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The Medicamina Faciei Femineae is a didactic elegy that showcases an early example of Ovid's trademark combination of poetic instruction and trivial subject matter. Exploring female beauty and cosmeceuticals, with particular emphasis on the concept of cultus, the poem presents five practical recipes for treatments for Roman women. Covering both didactic parody and pharmacological reality, this deceptively complex poem possesses wit and vivacity and provides an important insight into Roman social mores and day-to-day activities. The first full study in English devoted to this little-researched but multi-faceted poem, Ovid on Cosmetics includes an introduction that situates the poem within its literary heritage of didactic and elegiac poetry, its place in Ovid's oeuvre and its relevance to social values, personal aesthetics and attitudes to female beauty in Roman society. The Latin text is presented on parallel pages alongside a new translation, and all Latin words and phrases are translated for the non-specialist reader. Detailed commentary notes elucidate the text and individual phrases still further. Ovid on Cosmetics presents and explicates this witty, subversive yet significant poem. Its attention to the technicalities of cosmeceuticals and cosmetics, including detailed analyses of individual ingredients and the effects of specific creams and makeup, make this work a significant contribution to the beauty industry in antiquity.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgements Ovid's Works Introduction 1 Medicamina Faciei Femineae 2 Amores 1.14 3 Ars Amatoria 3.101-250 4 Remedia Amoris 343-356 5 Ars Amatoria 1.505-524 Appendices Appendix 1: Notes on the Latin Texts Appendix 2: Glossary of Cosmeceutical Terminology Appendix 3: Ingredients in the Medicamina Recipes Appendix 4: Roman Weights and Measures and Equivalents Bibliography Index of Passages General Index

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A parallel text and translation of a little known poem by Ovid, with detailed analysis of its literary and historical context and its relevance to sexuality, gender and the female body.

About the Author

Marguerite Johnson is Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Australia. She is author of Sappho (2006) and Boudicca (2012) for the `Ancients in Action' series, and co-editor (with Harold Tarrant) of Alcibiades and the Socratic Lover-Educator, also published by Bristol Classical Press (2012).

Reviews

Johnson has achieved an admirable feat by bringing together such a varied collection of primary and secondary materials in a clear and approachable way. This book will provide a very useful point of entry for any reader interested in understanding ancient attitudes towards and knowledge about cosmetics, cosmeceuticals, and beautification practices in general. * Bryn Mawr Classical Review * [This book] brings together the Latin text and a clear English translation with a thorough introduction and a truly insightful commentary ... [A]n invaluable contribution to Ovidian scholarship ... [and] a worthwhile read. * Minerva * This slim volume precisely fulfils the task it sets itself in the subtitle ... This is certainly the book to come to if you want to find out about the evidence for hair-curling irons, popular fabric colours or where to buy a wig in ancient Rome. * Classics For All Reviews * Easy to follow and at the same time full of detail, there is something in this book for a wide range of readers. * Classics Ireland * Johnson's important book is a scholarly dissection of Ovid's writings on personal appearance. She walks us splendidly through the details of hair, cosmetics and cosmeceuticals, jewelry, and clothing in Roman antiquity, and adds some modern resources into the mix as well. A fascinating, wide-ranging, and readable book. * Kelly Olson, Associate Professor of Classics, Western University, Ontario, Canada * Marguerite Johnson's welcome book conveniently brings together Ovid's discussions of female cosmetics and beauty treatments in his eroto-didactic poetry, including the surviving hundred lines of his treatise on Cosmetic Treatments for the Female Face. This fascinating volume, with helpful illustrations, will interest all students of women, sex and gender in classical antiquity, as well as historians of botany, medicine and science. -- Alison Keith, Professor of Classics, University of Toronto, Canada Marguerite Johnson now presents a classicist's perspective, and her volume will both increase the Medicamina's visibility and help readers approach and appreciate the poem ... Johnson's book is an accessible an well-researched addition to Ovidian studies ... A useful new resource that provides a fresh foundation to studying Ovid not only as cosmopolitan praeceptor amoris, but also praeceptor cultis, with all the humorous undertones, elegant contours, and historical highlights that entails. * Classical Journal *

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