The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Deflating the Odes: Horace, Epistles 1.20*

S. J. Harrisona1

a1 Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Epistles 1.20, the last poem of its book, begins with an elaborate joke on the entry of Horace's book of epistles into the world and ends with a well-known σxs03D5ραγxs1F77ς describing the poet himself. It will be argued here that this final poem recalls and subverts the pretensions of two earlier final poems in Horace's own Odes, and that its good-humoured depreciation of Horace himself is matched by a similar attitude towards his previous grand poetic claims as a lyric vates.


* My thanks to Professor R. G. M. Nisbet and to the Editors for helpful comments.