Horace (65-8 av. J.-C.), Odes
c. 23-17 BC. Latin manuscript. Parchment. France (?). 10th-11th century.
Horace, the son of a former slave, was Maecenas’ protégé. Together with Virgil, his contemporary and friend, he was the most famous of the Latin poets. His collection of poems, The Odes, is a masterpiece of Roman lyric poetry and is considered a classical model of balance and measure. Horace himself compared it to the Egyptian pyramids. The harmony of its structure is the result of a subtle handling of metres and a masterly use of words to describe love, politics, mythology, current affairs, Greek tradition and the Latin world. The much quoted, and often misquoted, ‘carpe diem’ is taken from his first poem (I, 11).
Copied in the 10th or 11th century, no doubt by a French scribe, the Bodmer Codex 88 is remarkable for its annotations between the lines and in the margins.
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