Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Horace (65-8BC), who flourished under the Emperor Augustus. He was one of the greatest poets of his age and is one of the most quoted of any age. Carpe diem, nil desperandum, nunc est bibendum - that’s Horace. He was the son of a freedman from southern Italy and, thanks to his talent, achieved high status in Rome despite fighting on the losing side in the civil wars. His Odes are widely thought his most enduring works, yet he also wrote his scurrilous Epodes, some philosophical Epistles and broad Satires. He’s influenced poets ever since, including those such as Wilfred Owen who rejected his line: ‘dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’.

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  • Emily Gowers No other episodes
    Professor of Latin Literature at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John's College
  • William Fitzgerald No other episodes
    Professor of Latin Language and Literature at King's College London
  • Ellen O'Gorman 5 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Bristol

Reading list

  • Horace: Understanding Classics
    Paul Allen Miller (IB Tauris, 2018) Google Books →
  • Horace in English
    D. Carne-Ross and K. Haynes (eds.) (Penguin, 2001)
  • Epistolarity in the First Book of Horace's Epistles
    Anna De Pretis (Gorgias Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • How to Read a Latin Poem: If You Can't Read Latin Yet
    William Fitzgerald (Oxford University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Horace
    Stephen Harrison (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Perceptions of Horace: A Roman Poet and His Readers
    Luke Houghton and Maria Wyke (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • Musa Pedestris: Metre and Meaning in Roman Verse
    Llewelyn Morgan (Oxford University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Odes of Horace: A Critical Study
    Henry Steele Commager (University of Oklahoma Press, 1962) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m00014jt

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00014jt

Auto-category: 870.9 (Latin literature)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, Horace, who flourished under the Emperor Augustus, was one of the greatest poets of his age and is one of the most quoted of any age.