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Horace

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The Roman world produced some of the greatest minds to ever walk this Earth. One of these men was Quntius Horatius Flaccus. He is the most important Roman lyric poet, who had an appealing and casual approach to poetry. His odes, epistles, and satires became an admired source of understood wisdom and a model for many generations to follow.

Quntius Horatius Flaccus, better known as Horace, had a much different background from many of the other philosophical minds. He was born on December 8th, 65 BC. There is nothing known of his mother or any siblings, just his father. His father was a freedman of Venusia who was willing to sacrifice a great deal for his son. Although poor, his father spent a great deal of money on Horace's education, obviously being able to notice Horace's mental abilities. He went to Rome first for his primary education, and then to Athens to study Greek and philosophy at many of the famous schools. Although all this schooling, he still stated that he received better education from his father, who accompanied him on walks through Rome's bustling marketplace while commenting on the character, appearance, and manners of passers by. This shows how strong their relationship was, which is thought of as one of the most endearing personal episodes to survive from the classical period. Horace's relationship with his father was key to his great start in life.

After his education, he soon became involved in the military. In 44, after the assassination of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus came to Athens urging young men to help him in the fight against Marc Antony and Octavian. This motivated Horace to join Brutus' forces in 43. Although being very inexperienced, he soon became a military tribune. In 42, Brutus was killed, and with his army being defeated, Horace fled back to Rome. Things were starting to go wrong.

When he returned, he found out that his beloved father had died. He had lost his estate, which was a farm in Venusia that had been confiscated for distribution to a loyal officer. This reduced him to poverty. He had to start a new life at roughly the age of twenty-four as a clerk in a public office. This job helped him to get by with money and practice his poetic art. His new life would soon consist of great literary works.

Horace's life works are very well known. Classicists consider him and Virgil to be the greatest of the Latin poets. That is only fitting because their friendship complemented each other quite well. Vergil idealized poems about rural life, while Horace was writing realistic, urban customs. Horace and Vergil were complete opposites in their looks and style of writing, yet they went together so well. Vergil introduced Horace to Gaius Maecenas and he invited Horace to join his literary circle. This choice would greatly change his life.

Another thing that makes Horace so interesting is that he tells us more about himself, his character, his development, and his way of life than any other great poets in antiquity. This is told through Vita Horati. Horace's great works can be broken down into five different groups. These groups are Epodes, Odes, Satires, Epistles, and Carmen Saeculare.

In 35 BC, Horace wrote his first work, which was his first book of satires. The word satire meant mixture to Horace. He also referred to these poems as conversations because of their casual tones. One of the poems was about a trip with Vergil, another about witches, one a remembrance of his father, and a fourth considering a witty boor. These poems display a mastery of metrical form and show a good-humored persona. These poems are compared to a conversation over dinner with a very appealing host. In 30 BC, he wrote another book of satires, this one being less personal and more literary in subject matter.

The epodes or "after songs" are some of Horace's earliest works. This book was published in 30 BC but was actually written about ten years earlier.. It contains sixteen epodes. The most noble of his early work was Epode XVI, Altera iam teritur. This epode is commonly insufficiently understood. It is hard

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