Horace’s paean to Augustus

Horace’s second Ode paints a vivid picture of the time of troubles that Rome, beset by civil war, has suffered, before turning to identify and praise her saviour – the new Emperor, Augustus. The praise is lavish by our standards – it identifies the Emperor with a God on Earth – but there is no particular need to suspect Horace, an old republican, but now completely associated with the new regime and its leaders, of insincerity. The stability and peace provided by the new order would have been welcome to very many, as its durabilty – Augustus was to rule for a further 37 years after the date of this poem – shows.

Hear Horace’s Latin performed in the  original and follow in English here.

The illustration, from the Ara Pacis, consecrated in 13 BC, is a symbolic representation of the peace and prosperity that Augustus’s reign has brought.