Horace, Satirae and Ars poetica, in Latin, decorated manuscript on paper

[Italy, 15th century, second half]

 Horace, Satirae and Ars poetica
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Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 BC), more commonly known in England as Horace, is considered the greatest poet of the Augustan age. Book II of his Satires (miscellaneous poems), the first text in this volume, concerns the search for happiness and contentment, which can be achieved, he suggests, by setting oneself modest and realistic goals. The Ars poetica (Art of Poetry) was, with the Satirae, especially favoured in the late Middle Ages as representing Horace's most mature works.

This modest copy, written on paper rather than parchment, was apparently used as recently as the 19th century as a study-text: someone has numbered every fifth line in the margin in red or blue pencil, presumably to facilitate comparison with a printed edition, and to draw attention to missing passages etc.

Given to the College in 1905 by Rev. E.W. Bowell, along with MSS. A.17.24 and A.18.1.

Text kindly provided, especially for this exhibition, by Peter Kidd