with the last day of June, where it stops
abruptly." (Introduction.) Ovid had intended to
write 12 parts to the work, but we only have the
first six. The author of the Introduction makes
some scholarly speculations about what happened to
the other six parts, which are very interesting.
This Loeb version is translated by James G. Frazer,
who himself had orginally published a 5-volume edition
of the -Fasti-, but trimmed a bit of his scholarly
commentary in order to produce this one-volume edition
for the Loeb series. Frazer (1854 - 1941) was a
British anthropologist, folklorist, and classical
scholar; his 12 volume opus, -The Golden Bough-,
is a world-famous work on comparative ancient religions,
myth, and cultural rites.
Ovid, himself, was exremely interested not only
in poetry, but in myth and cultural rites as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read "Metamorphoses," "Amores" first March 17, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
People have been talking up "Fasti" lately but it's really a poem you read AFTER you read Ovid's one great long poem, "Metamorphoses," and his one great collection of short poems, "Amores." (The "Art of Love" is a cute poem, and certainly gives you a vivid picture of what it was like to be a 'player' in Imperial Rome, but as for enduring literary quality, let's get real.) The Loeb edition is one of the weirder specimens in the LCL format. The great historian of religion, Frazer (of "The Golden Bough") began the Loeb edition, but got so interested in it he ended up doing a four-volume study of the poem, instead. The Loeb edition itself is just a chopped-down fragment of that larger project. So get a prose translation like the Oxford (see my review) to use with this handy and inexpensive edition of the Latin, if you want to read EVERYTHING Ovid wrote . . . and why not, he's a great, great poet!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Political aspects are VERY subtle indeed March 19, 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The marketing of the Penguin edition translated by Boyle and Woodard is what moved me to write this review. Penguin's marketeers claim that Fasti is a "subtle but powerful political manifesto;" B&W expand on this theme in their introduction. This piqued my interest in the work, but I was frustrated once I began reading.

Maybe Ovid wasn't hiding his jokes and barbs by the standards of his day: for all I know, his contemporaries would be smiling ironically or even rolling on the ground with laughter as they read. But for a reader of this edition to appreciate those bits requires something approaching a professional Latinist's erudition. If the political aspect of the book interests you, be aware that to a great degree it's not visible from the four corners of this work. Mainly its based on (i) what Ovid *omits* from the book (e.g., failing to mention Augustus or members of his family in certain contexts where they might have expected it), and (ii) what Ovid says here *taken together with* what he said in other of his works, e.g. Ars amatoria. Even the example about Jupiter and rape mentioned in the blurb, which seems to be in Ovid's entries for Feb 5 through Feb 12, is rather subtly expressed in the poem's text -- I might easily have passed it on a first reading if B&W hadn't mentioned it in their introduction.

In other words, even if there's a political message written here in secret ink, so to speak, usually you'll need to bring in UV lights, lemon juice and other stuff to be able to read it. And often, you'll need to bring your own. While the translators are generous with apparatus (maps, an outline summary, almost 250 pages of scholarly endnotes, a glossary), this material isn't really focused on bringing into relief the political reading for which B&W argue.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The (unachieved) Days were composed BEFORE Ovid was exiled in ...
The (unachieved) Days were composed BEFORE Ovid was exiled in Tomis where he composed Tristia. Otherwise, this edition offers an opportunity to read a worthy text and provides... Read more
Published 1 day ago by John Gueriguian
There are supposed to be several maps at the beginning of this book, and they do show up on Kindle for Mac, but they do not on the iPad. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic translation with useful comments
This is excellent book and the English translation is perfectly done. Comments in the end are really useful and helps to understand the poem better. Read more
Published on November 9, 2011 by Renate Prancane
1.0 out of 5 stars This edition is NOT a reprint of Frazer's original (now public domain)...
Despite everything this page seems to suggest, if you order this volume, you will NOT receive a reprint of Frazer's original, now public domain, edition of Ovid's Fasti in the Loeb... Read more
Published on October 8, 2011 by Molinarius
3.0 out of 5 stars Non-updated edition of the Loeb
Although this book does provide both the Latin and an English translation, the English itself must be translated to a more modern form of English. Read more
Published on December 11, 2007 by sehull
5.0 out of 5 stars wrong book
The review posted above is for the Loeb edition of Ovid, which is very different from Fantham's edition.
Published on June 16, 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars "A Rich Storehouse for Roman Religion and Ritual"
Publius Ovidius Naso's "Fasti" (calendar) is undoubtedly his most neglected piece of literature. It is justifiably belittled by his timeless epic the "Metamorphoses," it stands... Read more
Published on September 19, 2002 by Johannes Platonicus
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