[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero. Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 B. C.-17 A. D.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.
[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.

[Opera] Edited by Andrea Navagero.

Venice: In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae soceri, 1515-, 1516.

Price: $9,600.00

Octavo: 15.8 x 9.5 cm. Three volumes. See below for contents of the individual volumes.


Three volumes bound in matching 19th c. parchment, Aldine device in gold on the boards, spines with citron morocco labels, gilt. Volumes mis-numbered on spines. Marbled endpapers. A tall set, overall clean with minor blemishes (see descriptions of individual volumes below.).

Edited by the Venetian poet Andrea Navagero (1483—1529), official historian of the Republic of Venice.
“What distinguishes the second Aldine from its predecessors is that its text is based on a broader consideration of the manuscript evidence and a more judicious selection of readings. Moreover, Naugerius had a keen appreciation for the variation found in the manuscripts and of the need to present that variation to readers in an organized way.

“In a brief but fascinating preface, which gives a glimpse into the editor's workshop, Naugerius describes his approach to the text. He informs the reader that he has introduced improvements in the text by consulting manuscripts… In the separate volume of ‘Annotationes’ he indicates those places where the text has been altered without manuscript authority and records variants that he feels have a good chance of being right, so that readers can make up their own minds about them. So for instance... When Naugerius deleted an interpolated verse after 8.317 and 9.196 (or 197), he explains that the two verses in question are not found in 'old copies' (veteribus/antiquis exemplaribus) and that they are unmetrical.”(Possanza, “Editing Ovid, Immortal Works and Material Texts”, in A Companion to Ovid, Chapter 22.)

“Born in 43 BCE, Ovid first made his name at Rome as a playful and experimental love poet, in the Amores, the epistolary Heroides, and the didactic Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris; by about 2 CE, he was able to claim that “elegy owes as much to me as epic does to Virgil.” Concurrently with the epic Metamorphoses, he was at work (2–8 CE) on the elegiac Fasti, a poetical calendar of the Roman year, with one book devoted to each month; and he would spend his final decade further extending the range of elegy with the pleas and laments of the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, sent to Rome from afar, along with the curse-poetry of the Ibis.

“When Ovid turned in his forties to epic, he did not attempt direct competition with the already classic Aeneid. The 15-book Metamorphoses recounted dozens of tales from classical and Near Eastern myth and legend, with no central hero, but with characters and settings changing every few pages; every episode was in some way a story of supernatural transformation, and the whole took the ostensibly chronological form of a history of the universe. As the epic neared completion in 8 CE, the poet was suddenly banished by the emperor Augustus to the Black Sea frontier, (a) for the perceived immorality of the almost decade-old Ars Amatoria, and (b) for a still-mysterious error or indiscretion. Ovid languished in his place of exile, Tomis (modern Constantsa), until his death, probably in 17 CE.”(Hinds, OCD)

Ahmanson-Murphy 133, 141, 142; Renouard 72:3, 78:10, 78:9; Adams O-430, P-2238, O-482

Vol. I:

P. Ouidij Nasonis uita per Aldum ex ipsius libris excerpta. --Heroidum epistolae.-- Amorum libri III.-- De arte amandi libri III.--De remedio armoris libri II.-- De medicamine faciei.--Nux.-- Somnium.-- Pulex & Philomela, quamuis Ouidij esse dicantur, non magis tamen ipsius sunt, quàm Sabini tres illae, quae illi ascribuntur, Epistolae.

Venice: In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae soceri, mense Maio M.D.XV. 1515

Octavo: 15.8 x 9.5 cm. [16], 172, [10] lvs. Collation: Aa-Bb8 (Bb8 blank), aa-hh8, ii4, kk-oo8, pp4 (pp4 blank), qq-yy8, zz4, AA10.

Aldine device on title and colophon leaf. Imprint from colophon.

Very clean. A few insignificant blemishes, leaf Aa3 with small ink marks in blank margin. Provenance: contemp. inscription on leaf aa2 of the Carthusians of Bologna.

Ahmanson-Murphy 133; Renouard 72:3; Adams O-430

Vol. II:

Cla. Ptolemaei Inerrantium Stellarum signigicationes per Nicolaum Leonicum è graeco translatae. XII. Romanorum menses in ueteribus monimentis Romanae reperti.--Sex priorum mensium digestio ex sex Ouidij Fastorum libris excerpta. . P. Ovidii Nasonis Fastorum lib. VI. - Tristium lib. V. -- De Ponto lib. IIII. --In Ibin.-- Ad Livium.

Venice: In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae soceri, mense Ianvario M.D.XVI. 1516

Octavo: 15.8 x 9.5 cm. [22], 227, [1] lvs. Collation: [pi]-2[pi]8, 3[pi]6 (3[pi]6 blank), aaa-kkk8, lll6 (lll6 blank), mmm-sss8, ttt6, uuu-zzz8, AAA-EEE8, FFF4.

Aldine device on title and colophon leaf. Imprint from colophon.

First 2 lvs. with light stains and minor soiling, early ownership inscription blotted out on blank recto of blank leaf 3[pi]6, sig. nnn with small dampstain in upper corner, a few light spots, bifolium ppp1-8 light stain, ttt1 small spots, a few other instances of marginal soiling, sigs xxx-CCC with light browning and soiling to lower margin of lvs, just entering the text, last 3 lvs. with small stain in gutter.

Ahmanson-Murphy 141; Renouard 78:10; Adams P-2238

Vol. III:

Qvae hoc volvmine continentvr. Annotationes in omnia Ouidij opera. Index fabularum, & cæterorum, quæ insunt hoc libro secundum ordinem alphabeti. Ovidii Metamorphoseon libri XV.

Venice: In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae soceri, mense Febrvario M.D.XVI. 1516

Octavo: 15.8 x 9.5 cm. [48], 204 lvs. Collation: [pi]-6[pi]8, a-z8, A-B8, C4. With blank leaf 48.

Aldine device on title and colophon leaf and again on the leaf introducing the Metamorphoses. Imprint from colophon.

Fine, tall copies with very minor blemishes and a few light stains as follows: light burn mark in margin of lvs. 17 and 18, light stains to lvs. F1-2, and u1, minor ink stains to lvs. k6 and o2, small rust marks on last four leaves, verso of colophon lightly soiled.

Ahmanson-Murphy 142; Renouard, p. 78:9; Adams O-482

A Consideration of some of Ovid’s Works:

The Metamorphoses:

"With the ‘Aeneid’ Vergil had realized the grandiose project of a Homeric-style poem, a national epic for Roman culture. Ovid in realizing his ambitions for a work of great scope takes another direction. The outer form was to be epic (the hexameter is its distinctive mark), as was the ample scale, but the model, which is based on Hesiod, is that of a ‘collective poem’, one that gathers a series of independent stories linked by a single theme. [...] Ovid’s ambition is grand: to realize a universal work, one that goes beyond the limits of the various poetic creeds. The very chronology of the poem confirms this. It is boundless, going from the beginning of the world down to Ovid’s day, and thus realizes a project long-desired and hitherto only sketched out in Latin culture…

"The fundamental characteristic of the world described by the ‘Metamorphoses’ is its ambiguous and deceptive nature, the uncertainty of the boundaries between reality and appearance, between the concreteness of things and the inconstancy of their appearances. The characters of the poem behave as if lost in this insidious universe, which is governed by change and error; disguises, shadows, reflections, echoes, and fugitive semblances are the snares in the midst of which the humans move about, victims of the play of fate or the whim of the gods. Their uncertain action and the natural human disposition to err are the object of the poet’s regard, now touched, now amused; they are the spectacle that the poem represents.

The Fasti:

"It is the ‘Fasti’ rather than the ‘Metamorphoses’ that is the work of Ovid’s least remote from the cultural, moral and religious tendencies of the Augustan regime. Following in the footsteps of the late Propertius and his ‘Roman Elegies’, Ovid, too, devotes himself to writing civic poetry. His project is to illustrate the ancient myths and customs of Latium, following the course of the Roman calendar. Thus twelve books in elegiac meter were projected, one for each month of the year, but the poet’s unexpected exile interrupted the work in the middle, at the sixth month, June; the work was partially revised during the years of exile.

"In addition to Ovid’s direct predecessor, Propertius, the work owes much to the model that is common to the two poets, Callimachus’ ‘Aitia’, both in its technique of composition and in its etiological character, that is, its investigation into the ‘causes’ and origins of present-day reality in the world of myth. Ovid himself desires to become the Roman Callimachus producing a finished work, a new poetic genre… In this new guise of the bard celebrating the idea of Rome, Ovid undertakes careful, learned researches into a variety of antiquarian sources. From Verrius Flaccus, Varro, Livy and others he reaps a huge harvest of antiquarian, religious, legal, and astronomical lore, which he uses to illustrate beliefs, rites, usages, and place names- all this part of the rediscovery of ancient origins that was a fundamental tendency of Augustan ideology.

The Tristia and Letters from Pontus:

"Ovid’s first work composed at a distance from Rome is the collection of the ‘Tristia’, five books whose common feature, explicitly emphasized, is lament over the exiled poet’s unfortunate condition. Equally insistent is the recurring appeal to his friends and his wife to obtain, if not a complete remission of his punishment, then at least a change of location... The elegies of the first book carry the reader through the departure from Rome, the long voyage towards Tomi, and the winter crossing of the Adriatic and the Aegean, with storms making it more difficult and dangerous. The second book, consisting of a single long plea addressed to Augustus, is supposed to exonerate Ovid’s love elegy from the charges of immorality. In the following books there are more elegies addressed to precise recipients, who are not explicitly named but are sometimes identified through indirect indications…

“The ‘Epistulae ex Ponto’ offer interesting analogies to Ovid’s other epistolary work, the ‘Heroides’, for instance, in the parallelism between the remoteness experienced by the abandoned woman and that experienced by the exiled poet. Ovid finds himself banished from the limelight to the very borders of the Empire, in the midst of a primitive people who did not even speak Latin. Accustomed to success, to the fervent admiration of a public captivated by his virtuosity, Ovid all at once finds himself alone, composing poetry for himself; and his condition as an artist without a public suggests to him the gloomy image of a man dancing in the darkness.

The Art of Love:

The immorality of Ovid’s poetry, especially the “Ars Amatoria”, was given as the official reason for Ovid’s exile to the Black Sea in A.D. 8. The mythological scenes that pepper the “Ars” offer material for comparison with Ovid’s later work, the “Metamorphoses”.

“The ‘Ars Amatoria’ is a work in three books, written in elegiac meter, that gives advice on ways to conquer women (Book I) and to retain their love (Book II); the third book, added later, in order to compensate the women for the harm done to them in the first two –such is the jesting premise- provides instruction in how to seduce men. Ovid describes the meeting places and the fashionable haunts of the capital (dinner parties, theaters, shows in the circus, promenades), the moments of relaxation and pastimes, the very varied occasions of urban life (the work is an important document of the everyday habits and customs of Rome) in which the lover is to carry out the campaign of seduction. The outer form is that of the didactic poem (the great Roman models were Lucretius and the ‘Georgics’ of Vergil), from which Ovid wittily borrows formulas, stances, and compositional schemes. The course of instruction is interrupted here and there by inserted mythological and historical narratives (a kind of tryout for the future ‘Metamorphoses’), which are intended to illustrate, in the manner of ‘exempla’, the validity of the advice given.

“The perfect lover by Ovid is characterized, of course, by his (or her) shameless lack of scruple, by impatience and combativeness towards traditional morality, ancient Roman usage –and this sphere of sexual and matrimonial morality is a very delicate one, to which Augustus in his reforming zeal attached particular importance (and so the scandal created by the ‘Ars Amatoria’ could be made the official charge against the poet at the time of his expulsion from Rome.) In fact, the libertine, unscrupulous character of the ‘Ars’, which has brought down upon the poet the disapproval of moralists in every age, is no more than the glittering, provocatively seductive outer covering of the work; precisely in becoming a ‘lusus’, an amusing intellectual exercise, the Ovidian eros loses all ethical purpose, all inclination to rebel against the prevailing morality. The absoluteness of love as a life choice upon which to base new values and a new morality, which had been the most revolutionary feature in elegiac poetry and earlier in Catullus, is lost in Ovid, and his work’s apparent libertinism can actually be brought within the bounds of the tradition ethic and its conventions.

Love’s Remedy:

“The didactic cycle begun in the ‘Ars Amatoria’ is concluded by the ‘Remedia Amoris’, the work that, reversing certain precepts of the ‘Ars’, teaches how to free oneself from love. It was a commonplace of erotic poetry that there is no remedy for the sickness of love, and the elegiac poet seemed almost to take delight in his being condemned to heartsickness, since he could not free himself from it, and yet inwardly was also proud of his complete devotion, of his choice of ‘nequitia’. Ovid reverses this position, asserting that it is not only possible but even obligatory to free oneself from love if it brings suffering. A work such as the ‘Remedia’, teaching how to heal oneself of love, represents the extreme development of elegiac poetry and brings to a symbolic close the brief period of its intense existence.”(Gian Biagio Conte, “Latin Literature, A History”).