n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Sending up the founder : Ovid and the apotheosis of Romulus

Volume 45, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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A comparative reading of Ovid's accounts of the apotheosis of Romulus (. 14.805-28 and 2.481-512) reveals significant echoes and variations. Striking divergences from other sources (Cicero, Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus) are also apparent. Ovid shows no (overt) interest in the political background, suppresses Romulus' military aspect, and is more concerned with fabulous elements. Yet his own stylistic emphases, and a nexus of resonances between the and , with echoes of . 6.851-53 and . 1.292-93, pointedly situate Romulus in the civil sphere as lawgiver, an interesting perspective in the light of Augustan propaganda and the inescapable elements of fraternal strife and murder in Rome's foundation legend. By ellipsis and allusion Ovid constructs an image of Romulus which interrogates the Augustan ethos and connects with the wider themes of the , particularly the rejection of militarism and the celebration of the arts of peace.

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