The Golden Age of Latin Literature

The golden age was a period of Roman literature from which emanate such classics as Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s love booklet.

One of the main characters of the golden age was Horace. Horace introduced the genre of literature known as epistles. Epistles are basically letters; the Apostle Paul, for example, wrote epistles to the Corinthians. Horace lived at the time of Augustus Caesar, nephew and heir to Julius Caesar. Horace was a classic figure, admired by the emperor and widely respected.

Virgil, perhaps the most famous of Roman poets/writers, is best known for the Aeneid, which he wrote at the behest of Augustus Caesar, who claimed descent from Aeneas himself. Seeking to please him, Virgil wrote and established the popular legend: that Aeneas founded Rome itself.

Livy is another famous figure, though perhaps less known. He was a historian who lived around 59 BC. He wrote the history of Rome up to the time of Augustus. This series contained 145 books. No small undertaking!

Ovid was the least liked of the four mentioned here. The emperor, Augustus, was trying to establish the principle of raising families. Bachelors were punished and girls were made to marry. Therefore you can well imagine the Augustus was less than pleased when Ovid came out with a book on how to seduce married women. Ovid wrote a number of books on similar topics, and was almost banished by Augustus. He also wrote a famous work known as Metamorphoses.

These four are the main characters in this stage of Roman Literature. After them came poets such as Seneca, who come under the category of silver literature. Although their works were great, too, the golden age is the most read and the most widely known in today’s world.


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