Maecenas might reasonably have wondered why Horace was celebrating 1 March because it was a feast-day for motherhood and, as Horace says, he was a bachelor. The poem is a direct compliment to Maecenas, who was Horace’s patron and benefactor and Octavians’, the future Emperor Augustus’s, right-hand man. Indirectly, it is also a compliment to Octavian, whose generals have won the victories it refers to: they imply a date around 30 or 29 BCE. The biggest recent victory, over Cleopatra and Mark Antony at Actium in 31 BCE, is not mentioned, perhaps because it is too great a personal triumph for Octavian to refer to in a poem addressed to someone else, or because a reference to civil war might jar in a poem celebrating peace and tranquility.
If the wine was made when Tullus was Consul, it is a year older than Horace himself.
See the illustrated blog post here.
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