The Roman poet Horace, in reality Quintus Horatius Flaccus, was born in Venusia (today Venosa) on December 8, 65 BCE. He was thus not a Roman citizen by birth. Horace came to Rome as a boy. Here he enjoyed a careful upbringing and education under a famous grammarian, "Plagosus Orbilius".
He studied philosophy and rhetoric in Athens together with Marcus (around 65 BCE), the son of Cicero. In the year 42 BCE, Horace was 23 years old. He fought at Philippi as commander of a legion in Brutus’ army (85–42 BCE) against Antony (83–30 BCE) and Octavian (63 BCE–14 CE).
After the defeat at Philippi, he returned to Rome. This political error meant the end of his bold career. The position as "scriba quaetorius", as the scribe of a quaestor, protected him from dire material need.
In the years 41 to 30 BCE, Horace wrote his ""Satires in hexameter in two books. In the year 38 BCE, he was introduced to Maecenas (70–8 BCE) by Vergil (70–19 BCE) and Varius. The gift of his Sabine country house through Virgil permitted him to devote himself entirely to poetry.
Both poets were close friends until death. In the year 23 BCE, he published the first three books of "Odes". The fourth book was written in the years 17–13 BCE. Horace wrote both books of the "Epistulae" in the years 20 and 13 BCE. They deal with the problems of human society and lifestyle. The poet found his way to Augustus through Virgil and Maecenas.
The latter encouraged him to a form of living devoted to literature and philosphy until his death. On commission from Augustus, he wrote the "Secular Hymn" in 17 BCE, which extolled the family and policies of Augustus. However, Horace declined a position as private secretary at the emperor’s court.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus died on November 27, 8 BCE, probably in Rome. He was buried on Esquiline near the grave of his patron.
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