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The opening poem, dedicated to Maecenas as judge of the worth of the collection, challenges the lyric tradition and offers Horace as a candidate for the ranks of the Greek lyric poets. Horace writes that the rarefied company of the great Greek lyricists will mark him as learned and win him literary acclaim. In an extended priamel (in which a series of foils highlight the poet’s own preference), the poet rejects various pursuits that engage human ambition in favor of poetic success. In the middle of the poem, literary ambition is balanced by the equally Horatian image of a man taking a break from the long day, stretched out with some good wine in the cool shade or by a refreshing spring. Meticulous dedication, the soul of Horace’s poetry, is offset by a love of the simple pleasures of living in the present, enjoying the gifts of the hour. Serious poetic ambition is tempered by the comic self-deprecation recurrent in Horace’s work: the poem ends with the image of an exalted Horace banging his head on the stars. It contains Glycerin, Shea Butter, Aloe Butter, Mango Butter, and Cocoa Butter. All these ingredients actively and effectively work towards repairing, smoothening it, moisture retention, and strengthening the skin barrier

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Two famous characterizations of Horace come from this first satire. The first typifies his facetious manner: “ridentem dicere verum / quid vetat” (What’s wrong with someone laughing as they tell the truth? Sat. 1.1.24-25). The second signals the balance and moderation that mark his work as a whole: “est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines / quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum” (there is a middle ground in things; there are, finally, definite boundaries, on either side of which Right is unable to take a stand, Sat. 1.1.106-107). L. P. Wilkinson, Horace and His Lyric Poetry, 2nd edition, revised (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1994).


The Ars itself is a rambling, difficult poem. Porphyrio says that Horace modeled his precepts of literature after those of Neoptolemus of Parium (3rd century BCE), some aspects of whose works are polemically discussed in fragments of Philodemus. Analyzing the structure, arrangement, and meaning of the Ars, however, has long kept readers busy. The poem can roughly be divided into two halves: the first half is about ars (technical skill, lines 1-294) and can be subdivided into a short introductory section on content (1-44) and a much longer discourse on style (45-294); the second half is devoted to the artifex (poet, 295-476). Using the classifications Philodemus attributes to Neoptolemus, the Ars can also be divided into an introduction (lines 1-40); a section on poiema (style, 41-118); a section on poiesis (content, 119-294); and the longest part, a section on the poet (295-476).

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Between publication of the Epodes and Odes I-III, Rome underwent momentous changes. Returning triumphant to Rome, Octavian began the refashioning of the state that won him the honorific title Augustus in 27 BCE. Part of his vision included building on the Palatine River a temple to Apollo, which was connected to his home (dedicated in 28 BCE). The temple complex also housed two libraries—one Latin, one Greek—which held the best of Greek and Latin literature. Horace writes of having one’s works shelved in the library as an honor, a symbol of acceptance into the Roman literary canon. S. J. Harrison, Homage to Horace: A Bimillenary Celebration (Oxford: Clarendon Press / New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). If an ideal craftsman could be constructed from Horace’s work, he would be someone whose art is furthered by natural talent (408-411) and who knows himself and his abilities well (38-40); someone who is willing to work hard (289-294), to be satisfied with excellence alone (372-373), and to accept criticism (385-390, 438-452). He would especially understand the importance of decorum, the principle that harmonizes style and content, a key theme of the Ars. He would strive to write poetry that both pleases and teaches (99-100, 333-334, 343-344).Home to a traditionally strong republican tradition, Venosa had a role in the peasant revolts and the Carbonari movement of the early 19th century. The letter has taken on a special irony over the centuries. Horace scoffed at the idea of preferring inferior older literature to more-recent and greater works, and insisted that a writer continually earn his audience. Odes 3.30 gives an answer to his own challenge, anticipating his future as a poet who wins fresh acclaim with each generation. The second and third satires, similarly discursive treatments of sex ( Sat. 1.2) and friendship ( Sat. 1.3), illustrate the poet’s interest in Hellenistic ethical thought. The second mentions Philodemus, a prominent Epicurean philosopher. Horace ridicules and dismisses followers of the doctrines of Chrysippus, the head of the Stoic school during the 3rd century BCE ( Sat. 1.3.127), like Fabius ( Sat. 1.1.14; 1.2.134) and Crispinus ( Sat. 1.1.120; 1.3.139; 1.4.14). The third satire criticizes Stoic tenets such as all failings are equal; justice is natural, not normative; and only the wise man is good. The poem advocates a mutual and affectionate acceptance of failings among friends rather than a rigid stoicism.

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Themis, the daughter of Gaia and Uranus, was one of the original twelve Titans of Greek mythology. Though in some traditions she conspired with her fellow Titans to overthrow their father, Uranus, she betrayed them during the Titanomachy by siding with the Olympians. Themis eventually married the king of the Olympians, Zeus, and bore him many children, including the Horae (“Hours”) and the Moirae (“Fates”). Known as a goddess of justice, Themis was often depicted wearing a classical chiton and holding a balanced scale.

The letter is, in fact, a fairly lengthy conversation (270 lines) about literature. The force of tradition is so strong at Rome, Horace complains, that the highly polished works of contemporary poets are dismissed in favor of the “classics,” the works of the pioneers of Roman literature, valued more for their antiquity than for their merit. The impulse to diminish contemporary literature has not, he says, discouraged his countrymen from trying their hands at verse. Horace advises Augustus to look on this literary mania as a good thing since poets are harmless folk, dedicated to their art and beneficial in their own way to the public good (124-133). The poet is, in W. Colin Macleod’s translation: In Indo-European linguistics, the name Themis has been connected with dāmi, a word from the ancient Iranian language of Avestan meaning “creation” or “creator.” This has led some scholars to suggest that Themis’ name is pre-Greek in origin. [2] Pronunciation Sat. 1.9 also gives the poet the opportunity to reveal much by revealing little about the close—and closed—group around Maecenas. The poet makes clear that his interests and talents lie in writing poetry, not in social maneuvering, by telling a tale at his own expense about the antics of an ambitious pest who confounds Horace’s attempts at escape. A stranger to guile, Horace is at the mercy of his pursuer, who seeks an introduction to Maecenas. Horace declares that the group is free from social posturing and competition: each member knows and is happy with his own place (48-52): W. R. Johnson, Horace and the Dialectic of Freedom: Readings in Epistles I (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993). R. O. A. M. Lyne, Horace. Behind the Public Poetry (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1995).

Venusia ~ City view. The aquarelle belongs to Leon Einberger Venusia ~ City view. The aquarelle belongs to Leon Einberger

Associations of place are especially marked. Geographical distance often invites reference to a physical place, and the epistolary genre lends itself to the investigation of the relationship between physical place and psychic state. On the most literal level Horace makes much of his surroundings, whether the location is the frenetic capital or his beloved country estate. Such exploration of place encompasses intangible place as well. Simplicity and clarity (ethical, social, and political) distinguish the countryside from its complicated urban counterpart. While physical place can often have an impact on psychological happiness, the poet also stresses the priority of internal peace over external surroundings; he chides his vilicus (overseer) and himself as well for supposing a change of scene will bring happiness ( Epist. 1.14, 1.8). To his traveling friend Bullatius, he writes in Epist. 1.11.26: “caelum, non animum, mutant qui trans mare currunt” (those who dash across the sea change their climate, but not their state of mind). Ans: Venusia moisturizing cream is meant especially for use on the face but can be used on other parts as well, while lotion can be applied to the whole body. Greek Aeolic meters all begin with two syllables that may be either long or short; Horace nearly always begins the line with a spondee. His lines are also built around a choriambic core—that is, two long syllables enclosing two short syllables (— - -—) . The chief meters are Asclepiadic (five variations, called first through fifth Asclepiadian), Alcaic, and Sapphic. But the Asclepiad meters, in all their variations, are only the second most common meter in Odes I-III (27 of the 88 odes). Most frequent is Alcaic (33/88); third is Sapphic (23/88). Five years later (30 BC) Horace published a second book of satires; this book both continues and departs from its predecessor. Food and philosophy—and even food as philosophy—play prominent roles in this book whose individual poems balance and comment on one another. Book 2 is full of advice, but, unlike the advice of book 1, little is offered by the poet’s persona. The dialogue of the first satire sets the tone for the rest of the book. Instead of diatribes sprinkled with a few interlocutors (book 1, 1-3) or monologues ( Sat. 1.4, 1.10, 1.6) or narratives recounted either by the poet’s persona ( Sat. 1.5, 1.7, 1.9) or, in Sat. 1.8, by a wooden statue of Priapus, the second book presents various scenes. The poet may take the secondary role as the interlocutor while other characters speak in diatribes ( Sat. 2.3, 2.7). A chance encounter becomes the stimulus for a lecture on food ( Sat. 2.4) or a narrative about a fancy dinner gone awry ( Sat. 2.8).Horace speaks with loving respect, not embarrassment, of his freedman father and portrays him as ambitious for his son, but not at the cost of personal virtue. The elder Horace is presented as a man of irreproachable character who wanted his son to live modestly and to comply with accepted social decorum. Horace’s father taught his son appropriate behaviors by examples illustrating traditional viewpoints; he was proud of not being a philosopher, of guarding his son’s behavior and reputation, and of educating him according to ancestral custom. Horace’s biographical narratives turn the taunt “son of a freedman” to his own advantage: a poor man from a simple birth, versed in the straightforward ethics of the Italian countryside, makes a more convincing moral commentator than a rich and sophisticated one. Horace was born here in 65 BC. His father's estate in Venusia was confiscated by Augustus after his victory in the civil wars for the settlement of veterans, like many others throughout Italy.

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