KATHARINA SCHÖN (Universität Wien)
Abstract: The primary intention of this article is to examine how Horace’s relationship to the emperor Augustus changes in the transition from the Roman Odes to the fourth book of his Carmina. By means of a close reading of four selected poems (Odes 3.3, 3.4, 4.5 and 4.6) and their intertextual interactions it will be shown to what extent Horace employs tropes of civil war, digressions to myth, references to his own fictional autobiography, allegorical cues, displacing techniques and a dimension of ’performativity’ to either defer direct praise of the emperor or to include more explicit encomiastic strategies. A comparative and contrastive analysis of the aforementioned Odes highlights how Horace manages to avoid writing blatantly propagandistic panegyric by permanently (re)negotiating the role that is inhabited by Octavian/Augustus in the political imaginary. I will show that the Roman poet, while carefully interweaving subtle references to incisive contemporary events, accomplishes to secure his poetic freedom and aesthetic independence in an era when literature was supposed to reflect, at least on the surface level, the predominant Augustan ideology.