Ovid, Aratus and Augustus: Astronomy in Ovid's Fasti. Emma Gee (Cambridge: University Press, UK). Pp. xii, 232. $US 54.95. #810 Reviewed by John M. McMahon Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY 13214-1399 (315) 445-4730 mcmahon@maple.lemoyne.edu John McMahon is Associate Professor of Classics at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. He has published and lectured on Classical literature and its intersection with ancient natural history and medicine. He is currently editing and translating a collection of Neo-Latin verse from Colonial Pennsylvania. An avid naturalist, amateur astronomer, and dark-sky activist, he is a board member of the Syracuse Astronomical Society. Word count: 797 Emma Gee's Ovid, Aratus and Augustus: Astronomy in Ovid's Fasti approaches the astronomical material in Ovid's verse calendrical work, the Fasti, from two perspectives. The first, comprising Chapters 1 through 3, is primarily a literary analysis of astronomical material in the Phaenomena of Aratus and Ovid's Fasti; the second perspective (Chapters 4-6) integrates these literary considerations into a discussion of astronomy's role in the cultural and political life of the Augustan Principate (27 BCE-14 CE). While a substantial portion of Gee's treatment is more properly of interest to the student of Classical literature or even of philosophy, there does remain a goodly amount of material relating to astronomy in Roman history and culture. After an introductory survey of pertinent literature, in the first three chapters Gee identifies and examines Ovid's Fasti as a literary work rather than an actual calender. In doing so she also addresses the concept of calendrical astronomy in general, looking especially at the issue of why the authors of the Early Empire, including even agricultural writers, continued to use the fiction of a celestial calendar after the establishment of the Julian model, which in effect rendered observations of the stars unnecessary and relegated astronomy to the realm of fiction. The literary nature of the Fasti remains uppermost throughout this first section, however, and Gee discusses the work primarily in relation to contemporary Roman poetry while examining its debt to the Phaenomena in literary and philosophical terms. The second half of the book departs from a strictly literary analysis and presents the Fasti as a politically oriented artifact, reflecting the contemporary appropriation of the stars for Augustan imperial purposes. Foremost among the numerous and wide-ranging points of interpretation made in Chapter Four, for example, are the discussions Archimedes' Sphere as a culturally contextualized symbol of worldwide Roman power in the Fasti and of Stoic philosophical concepts as an underlying framework for the worldview presented in the Phaenomena. It is in the final two chapters, however, that Gee offers analyses more closely approaching the history of astronomy proper. In Chapter Five she examines the scientific and literary influence of the Phaenomena on Roman writers such as Cicero, Varro of Atax, Virgil, Germanicus, and Ovid, contending that the mythical content of the Greek original was of special importance to these "Latin Arateans" as she calls them. Moreover, the significance of star myths grows in importance in the Roman cultural milieu, for in the symbolic imagery of Augustan poetry individual astral stories are linked by literary and artistic allusion to a public representation of imperial administration and political mythology. For instance, such Augustan themes as the return of the Golden Age, with its promise of abundance typified by the cornucopia, find ready association with traditional celestial objects like the star Capella (treated at Fasti 5.111-28) and with the constellation Capricornus (Augustus's favorite zodiacal sign), themselves linked mythically with Jupiter as the symbol of divinely ordained imperial power. In fact, Gee suggests that the Roman literary use of astral myth in such contexts underscores the concept of Hellenistic kingship under which Aratus wrote and joins it with the political power structure of the Augustan regime in Ovid's day. In the final chapter the role of the stars in Roman dynastic culture comes under scrutiny as Gee examines a variety of celestial events and star myths associated with Julius Caesar and Augustus. The result of this is to bolster the concept of imperial succession, especially as seen in Ovid's Fasti and his Metamorphoses. Foremost in this discussion, however, is Gee's contention that Ovid has fragmented much of the original content of the Phaenomena and that, although altered and rearranged in the Julian calendar's format adopted by the Fasti, it has been placed in the service of imperial policy as source material for the honorific practice of placing an honored ruler among the stars. Gee's work is carefully written and well organized, and it features a solid introduction to the material she will cover in later chapters. Yet this is not a book for the casual reader; indeed, much of it is more suitable for professional classicists. For example, Gee's discussion ranges far and wide, tracing threads of associations across centuries of Classical texts and formulating careful and extended arguments to support her propositions. Moreover, as a rule the selections from the Fasti are not translated, although other Latin and Greek passages generally are. On the other hand, Gee does include a very helpful list of correspondences between the Phaenomena and Fasti (Appendix 1) and a brief discussion of the astronomical errors in the Fasti (Appendix 2). There is a comprehensive Index locorum as well as a General Index; the bibliography is extensive and current. The volume is handsomely produced with few typographical or technical oversights.