A poetic sale : Horace, Epistle 2.2 = Una compraventa poética : Horacio, Epístola 2.2 Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2017

start page

  • 79

end page

  • 114


  • 1/2


  • 85

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0040-7585


  • A poetic sale. Horace, Epistula 2.2. Starting from the analysis of a poem by Horace, I have tried to highlight the image of the Law that was held by Roman society in the first century BC, that is, both by the poet and by the public that he wanted to entertain with his works. He chose a legal topic as the theme of his narrative - the responsibility for hidden defects in the contract of sale -; he applied the Roman legal lexicon with total precision and, more specifically, he showed that he was aware of the debate about the case-law related to the Edict by which the magistrates regulated the sale of slaves in the public markets. This is apparent from a comparison of the poem with book 21, title 1 of Justinian's Digest concerning the Edict of the curule aediles and with documents from legal practice (testatio) that record the agreement of the will of the parties. A study of this kind, moreover, also contributes to a better understanding of poetic composition.


  • aedilician liability; edictal clauses; latent defects; law; poetry