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Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (December 8, 65 BC - 8 BC) known in the English world as Horace was the leading lyric poet in Latin.

Horace was the son of a freedman, but himself born free. His father spent considerable amounts of money on Horace's education, including sending him to Athens for the study of Greek and philosophy.

After the assassination of Julius Cæsar, Horace joined the army, serving under the generalship of Brutus. He was present at the battle of Philippi, and saved himself by fleeing. When an amnesty was declared for those who had fought against the victorious Augustus, he returned to Italy, only to find his father dead, his estate confiscated. Horace was reduced to poverty. He was, however, able to purchase a clerkship in the quæstor's office, which allowed him to get by and practice his poetic art.

Horace was a member of a literary circle that included Virgil and Varius; they introduced him to Mæcenas, friend and confidant of Augustus. Mæcenas became his patron and close friend, and presented Horace with an estate near Tibur, contemporary Tivoli.

Horace's surviving work includes:

One of the Epistles is often referred to as a separate work in itself, the Ars Poetica. (This work was first translated into English by Queen Elizabeth I.)

Horace is generally considered by classicists to be, along with Virgil, the greatest of the Latin poets. He wrote many Latin phrases that remain in use, in Latin or in translation, including carpe diem, "seize the day," and aurea mediocritas, the "golden mean." His works are highly derivative of Greek models, and written exclusively in Greek metres which were sometimes a difficult fit to Latin structure and syntax. The Satires and Epistles are his most personal works, and the most interesting to the contemporary reader.


Graïs ingenium, Graïs dedit ore rotundo Musa loqui, præter laudem nullius avaris. . .

--- "It was the genius of a Greek that first taught the Muse to sing, a Greek seeking nothing but praise."

See also: Horace (disambiguation) for other people named Horace.

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