Friday, June 1, 2007

The Poetry of Horace

June 2007 begins our term study of Latin Poetry. We have several wonderful selections scheduled including: The Works of Horace (Odes, Epodes, Satires and Ars Poetica) and Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (December 8, 65 BC - November 27, 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.

Background and Links to Texts

While in Greece, Horace joined the army of Brutus and fought at Philippi as military tribune. As a result of being on the losing side against Octavian and Mark Antony, Horace's family's property was confiscated.

In 39 B.C., after Augustus granted amnesty, Horace became a secretary in the Roman treasury. In 38, Horace met and became the client of the artists' patron Maecenas, who provided Horace with a villa in the Sabine Hills. Augustus favored Horace, commissioning him to write the Carmen Saeculare for the Secular Games of 17 B.C.

When Horace died at age 59, he left his estate to Augustus and was buried near the tomb of Maecenas.


Notes on Reading Horace

Many scholars prefer John Dryden's translation of Horace and usually we try and read the very best translation to date. However, Dryden's version is not available online. If you have access to it and would like to read it, please feel free to do so. For our online readers, we will be using Christopher Smart's translation (1767) which is available through a variety of free sources.

Complete Works from Project Gutenberg (Text)

  • The Works of Horace by Christopher Smart, A.M. of Pembroke College, Cambridge; includes Odes, Epodes, Satires and the Book of Poetry

Complete Works from Perseus (HTML/Web)

Note: While I find the Perseus system awkward to read, the advantage to using their website is that all the footnotes and scholary helps are conveniently located at the bottom of each page.

Complete Works Other Formats

Selected Works from Project Gutenberg (Text)

Study Questions