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ALTIS 41.89%
The sacred grove near Olympia (q.v.), in which the Olympic Games were celebrated. (See OLYMPIA.)
PYTHIA 21.36%
The Pythian games. Next to the Olympic games, the most important of the four Greek national festivals. From 586 B.C. they were held on the Crissaean plain below Delphi. They took place once in four years, in the third year of each Olympiad, in the Delphic month Bucatius (the middle of August). Before this time (586 B.C.) there used to take place at Delphi itself, once in eight years, a great festival in honour of Apollo, in which the minstrels vied with one another in singing, to the accompaniment of the cithara, a paean in praise of the god, under the direction of the Delphic priests. After the first Sacred War, when the Crissaean plain became the property of the priesthood, the Amphictyons introduced festivals once in four years, at which gymnastic contests and foot-races took place, as well as the customary musical contest. This contest also was further developed. Besides minstrels who sang with the cithara, players on the flute, and singers to accompaniment of the flute, took part in it (the last-named, however, for a short time only). The gymnastic and athletic contests, which were nearly the same as those held at Olympia, yielded in significance to the musical ceremonies, and of these the Pythian nomos was the most important. It was a composition for the flute, worked out on a prescribed scheme, and celebrating the battle of Apollo with the dragon Python, and his triumph. At first the prize for the victor was of some substantial value, but at the second festival it took the form of a wreath from the sacred bay tree in the Vale of Tempe. The victor also received, as in the other contests, a palm-branch. The judges were chosen by the Amphictyons. The Pythian, like the Olympic games, were probably not discontinued till about 394 A.D.
The first considerable philological critic of the Alexandrian school. He came from Ephesus, and lived in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. at Alexandria as tutor to the sons of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and superintendent of the library founded by that king. He undertook the first critical edition of the Homeric poems, and thus laid the foundation for the works of Aristophanes of Byzantium, his most celebrated pupil, and of Aristarchus.
In Greek mythology, the beautiful son of Aethlios (or, according to another story, Zeus and Calyce), daughter of Aeolus, king of Elis, father of Epeus, Aetolus, and Paeon, the first of whom won the government of the country by conquering in a race which his father had set on foot. He was loved by Selene, the goddess of the moon, by whom he had fifty daughters. They were supposed to symbolize the fifty lunar months which intervened between the Olympic games. His grave was at Olympia. Another story made him a shepherd or hunter on Mount Latmos in Caria. Zeus bestowed on him eternal youth and eternal life in the form of unbroken slumber. Selene descended every night from heaven to visit and embrace the beautiful sleeper in his grotto.
MAGNES 16.78%
One of the first founders of Attic Comedy. (See COMEDY.)
The first day of the festival of the Anthesteria. (See DIONYSIA.)
A Latin grammarian of the first half of the 2nd century A.D.; the composer of a work, De Orthographia, which is still extant.
A Latin grammarian who flourished in the first half of the 4th century A.D., and was the author of a school manual of prosody.
NAEVIUS 13.08%
A Roman epic and dramatic poet. Born apparently in Campania, about 270 B.C., be served in the Roman army during the first Punic War; and, settling after this at Rome, he brought his first play upon the stage in 235, i.e. soon after the first appearance of Livius Andronicus. Owing to the license and recklessness with which he incessantly attacked the Roman nobles, especially the Metelli, he was thrown into prison, and though liberated thence by the tribunes of the people, was afterwards banished from Rome. He died in exile at Utica about 200. His poetical account of the first Punic War (Bellum Poenicum), written in old age in the Saturnian metre, made him the creator of the Roman national epic. The work originally formed one continuous whole, but at a later time was divided into seven books by the scholar Octavius Lampadio. The fragments preserved give the impression of its having been little more than a chronicle in verse. Indeed, even in its plan, it bears a close resemblance to the prose chronicles of the Roman annalists: for here, as there, the real subject of the poem was preceded by an account of the early history of Rome, dating from the flight of Aeneas from Troy. Naevius also made an important departure in the province of dramatic poetry by creating a national drama. Besides imitations of Greek tragedies, of which seven alone are known by name and by extant fragments, it was he who first attempted to adapt the materials of his country's history to the dramatic form handed down by the Greeks. Thus, in the Romulus or Lupus, he treats of the youth of Romulus and Remus; and, in the play Clastidium, of a contemporary historical event. From the number of titles of his comedies still preserved (over thirty), and from the verdict of antiquity, we may infer that his forte lay in comedy: he appears to have been no mere translator of his Greek originals, but to have handled them with considerable freedom. It was in his comedies especially that he introduced his attacks on men and events of the day.
The first of the four classes of citizens instituted at Athens by Solon. (See SOLONIAN CONSTITUTION and EISPHORA.)
APSINES 12.48%
A Greek rhetorician, of Gadara, who taught at Athens in the first half of the 3rd century A.D., and wrote a valuable treatise on Rhetoric.
Properly the person after whom anything is named. This was in various Greek states the unofficial title of the magistrates after whom (in default of a generally received standard of chronology) the year was designated. In Athens this would be the first Archon, in Sparta the first Ephor, in Argos the priestess of Hera. When the ephebi, at Athens, were enrolled in the list of the citizens who could be called out for military service, the name of the first archon of the year was attached. And when the citizens of various ages were summoned to military service, a reference was made to the archon eponymos, under whom they had been originally enrolled. The ancient heroes who gave their name to the ten tribes of Clisthenes, and the heroes worshipped by the demes, were also called eponymoi. The statues of the former were in the market place, and it was near them that official notices were put up [Aristotle, Const. of Athens, 53].
Greek philosopher, of the isle of Syros, about 600-550 B.C.; said to have been the first writer of prose. He wrote in the Ionic dialect of the origin of the world and the gods (cosmogonia and theogonia). The poetic element seems to have held a predominant place in his prose. He is also said to have been the first to maintain the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, which his pupil Pythagoras borrowed from him.
The reputed author of a Latin didactic poem about astronomy and astrology (Astronomica), in five books, the first of which was written under Augustus, after the battle in the Saltus Teutoburgiensis, 9 A.D., and the fifth under Tiberius. The first two books treat of astronomy as the foundation of astrology; the rest, of the influence of constellations on human destiny. The author certainly intended to write a sixth book, but it has either been lost or was never written. The poet, who shows extensive knowledge, frequently boasts of having been the first among Roman poets to treat the subject, and handles his difficult theme with a dexterity and a moral earnestness that recall Lucretius, whose language he has frequently imitated. In metrical skill he is on a par with the best poets of the Augustan age.
Son of Inachus and the Oceanymph Melia, founder of the state of Argos. The origin of all culture, civil order, and religious rites in the Peloponnesus was ascribed to him. In particular, he was reputed as the originator of the worship of Hera at Argos, and, like Prometheus elsewhere, as the man who first brought fire from heaven down to earth. Hence he was regarded as a national hero, and offerings were laid on his tomb. His daughter Niobe was said to be the first mortal whom Zeus honoured with his love.
AESOPUS 11.12%
The famous writer of fables, the first author who created an independent class of stories about animals, so that in a few generations his name and person had become typical of that entire class of literature. In course of time, thanks to his plain, popular manner, the story of his own life was enveloped in an almost inextricable tissue of tales and traditions, which represent him as an ugly hunchback and buffoon. In the Middle Ages these were woven into a kind of romance. A Phrygian by birth, and living in the time of the Seven Sages, about 600 B.C., he is said to have been at first a slave to several masters, till Iadmon of Samos set him free. That he next lived at the court of Croesus, and being sent by him on an embassy to Delphi, was murdered by the priests there, is pure fiction. Under his name were propagated in all parts of Greece, at first only by tradition in the mouth of the people, a multitude of prose tales teaching the lessons of life under the guise of fables about animals. We know how Socrates,during his last days in prison, was engaged in turning the fables of Aesop into verse, The first written collection appears to have been set on foot by Demetrius of Phalerum, B.C. 00. The collections of Aesop's Fables that have come down to us are, in part, late prose renderings of the version in choliambics by Babrius (q.v.), which still retain here and there a scrap of verse; partly products of the rhetorical schools, and therefore of very different periods and degrees of merit.
A celebrated Roman poet, orator, and historian. He was born B.C. 75, and made his first public appearance by bringing an impeachment in B.C. 54; in the Civil Wars he fought on Caesar's side at Pharsalus and in Africa and Spain. After the murder of Caesar he at first inclined to the Republicans, but in B.C. 43 joined Antony, and on the break-up of the Triumvirate obtained Gallia Transpadana for his province. In the redistribution of lands there he saved the poet Vergil's paternal estate for him. After negotiating the Peace of Brundisium between Antony and Octavian, B.C. 41, he became consul in 40, conquered the Parthini in Dalmatia in 39, and celebrated a triumph. He then retired from political life, and devoted himself to the advancement of learning. He served the cause of literature not only by his own writings, but by setting up the first public library at Rome, and by introducing the custom of reading new works aloud to a circle of experts, before publication. (See RECITATIO.) He was himself a stern critic of others, as we see by his strictures on Cicero, Sallust and Livy, though it was remarked that he was not always so severe upon himself. He was especially celebrated as an orator; yet his speeches, in spite of careful preparation, were devoid of elegance, and, as Quintilian remarks, might be supposed to have been written a century earlier than Cicero's. He wrote tragedies also, in which the same stiffness and dryness are complained of. And he composed a history of the Civil Waxs in seventeen books, from the first Triumvirate to the battle of Philippi, which seems not to have been published in a complete form till after his death. Not one of his works has survived. [The history of Caesar's African campaign, Bellum Africum, has recently been attributed to him, but on insufficient grounds.] He died 80 years old, A.D. 4.
The chief national festival of the Greeks, which was celebrated in honour of Zeus at Olympia, in the Peloponnesian district Pisatis, belonging to the Eleans, at the point where the Cladeus runs into the Alpheus. The institution of this ancient festival is sometimes referred to Pisus, the mythical founder of the city Pisa, which was afterwards destroyed by the Eleans, and before whose gates lay the sanctuary of Zeus; sometimes to Pelops, in whose honour funeral games were held at this point on the banks of the Alpheus. These were restored, it is said, by Heracles, who instituted the regular order of the festival. This opinion did not become current until the Dorian States, established after the immigration of the Heraclidae into the Peloponnesus, had been admitted to a share in the festival, which was originally frequented only by the Pisatans and their immediate neighbours. This admission dates from Lycurgus of Sparta and Iphitus of Elis, who, at the direction of the Delphic oracle, restored the festival of Zeus, now fallen into oblivion, and established the sacred Truce of God (see EKECHEIRIA), which insured a safe conduct at the time of the festival for all strangers resorting thither, even through hostile territory. In course of time the membership extended itself further, over all the Hellenic states in and out of Greece; and the festival was not only visited by private individuals, but also received sacred envoys from the several states. Through all the assaults of time it lasted on, even during the Roman rule, and was not abolished until 394 A.D., under the reign of Theodosius. From the time of the above-mentioned restoration by Iphitus and Lycurgus it was a quinquennial celebration; that is, it was held once in every four years, in midsummer (July to August), about the beginning or end of the Greek year. A regular and continuous list of the victors was kept from 776, when Corcebus won the race in the stadium, and with this year begins the Olympiad reckoning prevalent among the historians from the time of Timaeus. The duration of the festival was in course of time extended to at least five days. The place where the festival was celebrated was the Altis (see Plan), a sacred precinct at the foot of the hill of Cronus (Kronos), 403 feet high. The precinct, which was about 750 feet long by 570 feet broad, was surrounded by a wall ascribed to Heracles, having entrances at the N.W. and S.W. The centre, both by position and by religious association, was formed by the great sacrificial altar of Zeus, which rose on an elliptical base 128 feet in circumference to a height of 32 feet, and was composed of the ashes of the victims mingled with the water of the Alpheus. Round it were grouped the four most important sanctuaries, the temples of Zeus, Hera (Heraion), the Mother of the Gods (Metroon), and the holy inclosure of Pelops (Pelopion), besides a multitude of altars consecrated some to gods and some to heroes, and a countless host of dedicatory offerings and statues of every kind, among them, south-east of the temple of Zeus, the Nice of Paeonius (q.v.). The temple of Zeus, which was begun about 572 B.C. by the Elean Libo, was not completed in its main outline until about 450. It was a Doric hypaethral building (i.e. it had no roof over the cella, or temple proper); it was also peripteral (i.e. it was surrounded by a single row of columns). It was built of the local conchyliferous, limestone [called poros by Pausanias, v 10 § 2]. In its more finished parts it was overlaid with fine stucco, giving the appearance of marble, and was also richly decorated with colour. It was 210 feet in length, 91 in breadth, and 65 in height. The outer hall had 6 columns along its breadth and 13 along its length (each 34 feet high), while the inner hall had a double row of 7 columns. The eastern pediment was occupied by a representation of the contest between Pelops and OEnomans, with Zeus as the contre (fig. 1); the western, by one of the battle between the Centaurs and Lapithae, with Apollo as centre (fig. 2). The former was designed by the already-mentioned Paeonius; the latter, by Alcamenes of Athens. The accompanying cuts indicate the figures belonging to the two pediments, so far as their fragmentary portions were recovered in the excavations begun by the Germans in 1875. [While the outer metopes beneath these pediments had no ornament except a large plain boss on each, twelve other metopes sculptured with reliefs used to adorn the outer walls at each end of the cella or temple proper, six over the door of the pronaos, and six over that of the opisthodomos. All of these have been discovered: four by the French in 1829, and eight by Germans in 1875-9. Their subjects are the labours of Heracles. The best preserved of the series, and one of them which, as compared with the rest, is apparently the work of a mature and well-trained school of sculpture, is that representing Heracles bearing the heavens. Atlas stands by, offering to Heracles the apples of the Hesperidess, and on the other side one of the daughters of Atlas is touching the hero's burden with her arm, as though endeavouring to aid him in sustaining it (fig. 3).] In the chamber at the western end of the cella stood the greatest work of Greek art, wrought in gold and ivory by Phidias (q.v.). Outside the sacred inclosure, though still in direct connexion with it, were, to the west, the Gymnasium, and to the east the Hippodrome and the Stadium. [The Hippodrome has been washed away by the encroachments of the Alpheus. The Stadium, which was 600 Olympic feet in length, has been excavated to an extent sufficient to determine the length of the single course, between the starting-place and the goal, to be 192·27 metres-630·81845073 English feet. The Olympic foot therefore measured ·3204 of a metre-1·05120036 feet. The parallel grooves in the slabs of stone at each end of the Stadium still show the spot where the feet of the competitors in the footrace were planted at the moment immediately preceding the start. There is room for 20 at either end, separated from one another by posts at intervals of four Olympic feet from one another (fig. 4).] The festival consisted of two parts: (1) the presentation of offerings, chiefly of course to Zeus, but also to the other gods and heroes, on the part of the Eleans, the sacred embassies and other visitors to the feast; and (2) the contests. In the first Olympiad the contest consisted of a simple match in the Stadium (race-course) which had a length of a trifle more than 210 yards. The runners ran in heats of four, and then the winners in each beat competed together, the first in the final heat being proclaimed victor. About 724 B.C. the double; course (diaulos) was introduced, in which the runners had to make a circuit of the goal and return to the starting-point; about 720 came the dolichos or long race, where the distance of the stadium had to be covered either 6, 7, 8, 12, 20, or 29 times [Scholiast on Soph., Electra 691]; in 708, the pentathlon, or five-fold contest, consisting of leaping, running, quoit (diskos and spear-throwing, and wrestling (the last being also practised by itself); in 688, boxing. In 680 chariot-racing on the Hippodrome was introduced, and, though this was twice as long as the Stadium, it had to be traversed from eight to twelve times in both directions (at first with four horses, after 500 with mules, and after 408 with two horses). From 648 there were races, in which the horsemen, towards the end of the race, bad to leap from their horses and run beside them with the bridle in their hands. With the same year began the practice of the pancration (a combination of wrestling and boxing); with 520, the race in armour, with helmet, greaves and shield, though afterwards the shield alone was carried. Competitions between heralds and trumpeters also found a place here. Originally it was only men who took part in the contests; bat after 632, boys also shared in them. The contests were open only to freemen of pure Hellenic descent, provided that no personal disgrace had in any way attached to them; but, after the Romans came into closer relationship with Greece, they were opened to them also, and indeed (as is well known) the Romans were not officially considered barbarians. Even to barbarians however, and to slaves, permission was given to view them, while it was refused to all married women [Pausanias, vi 20, § 9], or more probably all women whatsoever, except the priestess of Demeter, who even received a place of honour among the spectators. Those who took part in the competitions had to take a solemn oath at the altar of Zeus to the effect that they had spent at least ten months in preparation for the games, and that they would not resort to any unfair trick in the course of their contest: this oath was taken for boy competitors by an older relative. Special practice for thirty days at Elis was also usual, but probably only for those who were coming forward for the first time. The duties of heralds and judges were discharged by the Hellanodici, appointed by popular election from among the Eleans themselves. Their number rose in course of time from 1 to 2, 9, 10, and 12, but after 348 it was always 10. Distinguished by purple robes, wreaths of bay-leaves, and a seat of honour opposite the Stadium, they kept guard over the strict observance of all the minute regulations for the contests, and in general maintained order. In these duties they were supported by a numbpr of attendants provided with staves. Transgressions of the laws of the games, and unfairness on the part of competitors, were punished by forfeiture of the prize or by fines of money, which went to the revenue of the temple. Out of the money from penalties of this kind, a whole row of bronze images of Zeus (called zanes) was erected in front of the eleven treasure-houses along the eastern end of the northern wall of the Altis. The games were opened with the sound of trumpets and the proclamation of heralds, the marshalling of the various competitors in the Stadium, accompanied by the announcement of their name and country by the herald, and the appointment by lot of the pairs of combatants. The victors in the several pairs of competitors had then apparently to contend in couples with each other until one couple alone remained, and the winner in this was declared victor. If the number of combatants had been uneven, so that one of them had remained without an opponent, he had finally to meet this rival. The contests were accompanied by the music of flutes. The name of the victor (and one, whom no adversary had come forward to meet, counted for victor), as well as his home, were proclaimed aloud by the herald, and a palm-branch presented to him by the Hellanodici. The actual prize he only received at the general and solemn distribution on the last day of the festival. This was originally some article of value, but, at the command of the Delphic oracle, this custom was dropped, and the victors were graced by a wreath of the leaves of the sacred wild olive, said to have been originally planted by Heracles, which had been cut with a golden knife by a boy of noble family with both parents living. After about 540 the victors also possessed the right to put up statues of themselves in the Altis. The festival ended with a sacrifice made by the victors wearing their crowns at the six double altars of the hill of Cronus, and with a banquet in the Prytaneum of the Altis. Brilliant distinctions awaited the victor on his return home, for his victory was deemed to have reflected honour on his native land at large. He made his entry, clad in purple, upon a chariot drawn by four white horses, amidst the joyous shouts of all the people, and then rode amid an exultant escort to the temple of the highest god, and there deposited his wreath as a votive offering. During the ride, as also at the banquet which followed thereupon, the song of victory, often composed by the most celebrated poets, was chanted by choral bands. There was no lack of other rewards: at Athens the Olympian victor received 500 drachmae, the right to a place of honour at all public games, and board in the Prytaneum for the rest of his life. The opportunity afforded by the assembling of so vast a crowd from all parts of Greece at Olympia was utilized, from about the middle of the 5th century before Christ, by authors, orators, poets, and artists, to make themselves known in the widest circles by the recital or exhibition of their works. When the compliment of a crown was offered by one state to another, the distinction was made generally known by being proclaimed by the heralds at the Olympian Games. <picture> <multi n="1">
A Greek philosopher, a pupil of Pythagoras (q.v.). He was the first to commit to writing the doctrines of the Pythagorean school. He wrote in Doric Greek. Only a few fragments of his writings remain.
A Greek epic poet, born in Samos about 470 B.C., a friend of Herodotus, and afterwards of the Spartan Lysander. He lived first at Athens and afterwards at the court of King Archelaus of Macedonia, where he was treated with great consideration, and died about 400 B.C. He was the first epic poet who, feeling that the old mythology was exhausted, ventured to treat a historical subject of immediate interest, the Persian wars, in an epic entitled Perseis. According to one account the poem was read in the schools with Homer. The few fragments that remain show that it did not lack talent and merit; but little regard was paid to it by posterity.
The earliest of the ten great Attic orators, born B.C. 480 at Rhamnus in Attica, son of the sophist Sophilus, to whom he owed his training. He was the founder of political eloquence as an art, which he taught with great applause in his own school of rhetoric; and he was the first who wrote out speeches for others to deliver in court, though he afterwards published them under his own name. He also played an active part in the politics of his time as a leading member of the oligarchical party, and the real author of the deathblow which was dealt to democracy in 411 B.C. by the establishment of the Council of Four Hundred. Then he went as ambassador to Sparta, to purchase peace at any price in the interest of the oligarchy. On the fall of the Four Hundred he was accused of high treason, and in spite of a masterly defence-the first speech he had ever made in public-was condemned to death B.C. 411. Of the sixty orations attributed to him, only fifteen are preserved, all on trials for murder; but only three of them are about real cases. The rest (named tetralogies, because every four are the first and second speeches of both plaintiff and defendant on the same subject) are mere exercises. Antiphon's speeches exhibit the art of oratory in its rudimentary stage as regards both substance and form.
A Greek orator, born in Magnesia on Mount Sipylus in the first half of the 3rd century B.C. He was the founder of what was termed the Asiatic style of oratory. (See RHETORIC.)
A Roman elegiac poet, born about 55 B.C., of a wealthy and ancient equestrian family, which had lost a considerable part of its property in the Civil Wars. However, he still owned an estate at Pedum, between Tibur and Praeneste, and was able to lead a comfortable life. He obtained the favour of Messala Corvinus, whom he accompanied on his Aquitanian campaign in 31 B.C. Messala's invitation to accompany him to Asia be at first declined, being captivated by love for Delia, a freed-woman whose proper name was Plania. Afterwards, when he had determined to make the journey, he fell ill, and was compelled to remain behind at Corcyra. He returned to Rome, and there received the sad tidings that Delia was faithless to him, and had given her affections to a rich suitor. The poems which refer to his relations with Delia are contained in the first book of his elegies. The second book has as its subject his mistress Nemesis, who likewise embittered his love by her faithlessness. According to an epigram by a contemporary poet, he died soon after Vergil, in the year 19 B.C. or early in 18. Four books of elegies have come down to us under his name, but of these only the first two can be assigned to him with certainty. The whole of the third book is the work of a feeble imitator, who represents himself as called Lygdamus, and as born in the year 43. It treats of the love-passages between the poet and his mistress Neoera. Of the fourteen poems of the fourth book, the first, a panegyric in 211 hexameters, on Messala, composed during Messala's consulship in 31, is so poor a production that it cannot be assigned to Tibullus; especially as he already enjoyed the full favour of Messala, which is solicited by the author of the poem. Moreover, poems 8-12, short love-letters of a maiden to a lover named Cerinthus, possibly Tiberius' friend Cornutus, are from the pen of a poetess, Sulpicia, probably the grand-daughter of the famous jurist, Servius Sulpicius. There is no ground for not attributing the remaining poems to Tibullus. The spurious works owe their preservation among those of Tibullus to the fact that they are the production of the circle of Messala; and were published with the genuine works as part of the literary remains either of Messala or of Tibullus, who himself, at the very most, published the first book only during his lifetime. Among the ancients, Tibullus was considered the first master of elegiac composition. The two themes of his poetry are love and country life. Within this narrow range the poet moves with considerable grace and truthfulness of feeling, expressing his homely thoughts in correspondingly homely and natural language, without any of the obscure erudition characteristic or Propertius, but also without that poet's versatility and artistic skill.
HORACE 9.56%
The well-known Roman poet, born 8th Dec., B.C. 65, at Venusia, on the borders of Apulia and Lucania, where his father, who was a freedman, possessed a small property, and filled the office of a collector (coactor). To give his son a better education, he betook himself to Rome, and here Horace received a training similar to that of the sons of wealthy knights and senators, under his father's eye, who watched over him with a touching solicitude. At first he studied under the grammarian Orbillus Pupillus of Beneventum, whose flogging propensities Horace rendered proverbial. To complete his education, and especially to study philosophy, Horace resorted to Athens in B.C. 45; but towards the end of the summer of B.C. 44, when Brutus, after the murder of Caesar, appeared at Athens, Horace, like most of the young Romans studying there, joined him in his enthusiasm for the cause of liberty. At the defeat at Philippi in 42, where he fought as a military tribune, he saved himself by flight, and fortunately reached Italy in safety. It is true that he met with favour, but he found himself absolutely without means, as the property of his father, who had probably died in the interval, had been confiscated. To gain a livelihood, he managed to get a clerkship in the quaestor's office (see SCRIBAe). It was at this period that, emboldened (as he himself says) by his poverty, he first appeared as a poet. His own bent and predisposition led him at that time to satire, in which he took Lacilius for his model, and to iambic poetry after the manner of Archilochus. His first attempts gained him the acquaintance of Vergil and Varius, who commended him to their influential patron Maecenas. The latter allowed the poet to be introduced to him (about 38 B.C.,) but for fully nine months paid no attention to him, until he once more invited him to his house, and admitted him to the circle of his friends. In course of time there grew up a very intimate friendship between Maecenas and Horace. About 35 B.C. the poet dedicated to him, under the title of Sermones, the first collection of his Satires, which up to then had been published separately; and about 33 he received from Maecenas the gift of a small estate in the Sabine district, which from that time forward was his favourite abode. In the year B.C. 30, or perhaps in the beginning of B.C. 29, Horace published his second book of Satires; and (nearly simultaneously) his collection of iambic verses, or Epodes, appeared. In the following years he specially devoted himself to lyric poetry, taking the Aeolic poets for his model, and having the merit of being the first who found for their forms of verse a home on Roman ground. About 23, he published his first collection of Odes (Carmina) in three books, which were all dedicated to Maecenas. [But some of the Odes were written before B.C. 29, so that in respect to the date of composition, as distinguished from that of publication, the collections of Odes and Epodes overlap. See Prof. Nettleship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 156-163.] The Odes were followed by a continuation of the conversational Satires or Sermones in a now form, that of letters, each addressed to one person, and called the Epistulae. Through Maecenas Horace made the acquaintance of Augustus. The ex-republican and soldier of freedom had shown at first but little sympathy for him; but afterwards, having learned to recognise that the only chance of the salvation of the state lay in the rule of a monarch, and having seen Augustus successfully engaged in restoring the country to tranquillity and prosperity at home, and to its ancient prestige abroad, he was completely reconciled to the emperor, and in several of his Odes paid a high tribute to his merits. Nevertheless, he was always anxious to maintain an attitude of independence towards the emperor, and excused himself from accepting the tempting offer of Augustus to enter his service as private secretary and to form one of his suite. But he did not entirely decline to carry out his wishes. It was by his desire that (about B.C. 17) he composed, for the festival of the Secular Games, the hymn to Apollo and Diana, known as the Carmen Soeculare. He also celebrated the victories of the emperor's step-sons, Tiberius and Drasus, in several Odes (B.C. 15), which he published with some others as a fourth book of Odes (about 13 B.C.) As Augustus had complained that Horace had made no mention of him in his earlier Epistles, the poet addressed to him a composition which stands first in the second book of Epistles, probably published shortly before his death. The famous Epistula ad Pisones, commonly called the Ars Poetica, is often reckoned as the third epistle of the second book [but probably belongs to an earlier date]. The poet died 27th November, B.C. 8, and was buried on the Esquiline, near to his recently deceased friend, Maecenas. Horace, as he was himself aware, is not a poet who soars to lofty heights; on the contrary his nature is essentially reflective, and with him taste and fancy are always under the control of reason. In his lyrical poems he began with more or less free imitations of Greek models, and gradually advanced to independent compositions in the Greek form. Their merits do not consist in warmth of feeling or depth of thought, but in the perspicuity of their plan, the evenness of their execution, and the art with which both diction and metre are handled. In the poems of a higher style which he composed by desire of Augustus, or under the influence of the times in which he lived, the expression rises to actual loftiness, but the spirit of deliberate purpose is generally prominent. He succeeds best in those of his Odes in which, following his own bent, without any external prompting, he treats of some bright and simple theme, such as love or friendship. His personality reflects itself most vividly in his Satires and 'in his Epistles, which often have a similar aim. Following the method of Lucilius, he here gives his personal impressions of social and literary matters in a form that is more natural, and at the same time more artistic, than his predecessor's, and in a style that approaches the language of everyday life. At first his Satires, like his Epodes, were not without a pungency corresponding to a bitterness of feeling due to the circumstances of his life; but as his temper became calmer, they assume a more genial and less personal complexion. In the Epistles, the poet shows himself the exponent of a mild, if not very deep, philosophy of life. From, an early date Horace's poems were used in Roman schools as a text-book, and were expounded by Roman scholars, especially by Acron and Porphyrio (q.v., 6).
Type: Standard
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