Juvenal and Persius

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Harvard University Press, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 536 pages
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The bite and wit of two of antiquity's best satirists are captured here in a new Loeb Classical Library edition, a vivid and vigorous translation facing the Latin text.

Persius (34-62 CE) and Juvenal (writing maybe 60 years later) were heirs to the style of Latin verse satire developed by Lucilius and Horace, a tradition mined in Susanna Braund's introduction and notes. Her notes also give guidance to the literary and historical allusions that pepper Persius's and Juvenal's satirical poems--which were clearly aimed at a sophisticated urban audience. Both poets adopt the mask of an angry man, and sharp criticism of the society in which they live is combined with flashes of sardonic humor in their satires. Whether targeting common and uncommon vices, the foolishness of prayers, the abuse of power by emperors and the Roman elite, the folly and depravity of Roman wives, or decadence, materialism, and corruption, their tone is generally one of righteous indignation.

Juvenal and Persius are seminal as well as stellar figures in the history of satirical writing. Juvenal especially had a lasting influence on English writers of the Renaissance and succeeding centuries.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
THE SATIRES OF PERSIUS
30
THE SATIRES OF JUVENAL
128
SatireS
213
Satire 6
230
Satire 7
296
Satire 8
320
Satire 9
348
Satire 11
399
Satire 12
419
Satire 13
432
Satire 14
456
Satire 15
487
Satire 16
505
INDEX TO JUVENAL
513
INDEX TO PERSIUS
533

Satire 10
364

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About the author (2004)

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.

Susanna Morton Braund is Professor of Classics, Stanford University.

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