Augustan Poetry Essay

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Augustan Poetry

Often through hardship and nearly insurmountable difficulty great works of art are born. Although years of bloodshed and civil war had plagued Rome since the death of Julius Caesar, some of the most powerful and influential literature in the western world was developed in that timeframe. During the Age of Augustus (approximately 43 BC – 17 AD) such great writers as Virgil, Horace, Livy, Propertius, and Ovid created epic masterpieces of literature and philosophy. It was through the collective efforts of these great poets and writers as well as Augustus himself, that the rise of a new facet of Roman literature was possible. Seeing the opportunity to foster a great rebirth of Roman culture (specifically literature),
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The Aeneid in particular “Romanized” epic poetry. Epic Poetry had been the greatest form of storytelling and furthermore the Greeks form of storytelling. It also rivaled the great legends of the Greeks, gained much respect for Rome in the ancient world (where the Greeks were traditionally the great writers and thinkers), and, most importantly, allowed the Roman’s to make their myth’s and history known. (The Aeneid can be seen as a direct response to the great literature of the Greeks, in particular, Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey). Simultaneously, Horace became a prominent author of skill, prominence, and witty satire and the master of Roman lyrical poetry. Horace’s Epodes, like Virgil’s Bucolics, reflected much of the crisis of Roman culture and society prevalent at his time (from 43-8 BC). A series of choral poems, the Epodes became Horace’s response to the growing problems of his day, as well as a proponent for Augustus’s political party. Both Virgil and Horace based much of their writing style and structure on existing Greek models. Through Horace, like Virgil, Roman literature became more influential (through becoming somewhat unique, yet at the same time generally accepted, being based on Greek structure). Livy, the next great author, wrote a colossal, detailed history of Rome called the Ab Urbe Condita. The book was his greatest achievement, and today stands out as one of the great books

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