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|Born||1st century AD|
Aquinum (modern Aquino)
|Died||2nd century AD|
Decimus Junius Juvenalis ( Latin: [ˈdɛkɪmʊs ˈjuːnɪ.ʊs jʊwɛˈnaːlɪs] ), known in English as Juvenal ( // JOO-vən-əl), was a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century AD. He is the author of the collection of satirical poems known as the Satires . The details of the author's life are unclear, although references within his text to known persons of the late first and early second centuries AD fix his earliest date of composition. One recent scholar argues that his first book was published in 100 or 101. Because of a reference to a recent political figure, his fifth and final surviving book must date from after 127.
Juvenal wrote at least 16 poems in the verse form dactylic hexameter. These poems cover a range of Roman topics. This follows Lucilius —the originator of the Roman satire genre, and it fits within a poetic tradition that also includes Horace and Persius. The Satires are a vital source for the study of ancient Rome from a number of perspectives, although their comic mode of expression makes it problematic to accept the content as strictly factual. At first glance the Satires could be read as a critique of pagan Rome. That critique may have ensured their survival in the Christian monastic scriptoria although the majority of ancient texts did not survive.[ further explanation needed ]
Details of the author's life cannot be reconstructed definitely. The Vita Iuvenalis (Life of Juvenal), a biography of the author that became associated with his manuscripts no later than the tenth century, is little more than an extrapolation from the Satires.
Traditional biographies, including the Vita Iuvenalis, give us the writer's full name and also tell us that he was either the son, or adopted son, of a rich freedman. He is supposed to have been a pupil of Quintilian, and to have practised rhetoric until he was middle-aged, both as amusement and for legal purposes. The Satires do make frequent and accurate references to the operation of the Roman legal system. His career as a satirist is supposed to have begun at a fairly late stage in his life.
Biographies agree in giving his birthplace as the Volscian town of Aquinum and also, in allotting to his life a period of exile, which supposedly was due to his insulting an actor who had high levels of court influence. The emperor who is said to have banished him is given variously, as either Trajan or Domitian. A preponderance of the biographies place his exile in Egypt, with the exception of one, that opts for Scotland.
Only one of these traditional biographies supplies a date of birth for Juvenal: it gives 55 AD, which most probably is speculation, but accords reasonably well with the rest of the evidence. Other traditions have him surviving for some time past the year of Hadrian's death (138 AD). Some sources place his death in exile, others have him being recalled to Rome (the latter of which is considered more plausible by contemporary scholars). If he was exiled by Domitian, then it is possible that he was one of the political exiles recalled during the brief reign of Nerva.
It is impossible to tell how much of the content of these traditional biographies is fiction and how much is fact. Large parts clearly are mere deduction from Juvenal's writings, but some elements appear more substantial. Juvenal never mentions a period of exile in his life, yet it appears in every extant traditional biography. Many scholars think the idea to be a later invention; the Satires do display some knowledge of Egypt and Britain, and it is thought that this gave rise to the tradition that Juvenal was exiled. Others, however - particularly Gilbert Highet - regard the exile as factual, and these scholars also supply a concrete date for the exile: 93 AD until 96, when Nerva became emperor. They argue that a reference to Juvenal in one of Martial's poems, which is dated to 92, is impossible if, at this stage Juvenal was already in exile, or, had served his time in exile, since in that case, Martial would not have wished to antagonise Domitian by mentioning such a persona non grata as Juvenal. If Juvenal was exiled, he would have lost his patrimony, and this may explain the consistent descriptions of the life of the client he bemoans in the Satires.
The only other biographical evidence available is a dedicatory inscription said to have been found at Aquinum in the nineteenth century, which consists of the following text:
Scholars usually are of the opinion that this inscription does not relate to the poet: a military career would not fit well with the pronounced anti-militarism of the Satires and, moreover, the Dalmatian legions do not seem to have existed prior to 166 AD. Therefore, it seems likely that this reference is to a Juvenal who was a later relative of the poet, however, as they both came from Aquinum and were associated with the goddess Ceres (the only deity the Satires shows much respect for). If the theory that connects these two Juvenals is correct, then the inscription does show that Juvenal's family was reasonably wealthy, and that, if the poet really was the son of a foreign freedman, then his descendants assimilated into the Roman class structure more quickly than typical. Green thinks it more likely that the tradition of the freedman father is false and, that Juvenal's ancestors had been minor nobility of Roman Italy of relatively ancient descent.
Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books; all are in the Roman genre of satire, which, at its most basic in the time of the author, comprised a wide-ranging discussion of society and social mores in dactylic hexameter.In Satire I, concerning the scope and content of his work, Juvenal says:
ex quo Deucalion nimbis tollentibus aequor
Back from when Deucalion climbed a mountain in a boat
Juvenal claims as his purview, the entire gamut of human experience since the dawn of history. Quintilian—in the context of a discussion of literary genres appropriate for an oratorical education—claimed that, unlike so many literary and artistic forms adopted from Greek models, “satire at least is all ours” (satura quidem tota nostra est).At least in the view of Quintillian, earlier Greek satiric verse (e.g. that of Hipponax) or even Latin satiric prose (e.g. that of Petronius) did not constitute satura, per se. Roman Satura was a formal literary genre rather than being simply clever, humorous critique in no particular format.
The individual Satires (excluding Satire 16) range in length from 130 (Satire 12) to c. 695 (Satire 6) lines. The poems are not entitled individually, but translators often have added titles for the convenience of readers.
While Juvenal's mode of satire has been noted from antiquity for its wrathful scorn toward all representatives of social deviance, some politically progressive scholars such as, W. S. Anderson and later S. M. Braund, have attempted to defend his work as that of a rhetorical persona (mask), taken up by the author to critique the very attitudes he appears to be exhibiting in his works.
In any case it would be an error to read the Satires as a literal account of normal Roman life and thought in the late first and early second centuries AD, just as it would be an error to give credence to every slander recorded in Suetonius against the members of prior imperial dynasties. Themes similar to those of the Satires are present in authors spanning the period of the late Roman Republic and early empire ranging from Cicero and Catullus to Martial and Tacitus; similarly, the stylistics of Juvenal's text fall within the range of post-Augustan literature, as represented by Persius, Statius, and Petronius.
Juvenal's Satires, giving several accounts of Jewish life in first-century Rome, have been regarded by scholars, such as J. Juster and, more recently, Peter Nahon, as a valuable source about early Judaism.
The Satires have inspired many authors, including Samuel Johnson, who modeled his “London” on Satire III and “The Vanity of Human Wishes” on Satire X. Alexander Theroux, whose novels are rife with vicious satire, identified Juvenal as his most important influence.Juvenal also provided a source for the name for a forensically important beetle, Histeridae. Juvenal is the source of many well-known maxims, including:
Honesty is praised and left in the cold. (Juvenal)
ASICS, the footwear and sports equipment manufacturing company, is named after the acronym of the Latin phrase "anima sana in corpore sano" (a sound mind in a sound body) from Satire X by Juvenal (10.356).
In his autobiography, the German Writer Heinrich Boll notes that in the high school he attended when growing up under Nazi rule, an anti-Nazi teacher paid special attention to Juvenal: "Mr. Bauer realized how topical Juvenal was, how he dealt at length with such phenomena as arbitrary government, tyranny, corruption, the degradation of public morals, the decline of the Republican ideal and the terrorizing acts of the Praetorian Guards. (...) In a second-hand bookshop I found an 1838 translation of Juvenal with an extensive commentary, twice the length of the translated text itself, written at the height of the Romantic period. Though its price was more than I could really afford, I bought it. I read all of it very intensely, as if it was a detective novel. It was one of the few books to which I persistently held on throughout the war (WWII) and beyond, even when most of my other books were lost or sold on the black market".
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. The rhetorician Quintilian regarded his Odes as just about the only Latin lyrics worth reading: "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words."
The Satires are a collection of satirical poems by the Latin author Juvenal written in the early 2nd century AD.
In fiction and less frequently in non-fiction, satire is a genre of literature and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.
Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature. The Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. Although Ovid enjoyed enormous popularity during his lifetime, the emperor Augustus banished him to a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, "a poem and a mistake", but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars.
Publius Papinius Statius was a Roman poet of the 1st century AD. His surviving Latin poetry includes an epic in twelve books, the Thebaid; a collection of occasional poetry, the Silvae; and an unfinished epic, the Achilleid. He is also known for his appearance as a guide in the Purgatory section of Dante's epic poem, the Divine Comedy.
Marcus Valerius Martialis was a Roman poet from Hispania best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan. In these short, witty poems he cheerfully satirises city life and the scandalous activities of his acquaintances, and romanticises his provincial upbringing. He wrote a total of 1,561 epigrams, of which 1,235 are in elegiac couplets.
Persius, in full Aulus Persius Flaccus, was a Roman poet and satirist of Etruscan origin. In his works, poems and satires, he shows a Stoic wisdom and a strong criticism for what he considered to be the stylistic abuses of his poetic contemporaries. His works, which became very popular in the Middle Ages, were published after his death by his friend and mentor, the Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Cornutus.
Gaius Caesius Bassus was a Roman lyric poet who lived in the reign of Nero.
Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a 1st century Roman poet who flourished during the "Silver Age" under the Flavian dynasty, and wrote a Latin Argonautica that owes a great deal to Apollonius of Rhodes' more famous epic.
Gaius Lucilius, the earliest Roman satirist, of whose writings only fragments remain, was a Roman citizen of the equestrian class, born at Suessa Aurunca in Campania. He was a member of the Scipionic Circle.
William Gifford was an English critic, editor and poet, famous as a satirist and controversialist.
The history of Latin poetry can be understood as the adaptation of Greek models. The verse comedies of Plautus, the earliest surviving examples of Latin literature, are estimated to have been composed around 205-184 BC.
Satire VI is the most famous of the sixteen Satires by the Roman author Juvenal written in the late 1st or early 2nd century. In English translation, this satire is often titled something in the vein of Against Women due to the most obvious reading of its content. It enjoyed significant social currency from late antiquity to the early modern period, being read correctly as a proof-text for a wide array of misogynistic beliefs. Its current significance rests in its role as a crucial body of evidence on Roman conceptions of gender and sexuality.
De Bello Civili, more commonly referred to as the Pharsalia, is a Roman epic poem written by the poet Lucan, detailing the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. The poem's title is a reference to the Battle of Pharsalus, which occurred in 48 BC, near Pharsalus, Thessaly, in northern Greece. Caesar decisively defeated Pompey in this battle, which occupies all of the epic's seventh book. In the early twentieth century, translator J. D. Duff, while arguing that "no reasonable judgment can rank Lucan among the world's great epic poets", notes that the work is notable for Lucan's decision to eschew divine intervention and downplay supernatural occurrences in the events of the story. Scholarly estimation of Lucan's poem and poetry has since changed, as explained by commentator Philip Hardie in 2013: "In recent decades, it has undergone a thorough critical re-evaluation, to re-emerge as a major expression of Neronian politics and aesthetics, a poem whose studied artifice enacts a complex relationship between poetic fantasy and historical reality."
The Satires is a collection of satirical poems written by the Roman poet, Horace. Composed in dactylic hexameters, the Satires explore the secrets of human happiness and literary perfection. Published probably in 35 BC and at the latest, by 33 BC, the first book of Satires represents Horace's first published work. It established him as one of the great poetic talents of the Augustan Age. The second book was published in 30 BC as a sequel.
Attius Labeo was a Roman writer during the reign of Nero. He is remembered for the derision that greeted his Latin translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, which came to epitomise bad verse. He translated the original Greek into Latin hexameters. The satirist Persius poured scorn on Labeo. Later his name was used by English poets of the Elizabethan era to attack each other's verse.
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Annales is the name of a fragmentary Latin epic poem written by the Roman poet Ennius in the 2nd century BC. While only snippets of the work survive today, the poem's influence on Latin literature was significant. Although written in Latin, stylistically it borrows from the Greek poetic tradition, particularly the works of Homer, and is written in dactylic hexameter. The poem was significantly larger than others from the period, and eventually comprised 18 books.
Susanna Braund, occasionally cited as Susanna Morton Braund, is a professor of Latin poetry and its reception at the University of British Columbia.
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