Horace (65 B.C.-8 B.C.), a Roman poet. His full name was Quintus Horatius Flaccus. His Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry), a letter in verse addressed to a friend, was considered almost a rule book by poets of the Neoclassical period, in the 17th and 18th centuries. It offers much sound advice to writers, including the point that they should polish their work before publication. Particularly influential was Horace's contention that poetry should be both instructive and pleasing.
Horace's poetry, noted for its precise phrasing and its use of parallel construction, frequently has been imitated. His satiric poetry comments on human follies and offers moral precepts. His lyric verse deals with various aspects of his life and of Roman society, including friendship and patriotism. Horace is also remembered for his literary criticism, also written in verse.
Horace was born near Venusia in southern Italy, the son of a freed slave who owned a small estate. After studying in Rome, he continued his education in Athens. There he enlisted with Brutus in his war against Mark Antony and Octavian. He returned to Rome before the final defeat of Brutus' army, entered civil service, and began to write. Virgil introduced him to Maecenas, a wealthy statesman and patron of the arts. Horace soon became an important figure in the social and literary life of Rome. Maecenas presented Horace with a farm in the Sabine hills, where he often retired to reflect and write.
Horace's works include Satires (Book I, 35 B.C.; Book II, 30 B.C.), Epodes (30 B.C.), Odes (Books I-III, 23 B.C.; Book IV, 13 B.C.), and Epistles (Book I, 20 B.C.; Book II, about 18 B.C.).