Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.02.30
Gregor Maurach, Horaz - Werk und Leben. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2001. Pp. xiv, 506. ISBN 3-8253-1255-5. EUR 42.00.
Reviewed by Boris Dunsch, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität, Greifswald (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Word count: 4987 words
I offer my apologies to all readers for the tardiness as well as the length of this review.
Even someone merely flicking through the seventeen chapters of this admirably learned and voluminous book -- arguably one of the longest monographs on Horace's works to have been published for many years -- will arrive at the conclusion that Maurach (henceforth M.) has indeed a lot to offer to his readers, although many might not always readily agree with his (at times somewhat subjective) conclusions. It is also obvious that this book is not aimed at the tiro in Classical Philology. As a consequence, the questions asked and the answers given will be more fully appreciated by those who have dealt with (and read quite a bit of) Horace before. As far as matters of presentation are concerned, the monograph should definitely have been proofread with greater care.
In the course of this review, I shall first give a brief summary of the contents of this massive book and then look at some more general points. This overview will be followed by a page-by-page examination and discussion of passages which need to be addressed for various reasons, ranging from mere trivia such as typographical errors to rather more intricate problems, for example matters of textual criticism. Readers with a general interest in Horace might skip that third section and just read the concluding part of this review.
At the beginning of his study M. presents a short résumé of that period of Horace's life which lies before the time when he -- as far as might safely be concluded1 -- became a poet. Further biographical details are interspersed piecemeal in the course of M.'s exploration of the poems. The first chapter is devoted to Horace's childhood and adolescence (1-8), the second gives a brief account of his service on the side of Brutus in the civil war (9-14).2 In what is a compromise between a chronological order and a treatment by genre and topics,3 M. then discusses at length the various parts of Horace's oeuvre. He begins with an interpretation of the Epodes (15-54), followed by a close look at the first and second book of the Satires (55-96; 96-124) and the first three books of the Odes (125-296). In that context, he pays particular attention to Odes 1, 1 and 1, 38 (157-170), to poems dealing with love (171-192) and friendship (193-218), to the 'Roman Odes' (219-258), to the philosophical topics in Odes 2, 10 and 2, 16 (259-272), and to carmina addressed to the gods (273-289). Next, M. treats the Epistles (297-390), the carmen saeculare and Ode 4, 6 (391-406), and the fourth book of the Odes (405-446). The letters to Florus, the Pisones and Augustus are given a somewhat shorter and more summary treatment towards the end of the book (447-487). Finally, M. sums up his general ideas and conclusions (488-500). This epilogue is followed by a select bibliography (501-504) and an index of Horatian passages discussed for their textual, stylistic, linguistic or methodological interest (505-506), which supplements the detailed table of contents at the beginning of the book (ix-xiv). What is definitely missing from this book is a short section on Horatian Nachleben, something like the interesting little section at the end of Bernhard Kytzler's Horaz: Eine Einführung, Stuttgart 1996, pp. 161-184, a book that surprisingly is never mentioned by M.
First I would like to discuss some matters of formal presentation. To begin with, much can be said in favour of this mongraph. Its main merits are a (mostly) careful attention to detail, linguistic as well as artistic, and many interesting digressions stored away in numerous learned footnotes. Most of the time, M. is well aware of the fact that reading a work of just over 500 pages is an arduous task for anyone. This is probably the reason why he inserted short summaries and overviews, mostly in the form of résumés, at crucial points in order to keep his readers on track (e.g. pp. 91-94, 118-123), a practice that has to be applauded.
Yet, despite these merits, M.'s work does have shortcomings. Perhaps the most readily noticeable of these is the uneven treatment of recent scholarship in its bibliography. Moreover, considering the scope of the work, it would have been good if the reader had been provided with all the things that lighten the load of working through such a bulky book. Yet unfortunately, this monograph does not have a general index, nor a meta-bibliography. In addition to that, M.'s overall handling of bibliographical data is at times rather uneven. Still, in most cases this does not seriously affect the general usability of the book. An exception is the way M. quotes from Eduard Fraenkel's standard monograph on Horace. I have to say that the uneven treatment of quotations from Fraenkel's Horace (Oxford 1957) and its German translation (1963; fourth edition 1974) is a bit of a nuisance to the reader. Moreover, M. does not tell his readers on which edition of Horace his quotations from the poet are based. Is it e.g. Borzsák, Shackleton Bailey, or Klingner, or all of them? Signs of the same kind of slight authorial negligence can be found in the references supplied in M.'s footnotes. Sometimes they are mystifyingly cryptic, e.g. p. 201, n. 20: "Die übrigen Vermutungen Lynes, z.B. 105, Anm. 12, wollen wir als zu weit hergeholt beiseite lassen." As the reader is actually not told what Lyne's other assumptions are, the point of M.'s remark must perforce remain in the dark until one gets Lyne's book off the shelf and looks up the passage referred to. Similar examples of this kind of telegraphic style can be found e.g. on pp. 195 n. 7, 207 n. 33, 234 n. 28, 368 n. 219, p. 499 n. 7.
Apart from the formal side, M.'s book invites some criticism also with respect to the fact that the author does not always strike the right note, especially when talking about the ideas of other scholars. In his preface (on p. vii) M. makes a programmatic statement that culminates in a very personal and emotional appeal. Among other things, he declares that it is his aim to "protect the ancient text, as far as possible, against corruptions, not the least against those arising from interpretation. Very often they come about when people are unwilling to serve the text with due awe and instead misuse it egoistically for the benefit of rash ideas or insipid ideologies."4 This statement shows (among other things) that M. does not shun quibbling with other scholars, which is not a bad thing altogether. Too much quibbling, however, may result in sounding gratuitously polemical. And indeed, a bitter after-taste is created by numerous and rather gratuitous slurs (e.g. pp. 141 n. 34, 147 n. 50, 167 at the end of the first paragraph, 169 n. 28, especially the last sentence, p. 231 n. 21) mainly directed against important proponents of recent developments of Horatian scholarship in the English-speaking world. A typical example of such polemics can be found in a footnote on p. 452 (n. 8), where M. launches a vitriolic attack against R.O.A.M. Lyne, which closes with a rhetorical question in an utterly condescending tone: "How about reading the text more carefully?" Such slurs are unnecessary, even (and particularly) when one deems oneself to have done somewhat better than the person whose theories are called into question.
I am conscious of the fact that a work of such an ambitious character and scope will inevitably contain passages about which some people may feel prone to disagree with the author. Moreover, it is almost impossible to avoid at least some factual errors or inaccuracies. The following list of little things I am dissatisfied with may appear rather long.5 Still, despite the points which are criticized here, none of M.'s potential readers should feel discouraged. Some matters of presentation will be glossed over. Missing or superfluous spaces are not mentioned, let it suffice to say that there are quite a few of them. For the sake of brevity, the considerable number of missing or superfluous commas, brackets, and other punctuation marks will not be listed either.
p. 2, last paragraph: "He had married, but Horace never talked about his mother, only once (c. 3, 4, 10) about his nurse. Had his mother died in childbirth and had his father have him reared by a nurse?" A possible but highly speculative deduction, based on a mere argumentum e silentio. It was by no means uncommon for upper-class infants and children to have a nurse, nutrix, to accompany and even rear and educate a child.6 Moreover, I think Roman writers did not usually talk in a personal way about their mothers.7 Then again, even if M.'s conclusion was valid, the next question that arises inevitably is whether speculating about such biographical details can help us to elucidate Horace's poetry in any substantial way.
p. 7: "It will have been in Athens that he came across Pindar." Why not already in Rome? M.'s statement is incapable of proof, and despite the authority of E. Fraenkel, Horace, Oxford 1957, p. 9 ("I like to think that it was at Athens that Horace first came across the bulk of pre-classic lyrics and that in those happy days he now and then may even have dreamed of paying homage to the half-forgotten masters by renewing in his native tongue their forms and some of their themes."), I feel somewhat disinclined to believe it.8
p. 11, first paragraph (on C. 2, 7): "It may be doubted whether Antonius really demanded proskynesis; Horace probably means touching the earth with one's chin in a figurative sense." This seems to contradict what M. himself says about the same passage on p. 196 n. 11: "Horace was thinking of soldiers killed in action lying with their faces turned towards the ground (Hom. Il. 2, 418; Harrison on Verg. Aen. 10, 349), but cf. Caes. BC 3, 98, 2." Moreover, a simpler explanation would be that someone who falls -- chin first -- to the ground will probably have been hit in the back after having turned and run away from the enemy. So the position of the corpses would be indicative of the soldiers' ignominious cowardice. Thematically, this would be more in tune with Horace's literary self-stylisation as a rhipsaspis. At the same time, this motif, reminiscent of Alcaeus and Archilochus, would throw into relief the crucial difference between him and the other cowards: Though probably being a coward himself, at least he is still alive, and so is Pompeius Varus.
p. 21, first paragraph: Interestingly, J.-C. Scaliger, Poetices libri septem, book 6, chapter 7 (p. 448 Deitz/Vogt-Spira) had already arrived at a similar explanation of the difficult passage Epod. 7, 15f. ("Qui sequitur versus profecto a me non intellegitur: ... Nisi dicas quaeritis communiter, id est omnes, quid expediat melior pars quaeritis carere laboribus. At idem est. Vides vero quantam duritiem.").
p. 31, n. 33 (on Epod. 2, 37): The reportage of the first conjecture is not precise. It is attributed to a man called "Scrinerius". That name should probably read "Scriverius" here and elsewhere (e.g. in Borzsák's apparatus criticus); I could not find any reference to a scholar called "Scrinerius", so I suppose the person referred to could be the Dutch humanist Pieter Schryver (1576-1660). Moreover, contrary to M.'s report, Schryver did not suggest replacing malarum by Roma, quae, which would result in an unmetrical line. Rather, he suggested reading malarum Roma quas instead of malarum quas amor.
p. 40, p. 44: Somewhat disappointingly, M. does not discuss either Epode 8, as he finds it too revolting ("zu widerwärtig"), or Epode 12, for much the same reason. Victor Grassmann's standard monograph Die erotischen Epoden des Horaz: Literarischer Hintergrund und sprachliche Tradition, Munich 1966, shows just how much can profitably be said about these poems.
p. 46, n. 64: "In seinem Buche 'Polyhymnia' behandelt G. Davis [...]." The bibliographical data for that book are incomplete here, and M. does not include this item in his bibliography (as happens elsewhere in his book): Gregson Davis, Polyhymnia: The Rhetoric of Horatian Lyric Discourse, Berkeley 1991.
p. 49f.: M. follows Pseudo-acro (in his introduction to this epode) that Epod. 17 is a means of taking back what he had said in Epod. 5 ("antwortet der 5. Epode in der Form der versöhnlichen Gegendarstellung"). Pomponius Porphyrio is of a different opinion; he is followed by J.-C. Scaliger, Poetices libri septem, book 6, chapter 7 (p. 452 Deitz/Vogt-Spira): "Carmen in Canidiam non est palinodia, ut scripsere, sed dissimulata recantatio, nec tam dissimulata, quin appareant opprobria manifesta." That might have been worth a note.
pp. 97-123 (on Satires, book 2): It is puzzling how M. could write this chapter without reference to Frances Muecke's excellent commentary on this book of the Satires (Warminster 1993, repr. with corr. 1997).
p. 110, n. 22 (on Sat. 2, 5, 103): The text of this line is probably corrupt. Yet I would not be as confident as M. with regard to the exact location of the corruption(s) or the possibility of repair (he follows Pädikow and Courtney). A good discussion of the problems involved is provided by Muecke, p. 192f.
p. 141, second paragraph (cf. also, e.g., p. 145, n. 39): Are there 'hard' internal criteria on which the relative chronology of Horace's poems may be based? Is there, for example, a discernible "Frühstil"? I am significantly less confident about all this than M. appears to be.
p. 143, second paragraph (on C. 1, 28): "So at the beginning there is an address of the natural philosopher Archytas; one does not know who is talking [...]." The scholia actually say that Archytas is the speaker of this ode. M. should at least have mentioned this. A helpful further discussion of this ode can be found in Th. Birt, Horaz' Lieder, Leipzig 1925, pp. 126-128.
pp. 165-170: M.'s treatment of Ode 1, 38 could have benefitted further from M. von Albrecht, Römische Poesie, 2nd edn. Tübingen/Basel 1995, pp. 252-255.
p. 165, n. 17 (on C. 1, 38): "How people who do not have servants should translate puer is always a difficult question; not long ago 'boy' was current in many parts of the world, without any pejorative undertone." Considering that 'boy', at least when used with reference to adult people has frequently been employed as an ethnic slur over the past few centuries and that it is probably always degrading for a person to be referred to by means of a generic term rather than a proper name, especially one that denotes physical inferiority (viz. weakness and immaturity), at least the second half of M.'s statement appears to be rather insensitive. Even seemingly innocent words (like boy, girl, or uncle) can take on racist and pejorative meanings when put into the wrong context, irrespective of whether that happens on purpose or not, see David Pilgrim/Philip Middletown, "Purposeful Venom Revisited", in: Gerald E. Matthews (ed), Journey Towards Nationalism: The Implications of Race and Racism, New York 1999, pp. 91-93.
p. 177, last paragraph (on C. 1, 17): "schlendernd" is perhaps not a totally adequate rendering of deviae, which rather conveys the idea of going slightly astray.
p. 185, third paragraph: "Frivoles findet sich nun bei Horaz mitnichten". Nothing risqué in Horace? How about Epodes 8 and 12, which M. has dropped earlier on for reasons of decorum?
p. 186, n. 50 (on C. 1, 30): M. refers to a recent article by J. Rüpke, Hermes 126, 1998, 435-453, who argues among other things that the poem can be read as an evocatio of Venus. This suggestion, however, has already been made by F. Cairns, Five 'Religious' Odes of Horace, AJP 92, 1971, 433-452, repeated in: Id., Generic Composition in Greek and Roman Poetry, Edinburgh 1972, p. 93.
p. 189, end of first paragraph: "[...] wohingegen die Schlussvignette 1, 38 nur noch heiter und schwerelos wirkt." The tone of Ode 1, 38 is by no means unambiguously serene, nor is it "a truly simple little poem" (p. 166, second paragraph); see e.g. the careful analysis of the various dimensions and layers of meaning of this ode provided by John V. Cody, Horace and Callimachean Aesthetics, Brussels 1976, pp. 15-44.
p. 195, first paragraph: "[...] der Winter ist nicht zu kalt, was für Horaz günstig war, denn er fror viel (ep. 1, 20, 24)." The reviewer is less confident than M. that we can safely deduce anything particularly autobiographical (perhaps apart from the date and Horace's age) from what he says at the sphragis-like end of Ep. 1, 20. E. Fraenkel, Horace, Oxford 1957, pp. 360-363 has plausibly argued for a number of literary sources which influenced the way in which the poet offers -- seemingly freely -- information about himself.
p. 200, first paragraph (on C. 1, 20): "Und war es denn von vornherein für eine weite Verbreitung bestimmt?" This question is irrelevant, as the ode was published eventually, and we know it only in its published form.
p. 205, first paragraph: "[...] die Verse führen nirgends [...] tiefer in die Empfindung oder in das Nachdenken hinein. Das war in c. 1, 20 und 2, 17 anders gewesen, und so scheint die Frühdatierung attraktiv [...]." The constitution of relative chronologies on the grounds of style and content is always a difficult and methodologically dubious venture.
p. 220, second paragraph: "Ferner zeigt das Proöm, dass Horaz sich sehr klar darüber war, dass wenn auch nicht immer, so doch zuweilen ein Gott durch ihn sprach." I do not see how one can reliably distinguish between the application of the literary topos of a vates as mouthpiece of a god and the expression of a sincere feeling of the poet. Actually, M. holds a similar view in a different context when (on p. 231) he criticizes Syndikus because of his "search for the poets personal thoughts and feelings [...]. We are not concerned with them here, and it is highly improbable that we will find out about them." The reviewer agrees wholeheartedly.
p. 230, n. 17: M. partly repeats what he said on p. 222, n. 6.
p. 238, n. 41: "(der Helikon sei gemeint der Musenberg ist heute arg verschandelt)" is hard to understand. Maybe some punctuation or some words are missing?
p. 256, first paragraph (on the cycle of the 'Roman Odes'): M. criticizes Egil Kraggerud's interpretation of these odes as mainly politically motivated literary products, intended as a "deft indirect homage to Augustus for his practical piety" (Horaz und Actium: Studien zu den politischen Epoden, Oslo 1984, p. 66). He concludes: "We [i.e. M. himself] would like to keep politics away from these much rather idealistic poems." Remarks like this (and there are many of them in this book) are quite typical of M.'s reverent approach to Horatian poetry. Yet, avoiding the political side of Horace is a difficult thing to do and will almost inevitably result in a lopsided view of his work.
p. 269 (on C. 2, 16, 21-24): I would not like to bracket this stanza as readily as M.; for the structural unity of the ode as we have it, see e.g. N. E. Collinge, The Structure of Horace's Odes, London 1961, p. 74 ("a stationary two-stanza section of very general reflexion (17-24), placed in a pivotal position").
pp. 273-289: M.'s discussion of the odes addressed to the gods could have benefitted further from T. Oksala, Religion und Mythologie bei Horaz: Eine literarhistorische Untersuchung; Helsinki 1973.
p. 289, first paragraph: "zerspellen". Readers of M. will find that he uses quite a number of rather unusual (mostly quite melodious) words that will not readily be found in German-English dictionaries. This is just one example instead of many ("vernutzt" on p. vii; "feinspürig" on pp. 71 and 494; "Gabelungsfermate" on p. 243; "zerlösen" on p. 288; "Fürsprech" on pp. 398 and 403, "überzwerch" on p. 482, n. 64, etc.).
p. 293 (in a digression on how to read and interpret Horatian poetry, just after yet another attack against R.O.A.M. Lyne, who had dared to criticize Horace as wildly ambitious): "Great poets like Horace, Vergil and also great writers of more recent times can only be reached by a very small number of people in the sense that they actually grasp what these writers wanted, which thoughts and images were alive in them, and that (knowledge) reaches much more deeply than normal people like us could ever go." This passage is indicative of M.'s attitude of awe and worship that can be felt in many places of his monograph.
p. 340, first paragraph (discussing how much Horace might have liked the countryside): The fact the ancient vita of Horace tells us vixit plurimum in secessu ruris is probably spun out of his many poems celebrating a rural life. It could only by circular argument be used to explain the poet's predilection for this particular topic.
p. 363, n. 203 (on Ep. 1, 18, 10f. imi derisor lecti): There is nothing wrong with derisor and it does not need to be replaced by adrisor. Admittedly, the word is quite rare, and the instances we have appear to diverge in meaning, but see W. M. Lindsay in his commentary (London 1900, repr. Cambridge 1961) on Plautus, Captivi 71 ("jeering or jesting parasites") and F. Muecke, Horace: Satires II, Warminster 1993, p. 204 (on Sat. 2, 6, 54): "a joker".
p. 420, n. 38 (on C. 4, 7, 17-20): Against the MSS and the consensus of Klingner, Borzsák and Shackleton Bailey, M. would like to bracket this stanza as an interpolation, following Carl Becker and Ulrich Knoche, but I am significantly less confident that this should be done. The passage does merely not contain platitudes and linguistic difficulties (as M. claims on p. 422, last paragraph); the sentiment of the lines is thoroughly Horatian (cf. for example C. 1, 4 and 11), and M.'s objection to the phrase amico animo is unconvincing.
p. 428, n. 60 (on C. 4, 9, 37): M. mentions that OLD s.v. vindex 1 a offers the translation 'Bürge' (guarantor). Actually, OLD has a much more technical (and more specific) description of what the word means: "(leg., in the procedure of manus iniectio) One who, upon a creditor seizing a debtor, procures the latter's release by himself assuming liability for any claim (in later law applied to one who intervenes similarly on behalf of an in ius vocatus." Apart from the inaccurate reporting of the OLD entry, M. himself translates the word inconsistently as 'Strafer' (one who punishes; see OLD s.v. 3 a) on the previous page (p. 427, third paragraph).
p. 430, n. 63 (on C. 4, 10, 2): Pluma for lanugo is not such an exceptional usage as M. claims ("unerhört", unheard of); see Borzsák's note ad loc. in the apparatus who observes that "incitati prurigine coniciendi alii alia (poena, ruga, bruma) proposuerunt; lanugo et Hungarice pluma iuvenci dicitur."
p. 434f. (on C. 4, 13): M. thinks that this ode -- compared with Epod. 8 and 12, C. 1, 25 and 3, 15 -- is much less offensive in tone and more sympathetic in ethos (especially lines 17-22a). I cannot agree. Actually, the tone of this poem is quite nasty. The apparent sympathy in lines 17-22a is an effective form of expressing irony if ever there was one. Moreover, I do not believe that Horace intends to include himself -- not even implicitly -- when he talks of fading beauty and dwindling years; the analysis of the personal deixis suggests an addressee (second person singular: lines 1-4, 6, 10-11, 13, 18) named Lyce, and it is only towards the end of the poem that the perspective shifts slightly. For a single line, the focus is on the first person singular (line 20), then it shifts to the third person: young people gloating over ugly Lyce's late and unhappy death. If I were Lyce, I would get the message.
p. 444, n. 105: In this long footnote M. states how radically his views differ from those entertained by many other scholars (in particular, M. criticizes R.O.A.M. Lyne yet again). The main point he tries to make, as far as I can see, is that Horace was not under overdue pressure from Augustus to write the fourth book of the Odes and that he was not merely functioning like a Hellenistic court poet -- incessantly producing panegyrics. I will not venture to decide who is right and who is wrong in such a debate, but I think we are in no position whatsoever to know for sure whether or not the poet's soul remained entirely untainted amidst the sordid workings of everyday politics. Moreover, we cannot know what Horace felt when he composed the Odes, but we may venture an educated guess as to the circumstances (the pragmatic and communicative framework) under which he had to live and write. I do not think that it diminishes any of Horace's poetic achievements if one states that he was, in a sense, a court poet. At the same time, would it actually make him a better person if one succeeded in showing that the opposite is true? Who are we to judge these things?
p. 474, n. 50 (on De arte poetica 416): It is impossible to decide whether one should read nunc or nec (at any rate, Heinze's non is unnecessary). Either reading makes good sense, the first suggesting a complaint about contemporary poetic malpractice, the second indicating a rather more general reflexion on some people's bad habits. Because of the temporal significance in lines 413-415, and especially because of the temporal adverb prius in the preceding line, I would opt for reading nunc.
pp. 496-498: In his epilogue, M. draws a fairly positive picture of Augustus -- too positive in my view. Just one example: M. states on p. 497, second paragraph: "He always wanted the best for his Empire and for his subjects, and in his private life he must have been caring and open-minded despite some occasional eruptions of his temper." The syllogism that M. then develops goes like this: Augustus was a decent man, so how could Horace's poetry be anything but sincere? I disagree with that conclusion just as much as with its premise. Considering that the development and expansion of the concept of maiestas was detrimental to the Roman idea of libertas,9 I would use verbal halos rather sparingly when talking about Augustus. But again, who are we to judge? Perhaps more than other Roman writers, Horace has had a history of being interpreted according to the demands of changing ideologies as well as academic fads. Is it the vicissitudes of Horace's personal life or the elusiveness of his poetry that help to generate profoundly new images of this poet for almost anyone who approaches him as a student of his art?
pp. 501-504: It is a daunting task to compile a select bibliography for a book of a general character like this. Avoiding the Scylla of an omnium-gatherum-approach, you may well meet with the Charybdis of overlooking items that may indeed prove to be important to potential readers. Granted the fact that no person alive can know everything that has ever been published on Horace, omissions are almost inevitable. As a consequence, a reviewer would be ill-advised indeed to be heavy-handed in judging such matters. Still, apart from the works already mentioned in the course of this review, I would like to add two items to the list of my personal desiderata: D. Gall, Die Bilder der horazischen Lyrik, Königstein/Ts. 1981, and E. Oliensis, Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority, Cambridge 1998. The list could be expanded almost ad infinitum, but since there are excellent bibliographies on Horace, this would be a rather pointless exercise.
After all this criticism, I will close this review on a more positive note by listing a number of passages which I find especially convincing.
pp. 67-70: This is a very good interpretation of Sat. 1, 3.
p. 86, first paragraph: An illuminating and convincing attempt at putting Sat. 1, 7 in the context of Roman courtroom practice.
p. 118, second paragraph: True remarks on the importance of a hermeneutics of careful and close reading for the business of the philologist.
p. 136, n.17 (on C. 2, 18, 31): A good discussion of a textually difficult line. Nisbet/Hubbard are almost certainly wrong.
p. 168, first paragraph and n. 25 (cf. also p. 385 with n. 272): Very good ideas on how to go about looking for symmetries in Horatian poetry -- and how not to.
p. 240f. (on C. 3, 4, 21-36): A thoroughly convincing interpretation of this passage.
pp. 378-389: A stimulating and meticulous discussion of the first book of Horace's Epistles, showing how long Maurach has been thinking over all the problems he mentions.10
p. 458, n. 21 (on De arte poetica): Interesting arguments for Bentley's transposition of line 45 behind line 46, which is a serious possibility, and for reading rerum et instead of rerum in line 49.
p. 467, n. 41: An excellent, extremely judicious and highly convincing remark concerning the nature of Plautine comedy.
All this having been said, I think that M. has written a copious and learned monograph. His observations are always based on independent and original scholarship and often reveal a mastery of the complex and intricate problems involved in reading and understanding Horace. Still, it will probably not escape the attention of the reader that M.'s book, while being a very good supplement to existing Horatian scholarship (without superseding it),11 is primarily meant as a tribute and an homage to Horace -- written, it would appear, by one of the poet's most ardent and uncompromising contemporary admirers. M. is often brilliant, always interesting, sometimes disappointing, and on a few occasions, perhaps mistaken. This indispensable book certainly deserves critical readers.
1. There is no positive evidence for any literary activity of Horace before the period shortly after the battle of Philippi, but this is merely an argumentum e silentio. Horace himself says that he was driven to poetry by poverty, Epist. 2, 2, 51f. (paupertas inpulit audax ut versus facerem), but he probably exaggerates his financial state, and after all, paupertas is neither egestas nor mendicitas.
2. Unsurprisingly, the main source for Horace's life, of course apart from the biographical sketch ultimately deriving from Suetonius, is what he appears to say about himself in his poems. Evidence of this kind is precarious by its very nature, as can, for example, be seen by the muddle that was made of Plautus' vita because of the attempts of ancient biographers to garner details of his career from his plays.
3. The structure is, more or less, traditional. It can -- with slight alterations -- also be found e.g. in Eduard Fraenkel's famous monograph on Horace.
4. This translation from M.'s German text is, like all others in this review, my own.
5. Some typos: p. 3, Latin quote: Idibus, not idibus. p. 16, n. 3: "Philologus 144, 2000" instead of "Philologus 144, 200". p. 32, last line: "Behaghels", not "Behagels". Already in 1916 O. Behaghel himself complained about this common way of misspelling his name, see the witty note by Jürgen Werner, Mommsen-Gesellschaft. Mitteilungen 57 (2001) 12-13. p. 68, third paragraph: "Diatriben" instead of "Diatrüben". p. 70, second paragraph: "wird Horaz erst dann sich haben einfallen lassen" instead of "sich hat einfallen lassen". p. 72, last paragraph: "zeitgenössischer" instead of "Zeitgenössischer". p. 74, n. 35: The second "so doch" needs to be deleted. p. 97, second paragraph: "Abschlusszeitraum von 35/33" instead of "[...] 33/35", as it is B.C. p. 174, n. 8: "wären" instead of "wäre". p. 197, n. 13, last sentence: "zuwenden", not "zu wenden". p. 202, n. 21: "erinnert" should not be in italics. p. 204, n.29: "Geschick", not "Gechick". p. 204, n. 30: "eines von Horazens Wagnissen", not "eine von". p. 205, n. 32: "Ramus 25, 1996", not "Ramus 25, 199". p. 209, n. 44: "[...], die sich auf eine Arbeit von [...] stützt", not "[...], die sich eine Arbeit von [...] stützt". p. 218: "zu lamentieren und Inneres hervorzukehren [...] war nicht seine Art", not "lamentieren und Inneres hervorzukehren". p. 219: From here on, the page numbers are larger than the ones used in the preceding part of the book (chapters 1 - 9). p. 266, second paragraph (on C. 2, 16, 10): "in die tumultus mentis", not "in den" (and a few words later "ihnen", not "ihm"), since miseros tumultus is plural. p. 323, n. 93: "Geschäftsschluss" instead of "Geschäftschluss". p. 329, second paragraph: "Richtige" instead of "Richtig". p. 358, n. 194: Delete "für die Annahme aus". p. 403: "Fürsprech" instead of "Fürchsprech". p. 440, last paragraph: "spaßende" instead of "Spaßende". p. 441, first paragraph: "dass Friede und Wohlstand gesichert sind" instead of "[...] ist". p. 451, second paragraph: "der Philologe" instead of "der Philologie". p. 463, first paragraph: "Klingner, Studien 371" instead of "[...] 3371". p. 465, n. 36: "paccare" needs to be in italics. p. 475, n. 54: "Horace and his Lyric Poetry, Cambridge 1950" instead of "Golden Latin Artistry". p. 478, last paragraph: "frühere Literatur" instead of "früheren Literatur". p. 491, second paragraph: "der Psychologe" instead of "der Psychologie".
6. On the function and special status of nutrices in the ancient household, see e.g. H. Schulze, Ammen und Pädagogen. Sklavinnen und Sklaven als Erzieher in der antiken Kunst und Gesellschaft, Mainz 1998, pp. 11-19. A child might spend more time with his nurse than with his mother (cf. Quint. Inst. 1, 1, 4f.), and develop strong emotional bonds, as apparently did Pliny the Younger, which can be seen from a passage in Letters 3, 1.
7. See for example J.-A. Shelton, As the Romans Did. A Sourcebook in Roman Social History, 2nd edn. New York and Oxford 1998, p. 20f.
8. Although one can never be quite sure in such matters, it is quite likely that the texts of at least some of the Greek lyric writers, among whom Pindar was certainly held in highest regard, were available for study at Rome, see e.g. S. F. Bonner, Education in Ancient Rome: From the Elder Cato to the Younger Pliny, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1977, p. 216. So why should Horace not have acquainted himself with these authors there already?
9. See, for example, A. Wallace-Hadrill, Augustan Rome, London 1993 (repr. 2001), p. 96f.
10. See especially G. M., Der Grundriss von Horazens erstem Epistelbuch, Acta Classica 11, 1968, pp. 73-124, and id., Horazens Buch der Briefe und ihre Historizität in der Literatur seit 1968, GGA 233, 1981, pp. 65-99. Suprisingly, M. does not mention his own works in his bibliography!
11. For a picture of Horace that differs fundamentally from the one that M. draws, see e.g. (instead of numerous more recent approaches) N. Rudd, Horace, in: The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, vol. 2: Latin Literature, ed. by E. J. Kenney and W. V. Clausen, Cambridge 1982, pp. 370-404. Just a few points Rudd makes: The friendship between Augustus and Horace was never that close (p. 403); Horace was not an Augustan poet tout court (p. 370); he was not averse to unsettling common standards of good taste and politeness (p. 371f., with reference to Epod. 8 and 12, which are neglected by M.).