The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Shorter Notes

A Further Attempt on ‘SPE Longus', Horace A.P. 172

J. G. F. Powella1

a1 Merton College, Oxford

…vel quod res omnes timide gelideque ministrat,

dilator, † spe longus, iners (p)avidusque futuri,

diffcilis, querulus…

I agree with Brink, and other editors referred to by him ad loe, that spe longus in Horace's description of the typical old man's character cannot be made to give sense. For earlier attempts at emendation, see Brink's note (p. 239 of his commentary). Most of those who have tried to emend the passage concentrate on longus, and are reluctant to relinquish spe: this is largely due to the parallel with Aristotle's account of the character of old men in Rhetoric 2. 13. 1389b 13ff., in which (1390a4) they are said to be, among other things it seems to me that this parallel should not be pressed too far. There is much in Aristotle that is not in Horace, and nothing to suggest close and detailed dependence. The parallel can only be relevant if spe longus can be turned into a reasonable Latin equivalent for Otherwise there is no good reason to suppose that spe is any less likely to be corrupt than longus.