Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The close and intimate life of the Greek city-state gave rise to most of the literary forms of ancient literature, the greater number of which were adopted and adapted by the Romans. However, the epistle, the letter in verse, was a Roman literary invention brought to perfection by Horace during the first days of the Roman imperial period. With Rome administering most of the known world, friends would often be separated in different parts of the empire for years; even those who remained in Italy would often, as did Horace, retire to their country estates. Letter writing in verse not only became a matter of occasional necessity but also was often the only means of communication. It was natural that poets and men of letters should turn the epistle into a literary form so that even at a distance friends could share both poetry and, in some measure, epistolary conversation.
Horace’s epistles were published in two books: The first, containing twenty letters, or verse poems, appeared about 20 or 19 b.c.e. The second, containing two long letters, probably appeared in 13 b.c.e. Some scholars argue that the second book of epistles should contain the famous Epistle to the Pisos, the Ars Poetica. However, this work has traditionally been published separately.
In his first book, Horace is a moralist; in the second, he is a literary critic. The shorter epistles in the first...
(The entire section is 1696 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Epistles Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!