Harry Eyres: Horace and Why Wine Matters
January 14, 2023, 12pm EDT
Wine is an important presence in Horace’s poetry – especially in the Odes. Commentators have tended to see the frequent references to wine, odes addressed to Bacchus or a particular wine-jar, in terms of a tradition of drinking-songs going back to Archaic Greece. Harry Eryes argues in this lecture that wine for Horace has far greater and more personal significance than this, on many levels. He was himself a wine grower (or so we gather from Odes 1, 20), and a connoisseur, as part of a burgeoning, sophisticated wine and food culture in Ancient Rome.
However, at a more profound level, Horace made wine into one of the master-symbols of his poetry, connoting our connection with the earth (and particular corners of it), the way we ripen and mature as human beings, a way of “being in the moment” (carpe diem) while also recalling the past and envisioning the future. Wine is a quasi-divine presence, profoundly connected with poetic inspiration. Over the course of the lecture Harry Eyres will analyse and offer his free verse translations of several of the odes featuring wine, including Odes 1, 11, Odes 1, 20, Odes 2, 14, Odes 3,21, and Odes 3,25.
N.B. - You can view a recording of this, and other past events on Paideia's Youtube Channel.