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”

Todays new poem is one of Horace’s poems on the shortness of life: as a contrast, he refers to several mythological characters who suffer everlasting punishment in Tartarus, including forty-nine of the fifty daughters of King Danaus, who killed their husbands on the wedding night. The illustration by Waterhouse shows them eternally fetching water to pour into a vessel that can never be filled.

Hear the poem in Latin and follow in English here.

Why is “now the time for drinking to be done and the ground to be struck with free foot?” Octavian, the future Emperor Augustus, has defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium! Hear Horace’s poem on the subject in Latin and follow it in English translation here.