The Satires of Horace and Persius

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Penguin, 1973 - English literature - 193 pages
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The Satires of Horace (65 8 BC), written in the troubled decade ending with the establishment of Augustus' regime, provide an amusing treatment of men's perennial enslavement to money, power, glory and sex. Epistles I, addressed to the poet's friends, deals with the problem of achieving contentment amid the complexities of urban life, while Epistles II and the Ars Poetica discuss Latin poetry its history and social functions, and the craft required for its success. Both works have had a powerful influence on later western literature, inspiring poets from Ben Jonson and Alexander Pope to W. H. Auden and Robert Frost. The Satires of Persius (AD 34 62) are highly idiosyncratic, containing a courageous attack on the poetry and morals of his wealthy contemporaries even the ruling emperor, Nero.

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About the author (1973)

Horace is one of the most noted poets and satirists of Ancient times. Born Quintus Horatius Flaccus, to a former slave in 65 B.C., Horace was taken to Rome and Athens to be educated. He joined Brutus's army after the assassination of Julius Caesar, and later came under favor of the emperor Octavian. Horace used his observations of politics to great advantage in his works. Horace is chiefly remembered for his four books of Odes. Technically and lyrically stunning, they contain word organization and imagery that is employed masterfully. He is also noted for the brilliant satires that brought him to the attention of the poet Virgil. Virgil introduce him to Maecenas, a wealthy patron, who would help Horace throughout his life. Horace earned a great reputation during his lifetime and was an example to many later generations of poets. Horace died in 8 B.C., a few months after his friend and patron Maecenas.

Niall Rudd is Professor Emeritus, Department of Latin, Bristol University.

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