"Horace, in one of his epistles"
Public DomainHorace - Credit: Anton von Werner

Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC-8 BC), known as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the reign of Augustus.  He also wrote hexameter verses and iambic poetry.  His career coincided with Rome's change from Republic to Empire. His poetry has been described as "the common currency of civilization."  He published Epistles 1 around 21 BC, and Epistles 2 around 11 BC.  In the opening poem of the first book of Epistles he professes a deep interest in moral philosophy.  In the final poem he revealed himself to 44 years old and "of small stature, fond of the sun, prematurely grey, quick-tempered but easily placated."  The second book of Epistles took the form of a verse letter to the emperor Augustus, at the latter’s request.  It celebrated certain military victories, but was mainly devoted to literary theory and criticism.