5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
In the 21 poems of the Heroides, Ovid inserts himself into classical myth and epic by interjecting letters written by the heroines of larger stories. So, for example, he has Penelope write to Odysseus while he is lost on his way back to Ithaka from Troy; Dido to Aeneas after her has left Troy for Rome; Briseis to Achilles after she has been passed to Agamemnon etc.
Usually lauded as giving a `female' voice to masculine epic, the Heroides, I think, is doing something more complex than that - and we should never forget that these `female' voices are as ventriloquised by a male author as their originals.
These poems were hugely popular in the Renaissance and gave rise to a large number of translations as well as looser imitations such as Marlowe's superb Hero and Leander, based on Heroides 18 & 19.
I think a fairly close acquaintance with the source text(s) is essential to really `get' these poems but for an alternative reading of classical epic in Augustan Rome they are illuminating.