The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Shorter Notes

Fuscus the Stoic: Horace Odes 1.22 and Epistles 1.10*

S. J. Harrisona1

a1 Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Our information on Horace's friend Aristius Fuscus, whom he addresses in Odes 1.22 and Epistles 1.10, is neatly summed up by Nisbet and Hubbard: ‘he was a close friend of Horace's (serm. 1.9.61 ‘mihi cams’, epist. 1.10.3 ‘paene gemelli’). He wrote comedies (Porph. on epist. 1.10) and seems to have had a sense of humour: it was he who refused to rescue Horace from the ‘importunate man’ in the Sacra Via (serm. 1.9.60ff.). Horace says elsewhere that he was a town-lover, who disliked the countryside (epist. 1.10); here he amuses him with an account of the perils of his Sabine estate. Fuscus was a schoolmaster by profession (Porph. on serm. 1.9.60 ‘praestantissimus grammaticus illo tempore’); in epist. 1.10.45 Horace teases him for his stern discipline (‘nee me dimittes incastigatum…’: cf. CQ 9 [1959], 74f.). Fuscus is mentioned with Asinius Pollio and others as a critic who approved of Horace's poetry (serm. 1.10.83ff.). He may also have written on grammar; cf. gramm. 7.35.2 ‘Abnesti Fusti (Aristi Fusci Haupt, Aufusti Usener) grammatici liber est ad Asinium Pollionem’. The purpose of this note is to add a further piece to this picture, consonant with Fuscus' grammatical interests, namely to argue that Fuscus was also a Stoic, and that his philosophical loyalties are played on in the two poems addressed to him by Horace.


* My thanks to Professor R. G. M. Nisbet for helpful criticism.