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COPYRIGHT 1895 By The Penn PUBLISHING COMPANI
COPYRIGHT 1896 By David McKay
Printed in United States of America
PA 6394 S6 1896
Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born December 7th, B. C. 65, near the town of Venosa, on a small farm upon the banks of the Anfidus, in the midst of the Appenines. His father was an Apulian freedman, who had amassed a comfortable fortune. At the age of twelve Horace was taken to Rome, and no expense was spared in obtaining for him the best possible education. It is said that he was supplied with numerous slaves, as though he were heir to a fortune, in order that he might mingle on terms of equaiity with his schoolmates of a higher rank. At the same time he was taught not to aspire to a position which he could not maintain. Among his early instructors was Orbilius Pupillus, who, we are told, was a stern adherent of the principle, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Under him Horace studied grammar and the earlier Latin writers, his principal text books being Livius Andronicus and Homer. Under the supervision of his father his studies had a practical turn.
About the age of eighteen Horace left Rome for Athens, where he studied assiduously the Greek
writers. He at first attempted to emulate them by writing poetical essays in their language. He, however, soon discovered the folly of this course, and endeavored rather to infuse into his own language some of the grace and beauty of the more flexible Greek.
While studying at Athens news of the assassination of Cæsar and the struggle between Octavius and Antony, on the one hand, and Brutus and Cassius on the other, reached Horace and inspired him with patriotic zeal. In spite of his studious inclinations he gave himself up to military pursuits, and accepted the command of a Roman legion. Though his appointment excited considerable jealousy among his fellow officers, both on account of his low birth and his lack of training in military affairs, he so conducted himself during this campaign, which ended with the total defeat of the patriots at Philippi, that he won the confidence and esteem of his associates, and gained for himself a strong party of friends. After the battle of Philippi, Horace returned to Italy to find himself destitute. His paternal acres had been confiscated, and he was almost poverty stricken. He obtained a position in the Quæstor's office which paid him a small salary, sufficient to supply him with the bare necessities of life, in which position he remained for many years, even after fortune smiled more brightly upon him.
A short time after his return to Rome, Horace made the acquaintance of Virgil and Varius, who, in their turn, introduced him to Mæcenas. Mæce. nas was the friend and confidential adviser of the, Emperor Augustus Cæsar, and a very influential man in Rome. The acquaintance ripened into a strong friendship and secured for Horace not only a life of comparative ease but one of great social enjoyment. Mæcenas made him many presents, among which was the Sabine farm, to wbich the poet alludes so frequently in his writings. It was through Mæcenas, also, that Horace obtained an introduction to the court of Augustus. The poet ingratiated himself with the Emperor, whose favor continued until the close of his life. Although a favorite in Roman society, and moving in what would now be called “first circles,” he was not spoiled by his good fortune, nor did he view with jealousy those whose successes or attainments Inight have entitled them to be considered his rivals. Horace died November 27th, B. C. 8, in the same year with his friend and patron Mæcenas, following him by only a few months. His illness was very short and sudden, and left him no time to make a will in writing. He declared it verbally however, in the presence of witnesses, and left all he possessed to the Emperor Augustus.
The writings of Horace consist of four books of Odes, a Carmen Sæculare, one book of Epodes,