Horace, 65-8 BCE

Portrait

Biographical note

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.

Horace is generally considered by classicists to be one of the greatest Latin poets. His works (like those of all but the earliest Latin poets) are written in Greek metres, from the hexameter, which was relatively easy to adapt to Latin, to the more complex measures used in the Odes, like alcaics and sapphics, which were sometimes a difficult fit for Latin structure and syntax.

One of the Epistles is often referred to as a separate work in itself, the Ars Poetica. In this work, Horace forwards a theory of poetry. His most important tenets are that poetry must be carefully and skillfully worked out on the semantic and formal levels, and that poetry should be wholesome as well as pleasant. This latter issue is often referred to as the dulce et utile, which is Latin for the sweet and useful.

Works

Odes (or Carmina)

  • Carminum liber primus or Odes I (23 BC)
  • Carminum liber secundus or Odes II (23 BC)
  • Carminum liber tertius or Odes III (23 BC)
  • Carminum liber quartus or Odes IV (13 BC)

Epodes

  • Epodes (30 BC)

Satires

  • Sermonum liber primus or Satirae I (35 BC)
  • Sermonum liber secundus or Satirae II (30 BC)

Letters or Epistles

  • Ars Poetica, or The Epistle to the Pisones (18 BC)
  • Epistularum liber primus (20 BC)
  • Epistularum liber secundus (14 BC)

Carmen Saeculare

  • Song of the Ages (17 BC)
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