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- DescriptionThe Odes (Latin Carmina) are a collection in four books of Latin lyric poems by Horace. The Horatian ode format and style has been emulated since by other poets. Books 1 to 3 were published in 23 BC. According to the journal Quadrant, they were unparalleled by any collection of lyric poetry produced before or after in Latin literature. A fourth book, consisting of 15 poems, was published in 13 BC. The Odes were developed as a conscious imitation of the short lyric poetry of Greek originals. Pindar, Sappho and Alcaeus are some of Horace's models; his genius lay in applying these older forms to the social life of Rome in the age of Augustus. The Odes have been considered traditionally by English-speaking scholars as purely literary works. Recent evidence by a Horatian scholar suggests they were intended as performance art, a Latin re-interpretation of Greek lyric song. The Roman writer Petronius, writing less than a century after Horace's death, remarked on the curiosa felicitas (studied spontaneity) of the Odes (Satyricon 118). The English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson declared that the Odes provided jewels five-words long, that on the stretched forefinger of all Time / Sparkle for ever (The Princess, part II, l.355). The earliest positively dated poem in the collection is I.37 (an ode on the defeat of Cleopatra at the battle of Actium, clearly written in 30 BC), though it is possible some of the lighter sketches from the Greek (e.g. I.10, a hymn to the god Mercury) are contemporary with Horace's earlier Epodes and Satires. The collected odes were first published in three books in 23 BC.
- Author BiographyQuintus Horatius Flaccus (8 December 65 BC - 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. The rhetorician Quintillian regarded his Odes as just about the only Latin lyrics worth reading: He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words. Horace also crafted elegant hexameter verses (Sermones and Epistles) and caustic iambic poetry (Epodes). The hexameters are amusing yet serious works, friendly in tone, leading the ancient satirist Persius to comment: as his friend laughs, Horace slyly puts his finger on his every fault; once let in, he plays about the heartstrings. Some of his iambic poetry has seemed repulsive to modern audiences. His career coincided with Rome's momentous change from Republic to Empire. An officer in the republican army defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, he was befriended by Octavian's right-hand man in civil affairs, Maecenas, and became a spokesman for the new regime. For some commentators, his association with the regime was a delicate balance in which he maintained a strong measure of independence (he was a master of the graceful sidestep ) but for others he was, in John Dryden's phrase, a well-mannered court slave. His poetry became the common currency of civilization, and he still retains a devoted following, despite some loss of popularity after World War I (perhaps due to mistrust of old-fashioned patriotism and imperial glory, with which he had become associated). Horatian studies have become so diverse and intensive in recent years that it is probably no longer possible for any one scholar to command the whole range of arguments and issues.
- Date of Publication05/06/2013
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectHistory: World & General
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight476 g
- Width216 mm
- Height280 mm
- Spine11 mm
- Edited byPaul Shorey
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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