- "I held up a fistful of sand and showed it to him, asking for as many years as grains in that pile. Foolish me! I forgot to ask they be years of youth."
- "Chance is all-powerful. Always cast your fishing hook; in the pond where you least expect it, you'll find a fish."
The best known poet of Rome, Ovid was nevertheless banished to the bleak town of Tomis on the Black Sea's coast by the Emperor Augustus. Born in March 43 BC Publius Ovidius Naso in the town of Sulmo, he followed one of all those roads that led to Rome to study rhetoric and law along with his elder brother. But when his brother died at the age of 20, Ovidius threw over his studies, along with his father’s hopes for the teen’s career in politics, to become a poet … and a lover.
Most of what is known of Ovid’s life comes from his own writings. Married thrice and divorced twice before the age of 30, he fathered one child. As a youth, he travelled about the Empire to Athens and Asia Minor squandering his family fortune until returning home. Unsatisfied with the minor judicial post his father had secured for him there, Ovid abandoned the law and directed his attention to poetry. His first success, penned around 16 BC, was 'Amores,' a collection of erotic poems based on the imaginary Corinna, quite descriptive and quite popular among the Romans bored with blood sports.
Ovid followed this with more love poetry, and eventually produced 'Metamorphoses,' his most ambitious poem – 12,000 lines in dactylic hexameter chronicling history to the death of Julius Caesar. Running afoul of Augustus for unknown reasons, the Emperor had Ovid banished to the barbarian frontier around 8 AD. Although Ovid kept writing, his works were likewise banished from all Roman libraries. Never returning to the great city, Ovid died in 17 AD.