Est locus uni cuique suus: City and Status in Horace's Satires 1.8 and 1.9

Classical Antiquity 20 (1):165-192 (2001)
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Abstract

Horace's Satires 1.8 and 1.9 have long interested commentators for the enticing glimpse they provide of the changing Roman cityscape in the 30s BCE In light of the recent problematization of the strict correspondence between the poet Horace and his elaborately constructed satiric persona, locations in the Satires should be read not so much as autobiographical accounts of the poet's movement through the city but rather as functions of other themes and motifs in the Satires. This paper examines the moral and aesthetic encoding of the urban landscape in Horace's Satires Book I. Satires 1.9 and 1.8 reveal that Rome's city center and the gardens of Maecenas constitute an arena for the satirist's indirect meditation about the complex relationship between his poetry and his patron Maecenas. By mapping moral and aesthetic behavior onto these urban areas, Horace comments on the viability of satiric poetry in various social situations and settings. The emerging picture presents the city center — filled as it is with human vice and folly — as a place appropriate for satiric poetry, and Maecenas' gardens — free from competition and ambition — as a place inimical to it. Thus the gardens of Maecenas present for the satirist a moral and aesthetic problem, and their specter haunts his downtown stroll in Satires 1.9 as much as does the aspirant who dogs his steps. The decorum of patronage requires that Horace show proper subordination to his benefactors. Yet the decorum of satire requires that the poet undermine status, stability, and authority. While professing that status is not an issue in Maecenas' circle, the poems reveal instead that status is always an issue, aected no less by one's physical than one's social position.

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References found in this work

Lucilius and Horace.Arthur L. Wheeler & George Converse Fiske - 1922 - American Journal of Philology 43 (1):83.
On Getting Rid of Kings: Horace, Satire 1.7.John Henderson - 1994 - Classical Quarterly 44 (01):146-.
Catullus: The Poems.Leo C. Curran & Kenneth Quinn - 1975 - American Journal of Philology 96 (3):312.
Correction.[author unknown] - 1993 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 10 (1):132-132.

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