• A tragedy by Pierre Corneille, first performed inParis in 1640 at the Théâtre du Marais. Like its predecessorLe Cid, Horace was a great success and was soon establishedas a landmark in the French classical tradition; Voltairesaid that moral convictions had never before been expressed with suchsublimity on the stage.

    The play drew parallels between ancient Roman history andthe reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. The plot is derived from anaccount by the Roman historian Livy (Titus Livius; 59 BC - 17AD) of the battle betweeen the Horatii, three Roman heroes,and the Cuiratii. When the only surviving member of the Horatii returnsto his pacifist sister, she curses him for causing the death of herlover. He kills her and must then argue his case before the king.