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The Satires by Horace

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File Name: The Satires by Horace

File Submitter: Viggen

File Submitted: 29 Sep 2014

File Category: Free Classic Works in PDF



The Satires (Latin: Satirae or Sermones) are a collection of satirical poems written by the Roman poet Horace. Composed in dactylic hexameters, the Satires explore the secrets of human happiness and literary perfection. Published probably in 35 BCE and at the latest by 33 BCE, the first book of Satires represents Horace's first published work, and it established him as one of the great poetic talents of the Augustan Age.


The second book was published in 30 BCE as a sequel. In his Sermones (Latin for "conversations") or Satires (Latin for "miscellaneous poems"), Horace combines Epicurean, that is, originally Greek philosophy with Roman good sense to convince his readers of the futility and silliness of their ambitions and desires. As an alternative, he proposes a life that is based on the Greek philosophical ideals of autarkeia (Greek for "inner self-sufficiency") and metriotes (Greek for "moderation" or sticking to the Just Mean).


In S. 1.6.110–131, Horace illustrates what he means by describing a typical day in his own simple, but contented life. The second book also addresses the fundamental question of Greek Hellenistic philosophy, the search for a happy and contented life. In contrast to Satires I, however, many of this book's poems are dialogues in which the poet allows a series of pseudo-philosophers, such as the bankrupt art-dealer turned Stoic philosopher Damasippus, the peasant Ofellus, the mythical seer Teiresias, and the poet's own slave Dama, to espouse their philosophy of life, in satiric contrast to that of the narrator.



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