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Diffugere Nives: Horace and the Augustan Spring

  • Robert R. Dyer


Diffugere Nives is not a political poem, and the echoes which link it to the mythology of the Augustan Age are to our ears imperceptible. Yet they do not deserve to be ignored, for in the intellectual climate of the time, used to the images of spring and rebirth for the Augustan restoration and the praise of pietas and the old Roman virtues, this poem must have sounded with a peculiar note of disillusion and regret rather different from the mood modern editors attribute to it. For it is Horace's last statement about the ideals of a new order, for which, despite occasional Epicurean fits of indifference, he had devoted most of his literary effort.



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page 79 note 1 Fr. 56D and its source: Heraclitus, , All. Hom. 5.

page 80 note 1 For the most recent discussion of this mythology, see Ryberg, I. S., ‘Clupeus Virtutis’, TAPA (1963); cf. eand., ‘Vergil's Golden Age’, TAPA 89 (1958), 112–31; Забулис, Γ. K.Saturnia tellus Вергили (К вопросу о формировании идеологии эпохи Августа)’, VDI 72 (1962), ii. 111–23; Taylor, M. E., ‘Horace: Laudator Temporis Acti?’, AJPh 83 (1962), 2343. On Horace's attitude, see, in addition to the general works of Wili, Fraenkel, and Pöschl: Reckford, K. J., ‘Horace, Augustan and Epicurean’, HSPh 63 (1958), 524–6; MacKay, L. A., ‘Horace, Augustus and Ode I. 2.’, AJPh 83 (1962), 168–77.

page 81 note 1 See Cambridge Ancient History (Cambridge, 1934), x, ch. xiv. 438 ff., especially 448–52 on the Lex lulia de maritandis ardinibus of 18 b.c. (about five years before the publication of the Fourth Book of the Odes).

page 82 note 1 See Commager, S., The Odes of Horace (Yale, 1962), 277–81; Quinn, K., Latin Explorations (London, 1963), 1428; Rudd, N., ‘Patterns in Horatian Lyric’, AJPh 81 (1960), 381–3.

page 84 note 1 Odes ii. 16. 25; cf. i. 4. 15; 9. 13; II. 8; ii. 3. 4–8; II. II.

Diffugere Nives: Horace and the Augustan Spring

  • Robert R. Dyer


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