n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Priapus' Magic Marker : Literary Aspects Horace, 1.8

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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While Priapus, the speaker of Horace, &lt;I&gt;Sat.&lt;/I&gt; 1.8, is clearly not the poet <I>in propria persona</I>, there are parallels between the figwood god and the dramatic figure of 'Horace' as he appears in the <I>Satires</I>. Both Priapus and satirist are in the service of Maecenas, and both overcome difficulties by default rather than through aggressive behaviour. While Priapus was supposed to punish trespassers by means of rape, Horace's Priapus accidentally farts instead, driving away the two unwelcome witches. Priapus uses a device that is the opposite of his traditional mode of attack; likewise the Horatian satirist shies away from direct invective of individuals, but still provokes laughter. Priapus' timely fart provides an indirect Callimachean lite-rary statement in that he uses the 'blunt end' of his weapon to bring the satire to a quick close, just as Horace advises using the other side of the &lt;I&gt;stilus&lt;/I&gt; in the stringent editing essential to good composition.

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