Become a fan of h2g2
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
HoraceQuintus Horatius Flaccus, or Horace as he is more widely known, was a Roman poet. We can confirm his name by looking at his poetry and an inscription on the Carmen Saeculare, of which more can be found later in this biography.
The Poet Is BornHe lived from the eighth of December in 65B.C. to the twenty-seventh of November in 8 B.C. He was born in Venusia, a Roman military colony in south-eastern Italy.
How We Know What We KnowHorace gives us information about himself through his poems. This is how we know that he was the son of an auction broker1 and tax collector2
The Education Of HoraceHorace was educated in Rome3 under L. Orbilius Pupillus. There he studied, among other things, the poetry of Homer. He also went to the Academy at Athens where he met the son of Cicero. While at the Academy, he studied moral philosophy and theory of knowledge.
The LiberatorWhile Horace was in Greece, Brutus4 arrived at Athens six months after Julius Caesar had been assassinated. He began to attend philosophical lectures, hoping to recruit young Romans to his cause. Horace joined the army of Brutus and before he fought at Philippi, in 42 B.C., Brutus promoted him, without any experience, to the post of military tribune.5 He fought at the Battle of Philippi; in which Brutus’ army routed and both Cassius and Brutus committed suicide. He ran away from the battle and was pardoned by the triumvirate of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus. He eventually found his way back to Rome but he found that his family’s properties had been confiscated.
The Poet Is BornHorace claimed that having his properties taken away and being plunged into poverty made him write poetry, but he seems to have been wealthy enough to because a clerk6 in the Roman Treasury7 in 39 B.C.
The Poetry And Friends Of HoraceIn 39 B.C., after Augustus granted amnesty, Horace became a secretary in the Roman treasury. In 38, Horace met and became the friend of C. Cilnius Maecenas, who accepted him into his circle of friends, and, it is thought, gave him the Sabine farm sometime before 31 B.C.8
Augustus favoured Horace and commissioned him to write the Carmen Saeculare for the Secular Games, in 17 B.C.