Banned Books in Rome

Ovid’s Ars Amatoria is one of the most famous examples of censored literature from Rome, but he was not the only author to be censored. Cornelius Gallus was ordered into exile, too, under somewhat suspicious circumstances, but his poetry did not survive his fall from grace. The superficial reason for Ovid’s exile was the racy text in the Ars that countered Augustus’ marriage policy. Gallus was exiled for upstaging Augustus in military and political success abroad, and the side effect was the loss of his famed poetry. Augustus also attempted to censor the Roman senate. Senatorial proceedings were documented and published up until this time, but Augustus used his position as emperor to control the public record, particularly when the senate was disputing his imperial power.  Finally, Augustus also attempted to censor the nonconformist public as well as republican senators and other famous authors.  Read full essay > >