The Satires of Horace offer a hodgepodge of genres and styles: philosophy and bawdry; fantastic tales and novelistic vignettes; portraits of the poet, his contemporaries, and his predecessors; jibes, dialogue, travelogue, rants, and recipes; and poetic effects in a variety of modes. For all their apparent lightheartedness, however, the poems both illuminate and bear the marks of a momentous event in world history, one in which Horace himself played an active role -- the death of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Principate.
John Svarlien's lively blank-verse translation reflects the wide range of styles and tones deployed throughout Horace's eighteen sermones or "conversations," deftly reproducing their distinctive humor while tracking the poet's changing mannerisms and moods.
David Mankin's Introduction offers a brief account of the political upheavals in which Horace participated as well as the social setting in which his Satires were produced, and points up hallmarks of the poets distinctive brand of satire. His detailed commentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at Roman society and an often between-the-lines examination of a key work of one of Rome's sharpest observers.