Horace on Augustus: Fact or Fiction?

Thom, S. (2004)

The original publication is available at http://akroterion.journals.ac.za/pub

Journal Article

Quot homines tot sententiae seems a good summary of the variety of critical readings of lyric poetry in general and of Horace’s position on Augustus in particular. This raises the interesting question of the position of factual information in poetry: does lyric as genre imply a choice for fiction as opposed to fact or can some references to contemporary personalities or incidents be taken as realistic? In this case specifically: can what Horace says about Augustus be taken as a realistic assessment of the emperor? To complicate matters, Augustus was a powerful personage who wanted and often managed to put his own stamp on things1 — in himself an embodiment of the opposition between fact and fiction.

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