« ForrigeFortsæt »
FOR the text of this edition I have endeavored to make conscientious use of the available critical material. notes owe much to the standard German commentators. Except in the rarest instances, I have consulted no American edition, valuable and important as some of these are.
To the many kind friends who have helped me with their criticisms I here make my grateful acknowledgments.
ITHACA, July, 1901.
CHARLES E. BENNETT.
1. Birth and Early Life. - Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born at the little town of Venusia, on the borders of Apulia and Lucania, December 8, 65 B.C. His father was a freedman, who seems to have been a collector of taxes. In this business he saved some money, and, dissatisfied with the advantages offered by the school at Venusia, took the young Horace to Rome for his early education. This plan evidently involved no little personal and financial sacrifice on the father's part-a sacrifice appreciated to the full by Horace, if not at the time, at least in his later life. In a touching passage almost unique in ancient literature (Sat. i. 6. 70 ff.), the poet tells us of the father's devotion at this period. Ambitious only for his son's mental and moral improvement, without a thought of the larger material prizes of life, he not only provided Horace with the best instruction the capital afforded, but watched with anxious care over the boy's moral training as well, even accompanying him to school and back again to his lodgings. One of Horace's teachers at this period was Orbilius, who is referred to in Epist. ii. 1. 70 as a severe disciplinarian (plagosum). Under Orbilius, Horace apparently pursued the grammatical studies which formed the staple of the literary training of the day. Later, he probably devoted attention to the
more advanced rhetorical training; under what teacher is
In his nineteenth year or thereabouts (i.e. about 46 B.C.), Horace went to Athens to add the finishing touches to his education by the study of philosophy, which still enjoyed a flourishing existence and was represented by several schools, the Stoic, Epicurean, Peripatetic, and Academic. The Greek poets also engaged his attention largely. Among his friends at this time may be mentioned the young Cicero, son of the orator, and M. Valerius Messalla, who, with many other young Romans, were residing at Athens for the purpose of study.
3. Brutus and Philippi. After some two years, the still air of delightful studies' was rudely agitated for Horace by political events. Caesar had been assassinated in March of 44 B.C., and, in September of that year, Brutus arrived in Athens, burning with the spirit of republicanism. Horace was easily induced to join his standard, and, though without previous military training or experience, received the important position of tribunus militum in Brutus's army. The battle of Philippi (November, 42 B.c.) sounded the death-knell of republican hopes, and left Horace in bad case. His excellent father had died, and the scant patrimony which would have descended to the poet had been confiscated by Octavian in consequence of the son's support of Brutus and Cassius.
4. Return to Rome. Beginning of Career as Man of Letters. Maecenas. The Sabine Farm. Taking advantage of the general amnesty granted by Octavian, Horace returned to Rome in 41 B.C. and there secured a position as quaestor's clerk (scriba), devoting his intervals of leisure to composition in verse. He soon formed a warm friendship with Virgil, then just beginning his career as poet, and with