Epode XVI: And Now the New Millennium Poet Speaks Out
(Altera iam territur)
[A Second Generation is Ground Down]
‘A second Generation: the first would have been those who fought in the war between Pompey and Caesar, which Horace dates as 60-46 BC… Now, sometime in 40-38 BC their sons seem to be about to begin the civil war fought between Octavian and Sextus Pompeius in 37-36 BC…
The Marsi were defeated in the Social War of 90-89 BCL Capua revolted against Rome after the battle of Cannae in 216 BC in the Second Punic War. Lars Porsena was the Etruscan king who according to one tradition besieged Rome, and according to another captured it, at the end of the seventh century BC; Spartacus was the leader of the slaves in the Servile War of 73-1 BC; the Allogroges were an Alpine people who were in contact with the Catilinarian conspirators in 63 BC and soon afterwards invaded Gaul; the Germans were the Ciimbri and Teutones who invaded Italy in 102-101 BC
The bones of Romulus: there was a tomb of Romulus in the Roman Forum.
you ask: here and elsewhere in this poem Horace purports to be addressing an assembly of the Roman people and used the formal language of the Roman Senate, but there was no Roman assembly which could have been addressed in this way. The pose is that of a political orator, but the scene is not realistic.
Phocaeans: in 534 BC the people of Phocaea in Asia Minor abandoned their city to escape the Persian yoke (Herodotus I, 165)
The Matine hills: these being in the south of Italy, would in normal circumstances have been safe from flooding by the River Po.
The Ocean: Oceanus was believed to be a river encircling the world. Here for the first time in surviving Latin the Isles of the Blest are called the Wealthy Isles.’ (1)
Here I transfer the Roman civil war to Iraq – (‘…shame that Horace doesn’t mention Parthia, which is basically the same part of the world (and people have pointed out that invading Iraq was a bad move for the Romans too).’ (2)
’The main (ironic) proposal in the original is fleeing to an impossible paradise to escape Rome’s disasters.’ (3) I’ve changed this to impossible paradisiacal features appearing in UK.
The proper names in Horace ‘…are mythological (Argo, Odysseus),’ (4) whereas mine are more historical/political : Cruise missiles, American bases/bombers etc.
(1) West, D. The Complete Odes and Epodes (1997) Oxford University Press: Oxford. (p.138-9)
(2) Harrison, S.J. (in personal correspondence)
(3) Harrison, S.J. (in personal correspondence)
(4) Harrison, S.J. (in personal correspondence)