I was surprised by the levels of enlightenment that can be ascended to studying Horace the other day so I’m looking at him again. I’m mostly interested in various ancients for what they can teach me about the way people used to relate to the highest concepts.
There’s one hymn to Apollo and Diana that the Emperor Augustus requested Horace write to perform for a public ceremony to honor the era and initiate a new one. This was 17 BC.
Speaking candidly, studying the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses is a way non white males can learn about the Forms. I sharpen my own understanding of the Forms studying them as humanoid divinities too.
The cynical interpretation which has obvious parallels to today
The expert fiction-maker Augustus, we are prone to postulate and so the argument could run, effected this triumph of art over truth by manipulating the genius of his master-poet into fabricating one of the spiritual building blocks of his governmental enterprise.
Horace presents a glowing picture of Rome and leaves out any negative sides, mostly flattering the status quo. Augustus = egregore. The Carmen was an ode to celebrate his regime.
Horace is typically renowned as a critical satirist, so this hymn is anomalous in his corpus
All of our writers in the US are never critical satirists, they’re always bolsterers of the regime’s excellency 100% of the time. This hymn of his has actually been disregarded in the scholarship as political propaganda that was a product of the surrender of his freedom of mind, and thus it has been dismissed as a lesser manifestation of his genius.
The interesting contrast to me is that “Apollo and Diana” aren’t explicitly invoked by our progs when they celebrate “Augustus’ regime”. They don’t have to ground it in anything higher because the existence and importance of the “gods” is presupposed as self-evident.
It’s such a waste that academics don’t talk about the classics like this! It’s right there. The irony is that they tend to teach them through the prism of the prog gods. That’s how they celebrate the regime.
You’re probably familiar with Augustus
He was one of the more admirable emperors from what I’ve read. Many relate to egregore that way today. If you didn’t refresh yourself with that hyperlink to my recent post on Horace I suggest you do to get a grasp of what’s really going on here.
Though they were not “blonde beasts” they looked pretty European in those times
… which is some evidence toward the notion that we today can learn from their divinities and political life. In other words, the Roman pantheon of gods and goddesses is less alien and foreign to us than Confucianism, say. And let’s not even mention this idea of “an Emperor”!
Can you imagine this, after a civil war in America
realized by Horace as the rebirth of Rome with Augustus grown into full auctoritas, with war behind him and an immediate prospect of a new beginning for man and nature.
I theorize about this implausibility because hyperstition is the best any of us can do
Horace’s art again turns Virgil’s future into Rome’s present, hope into truth, idealized Aeneas into realized Augustus.