One of the Thomas Kirk drawings based on the Greek, Roman, and Etruscan vases of Sir William Hamilton. (Wikimedia Commons)

Secrets de beauté romaine, avec une recette de masque/crème hydratante adaptée d’Ovide

Secrets de beauté romaine, avec une recette de masque/crème hydratante adaptée d’Ovide, et testée par Elizabeth Manwell (Anglice est):

If you have taken John Kuhner’s advice and dived into the OCT of the Amores, you’ll find that sandwiched between it and the Ars Amatoria is a curious little fragment, Medicamina Faciei Femineae. This is sometimes called “On Cosmetics” and sometimes “The Art of Beauty” and sometimes “Face Cosmetics.” You get the idea — Ovid is going to tell all us ladies how to pretty ourselves up.

Depending on your point of view you may find it a happy or sad fact that the Medicamina has not survived intact. But if you are looking for a chaser to the comparatively long read of the Amores, or find yourself dipping your toes into Ovid’s elegiac couplets for the first time, reading Ovid’s beauty advice is going to improve your Latin, make you laugh, and give you multiple ideas for your own cottage industry.

The Medicamina is an example of what is usually called didactic literature, which purports to convey practical knowledge. Didactic poetry always prompts questions like “is he for real?” and “would anybody ever really use this poem as a handbook on make-up?” One tends to think not, but I’ll try to answer those more fully below. Suffice to say, Ovid stays true to form here. If the Amores takes love elegy as far as it can go, one can see the Medicamina as a cap on all those anci…

Lire l’article (en anglais) d’lizabeth Manwell : “Girls! Glamour! Barley! – A Practical Guide to Ovid’s Medicamina Faciei Femineae sur le blog In Medias Res :
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December 17, 2018 at 10:39AM

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