The Falernian Picnic (Hor. Carm. 2, 3)
This article deals with the structure of Horace’s Carm. 2, 3, in which the poet advises Dellius to cultivate calm and goes on to describe a luxurious picnic. Whereas other commentators since antiquity have connected Falernian wine with an anecdote of Quintus Dellius (Plut. Ant. 59, 4: “For he had offended Cleopatra at supper by saying that while sour wine was served to them, Sarmentus, at Rome, was drinking Falernian. Now, Sarmentus was one of the youthful favourites of Caesar, such as the Romans call deliciae.” [Tr. B. Perrin]), this article seeks another reason why this particular kind of wine should be mentioned here. The phrase interiore nota Falerni in verse 8 probably indicates that the wine chosen for the picnic was not only of good origin, but also a vintage one, and this trait of Dellius can be viewed as an extreme desire to pursue the joie de vivre: he not only goes for a picnic (which would be a moderate way of spending holidays, see e. g., Cic. Off. 3, 58), but he chooses the Falernian for it, and — moreover — the aged one. Thus, the poem to Dellius is contrasted to other well-known poems from Book 2, namely Carm. 2, 14 (to Postumus, who will not enjoy his rare wine himself) and Carm. 2, 10, where the famous ideal of aurea mediocritas is expressed.
aurea mediocritas, Carm. 2, 3, Dellius, Horace, nota, pittacium
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