An Epicurean “Measure of Wealth” in Horace, Satires 1.1

Classical Antiquity 37 (2):351-378 (2018)

Abstract

The following study draws evidence from the fragmentary treatises of Philodemus of Gadara in order to explore the moral content of Satires 1.1 with respect to wealth administration. I provide a reading of this poem that underscores Horace's effective synthesis of Greek thought and Roman culture, which is made possible by the influence of contemporary philosophical treatments that were tailored to fit the concerns of wealthy Romans. Furthermore, I offer an alternative to the many references previous scholars have made to Aristotle and the Cynics by elucidating Horace's economic message, which, being totally consistent with the details of Philodemus' economic concerns, is in many ways more Epicurean than anything else.

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