2000 years since his death by the shores of the Black Sea, the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BCE-17/18 CE), known to later English readers simply as Ovid, remains once of the most important poets in western culture. His great poem Metamorphoses is the main source for our most cherished ancient myths and, as a poet of love, transformation and exile, Ovid has inspired generations of artists from Botticelli and Velazquez to Anish Kapoor and Chris Ofili. The familiarity and popularity of the stories he told made them ideal subject matters for makers of art in silver, bronze, ivory and ceramics as well as for painters.
This Trail allows visitors to explore Ovid's legacy through objects from the Ashmolean's diverse collections from his own lifetime to the seventeenth century. There is no set route around the Museum, but look for the OVID2000 labels on the ground and second floor. Each object is accompanied by a quotation from Ovid's writings, including Metamorphoses, the Fasti, Amores, Heroides, Epistolae ex Ponto and Tristia.