Abstract

Abstract:

Horace's Ode 1.12 is commonly thought to be alluding to the wedding between Augustus' nephew C. Claudius Marcellus and Augustus' daughter Julia in 25 b.c.e., but there are equally good poetic reasons for reading the poem instead as alluding to the young Marcellus' demise in the last quarter of 23 b.c.e. and to see it in direct dialogue with the epicedia for Marcellus composed by Virgil and Propertius. The present paper reviews the evidence for either dating and proposes that the poem actively resists and at the same time engenders historicist interpretations by virtue of lyric's ability to create its own historical temporalities. As a poem touching upon the thorny issue of the acceptability of imperial succession in a period when Augustus' life was in danger, Ode 1.12 can be read as actively engaged in a hermeneutic "conspiratorial" game with its readers, prompting them to question or imagine allusions to contemporary events at a time of utmost political instability.

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