Horace's Odes


Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (hôr´əs), 65 BC–8 BC, Latin poet, one of the greatest of lyric poets, b. Venusia, S Italy. He studied at Rome and Athens and, joining Brutus and the republicans, fought (42 BC) at Philippi. Returning to Rome, he was introduced by Vergil to Maecenas, who became (c.38 BC) his friend and constant benefactor. Maecenas gave him a farm in the Sabine Hills, where he lived thereafter except for lengthy visits to Rome. His first book of Satires appeared in 35 BC, the Epodes c.30 BC, the second book of Satires in 29 BC, three books of Odes c.24 BC, and the first book of Epistles c.20 BC The fourth book of Odes, the second book of Epistles, a hymn (the Carmen Saeculare), and the Ars Poetica, or Epistle to the Pisos, appeared c.13 BC Horace was an unrivaled lyric poet. His early poems show the influence of the Greek Archilochus, but his later verse displays complete and individualized adaption of Greek meters to Latin. As his genius matured, Horace's themes turned from personal vilification to more generalized satire and to literary criticism. He gives a vivid picture of contemporary Roman society and represents especially the spirit of the Augustan age of Rome—a time of peace, when the arts were cultivated earnestly without pretense. He had much influence on European poetry.

See Loeb translations by H. R. Fairclough (rev. ed. 1929) and C. E. Bennett (rev. ed. 1964); poetic translations by J. Michie (1965) and N. Rudd (1979, repr. 1981); biography by P. Levi (1998); studies by E. Fraenkel (1957), S. Commager (1962), L. P. Wilkinson (1951, repr. 1965), D. A. West (1967), and C. D. N. Costa, ed. (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Horace's Odes: Selected full-text books and articles

The Complete Odes and Epodes By Horace; David West Oxford University Press, 2000
A Commentary on Horace: Odes, Book 1 By R. G. M. Nisbet; Margaret Hubbard Oxford University, 1989
The Structure of Horace's Odes By N. E. Collinge Oxford University Press, 1961
Unity and Design in Horace's Odes By Matthew S. Santirocco University of North Carolina Press, 1986
Horace's Narrative Odes By Michèle Lowrie Clarendon Press, 1997
Traditions and Contexts in the Poetry of Horace By Tony Woodman; Denis Feeney Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Biformis Vates: The Odes, Catullus, and Greek Lyric"
Collected Papers on Latin Literature By R. G. M. Nisbet; S. J. Harrison Oxford University, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 26 "Tying down Proteus: The Limits of Ambiguity and Cross-Reference in Horace's Odes"
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