Horace, The Roman Poet

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Horace was the major lyric Latin poet of the era of the Roman Emperor Augustus (Octavian). He is famed for his Odes as well as his caustic satires, and his book on writing, the Ars Poetica. His life and career were owed to Augustus , who was close to his patron, Maecenas. From this lofty, if tenuous, position, Horace became the voice of the new Roman Empire.

Horace was born in Venusia, a small town in southern Italy, to a formerly enslaved mother. He was fortunate to have been the recipient of intense parental direction. His father spent a comparable fortune on his education, sending him to Rome to study. He later studied in Athens amidst the Stoics and Epicurean philosophers, immersing himself in Greek poetry. 

While led a life of scholarly idyll in Athens, a revolution came to Rome. Julius Caesar was murdered, and Horace fatefully lined up behind Brutus in the conflicts that would ensue. His learning enabled him to become a commander during the Battle of Philippi, but Horace saw his forces routed by those of Octavian and Mark Antony, another stop on the former’s road to becoming Emperor Augustus. When he returned to Italy, Horace found that his family’s estate had been expropriated by Rome, and Horace was, according to his writings, left destitute.

In the Imperial Entourage

In 39 B.C., after Augustus granted amnesty, Horace became a secretary in the Roman treasury by buying the position of questor's scribe. In 38, Horace met and became the client of the artists' patron Maecenas, a close lieutenant to Augustus, who provided Horace with a villa in the Sabine Hills. From there he began to write his satires. 

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

Appreciation of Horace

With the arguable exception of Virgil, there is no more celebrated Roman poet than Horace. His Odes set a fashion among English speakers that come to bear on poets to this day. His Ars Poetica, a rumination on the art of poetry in the form of a letter, is one of the seminal works of literary criticism. Ben Jonson, Pope, Auden, and Frost are but a few of the major poets of the English language who owe a debt to the Roman.

The Works of Horace

  • Sermonum Libri II (Satura) - The Satires (2 Books) (starting 35 B.C.)
  • Epodon Liber - The Epodes (30 B.C.)
  • Carminum Libra IV - The Odes (4 Books) (starting 23 B.C.)
  • Epistularum Libri II - The Epistles (2 Books) (starting 20 B.C.)
  • De Arte Poetica Liber - The Art of Poetry (Ars Poetica) (18 B.C.)
  • Carmen Saeculare - Poem of the Secular Games (17 B.C.)
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Horace by Randall McNeill LAST REVIEWED: 20 September 2023 LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0027

Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus, 65–8 BCE ) was one of the foremost poets of what is traditionally known as the Golden Age of Latin literature, which roughly spanned the late Republican and the Augustan eras (c. 90 BCE –14 CE ). He rose from obscure beginnings to become a close friend of the poet Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro) and a valued client and friend of the great literary patron C. Maecenas, ultimately attracting the personal attention and favor of the emperor Augustus, who commissioned him to write the commemorative hymn for the Secular Games of 17 BCE . Horace was celebrated in his own lifetime for his beautifully subtle, intricate, and technically polished poetry: his verse Satires , his predominantly iambic Epodes , his literary Epistles , and especially his lyric Odes . His popularity and influence continued throughout Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the 17th and 18th centuries, which ensured the survival of his published works into the modern day.

Horace says a great deal about himself and his life in his poetry, and his works represent the main source for any biographical account. Supplementary information is contained in the brief Vita that appears in the fragmentary De poetis ascribed to Suetonius, who served as head of the imperial archives under Trajan in the early 2nd century CE , and as such had access to Augustus’s correspondence; see Rostagni ( Suetonius 1944 ) or Rolfe ( Suetonius 1997 ). Horace’s extreme self-consciousness as an author, however, means that he constantly manipulates or masks the details of his “autobiography” for literary, rhetorical, or social-political effect; as a result, most scholars exercise caution when drawing conclusions about Horace’s “real” life and circumstances (and many strive to avoid the topic altogether). For recent contributions to the study of this issue, see the essays by Robin Nisbet and Stephen Harrison in Harrison 2007 . For important and influential discussions of some of the interpretive issues involved, see Highet 1974 and Griffin 1985 . For an overly simple biographical reading of Horace, see Levi 1998 ; more careful but still biographical is Mayer 1995 . Horsfall 1998 typifies a more cautious approach.

Griffin, Jasper. 1985. Latin poets and Roman life . London: Duckworth.

On the question of “real life” in Latin poetry, see especially chapter 3 (pp. 48–64).

Harrison, Stephen J., ed. 2007. The Cambridge companion to Horace . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

On Horace’s biography and issues of Horatian self-presentation, see the essays by R. G. M. Nisbet and Stephen. J. Harrison in part 1, pp. 7–35.

Highet, Gilbert. 1974. Masks and faces in satire. Hermes 102:321–337.

A widely cited discussion of the problems involved in biographical interpretations of poetry.

Horsfall, Nicholas. 1998. The first person singular in Horace’s Carmina . In Style and tradition: Studies in honour of Wendell Clausen . Edited by P. E. Knox and C. Foss, 40–54. Stuttgart, Germany: Teubner.

Emphasizes the rhetorical considerations of Horace’s poetic self-representations.

Kiernan, V. G. 1998. Horace: Poetics and politics . New York: St. Martin’s.

A heavily biographical treatment of Horace’s poetry, to be used with caution.

Levi, Peter. 1998. Horace: A life . New York: Routledge.

Takes a very old-fashioned approach, essentially ignoring all Horatian scholarship of the past fifty years. Somewhat naive in its willingness to accept everything Horace says at face value.

Mayer, Roland. 1995. Horace’s moyen de parvenir . In Homage to Horace: A bimillennary celebration . Edited by Stephen J. Harrison, 279–295. Oxford: Clarendon.

Focuses on Horace’s accounts of his social advancement.

Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus). 1944. Suetonio De poetis e biographi minori . Edited by Augusto Rostagni. Turin, Italy: Chiantore.

The standard text for this particular work of Suetonius.

Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus). 1997. Suetonius . Edited by J. C. Rolfe; revised by G. P. Goold. 2d ed. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

First published in 1914. Includes Latin text and facing translation. For the Vita of Horace, see vol. 2, pp. 460–467. For Suetonius’s reliability and sources of information, see the introduction by K. R. Bradley in vol. 1, pp. 1–34.

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Roman lyric poet, satirist, and critic Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) was born in Apulia, Italy, in 65 BC. His father, an Italian freedman, sent Horace to the finest school in Rome—the grammaticus Orbilius. He then studied literature and philosophy in Athens. In 44 BC, he became a staff officer in Brutus’s army. He fought in the battle of Philippi in 42 BC, where Marc Antony and Octavian (later Augustus) defeated the forces of Brutus. Horace claimed to have fled from the battle, leaving his shield behind. As a result of the defeat, his military career was over and he lost his family’s estate.

Augustus offered amnesty to the defeated soldiers, and Horace moved to Rome where he worked as a clerk in the Treasury. It is unclear whether he wrote poems before this time, but he turned now to writing with the hope of receiving recognition and patronage. He became friends with the poets Virgil and Varius and, in around 38 BC, with Maecenas, who was an advisor to Augustus. Horace first published his Satires in two books in 35 BC. Maecenas gave Horace a farm in the Sabine country, near Tivoli, which allowed Horace a modest income and the leisure to write. He enjoyed life on the farm; Suetonius reports that he often lay in bed until 10 a.m.

In 29 BC, Horace published the Epodes , in 23 BC the first three book of Odes , and in 20 BC, his first book of Epistles . Augustus asked Horace in 17 BC to write a ceremonial poem celebrating his reign to be read at the Saecular Games. In 14 BC, he published he second book of Epistles , which he followed a year later with his fourth book of Odes . In the final years of his life, he wrote his Ars poetica . He died in 8 BC.

Horace is best known today for his Odes , which often celebrate common events such as proposing a drink or wishing a friend a safe journey. Although he wrote in many different meters and of different themes, the odes often express ordinary thoughts and sentiments with a deceptive finality and simplicity. Alexander Pope wrote of them saying, “what oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed.” His Ars poetica , which was written in the form of a letter to the Pisones, has also had a profound influence on later poetry and criticism. In it, Horace advises poets to read widely, to strive for precision, and to find the best criticism available. Along with Virgil, Horace is the most celebrated of the Augustan poets. His work would deeply influence later writers including Ben Jonson , Pope, W. H. Auden , Robert Frost , and many others.

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A Biography of Horace and an Annotated Bibliography

To accompany steven willett’s translations of selected odes, abbreviations.

  • AP = Ars Poetica (“Art of Poetry”)
  • C = Carmina (Odes, in four books)
  • CS = Carmen Saeculare (“Song of the Ages”)
  • E = Epistles (in two books)
  • I = Iambi (Epodes)
  • S = Satires (in two books)
  • Vita = A brief biography by the Roman historian Suetonius (2nd century CE). David Mulroy (below) has a complete translation.


65  Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born 8 December 65BC in Venusia, a Roman military colony in southeastern Italy on the border between Apulia and Lucania (Vita). His full name is attested in his poetry and an inscription on the “Carmen Saeculare,” a poem commissioned by Augustus for performance at the Secular games of 17BC: (1) Quintus (S.2.6:37), Horatius (C.4.6:44; E.1.14:5), Flaccus (I.15:12, S.2.1:18); (2) carmen composuit Q. Hor[at]ius Flaccus (“Q. Horatius Flaccus wrote the poem” [Carmen Saeculare] ILS 5050). His father was a manumitted slave (S.1.6:6 and 45-46) who worked as a coactor argentarius, or auction broker (S.i.6:86-87), and acquired a small holding (S.1.6:71) which Horace with disingenuous humility calls a “starveling farm.” Horace says nothing about his mother, but does mention the name of his nurse, Pullia (C.3.4:10).

51?  His father had in fact enough money to take Horace while still young out of the local Venusian school run by Flavius and personally supervise his education at Rome under the strict disciplinarian Orbilius (S.1.6:71-88). Horace notes in the same passage (ll. 78-80), and in contradiction to S.1.6:71, that his clothing and attendant slaves suggested the son of a man with great ancestral wealth (rather than the acquired wealth his father had earned). During his secondary schooling in these Roman years, Horace studied the poetry of Livius Andronicus (E.2.1:69-71) and Homer (E.2.2:41-42).

46  Around age 19 Horace went to study moral philosophy and theory of knowledge at Athens (E.2.2:43-45), which served both as a university and finishing school for young upper-class Romans. One of his “classmates” was the son of Cicero.

44  M. Brutus the “liberator” arrived in Athens about autumn some six months after the assassination of Julius Caesar and began to attend philosophical lectures with the intention of recruiting young Romans to his cause as junior officers (Plutarch, Brutus 24 and Cicero ad Brutum 1.14 and 2.3.6). Horace fell under his sway (E.2.2:46-48), as did M. Cicero, and joined the hopeless attempt to reestablish the Republic.

43  Horace accompanied Brutus to Asia minor on his staff in late 43 or early 42 (as 1.7, the first of the satires and written before the Battle of Philippi in 42, clearly shows). Sometime before Philippi, Brutus appointed him without prior experience to the high post of military tribune (S.1.6:48-49), a position normally held only by sons of senators or equestrians intent on a magisterial or military career. It is very likely that Horace was already an eques on the basis of the equestrian census of 400,000 sesterces before this appointment (Lyne 3n7 and 7f).

42  Horace fought at the Battle of Philippi in November, which ended with the rout of Brutus’ army and the suicides of both Brutus and Cassius. In C.2.7:9-14 he tells an otherwise unknown friend Pompeius, who also fought with him at the battle, that he threw away his shield during the panic retreat. In ancient warfare, this was the preeminent sign of cowardice. But since Archilochus it had been a conventional poetic motif, and Horace’s use may only reflect his characteristic ironical self-deprecation as well as his sensitivity to Pompeius, who also took part in the celeris fuga (see Fraenkel 12).

41?  However he did it, Horace fled from the field and, pardoned by the victorious triumvirate of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus, eventually made his way back to Rome where he found his paternal townhouse and estate confiscated (E.2.2:49-51). He claims that poverty drove him to write poetry (E.2.2:51-52), but he apparently still had enough monetary resources to purchase a sinecure as scriba questorius, or quaestor’s clerk, in the Treasury (Vita).

39  It is likely he had been working in the early 30s on the hexameter poems that would become the first book of Satires and perhaps a few of the Iambi. He must have been showing these works about, probably with the intention of gaining a patron, since his fellow poets Vergil and Varius introduced him to C. Cilnius Maecenas in 39 or 38. Some nine months after the first introduction, at which Horace could just stammer out a greeting, Maecenas accepted him into his circle of friends between late 39 and early 37 (S.1.6:54-62). Throughout his poetry, Horace always represents his relationship with Maecenas as based on mutual regard and friendship independent of their social relationship (I.1:2 and 23-24, S.1.6:49-54, S.1.9:45-60, 2.6:29-58). He clearly wished to dispel any notion that their relationship was one of patron to indigent or social-climbing client.

38  Horace was probably present with Maecenas at Octavian’s naval defeat off Cape Palinurus in 38 (Mankin 4 and C.3.4:28).

35  Publication of the first book of Satires, perhaps in the winter of 36/5 (Brown 3).

33?  Sometime before 31, Horace acquired the famous Sabine farm (Lyne 6n18 and Muecke 194 and S.2.6:55n). From very early times it has been an inference from C.2.18:12-14 that Maecenas gave Horace the farm, but neither he nor Suetonius says that. A more probable interpretation of the passage in the ode is that Horace, satisfied with his Sabine farm, need not ask anything of his powerful friend (Mankin 2n13). Horace certainly did receive very substantial gifts from Maecenas (I.1:31-32, C.3.16:38 and E.1.7:14-28), but he was careful to represent them as freely given by friend to friend without ties of obligation (see 39BC above). There is no evidence that the poet, as both eques and scriba, was dependent on these or on patronage in general for his livelihood. Horace possessed at least three and possibly five properties, one of which and perhaps two were in the fashionable Tiburtine district (Lyne 9-11). It is also highly probable that Horace received monetary gifts from Augustus (Lyne 191n26), as did Vergil and Varius, each of whom got 1 million sesterces for their literary activities. Vergil is reported to have possessed 10 million sesterces ex liberalitatibus amicorum (at a time when the property qualifications for a senator were 1.2 million sesterces) and a house on the Esquiline next to the fabulously wealthy Maecenas: “These poets were rich, paid (as I have said) more like stars than academics” (Lyne 11).

31  Horace was present with Maecenas at the Battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC (Mankin 2 and I.9.3n).

30  Publication of the second book of Satires and the Epodes.

23  Publication of Books 1-3 of the Carmina in the latter half of the year (N&H; 1.xxxvii).

20  Publication of Epistles 1 in 20 or early 19 (Mayer 10).

19  The Epistle to Florus (2.2), between late 20 and autumn 19 (Rudd 12-13).

17  Performance of the “Carmen Saeculare,” commissioned by Augustus, at the close of day on 3 June 17BC (Vita)

13  Publication of the fourth book of Carmina, commissioned by Augustus (Vita). See Putnam 23n6 on the date.

12?  The Epistle to Augustus (2.1), commissioned by Augustus (Vita) and composed quite probably in early 12 (Rudd 1-2).

10?  The Epistle to the Pisones or, as it is better known, the “Ars Poetica” (Rudd 19-21).

8  Horace died of a sudden illness shortly before his 57th birthday on 27 November 8BC, 59 days after the death of his patron Maecenas. He named Augustus his heir by dictated will, since the sudden onset of illness prevented him from writing and signing a formal will. He was buried on the Esquiline Hill next to the tomb of Maecenas.(all details from the Vita).

Annotated Bibliography

Editions and commentaries.

Brink, C. O.,  Horace on Poetry . Prolegomena to the Literary Epistles. Cambridge, 1963.

Brink, C. O.,  Horace on Poetry . The ‘Ars Poetica.’ Cambridge, 1971.

Brink, C. O.,  Horace on Poetry . Epistles Book II. The Letters to Augustus and Florus. Cambridge, 1982. These three works constitute the largest detailed study of Horace’s critical writings ever attempted in modern times. The gravamen of their argument makes Horace the most complex and subtle poet of poetic theory in the western tradition. Brink has had an impact far beyond the specific focus of his inquiry, and anyone who cares about poetry should read him.

Brown, Michael P.,  Horace Satires I . Warminster, 1993. A Latin text with facing prose translation and commentary that, among other things, tries to explore Horace’s artistry in S.1. This edition, with its companion volume below by Frances Muecke, is published by Aris & Phillips in a series of Greek and Latin texts with literal prose translations and commentaries. The series is useful but varies greatly in quality; only the poor printing is uniform. The sewn paperback editions are much better buys than the very expensive hardbacks.

Commager, Steele,  The Odes of Horace. A Critical Study . New Haven, 1962. (The 1995 University of Oklahoma reprint has an appreciative foreword by David Armstrong.) This is another contender for the best general introduction to Horace. Commager’s book is longer and more detailed than Wilkinson’s, but also less sharply etched. He was heavily influenced by the New Criticism, and thus his individual critiques of odes have a richer, more complex ironical chiaroscuro than much in Fraenkel. Indeed, Commager casts his book as a direct rival to the approach of Fraenkel, but is distinctly weak in his treatment of the political odes where Fraenkel is at his best.

Fraenkel, Eduard,  Horace . Oxford, 1957. This is a monumental study of selected poems drawn from the I, S, C and E that traces Horace’s entire poetic career. The selection is in part personal to Fraenkel, but the breadth of his grasp enables him to open up the entire body of Horace’s work in the process of discussing the selections. Fraenkel assumes a knowledge of Latin and Latin literature in general, but the forbidding look of Germanic scholarship should not deter the Latinless from reading it. Those who venture here will find not only vast scholarship but a very human, personal critic quite ready to express his opinion. Fraenkel’s exploration of the debt Horace owed Pindar in his six Roman odes (C.3.1-6), and the problems produced by the “anxiety of influence” as it has been recently called, is without equal in all Horatian scholarship.

Garrison, Daniel H.,  Horace Epodes and Odes . Norman and London, 1991. Includes Introduction, Latin text, notes, maps, and four appendices: biographical sketches of people named in the poems, meters, literary terms, and E. M. Forster’s “The Death of Cleopatra.”

Lyne, R. O. A. M.,  Horace. Behind the Public Poetry . New Haven and London, 1995. Lyne provides a fascinating tour through the complexities Horace faced in his relations with the powerful patrons Maecenas and Augustus. The heart of this study is a close examination of the “grand addressees” of C.1-3 and the ways that one ode can, from its different structural position, insidiously “sap” or undercut another.

Mankin, David,  Horace Epodes . Cambridge, 1995. A Latin text and very full commentary in the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series (CGLC). This is currently the premier series of Greek and Latin commentaries for students, with far better editing and printing than the Aris & Phillips editions. The sewn paperback editions here are also a much better buy than the hardbacks. Mankin’s commentary is the only one we now have in English providing all the historical and philological means to appreciate these relatively neglected poems.

Mayer, Roland,  Horace Epistles Book I . Cambridge, 1994. A Latin text and commentary in the CGLC series.

Mulroy, David,  Horace’s Odes and Epodes . Translated with an Introduction and Commentary. Ann Arbor, 1994. Mulroy provides an excellent general introduction to a fairly lackluster set of translations cast in regulated accentual meters. Readers should not be misled by the word “Commentary” in the subtitle: the commentary here is nothing more than a brief series of explanatory notes on names and historical references appended to each translation.

Muecke, Frances,  Horace Satires II . Warminster, 1993. A companion volume with Michael P. Brown’s edition of S.1.

Nisbet, R. G. M., Hubbard, M.,  A Commentary on Horace Odes I . Oxford, 1970.

Nisbet, R. G. M., Hubbard, M.,  A Commentary on Horace Odes II . Oxford, 1978. The two volumes of N&H; constitute one of the greatest Classical commentaries of this century and are indispensable for anyone serious about reading Horace’s odes in Latin. The commentaries provide no Latin text, but even the Latinless will profit from their lucid and economical remarks. N&H; open each ode with a brief list of prior critical studies, a paraphrase in English, a discussion of the background along with any Greek or Latin analogues and finally a capsule aesthetic evaluation. After this introduction, they provide a line-by-line commentary whose riches hold us all in their debt.

Putnam, Michael C. J.,  Artifices of Eternity. Horace’s Fourth Book of Odes . Ithaca and London, 1986. This is currently the only comprehensive study of C.4 in English. Putnam provides a Latin text of each ode, an accurate prose translation and a sustained aesthetic analysis that argues (against received opinion) for their artistic success as a pendant to C.1-3.

Rudd, Niall,  Horace Epistles Book II and Epistle to the Pisones (‘Ars Poetica’) . Cambridge, 1989. A Latin text and commentary in the CGLC series by one of the finest critics of Horatian satire.

Shackleton Bailey, D. R.,  Q. Horati Flacci Opera . Stuttgart. 1985. This is the standard Latin edition of Horace’s works in the Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana series (usually just called “BT,” or “Teubners,” for short). The 1985 edition came with a long list of corrigenda that were corrected in the second (1991) and third (1995) editions.

Syndikus, H. P.,  Die Lyrik des Horaz , vol. I. Darmstadt, 1972.

Syndikus, H. P., Die Lyrik des Horaz, vol. II. Darmstadt, 1973. This, along with N&H;, is the other major commentary on the odes. For those who read German, Syndikus covers C.1-4 with full, nuanced and penetrating literary analyses in a series of short essays. Their depth of understanding and compaction of comment belie their length. Syndikus is commonly raided, often without attribution, for the seeds of ideas that later sprout into full papers.

West, David,  Horace Odes I. Carpe Diem. Text, Translation and Commentary . Oxford, 1995. West’s facing translations are rough accentual versions very little different than prose, but the brief commentaries are full of rare common sense and wisdom. Unlike many commentators who see Horace as a disengaged ironist rarely if ever conveying genuine lived emotion, West views Horace as “a profound poet of love, religion, and friendship” (ix) and tries to demonstrate that in his book.

Wickham, E. C.,  Q. Horati Flacci Opera , 2nd ed. H. W. Garrod. Oxford, 1912. This is an inexpensive and widely-used Latin edition in the Oxford Classical Text series.

Wilkinson, L. P.,  Horace and his Lyric Poetry . Cambridge, 2nd ed.1951. (The corrected 1968 reprint of the second edition is now available as a paperback from Bristol Classical Press.) This is arguably the best single introduction to Horace’s poetry that we have: it is clear, balanced, thorough and imbued with a deep sympathy for the poet. The verve and aphoristic power of the writing make it a painless delight to read.

Williams, Gordon,  Tradition and Originality in Roman Poetry . Oxford, 1968. An outstanding study that many consider the best of its kind. It provides an invaluable background to Horace’s own work, and is in fact a contender for  the  book on Horace.

Williams, Gordon,  The Third Book of Horace’s Odes . Oxford, 1969. This is currently the only English commentary on C.3. It was designed primarily for British sixth-formers and undergraduates. Williams offers a Latin text of each ode, a prose translation and a short critical essay. The introduction has a good section on the Horatian style, but offers virtually no help with meters. An appendix gathers some Greek sources and analogues (all translated). Despite the brevity of the running essays, there is much worth reading here.


Horace in English , edd. D. S. Carne-Ross and Kenneth Haynes, intro. D. S. Carne-Ross. London: Penguin Books, 1996. This anthology of Horatian translations provides a convenient one-volume chronological survey of translations from Surrey to the modern period. It covers most of Horace’s work in a wide variety of translational techniques. The introduction by Carne-Ross is generally sensible and helpful except for his comments on Auden’s meters, which are wildly wrong (p. 46). The greatest defect of the collection, aside from a partiality for certain translators–at least one of whom should never touch Horace–is the complete lack of any representative translations by J. B. Leishman.

Leishman, J. B.,  Translating Horace . Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, 1956. This is the most successful of the very few sustained attempts to translate Horace using accentual templates. Leishman translates 30 odes and introduces them with a long discussion of the structure of the Horatian ode and a detailed account of his own methods. The primary weaknesses are his tendency to distort stanza structure, to paraphrase needlessly and (perhaps worst of all) to pad out Horace so that most of his aphoristic point is completely lost. Nevertheless, these are great efforts and should be reprinted. Their silent exclusion from  Horace in English  speaks volumes for the editors’ taste.


  1. Horace Biography

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  3. Horace: a celebrated Roman poet

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  6. Who Was the Roman Poet Horace?

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  1. Horace

    Quintus Horatius Flaccus ( Classical Latin: [ˈkʷiːntʊs (h)ɔˈraːtiʊs ˈfɫakːʊs]; 8 December 65 BC - 27 November 8 BC), [1] commonly known in the English-speaking world as Horace ( / ˈhɒrɪs / ), was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). The rhetorician Quintilian regarded his Odes as ...

  2. Horace

    Horace (born December 65 bc, Venusia, Italy—died Nov. 27, 8 bc, Rome) was an outstanding Latin lyric poet and satirist under the emperor Augustus.The most frequent themes of his Odes and verse Epistles are love, friendship, philosophy, and the art of poetry.. Life. Horace was probably of the Sabellian hillman stock of Italy's central highlands. His father had once been a slave but gained ...

  3. Horace

    Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 BCE), better known to most modern readers as Horace, was one of Rome's best-loved poets and, along with his fellow poet Virgil, a member of Emperor Augustus' inner circle at the imperial palace.Despite his early allegiance to one of Julius Caesar's assassins during the early dark days of the civil war, Horace eventually became a close friend to the emperor and ...

  4. Who Was the Roman Poet Horace?

    Horace, The Roman Poet. Horace was the major lyric Latin poet of the era of the Roman Emperor Augustus (Octavian). He is famed for his Odes as well as his caustic satires, and his book on writing, the Ars Poetica. His life and career were owed to Augustus, who was close to his patron, Maecenas. From this lofty, if tenuous, position, Horace ...

  5. Horace

    Quintus Horatius Flaccus (December 8, 65 BC - November 27, 8 BC), known to English speakers as Horace, was a famous poet in the Roman Empire. Life. Horace was born in the small Italian town ... (with English translations), including Horace; Biography and chronology Archived 2008-12-06 at the Wayback Machine; Litweb Archived 2006-04-14 at the ...

  6. Horace summary

    Horace, orig. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (born December 65 bce, Venusia—died Nov. 27, 8 bce, Rome), Latin lyric poet and satirist.The son of a former slave, he was educated in Rome. He fought in Brutus's army in the upheaval after Julius Caesar's murder but gained the favour of Octavian (later Augustus) and achieved virtually the status of poet laureate.

  7. Horace

    Introduction. Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus, 65-8 BCE) was one of the foremost poets of what is traditionally known as the Golden Age of Latin literature, which roughly spanned the late Republican and the Augustan eras (c. 90 BCE -14 CE).He rose from obscure beginnings to become a close friend of the poet Virgil (P. Vergilius Maro) and a valued client and friend of the great literary patron ...

  8. Horace

    Horace. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (December 8, 65 B.C.E. - November 27, 8 B.C.E. ), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman poet during the reign of Augustus Caesar. Horace was known in his own time primarily for his Odes, a series of poems written in imitation of ancient Greek classics.

  9. Horace (Horatius Flaccus, Quintus), Roman poet, 65-8 BCE

    Life and Chronology. A brief life of Horace of mixed reliability survives from the ancient world, attached to the name of Suetonius: it attests (credibly) the poet's date of birth (December 8, 65 bce; for the year see Odes 3.21.1, for the month Epistles 1.20.27), his birthplace (Venusia, modern Venosa, on the border of ancient Apulia and Lucania—see Satires 2.1.34-35), and his date of ...

  10. About Horace

    Horace. Read poems by this poet. Roman lyric poet, satirist, and critic Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) was born in Apulia, Italy, in 65 BC. His father, an Italian freedman, sent Horace to the finest school in Rome—the grammaticus Orbilius. He then studied literature and philosophy in Athens. In 44 BC, he became a staff officer in Brutus ...

  11. Horace Biography

    Horace Biography (Leading Roman Lyric Poet During the Time of Augustus) Birthday: December 8, 65 (Sagittarius) Born In: Venosa, Italy. Advanced Search. Quintus Horatius Flaccus (better known as Horace in the English-speaking world) was a Roman lyric poet who lived during the time of Augustus. The leading poet of his era, he also composed ...

  12. Horace

    Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) was a Roman poet, satirist, and critic. Born in Venusia in southeast Italy in 65 BCE to an Italian freedman and landowner, he was sent to Rome for schooling and was later in Athens studying philosophy when Caesar was assassinated. Horace joined Brutus's army and later claimed to have thrown away his shield in his panic to escape.

  13. Horace Biography

    Biography. Life. Born of poor parents in southern Italy, Horace (HOHR-uhs) studied in Rome and later in Athens. Having lost his family property in the civil strife after the assassination of ...

  14. 1

    Horace says more about himself than any other ancient poet does, and our main source for his life must be his own poems. A subsidiary authority is the ancient Vita abbreviated from Suetonius, De Poetis; his official posts under Hadrian enabled him to quote the correspondence of Augustus.. From Venusia to Philippi (65-42 bce). Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born on 8 December 65 bce; the Romans ...

  15. Horace's Epistles

    Horace. Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born in Venusia in the southeastern Italian province of Apulia on 8 December 65 BCE. His father, a freedman, worked as a public auctioneer and was allegedly enslaved when Venusia was captured by the Romans during the Social War of 91-87 BCE. Although the son of a freedman, Horace was able to attend the highly-respected school of Orbilius in Rome and later ...

  16. Horace

    Quintus Horatius Flaccus, commonly known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. The rhetorician Quintilian regarded his Odes as just about the only Latin lyrics worth reading: "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words."

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    Horace - Poet, Satire, Odes: To a modern reader, the greatest problem in Horace is posed by his continual echoes of Latin and, more especially, Greek forerunners. The echoes are never slavish or imitative and are very far from precluding originality. For example, in one of his satires Horace wrote what looks at first like a realistic account of a journey made to Brundisium (Brindisi, on Italy ...

  18. A Biography of Horace and an Annotated Bibliography

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  19. Epodes (Horace)

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  20. Odes (Horace)

    The Odes (Latin: Carmina) are a collection in four books of Latin lyric poems by Horace.The Horatian ode format and style has been emulated since by other poets. Books 1 to 3 were published in 23 BC. A fourth book, consisting of 15 poems, was published in 13 BC. The Odes were developed as a conscious imitation of the short lyric poetry of Greek originals - Pindar, Sappho and Alcaeus are some ...

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