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Classical Humanities
CL_HUM 3150H

X Some Generic Problems in Horace's 1 Epodes : or, On (Not) Being Archilochus S.J.Harrison 1 : Introduction My purpose in this paper is to look again at two aspects of the Epodes of Horace. First, the issue of how the Epodes of Horace relate to the iambic poetry of Archilochus, using especially the evidence of Epode 1, the collection's opening and programmatic poem; and second, the related issue of the collection's problematic overall generic character, in particular the way in which its interaction with various non-iambic genres is dramatised in p2rticular poems, all against the background of its fundamental identity as an iambic collection . As is well known, the collection as a whole does not explicitly announce its generic relationship with archaic Greek iambic poetry until Epode 6, where the speaker Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 2 famously compares himself with both Archilochus and Hipponax (13-14): 'qualis Lycambae spretus infido gener / aut acer hostis Bupalo' . This is the only explicit mention of Hipponax in the whole of Horace; and though Hipponax is a significant model in the Epodes, if indeed he is the author 3f the famous Strasbourg epode which forms the model for Epode 10 , it is Archilochus who is chosen as the key archaic model for Horace's collection. Though the name of Archilochus is not mentioned until Epode 6 in the passage just quoted, the Archilochean colouring of the collection is well established by that stage; the particular epodic metrical system used throughout Epodes 1-10 is strongly Archilochean , and the title of the collection, if we take it as Epodi rather than Iambi (and I would now agree with Cavarzere on this 5 point ) is likely to pick up the Archilochean title Epodoi, the collection of iambic poems in epodic metres which contained some of Archilochus' most famous verse - the fables of the vixen and the eagle (fr.171-181 W.) and the fox and the ape (fr.185-7 W.) as well as the Cologne Epode (fr.196a W.) . Above all, as many scholars have noted, the famous statement at Epistles 1.19.23-5 makes Archilochus the explicit model : Parios ego primus iambos / ostendi Latio, numeros animosque secutus /Archilochi, non res et agentia verba Lycamben'. Archilochus, then, is the prime Greek archaic model for the iambic Epodes, just as Alcaeus is the prime Greek archaic model for the lyric Odes. This adoption of Archilochus rather than Hipponax, as Cavarzere has suggested , may well be a reaction to Callimachus' Iambi, where Hipponax is proclaimed as the poet's explicit model in the first poem (fr.191 Pf.) ; the Horatian collection seeks to be different from its Callimachean predecessor in terms of specific model, though it resembles it in other important ways (see below). Archilochus' status as the best of the canonical three iambists selected in the Hellenistic period (Archilochus, Hipponax, Semonides ) may also have been some motivation. This selection of a single appropriate generic model from a range of possibilities is very like the role of Alcaeus in the first collection of Odes, as agreed by most scholars since Fraenkel . 10 It is important to note that the Archilochean influence in the Epodes is not restricted to his Epodoi. In what follows I will consider the whole iambic output of Archilochus (trimeter and tetrameter as well as epodic) as a potential source for Horatian imitation, and even occasionally the non-iambic remains of his elegiac fragments. The incorporation of these non-iambic elements from Archilochus not only gives the reader a fuller picture of the earlier poet; it also points to an important aspect of Horatian poetics. The Epode-book makes use of non-iambic works in general (especially, as we shall see, of Roman love-elegy), to enrich by some limited generic variety a collection which remains fundamentally iambic in theme and tone. Furthermore, this kind of literary Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 3 texture, this enriching of an established genre through the use of different generic material, even from the same author, is found not only in the Odes 11 but also in the Eclogues of Vergil, which use Theocritus is the much the same way as Horace's Epodes use Archilochus; this is also one of the important influences 12 from Callimachus' Iambi, which show a similar interest in generic diversity . The Eclogues use both bucolic and non-bucolic material from Theocritus (e.g. the court-poetry of Id.17) in a book which presents itself as pure Theocritean bucolic 13 14 ; just as it plainly underlies the structure of the first book of Satires , the Eclogue-book is also perhaps an influential model for generic mixture in the Horatian poetry-book in the Epodes. 2 : Epode 1 : the new Archilochus The first Epode, though it does not mention Archilochus, at once sets the speaker in a situation of Archilochean character : Ibis Liburnis inter alta navium amice, propugnacula, paratus omne Caesaris periculum subire, Maecenas, tuo. Immediately, we have an address to a friend, suggesting the named individuals who represent the usual audience of archaic Greek iambos. More interestingly, the friend is about to take to sea and causes concern to the poet for his safety. Although we have no exact parallels for this in Archilochus, we do have a trimeter fragment (24 W.1-2) in which the speaker welcomes back a friend who has crossed the great sea with a small ship : in a small ship you crossed a mighty sea, and made it back from Gortyn. [tr. West (1994)] The detail of the ship's size in Archilochus might be picked up in the specific detail of 'Liburnis inter alta navium', the Liburnian galley being small and light: the theme of the small ship is retained, but here contrasted with larger ships rather than the vastness of the ocean. The theme of fears and laments for seafaring friends is a common one in Archilochus : fr. 105 W. (in tetrameters) addresses an individual friend with fears about a storm at sea 15: Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 4 Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 5 Glaucus, see, the waves are rising and the deep sea is disturbed; all about the heights of Gyrae stands a towering mass of cloud - that's a sign of storm. I fall a prey to unexpected fear. [tr. West (1994)] The ancient citer of the fragment ( Heraclitus, Alleg.Hom.5.2) tells us that the storm in this passage stands metaphorically for the onset of war. This would make its context similar to that of Epode 1, in which Maecenas is presented as sailing to join the Actium campaign; and it may be that the poem represented Archilochus' similar fears for his friend, comparing the dangers of war to those of the open sea. However far we wish to press the details, it is clear that this opening section of Epode 1 places the reader in the Archilochean world of close male friends, seafaring, war and their dangers - a strong generic indicator that this collection is going to follow the Archilochean model. But just as Callimachus in his Iambi does not simply replicate the themes and stance of Hipponax, so Horace in his Epodes is not simply another Archilochus - e.g. in lines 5-10 which follow : quid nos, quibus te vita sit superstite iucunda, si contra, gravis ? utrumne iussi persequemur otium, non dulce, ni tecum simul, an hunc laborem mente laturi decet qua ferre non mollis viros ? Here the profession of friendship is Archilochean enough, but the idea of orders to pursue quiet and peaceful pursuits ('iussi persequemur otium') does not fit Archilochus the proud and independent warrior-poet, who famously proclaims himself in an elegiac fragment as servant of Ares and of the Muses (fr.1 W). The question beginning with 'hunc' suggests the rejection of this soft alternative (implied in 'mollis') and the return to Archilochean toughness and warlike action : 'laborem' reminds us not just of the labor of the soldier's life, but also of a hexameter dictum attributed to Archilochus, 'Everything comes to men from work and human effort' (fr.17 W [tr. West (1994)]) . 'Labor', as we shall see, can also refer metapoetically to the labour of composing this collection of poems, but here with 'non mollis viros' the reference is clearly to the hardships of sailing and campaigning in war, as memorably chronicled by Archilochus himself, who apart from the fragments about shipwreck already mentioned, composed tetrameter accounts of land battles (fr.93,98 W). The promise to accompany Maecenas which follows plainly echoes Catullus 11 with its list of distant and unpleasant places to which the speaker might accompany his friend (11-14) : 16 Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 6 feremus, et te vel per Alpium iuga inhospitalem et Caucasum vel Occidentis usque ad ultimum sinum forti sequemur pectore. There is surely a good chance that this topos in Catullus and Horace may come from an earlier source, and why not from Archilochus, the warrior comrade who (as we have seen) makes so much of his loyalty to his friends ? The words 'forti … pectore' re-establish Archilochean machismo after the temporary suggestion of effeminacy in otium, going with 'non mollis viros'. But as soon as this Archilochean promise has been uttered, the speaker counters with an admission of his own non-Archilochean character (15-18): roges, tuum labore quid iuvem meo, imbellis ac firmus parum ? comes minore sum futurus in metu, qui maior absentis habet; The speaker now makes clear the difference of his contribution to the war effort from that of Maecenas : the 'labor' of Maecenas is to be involved in the military campaign, while that of Horace is that of a companion, perhaps as a 17 poetic companion (the 'labor' here can be literary as well as literal ).These lines can be taken to indicate that both Horace and his work promise to attend on Maecenas in the Actium campaign . Horace's poetry in the Epodes, like Horace himself, is thus presented as lacking the force and vigour of Archilochus; indeed, the poet a number of times draws a19ention to his powerlessness and impotence, whether literal or metaphorical . Horace and his Epodes are imbellis, unlike the martial poetry of Archilochus, servant of Ares and of the Muses. His role (and that of his poetry) is to be a loyal companion to Maecenas, and his motivation for going is not so much fighting at his side as knowing how he is faring. This role is graphically illustrated in the simile which follows (19-22) : ut adsidens implumibus pullis avis serpentium allapsus timet magis relictis, non, ut adsit, auxili latura plus praesentibus. The mother bird fearing for her chicks is traditional material, as commentators note, referring to Homer and others; but there may also be an Archilochean allusion here. Recorded for the Epodes, the Archilochean collection which gave Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 7 that of Horace its title, and in the same metre as Epode 1, is a poem which recounted the destruction of a nest of chicks - those of the eagle, destroyed through the prayer of a vixen whose own cub had been killed by the eagle (fr.172-181 W) . This animal story, set in an attack on Lycambes, was clearly meant to illustrate the capacity of humans to offend each other and exact terrible revenge; it may be that the Horatian poem is inverting this story, turning it into an example of the capacity of humans to show friendship and protection towards one another. Horace the anxious mother bird may be a 'softened' version of Lycambes the rapacious eagle, just as Horace's Epodes are here presented as a 'softening' of the violence of Archilochus. From these softer thoughts lines 22-30 return to the Archilochean promise of military service : libenter hoc et omne militabitur bellum in tuae spem gratiae, non ut iuvencis illigata pluribus aratra nitantur mea, pecusve Calabris ante sidus fervidum Lucana mutet pascuis neque ut superne villa candens Tusculi Circaea tangat moenia. Like Archilochus, the speaker will in the end be a servant of Ares ('militabitur') as well as of the Muses, though the introduction of gratia, the pleasing of a superior, provides a non-Archilochean hierarchical perspective which defines Horace's subordinate role : just as Maecenas will go on campaign to support his greater amicus Caesar, so Horace will do the same for his greater amicus Maecenas. This subordination reflects contemporary Roman social structures, transforming the Archilochean ideal of equality amongst a group of friends of the same aristocratic status. Just as Horace's iambic poetry and stance has not the force and power of that of Archilochus, so his social status is less independent and powerful. He is a reduced Archilochus, both poetically and sociologically. The simile which follows rejects great wealth in the form of a typical collection of markers of luxurious riches - vast arable holdings, transhumance on an enormous scale, and grandiose building, all found elsewhere in Horace in similar moralising contexts . This rejection of wealth recalls a famous iambic poem of Archilochus on which the second Epode, immediately following these lines, was clearly modelled (see section 3 below) - the trimeters in which Charon the carpenter rejects the wealth of Gyges (fr.19 W.) : Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 8 Gyges and all his gold don't interest me. I've never been prey to envy, I don't marvel At heavenly things, or yearn for great dominion. That's all beyond the sights of such as me. [tr. West (1994)] By putting similar words in the mouth of the poet himself Horace reverses the original Archilochean trick, which he repeats in Epode 2. In both Archilochus and Epode 2 these views seem at first to be those of the speaker, until the reader is corrected by the poem's closure, revealing in each case that it is an exaggerated, caricatured character who speaks, whereas in Epode 1 the sentiments are restored to the 'authentic' voice of the first-person poetic speaker. In this rejection of large-scal22wealth and consumption we may also (as often in Horace, as Mette has argued) sense a symbolic rejection of large-scale poetry. The many bulls, coverage of territory and grand buildings listed here could all be metapoetical symbols , and in the context of an opening and programmatic poem that seems particularly likely. This fits the context well; the speaker promises the waging of a war, which would normally refer to epic in poetical terms, but here defines his poetry more narrowly, and in generic terms more humbly - no great ambitions, no wish to touch the walls of Circe. Here Circe too seems to be metapoetical; the speaker is about to go on a journey with Maecenas, but that journey will be no Odyssey, it will not approach Circe. Support for this view comes from the begnning of Aeneid 7, where as Stratis Kyriakidis has most recently argued, the fact that Aeneas and his men sail around Circe at Circeii suggests that the second half of the poem in some sense symbolises avoidance in the second half of the poem (unlike the first) of themes 24 from the Odyssey . The suggestion perhaps is that the more feeble Horace will not reach the quasi-epic heights of Archilochus; though Archilochus was not an epic poet, many of his scenarios, especially his tetrameter battle-poetry (91, 93, 94, 96, 98, 101 W.) aspire to epic heights which Horace's Epodes do not seek. After these grander visions and their rejection, the ending of the poem brings us back to earth (31-4) : satis superque me benignitas tua ditavit : haud paravero, quod aut avarus ut Chremes terra premam, discinctus aut perdam nepos. Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 9 The poet's modest sufficiency in the Sabinum, surely implied by benignitas tua here, provides an closure which matches his modest poetical ambitions, just as it does in the first Roman Ode, another context where the poet retreats from similar symbols of grandeur and wealth (Odes 3.1.45-8) : cur invidendis postibus et novo sublime ritu moliar atrium ? cur valle permutem Sabina divitias operosiores ? In the final lines of Epode 1 the difference of cultural context from the world of Archilochus is stressed once again; this world of patron, gift and gratitude is far from the rumbustious egalitarianism of the Archilochean philotes. Just as the modest Sabinum reflects the upper level of the speaker's modest poetical ambitions, redefining the stronger material of Archilochus, so the very last lines point to a lower level below which the speaker will not fall : he will not be a comic miser or an ungrateful wastrel, i.e. his poetry will not stoop to the lowest level or waste its precious resources. Here, though comedy is the genre specifically pointed to in the typical comic name Chremes 25and in the worthless young wastrel, we may again see the speaker positioning himself with regard to the iambic tradition. He may not rise to the heights of the loftiest parts of Archilochus, but he will not stoop to the less respectable parts of that poet's output. Here one might object that the Vetulaskoptik of Epodes 8 and 12 is as obscene and low as anything in Archilochus; but the extensive erotic iambic fragments of Archilochus , compared to which Horace's poems and even Archilochus' own famous Cologne Epode (fr.196a W.) are mild stuff indeed, make it clear that Horace's collection indeed avoids the more obscene aspects of Archilochean iambus. This then is the first argument I wish to make. Horace's poetic debt to Archilochus, as displayed in the opening poem of a collection which owes its title, metres and much of its contents to that poet, is both more extensive and more complex than scholars have believed. The Horatian poem puts its speaker in a typical Archilochean situation with a friend and a sea-voyage in the context of war, but immediately modifies that Archilochean pose: this poetic speaker does not have the vigour and epic aspirations of Archilochus, and he works within a different sociocultural framework, where the equality of a circle of aristocratic friends is replaced by the more uneven relationship of patronage and subordination. Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 10 3 : The Epode book - softening and extending Archilochus The generic diversity of the Epode book has often been remarked. Most frequently, the comparison is made with the Iambi of Callimachus, with its evident generic variety and programmatic emphasis on poikilia, literary variation, and this is certainly important in the texture of Horace's collection, and in the way that it interacts with other contemporary an27earlier literary genres to produce a complex and interesting generic cocktail . But in what I say here I would like to concentrate on a single strand of this texture - the way in which the collection continues to interact with and redefine its relationship with Archilochus, a dialectic which I have already proposed as a key element in interpreting Epode 1. Here it will help to read the book in a linear manner. As I have already noted and as is universally known, the second Epode famously recalls in its closure the trimeters in which Charon the carpenter rejects the wealth of Gyges (fr.19 W.) . Aristotle in his citation of this passage (Rhet 3.1418b) tells us that these lines stood at the beginning of Archilochus' poem, and that the poem was partly spoken in the character of this low perso29 Horace's money-lender Alfius, with his significant name ('Mr Growth') , is clearly an appropriate Roman version of the archaic carpenter, belonging to a similarly lowly profession. Both mouthpieces are used by the poet to good comic effect; Charon makes his case because he has no choice, rejecting wealth and power as a habitually poor man who has no chance to achieve such things, while Alfius famously fails to live up to his idealised praise of country life. Both, then, are making fun of elevated and idealistic discourse by placing it in a comic framework. In Epode 2 the chosen theme of the praise of country life has been consistently linked to Vergil's Georgics, published soon after the Epodes and surely already known to Horace, and to its commendation of the rustic existence 30 at the end of the second Georgic . Here, then, we have a new version of Archilochus, not merely in providing a different frame and comic speaker, one more appropriate to Horace's socio-cultural context, but also in providing a different theme : the rejection of power and riches is transmuted into the similar but distinct praise of country life, again drawn from Horace's own socio-cultural context, from his contemporary Vergil operating like him in the poetic ambit of Maecenas. Here I recall the Horatian programmatic statement from Ep.1.19.24-5 'numeros animosque secutus / Archilochi, non res et agentia verba Lycamben': in Epode 2 the Archilochean satiric spirit ('animos') is preserved, in an updated form, and the subject-matter ('res') is modified. Similar modification of Archilochean practice can be seen in Epode 3, with its comic invective on garlic complete with elevated mythological comparisons, and its comic final curse of revenge. Here we find the invective of Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 11 31 Archilochus apparently delivered (as Mankin suggests ) in its traditional sympotic context, but comically modified and reduced, as Fraenkel and others have argued . Where Archilochus' attacks traditionally drove Lycambes and his daughter to suicide as Horace himself notes (Ep.1.19.30-1), here Horace's curse on Maecenas suggests the light revenge of mild sexual deprivation. The poem's opening suggests a serious offence : 'Parentis olim si quis impia manu / senile guttur fregerit …'. But the immediate introduction of garlic marks the poem as comically hyperbolic and parodic in effect. The sheer force and gusto of Archilochean invective has thus been replaced by witty parody, firmly set once again in Horace's own sociocultural context; the offending garlic is clearly served to Horace by Maecenas at dinner, both a setting parallel to the archaic symposia of Archilochus and a marker of Horace's own very different and subordinate sympotic participation as an inferior guest of the greater patron in the Rome of the first century B.C. Epode 4 contains sharper invective directed towards an apparently real target, who is given much contextual characterisation : an anonymous ex-slave is pilloried for rising above his station and becoming a tribunus militum. But again in Archilochean terms the invective is restrained : the target is not openly named, though he clearly reflects contemporary reality. There may be a certain amount of conscious self-undermining here by the poet for readers of his earlier first book of Satires: Horace too had been a tribunus militum in his unsuccessful military career at Philippi (Sat.1.6.46-7), and he too could be accused of servile origin, as 'libertino patre natus' (Sat.1.6.6) . This possibility somewhat removes the teeth of this poem; once again, we see an iambic attack on an individual transformed not only by its detailed relocation in the sociocultural context of the triumviral period, where such dramatic social mobility as the poem describes was only too common, but also by this element of Horatian irony. Like Epode 3, with which it can be paired, this poem demonstrates how the raw and forceful type of invective found in Archilochus can be softened and varied. Epode 5 needs to be taken in combination with Epode 17. The elaborate and detailed world of low-life magic evoked in these two poems is a world unknown to Archilochus. This may, however, pick up elements in other iambic poets, especially Hipponax. There are several passages of Hipponax which appear to make allusion to quasi-magic rites as contexts for comic scenes - for example, in the trimeter fr.92 W. the speaker undergoes a bizarre humiliation- ritual which appears to be part of a magic cure for impotence (and impotence itself is of course a theme in Horace's collection) . As Fedeli has pointed out, the poetic narration of a magic ritual is a Hellenistic taste shown in the Pharmakeutria of Theocritus 2, a poem which influences both Epode 5 and 35 Epode 17 . Here perhaps the Archilochean core of the book is varied by the use Some Generic Problems in Horace's Epodes 12 of Hipponactean dramatic scenarios and their more refined descendants in Hellenistic mime, especially in the literary form of Herodas' Mimiambi; we remember that Herodas himself, like Callimachus, looked back explicitly to Hipponax as model (Mim.8.78), and that prose mime could include magic-scenes - compare the magic ceremony narrated in the major fragment of Sophron . But 36 there is here an interesting point of contact with Archilochus through a word-play which has rightly been much stressed in recent scholarship : that of the Archilochean title Epodoi, 'epodic poems' with the feminine Epodae, 'magic charms' . Epodes 5 and 17 give a clear account of Canidia's magic charms in action. This verbal play enables the Horatian collection to reinterpret the title of its model : 'unArchilochean' magic is thus permitted in an 'Archilochean' book. Epode 6, as previously noted, is the first poem in the collection to place the speaker of the Epodes explicitly in the Greek iambic tradition. Here Archilochus is paired with Hipponax (9-16): cave, cave : namque in malos asperrimus parata tollo cornua, qualis Lycambae spretus infido gener aut acer hostis Bupalo. an si quis atr
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