Horace (Roman Poet)

HORACE, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, distinguished Latin lyric poet, born near Venusia, Italy, Dec. 8, 65 b. c.; died Nov. 27, 8 b.c. His father was a slave who freed himself and when the son was twelve years of age he took him to Rome, where he secured a liberal education. Later he studied in Athens and after the assassination of Julius Caesar joined the army organized by Brutus. After the Battle of Philippi he fled for safety, but, when a proclamation of amnesty was issued, returned to Rome, where he had been reduced to poverty by the confiscation of his parental estate. Soon after returning to Rome he secured a clerkship in the office of the quaestor, in which he attracted the attention of Varius and Virgil. The latter introduced him to Maecenas, the minister of Augustus, who subsequently became his intimate friend. Soon after he was made poet laureate by the Roman emperor, enabling him to live in comparative ease.

In the later years of his life Horace devoted his attention exclusively to literature. His works include four books of Odes, eighteen Satires, two books of Epistles, a book of Poems, and several others. His "De Arte Poetica," or "Art of Poetry," is sometimes classed with his Epistles. The works of Horace have exquisite beauty of language and originality and are finely mingled with common sense, humor, piety, wit, and shrewdness. His writings have been translated into the leading languages. Several of his works are still studied in many high schools and colleges. No other Latin writer has furnished as many proverbial phrases and quotations Horace, and no works surpass his in tender sentiment and exquisite style.

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