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To find out about Horace's life and works, click here
Very literal translation by Michael Gilleland.
A close translation by Tony Kline, 2003.
English poet and classical scholar A.E. Housman (1859-1936) regarded this ode of Horace as "the most beautiful poem in ancient literature". Housman's translation is beautiful in its own right.
This blogpost compares and contrasts lots of different translations. Which one do you prefer?
This poem is written in a poetic form or "meter" known as Archilochian
Find out more in the section LATIN POETRY: Meters, Rhythms & Scansion
on the Verse Authors
This famous "spring ode" of Horace is his second poem on the subject; whereas in the first (Ode I.4) spring is just beginning and there is a certain joy, here the thaw is over, the season is well advanced and the tone is more sombrely philosophical.
Detail of one of the Four Seasons depicted on this complete mosaic
in the Bardo Museum, Tunisia.
Detail of one of the Four Seasons depicted on this fragmentary mosaic
in the British Museum; originally from the temple at Halikarnassos.
The Graces - also known as the Charities after their Greek name -were the daughters of Jupiter and, as minor goddesses, were the personifications of beauty, grace and favour. Traditionally, they were 3 in number, called Aglaea ("Splendour"), Euphrosyne ("Mirth") and Thalia ("Festivity"). They usually accompanied Venus and Cupid, and Apollo and the Muses, at joyous occasions such as weddings and other festivities.
From ancient times they were usally depicted in their famous "triple pose", joined in a loose huddle with the central Grace showing her back to the viewer. This version from the House of Titus Dentatus Panthera in Pompeii, now in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, is particularly celebrated.
- Renaissance artists were attracted to the subject, and noteworthy paintings include those by Primavera by Botticelli
(in the Uffizi, Florence)and The Three Graces by Raphael
(in the Musee Conde, Chantilly, France).
- From Neo-classical times, the most celebrated depiction is Canova's sculpture
which the Italian sculptor fashioned in 1814-17, and is now displayed jointly between the V&A London & National Galleries of Scotland.
The Nymphs were beautiful female divinities of nature. The nymphs who inhabited the mountains were known as Oreads, the nymphs who were associated with the rivers, brooks and springs were the Naiads, the wood nymphs were the Dryads and the tree nymphs were the Hamadryads. They often accompanied other gods and goddesses whose realms and haunts included natural settings.
This painting is one of the most famous depictions of nymphs for its sheer beauty and atmosphere. Entitled "Hylas and the Nymphs", it was painted in 1896 by John William Waterhouse; a masterpiece of English Victorian art in the Manchester City Art Gallery.
Zephyrus - or sometimes just Zephyr in English - was both the god of the west wind and the West Wind itself. Despite Homer portraying him as a stormy wind, in all later Classical literature he is regarded as a warm, gentle breeze and usually associated with Spring.
This 1486 painting by Botticelli entitled the "Birth of Venus" shows, at the top-left, Zephyrus and his girl Chloris/Flora, both shrouded in springtime flowers, blowing newly-born Venus ashore in her shell. Detail
Trojan hero and legendary ancestor of the Romans. Here he is shown narrating the fall of Troy and his subsequent travels to Dido, queen of Carthage who embraces his son, Ascanius. He will subsequently leave Carthage and sail to Italy to found the Roman nation. The city of Rome will actually be founded some 500 years later by Romulus.
Painting by Pierre Narcisse Guerin, 1819, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.
Horace's reference to Aeneas is a compliment to Virgil and his recently published poem.
For more information on Aeneas, see Verse Authors
Tullus Hostilius was the third king of Rome (c.672-640 BC).
This war-mongering king is depicted in full spate of battle in this picture from 1597 by Giuseppe Cesari; in the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Caen, France.
His Wikipedia entry
Republican coin of 56 BC depicting Ancus Marcius the 4th King of Rome. Legend records that he was the first king to build an aqueduct to bring water into the city.
More info here from Wikipedia
A son of Zeus and early king of Crete. Renowned for his wisdom and justice as a lawgiver he became one of the judges over the souls of the dead in the Underworld, along with his brother Rhadymanthus and another just son of Zeus, Aeacus. This image shows a detail of the Judges of the Dead from a Greek vase (c.320 BC). Minos sits enthroned, Rhadamanthys stands on the left wearing a Phrygian cap and robe, whilst Aiakos sits on the right. In the Antikensammlungen, Munich, Germany.
Following the highly-influential Italian poem "The Divine Comedy" by Dante, written 1308-1321, Minos was imagined as a beastly, snake-tailed figure; an image adopted by Michelangelo in his Last Judgement
, 1535-41, in the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Detailed entry about Minos in Wikipedia
A lawyer, known to us only through Horace's letter to him (Epistles I.5) in which he is invited to dinner.
The Roman goddess of hunting, identified with the Greek Aphrodite. Renowned for her virginity and fiercely protecting it, she also protected others who chose a chaste life.
This famous Roman sculpture is a copy of Greek statue attributed to Leochares ca 325BC. Found in Italy, it is now in the Louvre, and known as the "Diana of Versailles".
In Greek mythology, the youth Hippolytus pledged chastity in his devotion to Artemis/Diana. After he rejected the advances of his step-mother Phaedra, she falsely accused him of rape; he was cursed by his father, and he was killed after his horses, terrified by a creature sent from the sea, bolted and he was dragged under his chariot.
The images shows "The Death of Hippolytus, 1611, by Peter Paul Rubens in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Theseus, a Greek hero, tried to abduct Proserpina/Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld. Not a good idea! They were captured, and according to some versions, Herakles rescued Theseus but was unable to free Pirithous. This Greek vase, c.450, by the Niobid Painter, depicts Herakles standing above two figures thought to be Theseus and Pirithous; in the Louvre, Paris.
Before they went to the Underworld, they abducted Helen of Sparta (of later Troy fame!) and threw dice to see who should have her as a bride
- Theseus won. It was then that they decided to go to the Underworld to find Pirithous a bride.
River of the Underworld, whose waters made the souls of the dead forget their earthly lives.
Original artwrok by Requiemm