15/11/2018 by BBC Radio 4

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=58704085
Episode: http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/5/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p06rtx9p.mp3

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Horace (65-8BC), who flourished under the Emperor Augustus. He was one of the greatest poets of his age and is one of the most quoted of any age. Carpe diem, nil desperandum, nunc est bibendum – that’s Horace. He was the son of a freedman from southern Italy and, thanks to his talent, achieved high status in Rome despite fighting on the losing side in the civil wars. His Odes are widely thought his most enduring works, yet he also wrote his scurrilous Epodes, some philosophical Epistles and broad Satires. He’s influenced poets ever since, including those such as Wilfred Owen who rejected his line: ‘dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’.


Emily Gowers
Professor of Latin Literature at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John’s College

William Fitzgerald
Professor of Latin Language and Literature at King’s College London


Ellen O’Gorman
Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Bristol

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Listen Date: 2018-11-16

I think this was again an episode too rooted in a British background for me to really connect with it.

I now have a name to connect with the Asterix usage of Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori and nil desperandum; and also to the early Wodehouse usage of Death knocking equally at the door of rich and poor.

The other interesting thing to learn was that carpe diem means more ‘savour the day’ than ‘sieze the day’.

Also, slow clap for producer Simon for offering tea and coffee with Nunc est bibendum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s