Horace Flaccus Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Christian Mba
Feb 29, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Dec 06, 2023
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About Horace

Horace, formally Quintus Horatius Flaccus, was a preeminent lyric poet in the era of Augustus in ancient Rome. Born in Venusia, Italy, in 65 BCE–8 BCE, he is celebrated for his literary masterpieces, notably the Odes, Epodes, Satires, and Epistles. These works delve into themes such as love, friendship, philosophical musings, and poetic craftsmanship.

Horace's writings are autobiographically rich, providing a window into his personal growth and way of life. His lyric poetry stands out for blending the Greek archaic style with reflections on his personal experiences and key aspects of Roman culture. Especially notable are his odes, which have shaped modern poetry through their seemingly straightforward yet profound portrayal of everyday emotions and thoughts. Horace's life was deeply connected to the political scene of his time, and he supported Augustus's moral reformation initiatives. His contributions, rooted in the Augustan Age, continue to captivate and influence both readers and writers, transcending time.

Childhood And Education

Horace, whose full name was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, was a leading Roman lyric poet born in 65 BCE in Venusia, located in southeastern Italy, to a father who was an Italian freedman and a landowner. Horace's father, who had been a slave but gained freedom before Horace's birth, ensured that Horace became a full Roman citizen. There's little mention of Horace's mother in his works. His father played a crucial role in his education, enrolling him in a school in Rome run by the Sabellian Orbilius. Around 46 BC, Horace moved to Athens to study at the Academy. He died in 8 BCE, in Rome.

Family, Romance And Relationships

Horace's extensive writings, regarded as the earliest form of autobiography, reveal much about his life and personal growth but do not mention any wife, children, or siblings.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Horace joined Brutus's army and later admitted to discarding his shield in a rush to flee. Once back in Rome, he started working as a scribe, a job that allowed him to devote time to his writing.

Horace published his first foray into the literary scene, 'The Satires', a series of satirical poems in Latin dactylic hexameters, published around 35 BCE. This publication played a pivotal role in establishing his stature as a prominent poet of the Augustan Era. He formed friendships with notable contemporaries, including the poet Virgil and Emperor Augustus, leading to his eventual rise to great fame.

Horace's 'Ars Poetica', penned around 19 BCE, offered guidance to poets on crafting poetry and drama. Over time, this work has had a significant impact on European literature across various eras.

During the years 30–27 BCE, Horace's writings started to reflect his proximity to the ruling powers and his awareness of their evolving ideology. For instance, in Odes 1.2, he lavished praise on Octavian with hyperboles that echo Hellenistic court poetry.

Horace's Hellenistic influences are evident in his Satires, a genre novel in Latin literature, where he infused a style apt for Rome's social and ethical challenges, shifting the genre from public engagement to personal contemplation.

Horace's literary influence extends to modern works, notably in Wilfred Owen's famous poem, which recalls Horace's famous line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country). The motto "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" was also embraced within the context of martyrdom by early Christian poets, such as Prudentius, who integrated it into their lyrical works.

'The Epodes' by Horace, published concurrently with 'Satires II', mostly consists of couplets with lines of varying lengths and metrical patterns. The term 'epode' is derived from its meaning 'after the ode', typically related to the structure of these couplets. Horace categorized these poems as iambi, indicating his intention to follow the style and meter of the archaic Greek poet Archilochus of Paros, as mentioned in Epist. 1.19. 23-25.

Horace is often considered the first autobiographer in history. His works provide an unparalleled insight into his personality, personal growth, and lifestyle, more so than any other ancient poet. Additional details about his life can be found in the concise yet informative 'Life Of Horace' by Suetonius, part of his 'Lives Of The Poets' series. Horace skillfully composed both graceful hexameter verses in his Satires and Epistles, as well as sharp, biting iambic poetry in his Epodes.

In Book 4 of his Odes, Horace paid tribute to Emperor Augustus, aligning himself with Rome's new ruler. He commended Augustus's policies and moral reforms, heralding them as the dawn of a new era, as reflected in Ode 4.15: "[Augustus] has ceased all the evils by which men err/And summoned the old virtues to return". A recurring theme in the Odes is friendship, with Horace addressing his poems to various friends, providing them with support and counsel.

Other Interesting Horace Facts And Trivia

  • A E Housman esteemed Odes 4.7, composed in Archilochian couplets, as the finest poem from ancient times. He generally shared Horace's penchant for quatrains, which he found suited to his style of elegiac and melancholic poetry.
  • Kipling crafted a well-known parody of Horace's Odes, humorously targeting their unique style and complex syntax. Additionally, he adapted Horace's Roman patriotism to underscore British imperialistic ideals, as seen in his story 'Regulus' from the collection 'Stalky & Co.', drawing inspiration from Odes 3.5.
  • Horace skillfully composed both graceful hexameter verses in his Satires and Epistles, as well as sharp, biting iambic poetry in his Epodes.
  • He was in Athens studying philosophy when Julius Caesar was assassinated.
  • During the early sixth century, both Horace and Prudentius were integral to a classical legacy grappling with the era's tumultuous conditions. Boethius, recognized as the final significant writer of classical Latin literature, continued to draw inspiration from Horace, occasionally through the lens of Senecan tragedy.
  • In the Odes, Horace portrayed himself as a successor to ancient Greek lyric poets, yet he exhibited a unique, finely-tuned command of language. His verses celebrate themes like love, wine, nature (with a near-romantic flair), friends, and moderation, encompassing his most cherished subjects.
  • Horace's poetry consistently advocates for the pleasures of moderation, reflecting a core philosophical principle: the pursuit of balance and avoidance of excess, often referred to as the Golden Mean: "Those favoring the balanced path of gold/Shun dwellings in disrepair, old and cold..." (Ode 2.10).
  • Ludwig Traube, a German scholar, labeled the tenth and eleventh centuries as the Age Of Horace (Aetas Horatiana), positioning it between the Age Of Virgil (Aetas Vergiliana) in the eighth and ninth centuries, and the Age Of Ovid (Aetas Ovidiana) in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This classification was intended to highlight the predominant classical Latin influences characterizing each of these periods.
  • In poems like 'The Lesson For Today' (1941) and 'Hyla Brook' (1916), the American poet Robert Frost mirrored the style of Horace's Satires, using conversational and aphoristic language. Frost's portrayal of rural life, particularly in 'Hyla Brook', evoking Horace's 'Fons Bandusiae' from Ode 3.13.
  • Horace's literary influence extends to modern works, notably in Wilfred Owen's famous poem, which recalls Horace's famous line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country). The motto "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" was also embraced within the context of martyrdom by early Christian poets, such as Prudentius, who integrated it into their lyrical works.

Horace Flaccus Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Nationality

Roman

Place of Birth

Venusia

Occupation

Poet, Satirist
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Sources

www.poetryfoundation.orgen.wikipedia.orgwww.britannica.comen.wikipedia.orgwww.thecollector.comwww.worldhistory.org

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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