(43 BC - c. 17)
Ovid abandoned a promising career as a public servant to become a poet and a bon vivant. His early verse delighted in erotic intrigue and provocative portraits of the demimonde, the topics bringing him a reputation for profligacy. He had almost completed his Metamorphoses, when, in the year 8, Emperor Augustus banished him to a distant outpost on the Black Sea. Ovid attributed his exile from Rome to “a poem and a mistake”—the former his Art of Love, the latter perhaps his having known about the indiscretions of the emperor’s granddaughter. His books were ordered to be removed from the city’s libraries, and he died near the shores of the Black Sea in 17.