(Canto 4, lines 88-90)
Homer (maybe 8th century BC) was the preeminent poet of ancient Greece, the author of the famous epic poems "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey". The historical figure is much disputed, with some accounts romanticizing him as a blind beggar-poet, others doubting his existence altogether, instead proposing that the two epics were fashioned from rhapsodic material among the common people. Dante did not know Greek and according to commentators, his understanding of Homer primarily came through the works of Horace and Cicero; in his "Vita Nova," "Convivio" and "De Monarchia" are found borrowings from Homer as quoted in the works of Aristotle and Horace. Dante, who considered Homer among the greatest poets, here portrays him with "falchion in his hand", because of his great skill in composing poems of war.
Horace (65-8 BC), full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus, was one of the most important Roman poets. He studied in Greece and was present at the battle of Philippi, where Octavian (later Augustus) and Mark Antony defeated the forces of Brutus and Cassius. He was a good friend of Virgil and is remembered for the two books of his "Satires" and two volumes of "Epistles", among others.
Ovid (43 BC - 17/18 AD), full name Publius Ovidius Naso, was another famous Roman poet. For some unknown reason, he was banished in 8 AD to Tomis, on the Black Sea, by emperor Augustus, where he remained until his death. His most famous work is maybe the "Metamorphoses".