Date of Award

Spring 4-23-2014

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Classics, Philosophy, and Religion

First Advisor

Romero, Joseph

Major or Concentration



Throughout his literary career, Horace is very careful in addressing political subjects within his poetry, especially the divisive subject of the Roman civil war, a conflict that was still painfully fresh in the national memory. One of the earliest instances in which the Roman civil war is directly addressed occurs in Epode 9, a sympotic poem addressed to Maecenas sometime during or immediately after the Battle of Actium. This poem appears in a body of work which is loosely modeled after the Greek iambic tradition, a poetic genre which is generally characterized as "blame poetry." However, the mythical origins of the genre suggest that the original function of the genre was not blame, but consolation. In Epode 9, Horace presents an iambic poem which combines the blame and consolation functions associated with the iambic genre. There are only two other poems in the Horatian corpus which address civil war in a sympotic setting, namely Ode 1.37 and Ode 2.7. While they appear in a work set apart from the Epodes, both of these odes seem to contain certain stylistic and structural restatements of Epode 9, suggesting that Horace may have had this epode in mind when he was writing these later odes. The purpose of this paper is to assess the evolution of Horace's response to the Roman civil war across these three pieces of political symposia by comparing the functions of lyric and iambic, and analyzing the sympotic setting that enhances the goal of consolation in each poem.

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