Horace

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) was the leading lyric and satiric poet in Rome during the Augustan age. Born in 65 B.C. in Venusia (Venosa) in southern Italy, he died in Rome on November 27, 8 B.C. His father was a wealthy freedman who gave his son an excellent education in Rome and later, in Athens. While studying in Athens, he fell in with the assassins of Caesar and fought on the losing side in the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. His fortunes suffered as a result, but during the early 30s B.C., his friendship with Virgil brought him to the notice of Gaius Maecenas, a powerful political ally of Octavian (the future emperor Augustus). Maecenas opened many doors for Horace, who came to be the friend of even Octavian himself, to whom he was to dedicate Epistles II.1. Horace seems to have come into possession of his Sabine estate in the mid-30s B.C. (whether through purchase, or as the ancient scholiasts state, as a gift from Maecenas, is controversial). Horace died shortly after Maecenas and was buried next to his friend in his gardens on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. Horace bequeathed his property to Augustus, and so the Sabine villa passed into imperial hands with Horace's death. We have no ancient portrait of the poet. A great deal of his poetry survives, including (in roughly chronological order): the Epodes, Satires I-II, Odes I-III, the Ars Poetica, Epistles I, the Carmen Saeculare, Epistles II, and Odes IV.

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