a1 University of Chicago
The Pompeius Macer whom prosopographers have discerned among the friends of Ovid boasts connections as stellar as anyone in Ovid's ambit. His induction into the Roman establishment was preceded by the achievements of his father (or possibly grandfather) Theophanes of Mytilene, who for two decades had been one of Pompey's closest confidants. Macer himself served Augustus first as equestrian procurator of Asia and then as director of state libraries in Rome, and when the phil-Hellene Tiberius replaced Augustus, his position at court grew firmer still. He lived to see his son gain a seat in the Roman senate, to become the first known senator of Greek origin. And while tending to his political career, he made a name for himself in Roman literary circles and maintained a long-lasting friendship with Ovid.
* In the course of thinking through this argument I have benefited much (though perhaps not as much as I ought) from the criticisms of C. P. Jones, R. A. Kaster, J. D. Morgan, and the referee for Classical Quarterly; to all I am grateful.