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  • Thumbnail for Gendered Grief: The Rhetoric of Ritual Lamentation in Heroides X
    Gendered Grief: The Rhetoric of Ritual Lamentation in Heroides X by Magnani, Gabriella

    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.