What was Horace’s concept of personal ethical cause and effect? According to Wikipedia “Quintus Horatius Flaccus known in the English-speaking world as Horace was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.” Horace was born on December 8th in the year 65 Bc, And died on November 27 in the year 8BC. Horace wrote many things including the book Odes, “The Art of Poetry.” According to Wikipedia “Modern lyric poetry is a formal type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person.” In his books Horace writes likes he is talking to you. He writes things that may or may not affect their lives. Horace’s concept of personal ethical cause and effect is the “golden mean.” According to Wikipedia ““The golden mean or golden middle way is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. It appeared in Greek thought at least as early as the Delphic maxim “nothing in excess” and emphasized in later Aristotelian philosophy.” 

In the Odes Horace writes a lot about death. He says things like the only major thing in life is death. We can never escape death no matter how hard we try to. It’s the one thing all men have in common. Because of this all men are equal. No one’s life means more than someone else’s. We are all equal. All the riches we have on earth will mean nothing to us once we die. You cannot do anything with those riches once you die. So Horace says to live by the golden mean, the middle way. 

Throughout Odes Horace uses examples of the ant. Proverbs 6: 6-7 says 

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Death is something that no one can escape no matter how hard you try. So Horace says if you live be the golden mean you will have satisfaction.

Leave a Reply