Archive for July, 2009

Of Hobbits and Classical Poets

This may be the oddest reason I’ve found yet for starting [yet another] alt; but I blame it on my professor.

I just finished a 2-week graduate seminar course on Catullus, one of many in my pursuit of the degree of “Master of Latin”, yay! (Seriously, can I call myself a Lore-Master in real life once I finish this degree?) The professor, who shall herein remain anonymous, is an expert on Horace – and the first seminar I had with him was on Roman Satire, Horace & Juvenal mostly. So amidst the discussions of Catullus were many, many references to Horace – not undeservedly; Catullus predates Horace a bit and was influential to the later poets.

So I was quite used to hearing about Horace every day, but when the professor referred to an anecdote in Suetonius’ Lives of the Poets reading as follows:

In person, Horace was short and fat, as he is described by himself in his Satires,3 and by Augustus in the following letter: “Dionysius has brought me your small volume, which, little as it is, not to blame you for that, I shall judge favourably. You seem to me, however, to be afraid lest your volumes should be bigger than yourself. But if you are short in stature, you are corpulent enough. You may, therefore, if you will, write in a quart, when the size of your volume is as large round as your paunch.”

My first thought was that Horace was a Hobbit. Short and fat. :-) My second thought was that I ought to roll a Hobbit alt, as fat as can be, and name him Horace! Yes, class was especially inspiring this year!

So when I got home from class I went to play with character creation screens, instead of translating Catullus as I probably should’ve been doing. Horatius Flaccus was a Roman poet, so of course my hobbit ought to be a minstrel, right? Being somewhat more comfortable playing characters of my own gender, though, I made Horace a girl. Horatia, which would be the usual feminine form of the poet’s Latin name, was taken so my version is Horazia, a Hobbit minstrel:

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But Hobbit females just don’t have quite the “short and fat” options that males do, so I went and rolled a Horazio too, making this one a warden, which is totally unrelated to the Latin poet, although Horatius Flaccus did fight on the side of Brutus against Octavius….which probably did Octavius more good than Brutus, for Horace wasn’t much of a soldier.

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Now that’s Horace. :-)

I figure Horazio and Horazia are brother and sister. Be warned if you see them, you may be subjected to poetry recitations! But not long epic ones, as if I had rolled an elf called Vergilio: Like their namesake, in the Alexandrian tradition, they will endeavor to keep their works short (concise) and fat (stuffed full of meaning).

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