Horace's Odes and Carmen Saeculare

At a time of extraordinary political upheaval, Horace wrote poetry and proudly boasted that his Odes were bringing to Rome the metres and subject matter of the Greek lyric poets who had flourished some six centuries earlier. His achievement ensured that the Odes remained unique in Latin literature, and they have continued to be read and loved for two thousand years. Horace’s metrical diversity is fundamental to his artistry, so these translations recreate the original thirteen metres in English. They are written in elegant verse which is always alert to the poems’ structure, register, rhetoric, sound and syntax. Special attention is given to the nuanced meanings of words in their context and to the implications of Horace’s often highly unusual word-order—no Roman ever spoke such Latin, except when reading the Odes aloud. The translations are supported by a wide-ranging introduction, which provides biographical, historical and literary context, and shows several ways in which the Odes can respond to literary analysis. The extensive notes constitute a commentary on all the poems, drawing the reader from the translations to the facing text of Horace’s Latin, and offering brief discussions of textual, literary, linguistic, metrical, historical, geographical, mythological and religious issues. Students and general readers will find the tools here to help them develop their own personal response to Horace’s exceptional poetry, while teachers will welcome the opportunity to compare poems across all four books of the Odes in equal detail.

Simon Preece studied Classics at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he performed the part of Orestes in Euripides’ Electra for the Cambridge Greek Play, and Singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He works as a classical singer in Britain and further afield, both as a soloist and as a member of many of the best-known professional choirs. His work also explores the poetry and music of 19th and 20th century Lieder, Mélodie and English Song.

“This book is clearly a labour of love. Its author is a professional singer who also happens to have the patience and the scholarship to write a single-volume edition (with text, short apparatus and facing verse translation) of the Odes and Carmen Saeculare of Horace in one handsome volume. As if that were not enough, there are a further 280 pages of excellent commentary notes, making this something of a one-stop-shop for the reader keen to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of the Roman lyric poet par excellence. […] This book is clearly suitable for readers who may not have read (much) Horace before, and it admirably performs the vital task of reassuring them that this poetry is not as impenetrable as they feared and (above all) that they will derive great pleasure from reading it with such a wise and perceptive translator and critic as Preece to guide them.”
John Godwin
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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ISBN: 1-5275-6826-1

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-6826-6

Release Date: 20th May 2021

Pages: 647

Price: £80.99