Classic of the week

The Erotic Poems
Ovid, Penguin, £10.99
Ovid was the Woody Allen of the First Century AD, as well as its most fluent and brilliant poet, and his Amores are the funniest description of ancient Roman dating you will ever read. A devastating skit on the conventions of Latin love poetry, they are also socially sharp: I particularly recommend the chariot race. This edition throws in Ars Amatoria - a ruthless handbook for flirts, and probably the ‘immoral’ book that helped get Ovid exiled - plus an odd little poem about cosmetics. There is a better translation, by Guy Lee, but it’s out of print.