Stoic influence on selected satires of Horace
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The major portion of the thesis is concerned to examine the interplay between the philosophy of the Stoa and Horace's poetic skills in the composition of that poet's Satires. It is shown that Horace had an intricate knowledge of the terminology of Stoic ethics in particular, and that this knowledge was exploited as a means to imposing a more than immediately apparent formal structure on certain of these conversational pieces. Examples of this type of exploitation in poems which do not have an overall Stoic bias may be seen in Chapters One and Two, while Chapter Three is an in-depth study of the specifically Stoic Satires 2.3. A problem which naturally arises in a study of this kind is that of Horace's attitude to the validity of Stoic ethics full in Chapter Three on satires 2.3 and in Chapter Four on satires 2.7. However, the discussion here necessarily embraces the attitude of Horace to other rival schools and to ethical "systems" based on no formal school, notably that of Ofellus in Satires 2.2, while the conclusion is ultimately reached that Horace's own moderate and truly eclectic views are to be found stated in his most sympathetic satire, namely Satires 2.6. This suggestion is discussed in the final chapter. In the critical analyses of the various selected poems the discussion ranges freely over other topics and influences, especially the influence of Roman Comedy on Horace's Satires and, to a lesser extent, the influence of Plato and many other authors not necessarily recognised as sources. It is hoped that the thesis makes some material contribution to the more accurate placing of Horace's Satires in their total literary context, since that should embrace the philosophical content which Horace expected his contemporaries to recognise and enjoy.