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Horace's poetics of political integrity: Epistle 1.18.

Horace's Eighteenth Epistle, addressed to Lollius, takes as its subject the complex position of what might be called the lesser amicus. While the epistle has received critical attention for its overt personal advice and general statements about amicitia,(1) a sophisticated subtext that reveals a larger historical dimension has never been fully explored. This discussion analyzes how the diction, structure, and exempla of the epistle create a subtext suggestive of Horace's own experience of patronage at a time when the Roman government oversaw a cultural production of interested versions of histrory.(2) Before giving a close reading, I review the salient features of this poem, the longest epistle in the first book.

While Lollius' actual identity remains unclear,(3) he appears in the epistle to be a man of privilege and wealth. His father owns a country estate, and he has the leisure to hunt and write poetry. His attachment to a patron, then, would derive more from political motives of status than economic necessity.(4) Assuming the voice of experience, the Horatian persona plays the part of the praeceptor and applies a general lesson to the specific case of his young friend's wishing to maintain a balance between servile compliance and willful independence. The epistle has drawn attention for both its length and its abundant use of biographical and autobiographical material:(5) in contrast to the caricature sketch of Scaeva in the Seventeenth Epistle, a poem concerned with similar issues, the figure of Lollius here appears rooted in history, a young man who has fought in the Cantabrian wars and who now wishes to attach himself to a patron; at the end of this verse letter of friendly advice, the praeceptor turns to his own life, as an exemplum of near self-sufficiency, a person contentedly at the mercy of the whims of Jove, rather than those of a patron: sed satis est orare Iovem qui ponit et aufert, / det vitam, det opes: aequum mi animum ipse parabo (Ep. 1.18.111-12).

This vignette of the joys of private life, however, an autobiographical glimpse of the poet in retreat, only points up by contrast the public history which appears at the very center of the poem. The Cantabrian wars, Augustus' current public policy, and a reference to a mock reenactment of the Battle of Actium make the epistle more than a didactic poem tailored to Lollius' personal situation. Admittedly these allusions to recent historical events come up in reference to Lollius' participation in communal activity, and thus are mediated through his private experience. Lollius' activities in the public, historical domain are said to qualify him for the demands of social patronage. These topical references, however, contribute to a more complicated subtext: in the case of Actium, for example, it is literary patronage which demands a specific representation of history, an image whose unanimous endorsement was as artificed as the literary retellings themselves. Simply put, public history does not prepare for the compromises involved in patronage; rather, those compromises help to create versions of history. And while such representations may have subsumed private dissesion on Horace's part in other poems, I argue that a suppressed vision of history, one distinct from the state, reemerges in this subtext that runs throughout the poem.

The first two lines of the epistle--Si bene te novi, metues, liberrime Lolli, / scurrantis speciem praebere, professus amicum--present the conflict whose repercussions for free expression lie at the heart of Horace's advice. As the praeceptor analyzes his friend's dilemma, Lollius fears the appearance of slavish imitation that might arise from the necessary compliance and conciliations of playing the part of an amicus. His character, we are told, is noted for being liberrime, a word whose implications for Augustan Rome are many.(6) In the context of Lollius' implied biographical background, this quality of liber seems to refer primarily to a bold freedom of action, a lack of restraint that would apply to speech as well.(7) As the later reference to Lollius' reenactment of the battle of Actium on his father's estate suggests, the connotation of "free-born" in liber superimposes the issue of a psychological frankness on that of political liberties.

This conflation of emotional traits and social or historical contexts at once describes the overt meanings of the epistle as well as the latent suggestions of its subtext. On the one hand, it is Lollius' penchant for bold behavior that makes his insertion into the system of patronage problematic--he fears the loss of identity, of a distinct self. From this evidently proud young man's point of view, the role of an amicus requires a distasteful subordination that borders on mimicry, a sympathy of interests that flattens all the contours of his character. In a sense, the concept of role here is twofold: in the system of patronage, the role of the subordinate amicus entails an entire "grammar of behavior";(8) the codified demeanor towards a patron had achieved degrees of stylization such that Horace can give general advice about rules of deportment. On a second level, the theatrics involved in patronage were innate to the system: a subordinate had to take his cue from the patron, fashioning his responses to conform with the wishes of his benefactor. The system itself operates according to discursive roles,(9) and within that system the role of the less powerful man suffers the direction of the patronus. This metaphor from the stage appears at the very beginning of the epistle, where the speaker establishes a polarity between extreme compliance and excessive license:

alter in obsequium plus aequo pronus et imi

derisor lecti sic nutum divitis horret,

sic iterat voces et verba cadentia tollit,

ut puerum saevo credas dictata magistro

reddere vel partis mimum tractare secundas. (10-14)

The role of a lesser amicus(10) here allows for little more than fearful imitation, a skillful parroting of the lead of a patronus. The first image, of a scurra or parasite at a dinner party, leads into the speaker's comparison of the client's role to a schoolboy's tutelage under a master or the second actor in a mime. If we view the speaker here as representative, to one degree or another, of Horace himself, the extreme analogy to the art of mime points up the praeceptor's own understanding of the pitfalls of patronage.(11) For like the young Lollius' penchant for unbridled freedom, it is the speaker's liberal sentiments, his easily inflamed sympathies for the dead of the civil wars, which in the past may have conflicted with his own role as a poet supported by the state.(12) In Horace's case, the metaphor of representation assumes a special resonance: for as an encomiast of the Augustan regime, one supported by its benefactions, he became an instrument of an intentionally cultivated vision.(13) As such, he served to buttress the visions for the future and versions of the past which the regime endorsed. His part in the official representation of events may very well have invoked the analogy of playing second to the primary actor on the stage of history. Similarly, the schoolboy's repetitions of his dictata to a magister suggest not only the performance of an assigned task, but an element of coerced return as well.(14) The exercises or language--dictata--which is given back shares the same root as dictatorship.(15)

This inscription of the praeceptor's own experience in his advice to Lollius is most apparent in the cameo of the staged Battle of Actium and the lines leading up to it. In lines that bring to mind Maecenas' advice in Dio Cassius' famous and fictitious debate between him and Agrippa, the speaker first warns Lollius about the necessity for circumspection and respect for the privacy of information: arcanum neque tu scrutaberis illius umquam, commissumque teges et vino tortus et ira (37-38). Seemingly innocuous injunctions in the context of social advice, these lines suggest on a more general level the issue of free speech. One characteristic obviously associated with more republican forms of society is the "free exchange of information," or the right of the public to be informed of all affairs which affect the well-being of the state. In the Roman Republic, this took the form of contiones, reports to the public of the proceedings of the Senate.(16) Taking the etymological roots of "republic," we have, of course, the res publica, and the consequent suggestion of knowledge or information as public property. These two lines present information as a form of property--the status of object apparent in the substantive endings of arcanum and commissum--secrets belonging to the patron, or guarded jealously if entrusted to the client.

Since the system of patronage became not only the primary means of entry to government service but also the way in which government was conducted,(17) Horace's advice here suggests the increasing secrecy in which decisions about policy were made. The notorious story of Maecenas' fall from favor as a result of his indiscreet confidences in his wife, Terentia,(18) provides only the most crude of examples of the tight-lipped conduct of state affairs. The corollary, of course, to this closeddoor diplomacy was the gradual erosion of libertas in the context of free expression. While the Roman Republic did not have a fully developed constitutional notion of free speech, the concept of libertas implied the right to open debate in the Senate: "and libertas, with regard to Roman domestic politics under the Empire, often means, explicitly or implicitly, libertas senatus. Libertas senatus means that important matters of State shall be brought before the Senate, and that senators may freely express their opinions and vote without constraint."(19) The concept for the Romans was inextricably tied up with the res publica: the libertas enjoyed by a Roman rested on his status as a citizen of the Republic.(20) This emphasis on the rights of the individual, and in particular the right to participate in his own political process,(21) constitutes a form of personal liberty which safeguards ideological difference in the public domain. In the context of literary expression, the public dimension of political debate in the Senate might be said to complement the poet's right to a private point of view on history.

While Epistle 1.18 makes no explicit reference to the principle of senatorial debate, as a characteristic innate to the Republic such ideological contention is the implied victim of both an increasingly monarchic regime and the system of patronage it promotes. The civil war between Octavian and Antony might be viewed as civic antagonism on a martial level that parallels the spirit of contentious pursuit for dignitas in the political arena of the Senate: "Free political activity among his equals was as a rule considered to be the senator's vocation and his aim in life. The display of one's abilities and free competition for honour and glory were felt to be the life-blood of republicanism."(22) The Principate that emerged out of a half-century of civil wars, a system of government, as it were, that was the eventual outcome of one man's yielding to another, put an end to free debate in the Senate even as it cultivated a propagandistic vision of unanimity to which a cliens qua poet had at least partially to capitulate,(23) should he wish to benefit from the system. The arcanum which a cliens is not to pry out of his patron, then, or the commissum with which he is entrusted, is, in the context of the literature of the period, the visions and versions of history that were not officially endorsed. In the context of the civil wars it was just that--the fact that they were civil--and, more specifically, the figure of Antony. That the advice to maintain silence about affairs of state precedes in this epistle the allusions to civil war suggests that this is what is suppressed.

The exemplum about the twin brothers Amphion and Zethus further underscores this parallelism between the domination of one man in government and the patron's control of perspective. The praeceptor's injunction to respect and withhold private knowledge ironically modulates into a clear if indirect allusion to the stifling of private voice for the sake of a uniformity of interests:

nec tua laudabis studia aut aliena reprendes,

nec cum venari volet ille, poemata panges.

gratia sic fratrum geminorum Amphionis atque

Zethi dissiluit, donec suspecta severo

conticuit lyra. fraternis cessisse putatur

moribus Amphion: tu cede potentis amici

lenibus imperiis ... (39-45) A story about the founding brothers of Thebes has been cleverly adduced here to apply to the context of patronage. In Horace's attenuated version, however, no mention is made of Amphion's skill, a lyrical power so moving that the stones of Thebes fell spontaneously into place. The speaker refers here to a quarrel depicted in Euripides' Antiope, where Zethus' fraternal taunts became a harsh and rigid disapproval of Amphion's musical pursuit. Like the poems which the praeceptor recommends that Lollius forgo writing when his patron wishes to go hunting--nec cum venari volet ille, poemata panges--Amphion's lyre falls silent so that ruptured fraternal harmony might become whole again. What is striking about Horace's sparing use of myth here is his emphasis on brothers, division, and poetry as the cause of that fracture. Poems, in both the exemplum and the lines which lead into it, suggest a solitary individualism and a consequent antagonism of interests.

While the speaker invokes this exemplum to support his recommendation that Lollius comply with the whims of his patron, an autobiographical subtext is not far beneath the surface: patronage treatens not only an autonomy of action but also the independence of private voice. The fraternal division of this image anticipates the later allusion to Actium even as it refers to the propagandistic pressure exerted to downplay the civil aspect of that battle. Indeed, the lyric solitude in the figure of Amphion suggests a fragile and threatened independence, one which recalls, for example, the delicate shift of poetic sympathy in the Cleopatra ode. And despite that poem's decided liberty in its magisterial celebration of the foreign queen, the elision of the figure of Antony implies the same concessions to a false image of unanimity as Amphion's renunciation of his lyre.

Indeed, it is this lyric autonomy which Horace tries to reclaim in the epistolary genre. And while my argument here is that he recovers a suppressed perspective or voice through a subtextual resonance in his advice to Lollius, such gestures of independence appear in numerous other guises in the Epistles. His overt refusal of Maecenas' request for more odes in the First Epistle, for example, displays an autonomy that is reflected in his cameo appearance at the end of the poem to Lollius. But his claim to auctoritas over his own voice comes only after a period of service such as he recommends to Lollius. And it is one of the many complexities of this poem that the issue over which the patron's cooptation of the private voice of the poet encountered most resistance--the Battle of Actium--returns as an emphatic subtext that complements the overt text. Such a subtext gives the speaker back the voice that he "lost" in such communal visions as the beginning of the Cleopatra ode, and lends him thus the self-possession that the vision of his plenitude at the end of the epistle to Lollius suggests.(24)

But the overt text advises a literal renunciation of the lyre. Instead, Lollius should accompany his patron on a hunt, that virile Roman pastime which is the customary cultivation of young men. Moreover, he is suited for such masculine pursuits, with their promise of fame and stature, by his previous military exploits. Indeed, the lenibus imperiis of the patron modulate in very few lines into the widening imperium of the emperor:

denique saevam

militiam puer et Cantabrica bella tulisti

sub duce qui templis Parthorum signa refigit

nunc, et si quid abest Italis adiudicat armis. (54-57) If we look more closely at what this biographical sketch of Lollius implies, the scenario of Lollius' involvement in the making of empire becomes not the reason for his ability to capitulate to the designs of his patron, but rather that which demands such capitulation. What was adduced merely as an illustrative example turns out to be the underlying source of the system. The ultimate patron is the emperor,(25) and lands fall into line beneath the protection of Rome, that is, as clientelae to its patronage, in much the same way as the speaker advises Lollius to fall in with his friend. Horace reinforces this reflection of the historical dimension in the private sphere with a verbal echo that initiates another exemplum of Lollius' capacity to comply. The vignette of a reenactment of the Battle of Actium, moreover, again functions on the level of overt advice even as it provides the reference for the arcanum of patronage, the suppressed text of the experience of Horace as a cliens, the lyre that must fall silent for the sake of peace:

ac ne te retrahas et inexcusabilis absis,

quamvis nil extra numerum fecisse modumque

curas, interdum nugaris rure paterno;

partitur lintris exercitus, Actia pugna

te duce per pueros hostili more refertur,

adversarius est frater, lacus Hadria, donec

alterutrum velox Victoria fronde coronet.

consentire suis studiis qui crediderit te,

fautor utroque tuum aludabit pollice ludum.

protinus ut moneam, si quid monitoris eges tu,

quid, de quoque viro, et cui dicas saepe videto. (58-68) Just as the speaker warns Lollius not to stand aloof from the sport of his patron--ac ne te retrahas et inexcusabilis absis--so too unconquered land succumbs to Italian arms--si quid abest Italis adiudicat armis. The private dynamic of domination in patronage has its counterpart in the public sphere. But these lines imply more than just a parallelism--for the system of patronage is in the service of the Principate, and the compliance that the speaker advises is partially a compliance in the fictions of the government itself.

Here is where the subtext of Horace's experience as a cliens comes in: to stand aloof from the demands of the patron would be a disloyalty to the empire. And in Horace's case, such a lack of compliance does indeed constitute a threat to imperium because the Augustan regime depended on the visions of propaganda to promote its image of an unproblematic pax.(26) The imperium sine fine was just as much a rhetorical vision demanding consent as a geographical entity imposed on client nations. Hence the references to poetic decorum in the phrase introducing the vignette about Actium: quamvis nil extra numerum fecisse modumque / curas, interdum nugaris rure paterno. While the reenactment of this touchy subject is ostensibly cited as evidence of Lollius' capacity to "join in the fun," and thus to comply with the whims of his amicus, the disclaiming prelude points to the irony of the historical allusion coming from Horace's pen.

The subject of Actium as a civil war was taboo, and for Horace to refer to it as such transgresses the decorous silence he should keep.(27) The cameo of Lollius' reenactment of the battle may reveal his readiness to acquiesce in another's plans--though this, too, is problematic--but it demonstrates the very opposite tendency in Horace: the verbal representation of Lollius' dramatic one reveals a lack of compliance with the official vision of a unified Italy, a tota Italia,(28) and thus constitutes the very violation of poetic delicacy which the speaker claims that Lollius respects. Lollius may not transgress the boundary of decorum with his nugae on his father's estate, but the speaker's allusion flirts with the unspeakable, the nefas of the Augustan regime, skirting and crossing the edges of taboo territory. The half-line adversarius est frater, seemingly a simple mention of the dramatis personae, is an unmistakable expression of the fratricidal nature of civil war. Moreover, the poetic diction of nil extra numerum fecisse modumque recalls the lyre of Amphion, silenced for the sake of fraternal harmony. From the perspective of Horace as a cliens, such silence is metaphoric--the tota Italia envisioned by the Principate did not brook division. The image of the brothers Amphion and Zethus symbolizes the denial of civil conflict as an issue of fraternal discord; or, the civil discord whose elision Augustus effected in propaganda ironically becomes the dominant image in terms of which Horace alludes to the emperor's campaign to efface it. So that when swift Victory crowns either Lollius or his brother as winner of the battle--donec alterutrum velox Victoria fronde coronet--the moment recalls the acquiescence signaled by the donec in Amphion's deferral to his brother Zethus. Just as patronage will brook no dissent, so the outcome of the civil wars was a submission to the rule of one man. And, similarly, as the rule of one man began to exert more influence over the representations of his government, the official visions of empire assumed a unified front.

The image of the amicus lending his approval to Lollius' ludus raises this issue of a consensus informing the endorsed versions of history. The overt text presents the amicus as praising Lollius' play in response to the young man's acquiescence in his patron's pursuits: consentire suis studiis qui crediderit te, fautor utroque tuum laudabit pollice ludum.(29) Referring to Lollius' deferral to his amicus, the verb consentire suggests the unanimous endorsement with which Augustus tried to justify his usurpation of power. This unanimity--the consensus Italiae--was at once a rhetorical weapon, or, to use Ronald Syme's phrase, a political catchword, as well as a concrete, legitimizing measure. In 32 B.C., as a means of securing the loyal following of the Italian population at large, Augustus, then Octavian, enjoined tota Italia to swear an oath of allegiance to him.(30) As Syme points out, there is no historical evidence of how the oath was administered. No doubt a seamless, undivided endorsement of Octavian was the ideal which he succeeded in cultivating only as a rhetorical fiction. But the concept of relations behind the oath was that of patronage, so that many of the veterans whom Octavian had settled on confiscated lands "regarded Caesar's heir as their patron and defender and were firmly attached to his clientela."(31)

If, as suggested above in discussion of the public dimension of patronage and the building of empire, Augustus served as the ultimate patron, he no doubt hovers again behind the figure of the specific amicus here. The patron's endorsement of this ludus of Actium can only serve as an ironic comment on the subtext of Horace's experience of patronage, where participation in the official visions meant a denial, not an admission, of the civil character of the war. The consensus Italiae, first a political tool of legitimization, becomes a rhetorical vision whose plural yet unified voice Horace adopts for many of the odes.(32) That Lollius stages Actium mocks with a kind of distorting, or retorting, grimace the original portrayal of that particular battle: the war must be retold--refertur--in order to correct Octavian's first misrepresentation. While sham naval battles of this kind were commonly put on for purposes of celebration and diversion, the emphasis on representation here slyly accentuates Octavian's efforts to construct a history for himself. As Ahl points out, Lollius reconverts the war back into a civil one.(33)

Indeed, the ironies multiply when one considers how the speaker claims that this mock battle exemplifies Lollius' capacity to comply with his patron, and thus to restrain his impulsively strong-willed nature. For although this is how the episode is introduced, the skit becomes not an activity of the patron's to which Lollius defers, but rather an act of risky independence of a type which would win the patron's approval in exchange for participation in his affairs. This concluding comment by the speaker recasts the lines ac ne te retrahas et inexcusabilis absis, / quamvis nil extra numerum fecisse modumque in an ironic light, making Lollius' staged Actium not, perhaps, an inexcusable absence from any participation, but at least a divergence from the conventional compliance. In fact, the "marginal" behavior implied in the verb retrahas, where Lollius would pull back from involvement and thus stand on the periphery, or the sidelines, in a sense characterizes his action. He pushes the limits of official representation, going beyond the number and measure of Augustan propaganda.

Finally, as mentioned above, this liberty which Lollius takes with the party line, or measure, functions simultaneously as a liberty of representation on Horace's part.(34) The independent nature which Lollius fears losing, his liberrimus character, stands metaphorically for the political liberties that suffered erosion under the Principate. No only does the lyric diction which phrases the issue of transgression suggest Horace's experience, but the reference to a gladiatorial show in the patron's gesture of approval recalls the speaker's metaphor in the First Epistle for his capacity as official encomiast in the Odes.(35) Lollius' battle, then, suggests the following subtext about the Horatian experience of liberty--that the independence of the act of representation itself depends on compliance with the patron. In other words, the compliance with the overall fiction or scheme of the Principate permits or allows a critical gesture that diverges from the party line.(36)

However, such liberty of representation for Horace depends on the figure of Lollius, insofar as his mock naval battle as a textual image provides the vehicle for the poet's license. That such license over the Battle of Actium occurs via the dramatic figure of Lollius points up again the repression of liberty and of individual voice, as the effect of the system of patronage. For this situates the liberty that Horace does take on a subtextual level. The remarks that follow the vignette about Actium further support how the subtextual level of this license constitutes a kind of "return of the repressed." As if the biographical touch about Lollius were a digression from the didactic development of the speaker's thought, he resumes his comments about the necessity for circumspection:

protinus ut moneam, si quid monitoris eges tu,

quid, de quoque viro, et cui dicas saepe videto.

percontatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est,

nec retinent patulae commissa fideliter aures,

et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum. (67-71)

Like the references to the arcanum and the knowledge--commissum--which have been entrusted to a cliens, these words of advice underscore a furtive secrecy about information that characterizes the system of patronage. Indeed, that the digression about Actium is embraced by advice about the need to withhold information, and respect such privacy, points up on a structural level the taboo status of the war as a civil one.

A different form of this subtextual reference to civil discord, one that, perhaps, more truly merits the appellation "subtextual," appears at the very beginning of the epistle in the binary oppositions with which the speaker attempts to define the role of a more subordinate amicus. After asserting that Lollius fears the dangerous proximity between an amicus and the appearance of a scurra--a servile buffoon--the speaker illustrates the distinction by claiming that the two roles are as far different from each other as a meretrix from a matrona:

Si bene te novi, metues, liberrime Lolli,

scurrantis speciem praebere, professus amicum.

ut matrona meretrici dispar erit atque

discolor, infido scurrae distabit amicus. (1-4)

The emphasis on division in the diction of definition here--dispar, discolor, and distabit--anticipates both the loss of harmony between the brothers Amphion and Zethus--gratia dissiluit--as well as the obvious civil discord which they represent. The explicatory distinctions continue when the speaker opposes a "country roughness" to the vice of the imitative buffoon. Here, rather than distinguish vice from virtue, the speaker opposes two vices: est huic diversum vitio vitium prope maius. In a sense, this illustrative device of opposition creates a bifurcating structure. For after distinguishing vice from virtue, the speaker splits vice, and develops each example of an extreme in sentences beginning with the word alter: alter in obsequium plus aequo pronus et imi (10); alter rixatur de lana saepe caprina (15). Then the example of excessive independence yet again fissures--this time into the division of opinion created by a boorish hair-splitter wishing to assert his difference from his more powerful amicus: ambigitur quid enim? Castor sciat an Dolichos plus; Brundisium Minuci melius via ducat an Appi (19-20). Moreover, this example of trivial wrangling follows on the first overt reference to free speech in the poem: in contrast to the scurra who merely mimics and repeats the sayings of his amicus, the boor cries out "scilicet ut non / sit mihi prima fides, et vere quod placet ut non / acriter elatrem! pretium aetas altera sordet."

Although the tone here is satiric, these lines underscore the issue at the heart of this epistle--a client's freedom of expression, or the right to "part company with" his patron. And this issue of the overt text parallels the covert text of Horace's specific experience of a form of censorship when writing of the Battle of Actium. However, the speaker's direct and indirect allusions to this historic event in the course of his advice to Lollius assert a basic independence and integrity whose aesthetic expression testifies to Horace's complex and sophisticated craft.(37)



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(1)Kilpatrick, Friendship 49-55, in keeping with the orientation of his study, discusses the overt advice given by the speaker and gives an explication of the appropriate behavior of a subordinate amicus. For comments on the philosophical emphasis of the speaker's advice see the more abbreviated analyses of Macleod, "Poetry of Ethics" 282-84, and McGann, Studies 77-82. Reckford, Horace 116-18, and Fraenkel, Horace 318-21, also give explications of the epistle. All quotations from Horace follow the OCT text of E. C. Wickham.

(2)Such a vision of the Augustan principate as orchestrating its own image is, of course, a vast topic that has received much scholarly attention. For a recent view of this issue that sees even the much-discussed disappearance of Maecenas as powerful patron after 23 B.C. as a staged act, see Williams, "Fall from Favor?" The related issue of patronal pressure is quite complicated, and it is not my intention here to lay out the various positions held by critics who have written on the matter. At will become evident, my own view obviously inclines to the presence of some pressure, tacit or otherwise. Part of this pressure arises naturally from the reciprocity ethic implicit in patronage. In his discussion of the language of patronage, Saller observes that he describes "the Roman ideology of exchange, one similar to that which Marcel Mauss explored in relation to other societies" (Personal Patronage 22). The "gifts" of estates by the Augustan regime to Vergil and Horace, in particular, demanded some kind of return. And a qualified compliance with the ideological vision of the regime would have functioned as such. For a good introduction to the subject see Gold, Literary and Artistic Patronage. In his introduction to his study of Odes book 4, Putnam (Artifices 20-23) gives a balanced and generous interpretation of the passage in Suetonius' Vita Horatii where the poet is said to have yielded to Augustus' demands. See also Griffin, "Augustus and the Poets" 191, who quotes Macrobius' observation that "power does compel, not only if it invites but even if it beseeches."

(3)So Fraenkel, Horace 315, and Kilpatrick, Friendship 126 n. 1. Horace distinguishes Lollius by addressing two epistles to him, 1.2 in addition to 1.18, so that he must have been someone of importance to the poet. He appears to be too young to be the Lollius of O. 4.9, who is usually taken to be cos. in 21.

(4)In his chapter on clientela Brunt writes: "Men of wealth and standing... thought it 'like death' to be called clients; they might even be reluctant to accept favours that bound them too closely to the benefactor and looked for a return" (Republic 395). Given Lollius' social position and the existing convention of euphemism, the terms patronus and cliens would be avoided by Horace in preference to the more delicate amici. However, the relationship which Lollius receives advice about is clearly not one between equals, and the commentaries--Kiessling and Heinze, Briefe; Morris, Satires and Epistles 112; Wilkins, Epistulae 210--as well as the critic Kilpatrick (Friendship) refer to the potens amicus whom Lollius courts either as a patron or as someone of distinctly higher rank. What distinguishes clientela most readily from amicitia is the former's economic relations of support and dependency. Although this concrete expression of hierarchical difference does not seem to characterize Lollius' relations with his potens amicus, such benefactions did mark the speaker's relationship with his friend and patron, Maecenas. Since these latter relations obviously inform the speaker's advice to Lollius, and, as I will argue, create a subtext about the experience of Horace as a cliens, I sometimes translate the term amicus as "patron" when the context makes it applicable.

(5)See note 1 above for recent critical interpretations.

(6)See Wirszubski, Libertas, for a full discussion; add the chapter on libertas in Nicolet, Citizen 317-41; and the chapter "Libertas in the Republic" in Brunt, Republic 283-84, where he claims that libertas first and foremost denoted the status of one who was not a slave. Since libertas thus was the "precondition of citizenship," it also signified the political rights of a citizen. And these rights, according to Brunt, were "of two types: immunity from arbitrary coercion and punishment by magistrates, and some degree of participation in political power" (297).

(7)The liber amicus as the frank friend is a type that Horace has praised in Satire 1.4. However, Lollius is very free, and the superlative draws attention to the word whose connotations serve as a major theme of the epistle.

(8)This term is from Whigham, Ambition xi.

(9)Patronage in ancient Rome is an excellent example of Foucault's idea of historically specific discourse.

(10)Brunt, Republic 395, quotes the first line of this section when he discusses the resistance which Romans of well-established status felt towards the appellation cliens.

(11)To assume that Horace's own experience informs the statements of a poem about patronage is surely not farfetched. The second assumption, that he intended the speaker of his poem to be read as drawing to some degree from the poet's "actual life," is encouraged by what I will argue is the epistle's treatment of Actium. Moreover, Horace's frequent allusions to the value which he--as speaker elsewhere in his poetry--placed on his independence make his identification with the younger Lollius not unlikely.

(12)One of the best examples of this is Ode 2.1, addressed to Pollio, where the speaker's warning about the dangers of writing history--periculosae plenum opus aleae, / tractas, et incedis per ignis / suppositos cineri doloso (6-8)--modulates into a dirge for the dead of the civil wars. The last stanza, where Horace rebukes his procax Musa for her digression, suggests at least the appearance of conflict with his role as patronized poet. Of course such conflict becomes part of the artistry of the poem. Another famous example of such ambivalence is the Cleopatra ode. Here, Horace has fashioned a victory poem gone awry when the speaker differentiates himself from the communal vision of his sodales by a sympathetic paean to the foreign queen.

(13)This idea of the encomium of a political vision or public policy is most forcefully argued in Williams, "Fall from Favor?"

(14)See note 2 above for a discussion of "coercion."

(15)While there may be a hint of Horace's experience here, the exemplum clearly displays satiric exaggeration. Also, cf. Epist. 1.1.14 and 54-56 for statements of philosophical independence that complement the following argument about Horatian libertas in Epistle 1.18. I am indebted to the anonymous referee of this paper for these references.

(16)See Wirszubski, Libertas 20.

(17)See the chapters "The Working of Patronage" and "The Government" in Syme, Revolution 369-405; and "The Emperor and His Court" in Saller, Personal Patronage 41-78, where he agrees with Syme but modifies his views somewhat. Brunt, Republic 438-40, also supports this vision of the early Principate, but disagrees with Syme about Augustus' gaining and maintaining his power through patronage. Brunt claims that the oath of fealty sworn to Octavian in 32 was not modeled on an oath in a relationship of patronage. He does, however, aver that "Octavian must have inherited and acquired, in virtue of his adoption, power, and wealth, a clientela that exceeded all others," and that "the more that decisions were taken in the emperor's closet, or by officials whom he appointed and who enjoyed his favour, the stronger was the impulse to seek the aid of those who had the best access to authority."

(18)Suet. Aug. 3.

(19)Wirszubski, Libertas 137.

(20)Nicolet, Citizen 321.

(21)I use this phrase loosely, since despite the various offices which represented the Roman people, as Wirszubski points out, "the government of Rome, although elected by all the full citizens, was essentially non-democratic because, once in power, it was largely independent of the popular will" (Libertas 48).

(22)Wirszubski, Libertas 88.

(23)This modified capitulation is evident in Ode 1.37, where despite the poem's final tribute to the Egyptian queen, Horace represents the victory at Actium as the conquest of a foreign enemy.

(24)The passive periphrastics with which the Cleopatra ode begins (Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero / pulsanda tellus ...) suggest the loss of an individual "I" distinguished from the "we" of state ego. There is no choosing subject here, only the imperative to an action in which identity dissolves.

(25)See again Syme, Revolution 369-405. For the view that Augustus' status qua ultimate patron was largely metaphorical see Brunt, Republic 438-42.

(26)See the chapter "The Organization of Opinion" in Syme, Revolution 459-75. For the cultural program in the visual arts see Zanker, Power of Images, especially the chapters "The Mythical Foundations of the New Rome" and "Form and Meaning of the New Mythology." See also bibliography in note 2 above.

(27)Ancient literary sources for the suppression of references to Actium as a civil war, and its distorted representation as a battle against the barbarous forces of the East, include Prop. 3.11.51-56, 4.6; Ver. Aen. 8.675ff.; and of course the first half of Hor. Od. 1.37. While Antony is mentioned by Vergil, the "enemy" is clearly the demonized East. Zanker, Power of Images 82ff., discusses the manipulation of visual imagery in reference to Actium.

(28)See the chapter "Tota Italia" in Syme, Revolution 276-93.

(29)On the one hand, these lines appear to refer back to line 39, where the speaker advises Lollius to forgo the solitary activity of writing verse when his patron requests his company. Following Kiessling and Heinze, the ludus here would mean poetry, as it does in the First Epistle (1.1.3, 1.1.10), where Horace renounces his role as lyric poet. In that introductory epistle, the speaker metaphorically conceives of writing the odes as a gladiatorial ludus from which he now begs to be free. But given this precedent, albeit metaphorical, Lollius' ludus could refer not only to his verse but also to the actual "game" of Actium which he stages on his father's estate. Surely its placement after the spectacle of Actium suggests that it refers to this playful display as well. Since the statement of lines 65-66 is a general one that looks to the future, its tone is inclusively rather than narrowly referential. And insofar as it immediately follows the vignette about a mock Actium, the statement's future tense refers to the continuous endorsement of such ludus when it might occur. The present tense and the adverb--interdum nugaris rure paterno--imply a repeated activity that would extend into the future. Moreover, in Cicero's De Officiis, he cautions, Ludendi etiam est quidam modus retinendus, ut ne nimis omnia profundamus elatique voluptate in aliquam turpitudinem delabamur. Suppeditant autem et campus noster et studia venandi honesta exempla ludendi (1.29.104). The Horatian speaker also recommends hunting and cites Lollius' prowess on the campus (45-54) as examples of socially approved pastimes. Horace might very well be alluding to this passage of Cicero's in an epistle concerned with similar issues. And when the mock battle of Actium is introduced as an event just within the limit--quamvis nil extra numerum fecisse modumque--of acceptable behavior, Cicero's warning of a ludendi ... modus certainly seems relevant. Finally, in terms of a subtext of Horace's experience as a patronized poet, the mention of Lollius' theatrical game is of a piece with Horace's poetic game. The epistle's inclusion of Lollius' mock battle is Horace's ludus.

(30)Syme, Revolution 161, 284-89.

(31)Syme, Revolution 289; and see note 17 above for Brunt's modification of Syme's view. Saller, Personal Patronage 73, also discusses the oath of loyalty annually sworn to the emperor but does not comment on the specific oath of 32 B.C. Galsterer, "After Fifty Years" 17, refers to the patrocinium and clientela which Augustus created for himself by the consensus universorum. Indeed, even if the oath itself had no model in patronal relations, the swearing of allegiance would have established Augustus, then Octavian, as "having the whole state and all the citizens in his care and protection" (Brunt, Republic 439).

(32)Again, the voice of the sodales at the beginning of the Cleopatra ode provides a clear example. In addition, the so-called Roman Odes present the speaker in a sacerdotal mode whose voice, though often singular, nonetheless speaks in the interests of the nation at large. The frequently quoted and disturbing dictum from these odes, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (3.2.13), displays this authoritative voice that speaks for the whole even as the meaning of the line similarly enjoins sacrifice for an entity larger than the self.

(33)Ahl, "Rider and the Horse" 52.

(34)From the broadest point of view, that is, in terms of an overt text and the full resonance of a subtext, the ludus suggests Lollius' poetry, Lollius' sham Actium, Horace's poetry in general (the speaker's advice draws from experience), and this particular game of poetic subversion.

(35)Horace there envisions himself as a retired gladiator: non eadem est aetas, non mens. Veianius armis / Herculis ad postem fixis latet abditus agro, / ne populum extrema totiens exoret harena (Epist. 1.1.4-6).

(36)This quid pro quo dynamic resembles the ambiguous role of the Sabine Farm in the Seventh Epistle: as the gift which the Augustan regime made to Horace, it demands a certain compliance with the official vision, one which Horace expresses in the Odes; however, as the repeated configurations of the Sabine Farm in the Epistles make clear, it also functions as a topos of independence, the locus apart from Rome and any participation in its imperial visions.

(37)I am grateful to Albert Cook, Michael Putnam, Martha Nussbaum, Charles Segal, and AJP's anonymous referee for many helpful suggestions and comments on this essay.
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Author:Bowditch, Lowell
Publication:American Journal of Philology
Date:Sep 22, 1994
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