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an auctioneer with some of the functions of a banker, paying the seller out of his own funds and later recovering the sum with interest from the buyer.
Horace later claimed that he was reduced to poverty and this led him to try his hand at poetry.
Various Italic dialects were spoken in the area and this perhaps enriched his feeling for language.
He could have been familiar with Greek words even as a young boy and later he poked fun at the jargon of mixed Greek and Oscan spoken in neighbouring Canusium.
One of the works he probably studied in school was the Odyssia of Livius Andronicus, crammed into Italian boys with threats and floggings by teachers like the 'Orbilius' mentioned in one of his poems.
Italians in modern and ancient times have always been devoted to their home towns, even after success in the wider world, and Horace was no different.
Horace later recorded it as a day of embarrassment for himself, when he fled without his shield, but allowance should be made for his self-deprecating humour.