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For other people named Horace, see Horace (disambiguation).

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (December 8, 65 BC - November 27, 8 BC), known in the English world as Horace, was the leading lyric poet in Latin.

Horace was the son of a freedman, but himself born free. His father spent considerable money on Horace's education, sending him to Athens to study Greek and philosophy.

After the assassination of Julius Cęsar, Horace joined the army, serving under the generalship of Brutus. He was in the battle of Philippi, and saved himself by fleeing. When an amnesty was declared for those who had fought against the victorious Augustus, he returned to Italy, only to find his father dead, and his estate confiscated. Horace was reduced to poverty. He was, however, able to purchase a clerkship in the quęstor's office, which allowed him to get by and practice his poetic art.

Horace was a member of a literary circle that included Virgil and Varius ; they introduced him to Męcenas, friend and confidant of Augustus. Męcenas became his patron and close friend, and presented Horace with an estate near Tibur, contemporary Tivoli.

Perhaps the finest translator of Horace was Dryden, who successfully adapted most of the Odes into English verse for readers of his own age. These translations are favoured by many scholars despite some textual variations. Others favor unrhymed translations.

Horace's surviving work includes:

One of the Epistles is often referred to as a separate work in itself, the Ars Poetica. (This work was first translated into English by Queen Elizabeth I.)

Horace is generally considered by classicists to be, along with Virgil, the greatest of the Latin poets. He wrote many Latin phrases that remain in use, in Latin or in translation, including carpe diem, "seize the day," and aurea mediocritas, the "golden mean." His works are highly derivative of Greek models, and written exclusively in Greek metres, from the hexameter, which was relatively easy to adapt to Latin, to the more complex measures used in the Odes, like Alchaics and Sapphics, which were sometimes a difficult fit for Latin structure and syntax. No Latin writer handles these metres with such grace, precision and lightness of touch, although Catullus comes close. The Satires and Epistles are his most personal works, and perhaps the most accessible to contemporary readers unable to appreciate the verbal magic of the Odes.


  • (35BC) Sermonum liber primus or Satirae I [1]
  • (30BC) Epodes [2]
  • (30BC) Sermonum liber secundus or Satirae II [3]
  • (23BC) Carminum liber primus or Odes I [4]
  • (23BC) Carminum liber secundus or Odes II [5]
  • (23BC) Carminum liber tertius or Odes III [6]
  • (20BC) Epistularum liber primus [7]
  • (18BC) Ars Poetica, or The Epistle to the Pisones [8]
  • (17BC) Carmen Saeculare or Song of the Ages [9]
  • (14BC) Epistularum liber secundus [10]
  • (13BC) Carminum liber quartus or Odes IV [11]

(Dates are approximate)

See also

External links

Last updated: 06-02-2005 00:06:29
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