Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-7-2019


Bauer, Henry R. Quidlibet audendi potestas: Deviant Word Order in the Odes of Horace. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 2019.


Copyright Henry R. Bauer 2019.


This senior thesis, entitled "Quidlibet audendi potestas: Deviant Word Order in the Odes of Horace," represents a sort of dry run for a method of answering empirically the questions of whether, how, and how much the word order of Latin verse systematically differs from that of Latin prose. The present project consists of comparing the attested word orders in Horace for cases of two frequent grammatical phenomena – clause-initial verbs and premodifier hyperbaton – against the prose data presented by A.M. Devine and L.D. Stephens in their monograph, Latin Word Order: Structured Meaning and Information. Devine and Stephens' work was chosen as a jumping-off point because of its unequalled scope and use of modern theories of pragmatics. The conclusion of the empirical analysis below is that the data from Horace differs from Devine and Stephens' data more dramatically in the case of premodifier hyperbaton – alleged by the authors of LWO to be a "properly syntactic phenomenon" – than in the case of clause-initial verbs-regarded by Devine and Stephen as mainly pragmatically conditioned. It is hypothesized that the more frequent breaking of properly syntactic than mainly pragmatic rules is a general feature of Latin poetry, and some arguments are given to lend intuitive support to this hypothesis. As mentioned above, this essay should be thought of as a case study for a certain methodology, designed to generate interesting hypotheses and confirm the value of future research in this vein.