To date the positive value of Horace's iambic criticism has been underestimated, and overall Horace has been tamed too much. By examining the relationship of the iambic tradition with ritual, this book studies how Horace's Epodes are more than partisan (consolidating Octavian's victory by projecting hostilities onto powerless others) but meta-partisan (forming fractured entities into a diversified unity). As Horace moves through his iambics to lyrics (Epodes to Odes), he stages acts of aggression and retaliation along with attempts at resistance and reconciliation so that this shifting back and forth creates a correspondence between perspectives. Unity develops from diversity, polyeideia. This is the point at which Horace socializes literary criticism (Ars Poetica): societas becomes the telos of his poetics.