Hair and Power in Ovidian Elegy: A Discussion of Feminine Dominance and the Hair Apparent

by Lydia Eisenberg

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Liane Houghtalin

When considering the love elegy of Ovid, there are multiple cases in which love, beauty, or infatuation with a woman is expressed through visual descriptions of her hair. In the Amores and Ars Amatoria, these descriptions of hair support a seemingly subjective view of beauty when compared to current hairstyle trends at the time. As a result, this view of feminine beauty suggests that the woman holds the power within the amorous relationship described. However, the nature of the hair description reduces Ovid’s view of feminine beauty to an objective one, revealing a disingenuous view of feminine power and therefore supporting Ovid’s claim to masculine dominance in the relationship.

Hair and Power in Ovidian Love Elegy

5 Replies to “Hair and Power in Ovidian Elegy: A Discussion of Feminine Dominance and the Hair Apparent”

  1. I LOVE this topic, Lydia, and found your insights into the world of Ovidian hair just completely fascinating. Since Ovid uses mythological exempla so frequently and so rhetorically in the Amores, Ars Amatoria, Remedia Amoris, and Metamorphoses (really, in all his works), I think your decision to incorporate “mythological hair” was a very smart move. And, your conclusions seem to me to be quite sensible. Congratulations on a very fine thesis.

    1. Thank you so much Dr. Pitts!! Could not have done it without your help and perspective on Ovid.

  2. Really impressive, next-level kind of work, Lydia. It was such a pleasure serving as your instructor these past four years, and congratulations on your well-deserved honors!

  3. This was a very interesting presentation. I learned quite a bit and it has made me think of how hair is viewed in modern times. Well done!

  4. Thank you, Lydia. I will never see a reference to hair in Latin literature again without stopping to look at what is REALLY going on. Excellent work!

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