Glande sues laeti redeunt: the pigs come home regaled with acorns … in Virgil’s rural paradise, even the livestock live off the fat of the land. The swineherd knocking down mast from the trees for his animals is from a famous late-mediaeval Book of Hours, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Hear Virgil’s Latin and follow in John Dryden’s charming but not very faithful 17th century translation here.

In his fourth poem about his lover, Cynthia, Propertius delivers a sharp response to an acquaintance who tells him he should be looking elsewhere. Her accomplishments include the arts, including music – and certain other things, he adds …

Hear Propertius’s Latin and follow in English here.

Saturnalia on 17 December was the Roman’s midwinter party festival. It had a definite topsy-turvy element, with masters waiting on their slaves, as shown in the illustration, and a generally indulgent attitude towards high jinks.
Today’s poem was written for a different occasion: it is an extract from one of Virgil’s pastoral poems, or Eclogues, written in 40 BCE and looking forward to a birth which will herald the start of a new golden age. It is appropriate to the run-up to Christmas because, though few if any would agree today, a strong current of opinion among early Christians and in the middle ages interpreted it as a prophesy of the birth of Christ. Hear the Latin and follow in English here.

As Horace brings the final book of his Odes to an end, an idealised Roman family of the future gathers to sing Augustus’s praises and give thanks for the peace and the imperial power that he has brought to Rome.

Hear Horace’s Latin and follow in English here.