rage armed


Senior Member
Persian- Iran
Hi everyone
The following sentences are different translation of Ars Poetica by Horace. What does the red sentence mean? I paraphrase it as "Archilochus was armed by fury and he had Iambus, which was his invention in his hand". But a rare meaning can be inferred:"Archilochus being angry was armed with iambus.

1) Scholars disagree about who originally published these brief elegiac verses, and it still is before the court as a matter of dispute. Fury armed Archilochus with his own iambus: both the comic sock and the grand tragic boot took possession of this foot, suited as it was for alternating dialogue and able to conquer the raucous shouts of the audience as well as naturally suited to action.

2) Yet what author first published humble [i.e., pentameter] elegies, the critics dispute, and the controversy still waits the determination of a judge.
Rage armed Archilochus with the iambic of his own invention. The sock and the majestic buskin assumed this measure as adapted for dialogue, and to silence the noise of the populace, and calculated for action.

But as for who originated the slender elegy, well, the
critics are debating this and the case is awaiting their judgement. Rage
armed Archilochus with his characteristic iambus
, the foot which comic
socks and grand tragic buskins seized upon as suited to argument and the
suppression of popular clamour. It was born to represent action.
yet who first put forth humble
elegiacs, scholars dispute, and the case is still before
the court. Rage armed Archilochus with his own
: this foot comic sock and high buskins alike
adopted, as suited to alternate speech, able to drown
the clamours of the pit, and by nature fit for action.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hi, WGS.

    I interpret "Rage armed Archilochus with his own/characteristic iambus" to mean: Archilochus's anger inspired him to invent/use the iambus, a metrical foot used in verse.

    It would be a great idea to tell us the names of the translators for those various translations of Horace's work.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Iambus" here means more than the metrical foot known in English as the iamb. Here is Wikipedia on the topic:

    Iambus or iambic poetry was a genre of ancient Greek poetry that included but was not restricted to the iambic meter and whose origins modern scholars have traced to the cults of Demeter and Dionysus. The genre featured insulting and obscene language and sometimes it is referred to as "blame poetry". For Alexandrian editors, however, iambus signified any poetry of an informal kind that was intended to entertain, and it seems to have been performed on similar occasions as elegy even though lacking elegy's decorum. The Archaic Greek poets Archilochus, Semonides, and Hipponax were among the most famous of its early exponents.
    Iambus (genre) - Wikipedia

    Archilochus was inspired by rage/fury/anger to make his own characteristic and personalized use of the style of poetry called "iambus." Note that "socks" and "boots" in ther next line refer to the traditional and distinct costumes of comic and tragic actors in ancient theater.
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