Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Horace and Tyrtaeus

The other day, I posted one of Horace's Odes, and Dennis posted some Tyrtaeus of which he said my post had reminded him. While reading an article by Mario Citroni called 'Quintilian and the System of Poetic Genres' (from Flavian Poetry [Brill 2006], pp. 1-19), I came across a reference to Tyrtaeus and Horace's Ars Poetica in the context of a discussion regarding Quintilian's sources for his poetic canon. Here is Citroni:

'The other Greek poets mentioned by Quintilian, but not by Dionysius, are the epic poet Pisander, the authors of ancient comedy, and Tyrtaeus. As regards ancient comedy, Quintilian maintains the triad of Aristophanes, Eupolis and Cratinus, consecrated by Horace. As for Tyrtaeus, Quintilian quotes a verse from Horace's Ars Poetica as confirmation of his excellence. And it is certain that he was led by Horace, and not by a Greek source, to include Tyrtaeus in his survey, seeing that he does not place him among the elegiac poets, but among the epic writers, because, as he himself says, Horace had placed him beside Homer.' (p.8)

And here are Horace's words (Ars Poetica 400-7):
Sic honor et nomen diuinis uatibus atque 400
carminibus uenit. Post hos insignis Homerus
Tyrtaeusque mares animos in Martia bella
uersibus exacuit, dictae per carmina sortes,
et uitae monstrata uia est et gratia regum
Pieriis temptata modis ludusque repertus 405
et longorum operum finis: ne forte pudori
sit tibi Musa lyrae sollers et cantor Apollo.

No comments: