The paper aims at reconstructing the influence of Simonides on a contiguous series of Horatian poems ("Odes" 4.6-9). The starting point is provided by the discovery of new Simonidean fragments published by Peter Parsons and by Martin West in 1992. But the research casts a wider net, including the influence of Theocritus on Horace-and of Simonides on Theoocritus-and the simultaneous and competing presence of Pindar and Simonides in late Horatian lyric. The influence of Simonides is seen in specific textual pointers-e.g., a simile on the death of Achilles in 4.6, the idea of caducity in 4.7-as well as in the composite role-model of Simonides, the immortalizing poet, the flexible praise-singer. Some wider questions are put in perspective: (1) As for Horace's approach to the poetic tradition, the Roman poet is able to glance across whole genealogies of models, without necessarily making a choice, but making the invocation of several predecessors, already linked in a tradition, relevant to his new text. "Odes" 4.7, for instance, features a dialogue of Horace, Homer, Mimnermus and Simonides. The oscillation in modern criticism between an "Alexandrian" and a "classicizing" Horace could be better explained by constructing a complex model of intertextuality: "Pindar" plus "the Pindar in Callimachus"; "Simonides" plus "the Simonides in Theocritus." (2) The dominating influence of Pindar in Book IV could be a part of a richer picture of influence, now difficult to reconstruct since all we have is the four Pindaric books of epinicia, not necessarily the only (and not even the most) widely read choral lyric in antiquity. (3) The reuse of early-classical praise poetry includes references to social constructs and cultural models of patronage, gift exchange, and poetic addressee: they are important in Augustan lyric precisely because they are felt as distant and impossible to recreate, and become a part of Horace's deft and often ironical negotiations with the problem of being a lyric poet in Augustan Rome.
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Alessandro Barchiesi; Poetry, Praise, and Patronage: Simonides in Book 4 of Horace's "Odes". Classical Antiquity 1 April 1996; 15 (1): 5–47. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/25011030
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