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(Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (hôr`əs), 65 B.C.–8 B.C., Latin poet, one of the greatest of lyric poets, b. Venusia, S Italy. He studied at Rome and Athens and, joining Brutus and the republicans, fought (42 B.C.) at Philippi. Returning to Rome, he was introduced by Vergil to MaecenasMaecenas
(Caius Maecenas) , d. 8 B.C., Roman statesman and patron of letters. He was born (between 74 B.C. and 64 B.C.) into a wealthy family and was a trusted adviser of Octavian (Augustus), who employed Maecenas as his personal representative for various political missions.
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, who became (c.38 B.C.) his friend and constant benefactor. Maecenas gave him a farm in the Sabine Hills, where he lived thereafter except for lengthy visits to Rome. His first book of Satires appeared in 35 B.C., the Epodes c.30 B.C., the second book of Satires in 29 B.C., three books of Odes c.24 B.C., and the first book of Epistles c.20 B.C. The fourth book of Odes, the second book of Epistles, a hymn (the Carmen Saeculare), and the Ars Poetica, or Epistle to the Pisos, appeared c.13 B.C. Horace was an unrivaled lyric poet. His early poems show the influence of the Greek Archilochus, but his later verse displays complete and individualized adaption of Greek meters to Latin. As his genius matured, Horace's themes turned from personal vilification to more generalized satire and to literary criticism. He gives a vivid picture of contemporary Roman society and represents especially the spirit of the Augustan age of Rome—a time of peace, when the arts were cultivated earnestly without pretense. He had much influence on European poetry.


See Loeb translations by H. R. Fairclough (rev. ed. 1929) and C. E. Bennett (rev. ed. 1964); poetic translations by J. Michie (1965) and N. Rudd (1979, repr. 1981); biography by P. Levi (1998); studies by E. Fraenkel (1957), S. Commager (1962), L. P. Wilkinson (1951, repr. 1965), D. A. West (1967), and C. D. N. Costa, ed. (1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(full name, Quintus Horatius Flaccus). Born 65 B.C., in Venusia; died 8 B.C., in Rome. Roman poet and the son of a freedman.

After Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C., Horace sided with the republicans. At the Battle of Philippi (42 B.C.), which ended in failure for the Republic, Horace fled from the battlefield. After amnesty was proclaimed he purchased a position as a quaestor scribe. In 38 B.C. he joined the circle of Maecenas.

The first works by Horace were two books of satires, or “talks,” on moral and literary themes modeled on Greek diatribes (around 35–30 B.C.). In the same period he also wrote books of epodes, poems primarily accusatory in character. Later he became increasingly reconciled to the empire. Between 30 and 13 B.C. he wrote four books of lyric verse (odes). The first book contains philosophical meditations in the Epicurean vein, and to some extent the Stoic. The second is devoted to problems of poetry. The letter to the Pisos, which then, as now, was entitled the Ars poetica, occupies a special place. The creative art of Horace, a remarkable master poet and the author of brilliant and harmonious intellectual poetry, is a pinnacle of Roman literature; he enriched that literature with the meters of Greek lyric poetry, which were new to it.

In the age of classicism, Horace was the exemplar of poet and theorist. His Ars poetica served as the foundation of N. Boileau’s Art of Poetry (1674). In Russia, Horace’s ode “Memorial” was translated by M. V. Lomonosov and reworked by G. R. Derzhavin, A. S. Pushkin, and V. Ia. Briusov. Pushkin’s poem “Who of the Gods Has Restored to Me” is a free translation of the seventh ode of Horace’s second book of odes.


Opera. Edited by F. Klingner. Lipsos, 1959.
In Russian translation:
Ody, epody, satiry, poslaniia. Moscow, 1970.
Poln. sobr. soch. Edited and with annotations by F. A. Petrovskii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.


Blagoveshchenskii, N. M. Goratsii i ego vremia. St. Petersburg, 1864; 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1878.
Istoriia rimskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.
Smiley, C. N. Horace: His Poetry and Philosophy. New York, 1945.
Fraenkel, E. Horace. Oxford, 1957.
Stegen, G. Les Épitres littéraires d’Horace. Namur, 1958.
Perret, J. Horace. Paris, 1960.
Commager, S. The Odes of Horace. New Haven-London, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Latin name Quintus Horatius Flaccus. 65--8 bc, Roman poet and satirist: his verse includes the lyrics in the Epodes and the Odes, the Epistles and Satires, and the Ars Poetica
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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(1) This particular item extends the sequence of Horatian imitations in part published in Ramsay's Poems of 1721, which contained half-a-dozen formal imitations of Horace. Four other imitations (perhaps earlier, experimental attempts of Ramsay's), one of them fragmentary, were first printed from surviving manuscripts in the twentieth century.