Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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The Goths Take Rome | Historical past Right now

Roman warrior holding the top of an enemy between his enamel, solid from Trajan’s Column, 1862 © Luisa Ricciarini/Bridgeman Photos.

Throughout a welcome interval of Mediterranean peace in AD 8, a swift judgment from Rome’s first emperor despatched the Latin poet Ovid into exile: it was a banishment from which antiquity’s exuberant conjurer of classical fantasy would by no means return. The circumstances surrounding the scandal stay as murky as they do memorable. A ‘poem and a mistake’, as Ovid later put it, carmen et error, had wheeled his fortunes the improper course, with disastrous outcomes for his profession and his household. 

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