Perspectives of the dominated : the Ariadne myth in Catullus 64 and Ars Amatoria
Greenstein, Clara Jordon
May 16, 2020
This thesis examines the relationship between love, heroism, and dominance in Ancient Rome through a comparison of the uses of the Ariadne myth in the ekphrasis of Catullus 64 and lines 525 – 564 of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria I. In the context of the poem’s violent farming and battle imagery, Catullus’ presentation of Ariadne’s indomitable romantic passion as simultaneously analogues to and incompatible with Theseus’s heroic drive illuminates the individual and societal sacrifices incurred in the pursuit of heroic valor. While Ovid’s presentation of female fear similarly presents the violence inherent to heroic drive, his presentation of Ariadne’s salvation as a rape uniquely highlights the non-consensual nature of Augustan imperial domination. By depicting the perspective of the dominated woman, both writers prompt a reconsideration of the perspectives of others who are sacrificed or suppressed in the Roman pursuit to conquer and control.
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