The Carmen Saeculare was composed and published in 17 BCE as Horace was returning to the genre of lyric which he had abandoned six years earlier; the fourth book of Odes is in part a response to this poem, the only commissioned poem we know from the period. The hardening of the political situation, with the Republic a thing of the past and the Augustan succession in the air, threw the problematic issue of praise into fresh relief, and at the same time provided an impulse towards the nostalgia represented by the poet's private world. Professor Thomas provides an introduction and commentary (the first full commentary in English since the nineteenth century) to each of the poems, exploring their status as separate lyric artefacts and their place in the larger web of the book. The edition is intended primarily for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, but is also important for scholars.
Book XII brings Virgil's Aeneid to a close, as the long-delayed single combat between Aeneas and Turnus ends with Turnus' death – a finale that many readers find more unsettling than triumphant. In this, the first detailed single-volume commentary on the book in any language, Professor Tarrant explores Virgil's complex portrayal of the opposing champions, his use and transformation of earlier poetry (Homer's in particular) and his shaping of the narrative in its final phases. In addition to the linguistic and thematic commentary, the volume contains a substantial introduction that discusses the larger literary and historical issues raised by the poem's conclusion; other sections include accounts of Virgil's metre, later treatments of the book's events in art and music, and the transmission of the text. The edition is designed for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students and will also be of interest to scholars of Latin literature.