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”

Ovid and Horace's different takes on love

Recent additions to the Latin poetry pages include the first of what will be quite a few extracts from the works of Ovid, the last of the Big Four – the others being Horace, Virgil and Catullus – to feature. If you want to know more about them, there is information and the Augustan age in which the last three wrote on the “About the Poets” page. The piece – “Ovid’s broad-minded advice to his mistress” – is from his Amores and exemplifies his enthusiasm for good, old-fashioned sex. Continue reading “Ovid and Horace’s different takes on love”

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”