Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or simply Horace (65–8 B.C.), is often remembered and thought of as an intellectual and lover of both philosophy and poetry alike. While this remains true, it came to be that he eventually emerged through his works as an Epicurean. His works feature frequent elements from the Stoic, Peripatetic, and Platonic schools of thought; Epicureanism however is brought up more than twice as often in all of his works than the second most alluded to, Stoicism.

Today, Horace is most notably remembered for being the first of all Latin poets to express the famous aphorism carpe diem in the eleventh poem of the first book of his Odes (c. 23 BC). In its literal meaning, the phrase means to “pluck the day [as it is ripe],” or, in other words, to enjoy the moment. Continue reading “Horace and the Latin aphorism Carpe Diem”

Scythians at the Tomb of Ovid

More than 2,000 years after Augustus banished him to deepest Romania, the poet Ovid has been rehabilitated.

Rome city council on Thursday unanimously approved a motion tabled by the populist M5S party to “repair the serious wrong” suffered by Ovid, thought of as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature along with Virgil and Horace.

Best known for his 15-book epic narrative poem Metamorphoses and the elegy Ars Amatoria, or the Art of Love, Publius Ovidius Naso was exiled in 8 AD to Tomis, the ancient but remote Black Sea settlement now known as the Romanian port city of Constanța. Continue reading “Ovid’s exile revoked”

spoken latin poems

The next step on Pantheon poets in bringing spoken Latin poems by such greats as Virgil, Horace, Catullus and Ovid to Latin and non-Latin speakers alike, and throwing light on Latin influence on great European writers, will be one of the best bits of the Aeneid, as monstrous snakes lay Laocoon, the wise Trojan priest, low. Does this herald the fall of Troy? Will the Trojan Horse enter the city? Hear it recited in Latin, follow the Latin poetry in English translation. Watch this space as Aeneas continues to tell his tale to Queen Dido …

Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, with the poet Homer.

Do you love poetry? Are you interested in English and European writers? Great European literature from the middle ages to the twentieth century was hugely influenced by Latin poets like Virgil, Horace and Catullus – but if you are less than fifty or sixty years old, the chances are  you haven’t been able to meet these giants at first hand because you didn’t learn Latin at school. There are translations, but why not get a true flavour of the original? Pantheon Poets gives you the poems in Latin with a close translation and a recording, so you can get a feeling for what it felt and sounded like, as well as follow what it means. If you do know Latin and already love its poetry, I hope Pantheon Poets will help you to enjoy it to the full. We will also be posting poems in English and other languages, sometimes because they show the influence the great Latin poets have had, but sometimes simply because we like them. Welcome to the site, and enjoy it!