My purpose in this paper is to consider Heroides X in the context of funeral elegy and lamentation ritual in the ancient world. Ovid’s epistle, written in Ariadne’s voice, transports us to the moment of her desertion on Naxos. Through Ariadne’s telling of her own experience, Ovid both invites a sincere empathetic response and plays an intellectual game involving genre. Heroides X functions both as an erotic love poem and as a funerary lament by Ariadne for her own death, the latter of which is apparent through Ovid’s knowing use of gendered conventions of mourning. Focusing on this under-explored aspect reveals a further dimension of rhetorical intricacy to the text, allowing the elegiac form, Ariadne’s experience and description of her abandonment, the emphasized contrast between untroubled past and miserable present, and Ariadne’s shifting between inertia and hysteria to be understood as informed by Greco-Roman lamentation rituals.
In this paper, I analyzed an original musical composition, Mora Mortis, that I wrote, recorded, and edited. It is based on the tenth epistle of Ovid's Heroides, a first-person narrative from the perspective of Ariadne after she has been abandoned. Through Ariadne’s telling of her own experience, Ovid imitates sound and manipulates time to create a compelling story. By using language in this way, Ovid’s interpretation of Ariadne’s story invites a musical retelling through the manipulation of these same components, which I attempted through a composition for piano, vibraphone, violin, four vocalists (SATB) and digitally manipulated sound.