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Horace’S Political Journey

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Chapter Summary

There are various stages to Horace's political trajectory: republican and survivor, critic, Augustan eulogist and would be "apolitical" Epicurean recluse. Horace admits and celebrates the fact of moral and intellectual diversity in dedication of the first book of Satires to Maecenas, where the keywords of both Epicureanism and Stoicism, fors and ratio are cited as possible reasons for direction of men's lives and their μεμψιμοιρία ("discontent"). The Satires of Horace have such a political dimension. The reading/interpretation of this political dimension depends on its articulation, which is dependent on Horace's depiction of himself and his relationship with Maecenas and other "Gods" with whom he consorts. Horace was a survivor constantly rewriting himself according to demands of each genre ventured, and to demands of his personal situation. In the Satires Horace developed those skills which enabled him to comment in critical vein on contemporary issues, without endangering his safety or reputation.

Keywords: Augustan eulogist; contemporary issues; Epicurean recluse; Horace; Maecenas; political trajectory; Satires

10.1163/9789004217133_007
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