The Roman Use of Anecdotes in Cicero, Livy, & the Satirists

By Elizabeth Hazelton Haight | Go to book overview

IV
HORACE AS A RACONTEUR

As Cicero and Livy among Latin prose writers rank as peerless story-tellers, so Horace among the poets is the master of anecdotes. Those conversation pieces of his which we call Satires and Epistles from their very informal and colloquial nature demanded anecdotes as one of their methods of exposition, indeed as an essential factor in their style. French critics have appreciated to the full Horace's narrative art. I owe a large debt to Cartault's Étude sur les satires d'Horace and Lejay edition of the Satires.

In this study I am not going to separate the Satires from the Epistles. They are written in the same metre, the hexameter, and so have the same art-form. Horace had one word for them, sermones, conversations. Though they were written at the beginning and end of the poet's literary career, their common informal character, their general themes, their self-expression make them differ only as informal conversations and letters of the same individual would differ. The Satires approach more nearly dialogues, are often in dialogue form. The Epistles, always addressed to one person, partake more of the nature of a diatribe and in the diatribe found their natural form since their subjects are constantly the doctrines of the philosophical schools. We may then consider them together as poetic sermones written in hexameter.

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The Roman Use of Anecdotes in Cicero, Livy, & the Satirists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - The Art of Writing Anecdotes 1
  • II - Cicero's Art of Narration 10
  • III - History from Exempla: Livy's Use of Anecdotes 37
  • IV - Horace as a Raconteur 79
  • V - The Anecdotes of a Fabulist: Phaedrus 95
  • VI - Martial and the Anecdotal Epigram 120
  • VII - The Anecdotes of a Stoic: Young Persius 140
  • VIII- The Bitter Stories of The Satiristal 156
  • IX - Retrospect 177
  • Index 183
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