Quintus Horatius Flaccus

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by Horace

Quintus Horatius “Horace” Flaccus (65BCE – 8BCE) was a Roman poet about whom modern scholars actually have a good deal of information due to his own testimony and a biography by Suetonius.[1] He is unique in that all of his published work survived to this day.[2] Horace’s father was a freeman (a former slave) who achieved relative monetary success as a public auctioneer, enabling Horace to go to Rome and Athens for an upper-class education intended to raise Horace through the ranks of society.[3] Horace was in Athens when the Roman civil war broke out after Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44BCE, and from there he joined Brutus’ army as a military tribune from 44 to 41BCE when (he says) he ran away from the Battle of Philippi. He “counted himself lucky to be able to return to Italy, unlike many of his comrades-in-arms,” and was accepted into a circle of writers including Maecenas, who later gave him a farm – securing his financial position. This security enabled him the leisure time to work on poetry (which was vastly impacted by the Sabine region in which his farm was located) and maintain his personal freedom, declining close relationships that might commit him to others including an influential post offer by the Emperor Augustus, himself.[4] Though he treasured his privacy, Horace maintained a close friendship with Maecenas for thirty years and died several months after him without having ever married.[5]

In the 30s BCE, Horace wrote and published iambic poetry collectively known as the Epodes and the Satires, and then turned to lyric poetry referred to as his Odes. It is for the “perfection of form” and “depth and detail of his self-portraiture throughout” these poems that Horace secured his “position as one of the greatest of Roman poets.” His poems often addressed the key ancient topic of friendship as well as his country and countryside, both of which he greatly loved. Horace was so well respected and his works appreciated that his Odes were being used in schools before his death. He is still “the most quoted of Latin poets.”[6]

This work contains Horace’s songs, Epodes, Sermons, Epistles, and Ars Poetica. It was published in 1744 by two well-known and regarded Scottish publishers. Robert and Andrew Foulis (ne Faulls) were brothers who opened their own publishing company and printing press in 18th century Glasgow.[7] Robert was a barber before enrolling in University of Glasgow courses, while Andrew “received a more regular education…[as] a student of Humanity” who taught Greek, Latin and French for a time after he graduated.[8] The brothers began as booksellers and then transitioned to publishing and printing books, with Robert initiating each endeavor before later being joined by Andrew.[9] In 1740-42, Robert had other printers print that he chose to publish, but began printing his own books in 1742 which continued until his and his brother’s deaths in 1775 and 1776, respectively, when Andrew’s son Andrew took over The Foulis Press.[10] The Foulis Press primarily produced text books and other “works of learning…and of general literature,” as it was the printer to the University of Glasgow.[11] The press is unique for the plethora of variant issues and editions of published books on special paper, in special font, or even on copper plates.[12]

Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Title page from Quintus Horatius Flaccus, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Horace
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Glasguae: In aedibus academicis, excudebat Roberty Foulis
Date 1744
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language Latin
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. {{{desc}}}
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Octavo, bound in late nineteenth century full crimson morocco gilt. Contains signature of S. Fraser, 1758, on title, bookplate of Stair Agnew Gillon and the leaf of Foulis ads at the end. Purchased from G.W. Stuart, Jr. Emeritus Member, ABAA.

Find this book in William & Mary Online Catalog


  1. "Horace” in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, ed. by M.C. Howatson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  2. Ibid.
  3. " Horace " in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, ed. by John Roberts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  4. Ibid.
  5. "Horace”
  6. Ibid.
  7. David Murray, Robert & Andrew Foulis and the Glasgow Press with some account of The Glasgow Academy of the Fine Arts (Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, Publishers to the University), 8.
  8. Ibid 3.
  9. Ibid 6-10.
  10. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 190.
  11. Ibid 17-18.
  12. Ibid 18-19.