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The book’s conclusion follows the fact of Rome east rather than west via a seventeenth-century translation of Ovid’s Tristia—a collection of poems written by Ovid near the Black Sea during the years following his exile from Rome. These translations see a former grammar-school boy reconstructing, from the temporal distance of manhood and maturity, a popular curriculum text and, by necessary extension, revisiting the scene of his own instruction. Ovid’s meditations on the subject of what it means to live apart from Rome, and his expressions of fear that Rome’s language is slipping from his grip, provide a final backdrop against which to reframe the book’s arguments.
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