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Horace between Freedom and Slavery
The First Book of Epistles
Stephanie McCarter

Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Matthew Roller, Laura McClure, Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell, Series Editors

“McCarter’s unpacking of Horace’s philosophical thinking is a significant contribution to understanding his work and to the broader cultural picture of Roman engagement with Greek philosophical ideas and practices.”
—Catherine Connors, University of Washington

During the Roman transition from Republic to Empire in the first century B.C.E., the poet Horace found his own public success in the era of Emperor Augustus at odds with his desire for greater independence. In Horace between Freedom and Slavery, Stephanie McCarter offers new insights into Horace’s complex presentation of freedom in the first book of his Epistles and connects it to his most enduring and celebrated moral exhortation, the golden mean.

She argues that, although Horace commences the Epistles with an uncompromising insistence on freedom, he ultimately adopts a middle course. She shows how Horace explores in the poems the application of moderate freedom first to philosophy, then to friendship, poetry, and place. Rather than rejecting philosophical masters, Horace draws freely on them without swearing permanent allegiance to any—a model for compromise that allows him to enjoy poetic renown and friendships with the city’s elite while maintaining a private sphere of freedom. This moderation and adaptability, McCarter contends, become the chief ethical lessons that Horace learns for himself and teaches to others. She reads Horace’s reconfiguration of freedom as a political response to the transformations of the new imperial age.

 

 

Author. Photo credit, Name Stephanie McCarter is an associate professor of classical languages at Sewanee: The University of the South.

 

 


 

 

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Translated and with commentary by David R. Slavitt


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December 2015
LC: 2015009227 PA
378 pp.   6 x 9

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