In The Odes of Horace, Steele Commager examines the odes with particular attention both to their language and structure and to the effect a poem is intended to, or does, produce. Horace’s conciseness and apparent clarity phrase by phrase tempt us into believing that there is an equally concise and clear meaning to be assigned to a poem, or even to his thought as a whole. Yet Horace has no systematic philosophy to impart; his poems record only an imaginative apprehension of the world. Each ode is a calculated assault on our sensibilities, a deliberate invasion of our consciousness. Only by yielding to each in its entirety can we momentarily share Horace’s vision.
Socrates - his life, ideas, and techniques of argument - is an indirect presence in the work, and the Socratic tenor of several of the dialogues in it is the subject of one chapter. The lovely Panthea, the fairest woman in Asia, is Xenophon's most colourful heroine and her story, along with the dramatic tales of the eunuch Gadatas, bereaved Gobyras, and defeated Crosesus, are the focus of another section; special attention is paid to the question of Xenophon's originality in fashioning these tales. The symposia of the Cyropaedia, with their intricate blend of Greek and Persian elements, are also investigated at length.
While nineteenth-century scholars debated whether the fragmentary Satyrica of Petronius should be regarded as a traditional or an original work in ancient literary history, twentieth-century Petronian scholarship tended to take for granted that the author was a unique innovator and his work a synthetic composition with respect to genre. The consequence of this was an excessive emphasis on authorial intention as well as a focus on parts of the text taken out of the larger context, which has increased the already severe state of fragmentation in which today's reader finds the Satyrica. The present study offers a reading of the Satyrica as the mimetic performance of its fictional auctor Encolpius; as an ancient road novel told from memory by a Greek exile who relates how on his travels through Italy he had dealings with people who told stories, gave speeches, recited poetry and made other statements, which he then weaves into his own story and retells through the performance technique of vocal impersonation. The result is a skillfully made narrative fabric, a travelogue carried by a desultory narrative voice that switches identity from time to time to deliver discursively varied and often longish statements in the personae of encountered characters.This study also makes a renewed effort to reconstruct the story told in the Satyrica and to explain how it relates to the identity and origin of its fictional auctor, a poor young scholar who volunteered to act the scapegoat in his Greek home city, Massalia (ancient Marseille), and was driven into exile in a bizarre archaic ritual. Besides relating his erotic suffering on account of his love for the beautiful boy Giton, Encolpius intertwines the various discourses and character statements of his narrative into a subtle brand of satire and social criticism (e.g. a critique of ancient capitalism) in the style of Cynic popular philosophy. Finally, it is argued that Petronius' Satyrica is a Roman remake of a lost Greek text of the same title and belongs - together with Apuleius' Metamorphoses - to the oldest type of Greco-Roman novel, known to antiquity as Milesian fiction. Supplementum 2 in Ancient Narrative