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Today's Featured Article - Horace

Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC) was a prominent Roman poet. He is known in the English-speaking world as Horace (/ˈhɔrɪsˌ/). In the Latin-speaking world, he is not known as anything, because Latin is dead, and so is Horace. In the dodgier neighborhoods of Rome in those days, he was known as Flaccid Quint.

It being over 2,020 years since those days, it is surprising that he is known as anything at all, but the reason is that the most frequent subject of the poetry of Horace was Horace. Horace was an officer in the Republican Army at the time it bombed at Philippi, which was around the time that Rome bombed at being a republic. When Octavian (or Augustus) became emperor, Horace stuck around as an official spokesperson. His poetry did a historic balancing act between toeing the party line and being of interest to normal people.

R. Barrow writes that Horace "tells us far more about himself than any other great poet in antiquity," R. Barrow evidently being one of the few who finds this interesting. By comparison, Rock And Roll Fred tells this writer far more about himself than does anyone else at the bar, and it is not.

Anyway. Horace was born on 8 December 65 BC — no one seems to know what day of the week that was — in Venusia in southern Italy. His home was on a trade route between Apulia and Bucania, and his appreciation of language may have been enhanced by those using that route, assuming that truckstops were not much different then from now. His mother must often have washed his mouth out with soap (in Latin, lava). It is possible that soldiers were relocated to his region from Rome for their role in the Social War, which proved that they "do not get along with others," and this could have been a source of even more crude language. His father was at one time a slave but gained his freedom and became an auctioneer, yet another basis of Horace's off-color writings. Horace has some very nice things to say about his father, but nothing at all to say about his mother. Mothers often complain that "You never write me."

Horace's mother invites our speculation, except that this entire section has been guesswork. Nevertheless, spending decades doing the same supports large departments at many modern universities. (more...)

Recently featured: Horace - Glory hole

Yesterday's Featured Article - Glory hole

Glory Hole

A glory hole is a type of architectural adornment that first became fashionable in the Italian Renaissance period. Glory holes in this time were often covered in gold leaf, and had either bas-relief or, in sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini's case, sculptural details that came out of the frame too much to be considered as such, and were generally imagery from both Biblical creatures and Classical creatures, most notably angels and cherubs, for it was convention that the creatures be able to fly because of the large scale on which these glory holes were often constructed.

But the form of the glory hole has changed a lot over the years. As a seminal piece of the YBA movement that pervaded during 1992, artist Tracey Emin installed Glory Hole at the Tate Modern in London: two walls of a toilet cubicle, one of which with a small hole in around the middle of the door with a few strips of duct tape so that, as Emin put it, "the viewer [could] more comfortably slide his/her eyes in and out through the hole." This changed the public's perception of the glory hole dramatically.

In the Italian Renaissance, glory holes served two purposes for the rich clergymen who were the usual clientele for the architects and sculptors who built them: (1) as a statement of how well-endowed the people who commissioned and displayed them were when entertaining guests, and (2) so that owners could perform various parts of their daily routines, often accompanied by their wives, such as praying, for these tremendous objects usually portrayed religious iconography, and were seen as a way of getting closer to God. On the left here is one of many glory holes in St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome/Vatican City. Although traditionally used by popes after Pope Paul Borghese V, the founder of St. Peter's, this one is now used mainly for display purposes, though is still used for some ceremonies and special occasions. (more...)

Featured today, a long long time ago

Featured RAF Packington, featured on 18 April 2014. See the featured version.
UnScripts:Who built the moon, featured on 18 April 2012. See the featured version.
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Pigletmugshot

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