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His poetry was much imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and greatly influenced Western art and literature.The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology.Other sources include Seneca the Elder and Quintilian.His father wanted him to study rhetoric toward the practice of law.According to Seneca the Elder, Ovid tended to the emotional, not the argumentative pole of rhetoric.After the death of his brother at 20 years of age, Ovid renounced law and began travelling to Athens, Asia Minor, and Sicily.He was part of the circle centered on the patron Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, and seems to have been a friend of poets in the circle of Maecenas. 4.10.41–54, Ovid mentions friendships with Macer, Propertius, Horace, Ponticus and Bassus (he only barely met Virgil and Tibullus, a fellow member of Messalla's circle whose elegies he admired greatly).

The Ars Amatoria was followed by the Remedia Amoris in the same year.

Julia's husband, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, was put to death for conspiracy against Augustus, a conspiracy Ovid might have known of.

The Julian Marriage Laws of 18 BC, which promoted monogamous marriage to increase the population's birth rate, were fresh in the Roman mind.

Ovid talks more about his own life than most other Roman poets.

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Information about his biography is drawn primarily from his poetry, especially Tristia 4.10, which gives a long autobiographical account of his life.

Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, "a poem and a mistake", but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars.