The After Dinner Scholar

Carpe Diem: The Poetry of Horace with Prof. Eugene Hamilton

November 10, 2020

In 1959 Oxford University Press published a 200-page book containing 451 translations (half of them in English) of a single 16-line Latin poem, Ad Pyrrham or “The Ode to Pyrrha.” The poet—now nearly forgotten—was perhaps the most influential poet of all time. His name: Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace.

For 2,000 years Horace was admired as possibly the greatest poet in history. And then Latin—especially advanced Latin—became a thing of the past and few were able to read his grammatically complex works. Today, of course, poetry itself has become passé.

But at Wyoming Catholic College, Latin is a required subject and poems are read, studied, and memorized. Latinist Eugene Hamilton has been helping a group of students work there way through a selection of Horace’s Odes.

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