The Sixteen Satires of Juvenal

Front Cover, 1885 - Fiction - 206 pages
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Decimus Junius Juvenalis, known as Juvenal, is one of the greatest satirists and moralists in history. His works, of which 16 are preserved, are scathing and unapologetic in their presentment of Rome and its citizens; Juvenal is also revered as a social historian for his vivid depictions of Latin life. He wrote his satires between 100 and 127 AD, and although his volumes of poetry were lost for several centuries, his rediscovered works introduced a tradition of satire that has been popular for nearly two thousand years. Juvenal has often been misunderstood, as some critics have denounced him for having disliked everything in his life. However, the poet intended for his works to instruct as much as chastise. In these 16 works, ranging in size from just over 60 lines to 661 lines, Juvenal deals with such subjects as the wealthy, women, soldiers, the highborn, vanity, greed, extravagance, among others.

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About the author (1885)

The 16 Satires (c.110--127) of Juvenal, which contain a vivid picture of contemporary Rome under the Empire, have seldom been equaled as biting diatribes. The satire was the only literary form that the Romans did not copy from the Greeks. Horace merely used it for humorous comment on human folly. Juvenal's invectives in powerful hexameters, exact and epigrammatic, were aimed at lax and luxurious society, tyranny (Domitian's), criminal excesses, and the immorality of women. Juvenal was so sparing of autobiographical detail that we know very little of his life. He was desperately poor at one time and may have been an important magistrate at another. His influence was great in the Middle Ages; in the seventeenth century he was well translated by Dryden, and in the eighteenth century he was paraphrased by Johnson in his London and The Vanity of Human Wishes. He inspired in Swift the same savage bitterness.

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