Juvenal
Overview
The Satires are a collection of satirical
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 poems by the Latin author Juvenal
Juvenal
The Satires are a collection of satirical poems by the Latin author Juvenal written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.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...

 written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.

Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books
Scroll
A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

; all are in the Roman genre of satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

, which, at its most basic in the time of the author, comprised a wide-ranging discussion of society and social mores
Mores
Mores, in sociology, are any given society's particular norms, virtues, or values. The word mores is a plurale tantum term borrowed from Latin, which has been used in the English language since the 1890s....

in dactylic hexameter
Dactylic hexameter
Dactylic hexameter is a form of meter in poetry or a rhythmic scheme. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin, and was consequently considered to be the Grand Style of classical poetry...

. These five books were discrete works, and there is no reason to assume that they were published at the same time or that they are identical in theme or in approach.
Quotations

Probitas laudatur et alget

Honesty is praised and starves.

No one shall be a thief by my co-operation.

III, line 46.

Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas.

Censure pardons the raven, but is visited upon the dove.

Nemo repente fuit turpissimus.

No man ever became extremely wicked all at once.

Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se, quam quod ridiculos homines facit.

Bitter poverty has no harder pang than that it makes men ridiculous.

Haut facile emergunt quorum virtutibus opstat res angusta domi.

It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty.

Vitam impendere vero.

Dedicate one’s life to truth.

Hic vivimus ambitiosa paupertate omnes.

We all live in a state of ambitious poverty.

Nunc patimur longae pacis mala, saevior armisluxuria incubuit victumque ulciscitur orbem.

We are now suffering the evils of a long peace. Luxury, more deadly than war, broods over the city, and avenges a conquered world.

Encyclopedia
The Satires are a collection of satirical
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 poems by the Latin author Juvenal
Juvenal
The Satires are a collection of satirical poems by the Latin author Juvenal written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.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...

 written in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD.

Juvenal is credited with sixteen known poems divided among five books
Scroll
A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

; all are in the Roman genre of satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

, which, at its most basic in the time of the author, comprised a wide-ranging discussion of society and social mores
Mores
Mores, in sociology, are any given society's particular norms, virtues, or values. The word mores is a plurale tantum term borrowed from Latin, which has been used in the English language since the 1890s....

in dactylic hexameter
Dactylic hexameter
Dactylic hexameter is a form of meter in poetry or a rhythmic scheme. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin, and was consequently considered to be the Grand Style of classical poetry...

. These five books were discrete works, and there is no reason to assume that they were published at the same time or that they are identical in theme or in approach. The poems are not individually titled, but translators have often added titles for the convenience of readers.
  • Book I: Satires 1-5
  • Book II: Satire 6
  • Book III: Satires 7-9
  • Book IV: Satires 10-12
  • Book V: Satires 13-16 (Satire 16 is incompletely preserved)


Roman Satura was a formal literary genre rather than being simply clever, humorous critique in no particular format. Juvenal wrote in this tradition, which originated with Lucilius
Gaius Lucilius
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.-The Problem of his birthdate:...

 and included the Sermones of Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

 and the Satires of Persius. In a tone and manner ranging from irony to apparent rage, Juvenal criticizes the actions and beliefs of many of his contemporaries, providing insight more into value systems and questions of morality and less into the realities of Roman life. The author employs outright obscenity less frequently than Martial
Martial
Marcus Valerius Martialis , was a Latin 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...

 or Catullus
Catullus
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the Republican period. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.-Biography:...

, but the scenes painted in his text are no less vivid or lurid for that discretion.

The author makes constant allusion to history and myth as a source of object lessons or exemplars of particular vices and virtues. Coupled with his dense and elliptical
Ellipsis (linguistics)
In linguistics, ellipsis or elliptical construction refers to the omission from a clause of one or more words that would otherwise be required by the remaining elements.-Overview:...

 Latin, these tangential references indicate that the intended reader of the Satires was highly educated. The Satires are concerned with perceived threats to the social continuity of the Roman citizens: social-climbing foreigners, unfaithfulness, and other more extreme excesses of their own class. The intended audience of the Satires constituted a subset of the Roman elite, primarily adult males of a more conservative social stance.

Manuscript tradition

The controversies concerning the surviving texts of the Satires have been extensive and heated. Many manuscripts survive, but only P (the Codex Pithoeanus Montepessulanus), a 9th-century manuscript based on an edition prepared in the 4th century by a pupil of Servius Honoratus, the grammarian, is reasonably reliable. At the same time as the Servian text was produced, however, other and lesser scholars also created their editions of Juvenal: it is these on which most medieval manuscripts of Juvenal are based. It did not help matters that P disappeared sometime during the Renaissance and was only rediscovered around 1840. It is not, however, uncommon for the generally inferior manuscripts to supply a better reading in cases when P is imperfect. In addition, modern scholarly debate has also raged around the authenticity of the text which has survived, as various editors have argued that considerable portions are not, in fact, authentically Juvenalian and represent interpolation
Interpolation (manuscripts)
An interpolation, in relation to literature and especially ancient manuscripts, is an entry or passage in a text that was not written by the original author...

s from early editors of the text. Jachmann (1943) argued that up to one-third of what survives is non-authentic: Ulrick Knoche (1950) deleted about hundred lines, Clausen about forty, Courtney (1975) a similar number. Willis (1997) italicizes 297 lines as being potentially suspect. On the other hand, Vahlen, Housman, Duff, Griffith, Ferguson and Green believe the surviving text to be largely authentic: indeed Green regards the main problem as being not interpolations but lacunae
Lacuna (manuscripts)
A lacunaPlural lacunae. From Latin lacūna , diminutive form of lacus . is a gap in a manuscript, inscription, text, painting, or a musical work...

.

In recent times debate has focused on the authenticity of the "O Passage" of Satire VI, 36 lines (34 of which are continuous) discovered by E.O. Winstedt in an 11th-century manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library , the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library...

. These lines occur in no other manuscript of Juvenal, and when discovered were considerably corrupted. Ever since Housman translated and emended the "O Passage" there has been considerable controversy over whether the fragment is in fact a forgery: the field is currently split between those (Green, Ferguson, Courtney) who believe it isn't, and those (Willis, Anderson), who believe it is.

Satire I: It is Hard not to Write Satire



171 lines. This so-called "Programmatic Satire" lays out for the reader a catalogue of ills and annoyances that prompt the narrator to write satire. Some examples cited by Juvenal include eunuchs getting married, elite women performing in a beast hunt, and the dregs of society suddenly becoming wealthy by gross acts of sycophancy. To the extent that it is programmatic, this satire concerns the first book rather than the satires of the other four known books. The narrator explicitly marks the writings of Lucilius
Gaius Lucilius
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.-The Problem of his birthdate:...

 as the model for his book of poems (lines 19-20), although he claims that to attack the living as his model did incur great risk (lines 165-67). The narrator contends that traditional Roman virtues, such as fides and virtus
Virtus (virtue)
Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths...

, had disappeared from society to the extent that "Rome was no longer Roman":
  • lines 1.1-19 – Since there are so many poets wasting paper and everyone’s time anyway – why not write?
  • lines 1.20-80 – The narrator recites a catalogue of social deviants and criminals that demand Satire be written.
  • lines 1.81-126 – Since the dawn of history, greed and fiscal corruption have never been worse.
  • lines 1.127-146 – The narrator contrasts a typical day in the life of poor clients with that of their self-indulgent patron.
  • lines 1.147-171 – The future cannot be worse than the present, yet only the dead better be satirized - if you want to live in safety.

Satire II: Hypocrites are Intolerable

170 lines. The narrator claims to want to flee civilization (i.e. Roma) to beyond the world’s end when confronted by moral hypocrisy. Although the broad theme of this poem is the process of gender inversion, it would be an error to take it as simple invective against pathic men. Juvenal is concerned with gender deviance
  • lines 2.1-35 – Pathic men that pretend to be moral exemplars are much worse than those who are open about their proclivities. The pot should not call the kettle black.
  • lines 2.36-65 – When criticized for her morals, Laronia turns on one of these hypocrites and mocks their open effeminacy.
  • lines 2.65-81 – Criticism of the effeminate dress of Creticus as he practices law. This moral plague (contagio) spreads like disease passes through an entire herd of livestock or a bunch of grapes.
  • lines 2.82-116 – Effeminate dress is the gateway to complete gender inversion.
  • lines 2.117-148 – A noble man, Gracchus, gets married to another man – but such brides are infertile no matter what drugs they try or how much they are whipped in the Lupercalia
    Lupercalia
    Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility...

    .
  • lines 2.149-170 – The ghosts of great Romans of the past would feel themselves contaminated when such Romans descend to the underworld.

Satire III: There is no Room in Rome for a Roman

322 lines. In the place where Numa Pompilius
Numa Pompilius
Numa Pompilius was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus. What tales are descended to us about him come from Valerius Antias, an author from the early part of the 1st century BC known through limited mentions of later authors , Dionysius of Halicarnassus circa 60BC-...

 (the legendary second king of Rome) received a nymph’s advice on creating Roman law, the narrator has a final conversation with his Roman friend Umbricius, who is emigrating to Cumae. Umbricius claims that slick and immoral foreigners have shut a real Roman out of all opportunity to prosper. Only the first 20 lines are in the voice of the narrator; the remainder of the poem is cast as the words of Umbricius.

In 1738, Samuel Johnson was inspired by this text to write his "London: A Poem in Imitation of the Third Satire of Juvenal". The archetypal question of whether an urban life of hectic ambition is to be preferred to a pastoral fantasy retreat to the country is posed by the narrator:
  • lines 3.1-20 – The narrator’s old friend Umbricius is about to depart Roma for Cumae. The narrator says he would himself prefer Prochyta
    Procida
    Procida is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples in southern Italy. The island is between Cape Miseno and the island of Ischia. With its tiny satellite island of Vivara, it is a comune of the province of Naples, in the region of Campania. The population is about ten...

     to the Suburra
    Suburra
    Suburra is an area of the city of Rome, Italy. In ancient Roman times, it was a crowded lower-class area that was also notorious as a red-light district. It lies in the dip between the southern end of the Viminal and the western end of the Esquiline hills...

    , and he describes the ancient shrine of Egeria
    Egeria (mythology)
    Egeria was a nymph attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, to whom she imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion...

     being put up for rent to Jews and polluted by marble.
  • lines 3.21-57 – Umbricius: There is no opportunity in Roma for an honest man.
  • lines 3.58-125 – Umbricius: The Greeks and their ways are flowing like pollution into Roma, and they are so adept at lying flattery that they are achieving more social advancement that real Romans.
  • lines 3.126-163 – Umbricius: The dregs of society so long as they are wealthy lord it over real Romans; there is no hope for an honest man in court if he is poor.
  • lines 3.164-189 – Umbricius: Virtue and lack of pretension is only to be found outside the City; at Roma everything is expensive, pretentious, and bought on credit.
  • lines 3.190-231 – Umbricius contrasts the perils and degradation of living in Roma with the easy and cheap life outside the City.
  • lines 3.232-267 – Umbricius: The streets of Roma are annoying and dangerous if you are not rich enough to ride in a litter.
  • lines 3.268-314 – Umbricius: Travel by night in Roma is fraught with danger from falling tiles, thugs, and robbers.
  • lines 3.315-322 – Umbricius takes his leave of the narrator, and promises to visit him in his native Aquinum.

Satire IV: The Emperor’s Fish

154 lines. The narrator makes the emperor Domitian
Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

 and his court the objects of his ridicule in this mock-epic tale of a fish so prodigious that it was fit for the emperor alone. The council of state is called to deal with the crisis of how to cook it, where the fish can neither be cooked by conventional means due to its size, nor can it be cut into pieces. The main themes of this poem are the corruption and incompetence of sycophantic courtiers and the inability or unwillingness to speak truth to power.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

's motto, vitam impendere vero (to pay his life for the truth) is taken from the passage below, a description of the qualifications of an imperial courtier in the reign of Domitian:

  • lines 4.1-10 – Criticism of the courtier Crispinus.
  • lines 4.11-33 – Crispinus bought a mullet for six thousand sesterces - more expensive than the fisherman that caught him.
  • lines 4.34-56 – Mock-epic narrative of the crisis of state caused by a giant turbot begins with the catch.
  • lines 4.56-72 – The fisherman rushes to get the fish to the emperor.
  • lines 4.72-93 – Crispinus and other councilors begin to arrive.
  • lines 4.94-143 – More councilors arrive and one prophesizes that the fish is an omen of a future victory. The question of what to do with it is raised, and Montanus advises that a vessel be manufactured at once suitable for its size.
  • lines 4.144-154 – The council break up, and the narrator voices his wish that all the actions of Domitian had been so meaningless.

Satire V: Patronizing Patronage

173 lines. The narrative frame of this poem is a dinner party where many potential dysfunctions in the ideal of the patron-client relationship are put on display. Rather than being a performance of faux-equality, the patron (Virro as in 9.35) emphasizes the superiority of himself and his peers (amici) over his clients (viles amici) by offering food and drink of unequal quality to each. Juvenal concludes with the observation that the clients who put up with this treatment deserve it.
  • lines 5.1-11 – Begging is better than being treated disrespectfully at a patron's dinner.
  • lines 5.12-23 – An invitation to dinner is a social exchange for your services as a client.
  • lines 5.24-48 – Different wines and goblets for different social ranks.
  • lines 5.49-106 – Different water is served by different grades of slaves - and different breads served by arrogant slaves. The patron gets a lobster, and you get a crayfish; he gets a Corsican mullet, and you get a sewer-fish.
  • lines 5.107-113 – Seneca and others were known for their generosity. The elite should dine as equals with their friends - clients.
  • lines 5.114-124 – The patron gets a goose liver and boar meat, but you get to watch the meat carver perform.
  • lines 5.125-155 – If you had a fortune the patron would respect you; it is the cash that he really respects. Different mushrooms and apples.
  • lines 5.156-173 – Clients who will not resist this kind of treatment deserve it and worse.

Satire VI: The Decay of Feminine Virtue

c. 695 lines. For the discussion and synopsis, see Satire VI
Satire VI
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...

.

Satire VII: Fortuna (or the Emperor) is the Best Patron

243 lines. Juvenal returns to his theme of distorted economic values among the Roman elite – in this instance centered on their unwillingness to provide appropriate support for poets, lawyers, and teachers. It is the capricious whims of fate that determine the variables of a human life.
  • lines 7.1-21 – The emperor is the only remaining patron of letters.
  • lines 7.22-35 – Other patrons have learned to offer their admiration only.
  • lines 7.36-52 – The urge to write is an addictive disease.
  • lines 7.53-97 – Money and leisure are required to be a really great poet (vatis); hunger and discomfort would have hobbled even Virgil
    Virgil
    Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

    .
  • lines 7.98-105 – Historians (scriptores historiarum) do not have it any better.
  • lines 7.106-149 – Lawyers (causidici) get only as much respect as the quality of their dress can buy.
  • lines 7.150-177 – No one is willing to pay teachers of rhetoric (magistri) appropriately.
  • lines 7.178-214 – Rich men restrain only their spending on a teacher of rhetoric (rhetor) for their sons. Quintilian
    Quintilian
    Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing...

     was rich, he was the lucky exception to the rule.
  • lines 7.215-243 – The qualifications and efforts required of a teacher (grammaticus) are totally out of proportion to their pay.

Satire VIII: True Nobility

275 lines. The narrator takes issue with the idea that pedigree ought to be taken as evidence of a person’s worth.
  • lines 8.1-38 – What is the value of a pedigree, if you are inferior to your ancestors?
  • lines 8.39-55 – Many nobles have done nothing to makes themselves noble.
  • lines 8.56-70 – Racehorses are valued for their speed not their ancestors; if they are slow they will end up pulling a cart.
  • lines 8.71-86 – It is vile to rely on the reputations of others; one should be noble even in the face of danger.
  • lines 8.87-126 – Govern your province honestly. When everything else is stolen from those you rule, weapons and desperation remain.
  • lines 8.127-162 – If you live wickedly, your good ancestors are a reproach to you.
  • lines 8.163-182 – Bad behavior should be ceased in youth. The nobles make excuses for behavior that would not be tolerated in slaves.
  • lines 8.183-210 – When they bankrupt themselves, the nobles may sink to the level of the stage or the arena.
  • lines 8.211-230 – The emperor Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

     utterly debased himself in these ways.
  • lines 8.231-275 – Many people without famous ancestors have served Roma with great distinction. Indeed, everyone is descended from peasants or worse if you go back far enough.

Satire IX: Flattering your Patron is Hard Work

150 lines. This satire is in the form of a dialogue between the narrator and Naevolus – the disgruntled client of a pathetic patron.
  • lines 9.1-26 – Narrator: Why do you look so haggard Naevolus?
  • lines 9.27-46 – Naevolus: The life of serving the needs of pathetic rich men is not paying off.
  • lines 9.46-47 – Nar: But you used to think you were really sexy to men.
  • lines 9.48-69 – Nae: Rich pathetics are not willing to spend on their sickness, but I have bills to pay.
  • lines 9.70-90 – Nae: I saved his marriage by doing his job for him with a wife that was about to get a divorce.
  • lines 9.90-91 – Nar: You are justified in complaining Naevius. What did he say?
  • lines 9.92-101 – Nae: He is looking for another two-legged donkey, but don’t repeat any of this, he might try to kill me.
  • lines 9.102-123 – Nar: Rich men have no secrets.
  • lines 9.124-129 – Nae: But what should I do now; youth is fleeting.
  • lines 9.130-134 – Nar: You will never lack a pathetic patron, don’t worry.
  • lines 9.134-150 – Nae: But I want so little. Fortuna must have her ears plugged when I pray.

Satire X: Wrong Desire is the Source of Suffering

366 lines. The theme of this poem encompasses the myriad objects of prayer unwisely sought from the gods: wealth, power, beauty, children, long life, et cetera. The narrator argues that each of these is a false Good; each desired thing is shown to be not good in itself, but only good so long as other factors do not intervene. This satire is the source of the well-known phrase "mens sana in corpore sano" (a healthy mind in a healthy body), which appears in the passage above. It is also the source of the phrase "panem et circenses" (bread and circuses) - the only remaining cares of a Roman populace which has given up its birthright of political freedom (10.81).
  • lines 10.1-27—Few know what is really Good. Wealth often destroys.
  • lines 10.28-55—One can either cry like Heraclitus
    Heraclitus
    Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

     or laugh like Democritus
    Democritus
    Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos....

     at the state of things. But what should men pray for?
  • lines 10.56-89—It is all too easy to fall from power - like Sejanus
    Sejanus
    Lucius Aelius Seianus , commonly known as Sejanus, was an ambitious soldier, friend and confidant of the Roman Emperor Tiberius...

    . The mob follows Fortuna
    Fortuna
    Fortuna can mean:*Fortuna, the Roman goddess of luck -Geographical:*19 Fortuna, asteroid*Fortuna, California, town located on the north coast of California*Fortuna, United States Virgin Islands...

     and cares for nothing but bread and circuses
    Bread and circuses
    "Bread and Circuses" is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement...

    .
  • lines 10.90-113—By seeking ever more honors and power, Sejanus just made his eventual fall that much more terrible.
  • lines 10.114-132—Being a great orator like Demosthenes
    Demosthenes
    Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

     or Cicero
    Cicero
    Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

     may get one killed.
  • lines 10.133-146—Lust for military glory has ruined countries, and time will destroy even the graves of famous generals.
  • lines 10.147-167—What did Hannibal ultimately accomplish? He dies of poison in exile.
  • lines 10.168-187—The world was not big enough for Alexander the Great, but a coffin was. Xerxes I crawled back to Persia after his misadventure in Greece.
  • lines 10.188-209—Long life just means ugliness, helplessness, impotence, and the loss of all pleasure.
  • lines 10.209-239—Old people are deaf and full of diseases. Dementia is the worst affliction of all.
  • lines 10.240-272—Old people just live to see the funerals of their children and loved ones, like Nestor
    Nestor (mythology)
    In Greek mythology, Nestor of Gerenia was the son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings...

     or Priam
    Priam
    Priam was the king of Troy during the Trojan War and youngest son of Laomedon. Modern scholars derive his name from the Luwian compound Priimuua, which means "exceptionally courageous".- Marriage and issue :...

    .
  • lines 10.273-288—Many men would have been thought fortunate if they had died before a late disaster overtook them: e.g. Croesus
    Croesus
    Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. The fall of Croesus made a profound impact on the Hellenes, providing a fixed point in their calendar. "By the fifth century at least," J.A.S...

    , Marius
    Gaius Marius
    Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

    , and Pompey
    Pompey
    Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

    .
  • lines 10.289-309—Beauty is inimical to a person’s virtue. Even if they remain untouched by corruption, it makes them objects of lust for perverts.
  • lines 10.310-345—Beautiful men tend to become noted adulterers, risking their lives. Even if they are unwilling like Hippolytus
    Hippolytus (mythology)
    thumb|260px|The Death of Hippolytus, by [[Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema]] .In Greek mythology, Hippolytus was a son of Theseus and either Antiope or Hippolyte...

    , the wrath of scorned women may destroy them.
  • lines 10.346-366—Is there nothing to pray for then? Trust the gods to choose what is best; they love humans more than we do ourselves, but if you must pray for something, see the translation above.

Satire XI: Dinner and a Moral

208 lines. The main themes of this poem are self-awareness and moderation. The poem explicitly mentions one apothegm γνῶθι σεαυτόν
Know thyself
The Ancient Greek aphorism "Know thyself", Greek: ', English phonetics pronunciation: , was inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias .The maxim, or aphorism, "Know Thyself" has had a variety of meanings attributed to it in...

 (know thyself) from the temple of Apollo at Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

, while its theme calls to mind another μηδέν ἄγαν
Golden mean (philosophy)
In philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency. For example courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice....

 (nothing in excess). The subject, in this instance, is the role of food and the cena (formal dinner) in Roman society. The narrator contrasts the ruinous spending habits of gourmands with the moderation of a simple meal of home-grown foods in the manner of the mythical ancient Romans.
  • lines 11.1-55 – People that refuse to limit their gourmet habits, even in the face of having to do so on credit, soon endure poverty and consequently inferior food. The advice of Apollo to know thyself
    Know thyself
    The Ancient Greek aphorism "Know thyself", Greek: ', English phonetics pronunciation: , was inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias .The maxim, or aphorism, "Know Thyself" has had a variety of meanings attributed to it in...

     should be heeded - not just for ambitions and endeavors, but also for what should be spent on a fish.
  • lines 11.56-89 – The narrator invites a Persicus to come to his house for dinner to see whether his actions match his rhetoric. The dinner will include only home-grown foods from the narrator’s Tiburtine land. Long ago, the noble Curius
    Curius Dentatus
    Manius Curius Dentatus , son of Manius, was a three-time consul and a plebeian hero of the Roman Republic, noted for ending the Samnite War. According to Pliny, he was born with teeth, thus earning the cognomen Dentatus, "Toothy."...

     cooked things for himself that a slave on a chain-gang would reject now.
  • lines 11.90-119 – The ancient Romans did not care for luxuries and Greek art. A Jupiter made of terracotta saved the city from the Gauls
    Gauls
    The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

    .
  • lines 11.120-135 – Now rich people get no enjoyment from delicacies unless they eat from tables decorated with ivory. The narrator claims that his food is unharmed, despite owning no ivory.
  • lines 11.136-161 – The narrator promises no professional meat carver or exotic slave servers, nor are his slave boys destined for emasculation and use as sexual toys.
  • lines 11.162-182 – In place of a pornographic Spanish dance show, there will be poetry.
  • lines 11.183-208 – Rather than endure the annoyance of all Roma at the Circus Maximus
    Circus Maximus
    The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire...

     during the Megalensian Games, the narrator invites his addressee to shake off his cares and come to a simple dinner.

Satire XII: True Friendship

130 lines. The narrator describes to his addressee Corvinus the sacrificial vows that he has made for the salvation of his friend Catullus from shipwreck. These vows are to the primary Roman gods - Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

, Juno
Juno (mythology)
Juno is an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. Juno also looked after the women of Rome. Her Greek equivalent is Hera...

, and Minerva
Minerva
Minerva was the Roman goddess whom Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic...

 (the Capitoline Triad
Capitoline Triad
In ancient Roman religion, the Capitoline Triad was a group of three supreme deities who were worshipped in an elaborate temple on Rome's Capitoline Hill, the Capitolium. Two distinct Capitoline Triads were worshipped at various times in Rome's history, both originating in ancient traditions...

)- but other shipwrecked sailors are said to make offerings to Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

. In the passage quoted above, the narrator asserts that his sacrifices are not to curry favor or gain an inheritance, common reasons for making vows among those who would not hesitate to sacrifice their slaves or even children if it would bring them an inheritance.
  • lines 12.1-29 – Description of the sacrificial preparations.
  • lines 12.30-51 – Description of a storm: this friend had been willing to cast overboard items of great value to save his own life – who else would prefer his life to his treasures.
  • lines 12.52-82 – They had to cut the mast due to the ferocity of the storm, but then the weather calmed and they limped their ship into the port at Ostia.
  • lines 12.83-92 – The narrator orders that the altar and sacrifice be made ready. He says that he will propitiate his Lares
    Lares
    Lares , archaically Lases, were guardian deities in ancient Roman religion. Their origin is uncertain; they may have been guardians of the hearth, fields, boundaries or fruitfulness, hero-ancestors, or an amalgam of these....

    (family gods) as well.
  • lines 12.93-130 – Catullus has heirs, so the narrator is acting as a friend not a legacy-hunter (captator). Legacy hunters would sacrifice one hundred cattle, elephants, slaves, or even their own child if it secured an inheritance for them.

Satire XIII: Don’t Obsess over Liars and Crooks

249 lines. This poem is a dissuasion from excessive rage and the desire for revenge when one is defrauded. The narrator recommends a philosophical moderation and the perspective that comes from realizing that there are many things worse than financial loss.
  • lines 13.1-18 – Guilt is its own punishment. One should not overreact to ill-use.
  • lines 13.19-70 – Philosophy and life-experience offer a defense against Fortuna
    Fortuna
    Fortuna can mean:*Fortuna, the Roman goddess of luck -Geographical:*19 Fortuna, asteroid*Fortuna, California, town located on the north coast of California*Fortuna, United States Virgin Islands...

    . There are hardly as many good people as the gates of Egyptian Thebes
    Thebes, Egypt
    Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

     (100) or even as the mouths of the Nile
    Nile
    The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

     (9). The Golden Age
    Golden Age
    The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

     was infinitely superior to the present age, an age so corrupt there is not even an appropriate metal to name it.
  • lines 13.71-85 – Perjurers will swear on the arms of all the gods to deny their debts.
  • lines 13.86-119 – Some believe that everything is a product of chance, and so do not fear to perjure themselves on the altars of the gods. Others rationalize that the wrath of the gods, though great, is very slow in coming.
  • lines 13.120-134 – It takes no philosopher to realize that there are many worse wrongs than being defrauded. A financial loss is mourned more than a death, and it is mourned with real tears.
  • lines 13.135-173 – It is silly to be surprised by the number and magnitude of the crimes put to trial at Roma, as silly as to be surprised by a German having blue eyes.
  • lines 13.174-209 – Even execution of a criminal would not undo their crime; only the uneducated think that revenge is a Good. That is not what the philosophers Chrysippos, Thales
    Thales
    Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition...

    , or Socrates
    Socrates
    Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

     would say. The narrator makes an extended reference to the story of a corrupt Spartan’s consultation of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi
    Delphi
    Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

     from Herodotus
    Herodotus
    Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

     (6.86). The mere intention to do evil is guilt.
  • lines 13.210-249 – Consciousness of one’s guilt is its own punishment, with anxiety and fear of divine retribution. The natura (nature) of criminals is fixa (stuck) and mutari nescia (unable to be changed), and it rushes back to ways they have admitted are wrong (239-40). Thus, criminals tend to repeat their crimes, and eventually end up facing execution or exile.

Satire XIV: Avarice is not a Family Value

331 lines. The narrator stresses that children most readily learn all forms of vice from their parents. Avarice must actually be taught since it runs counter to nature. This vice is particularly pernicious, since it has the appearance of a virtue and is the source of a myriad of crimes and cruelties.
  • lines 14.1-37 – The greatest danger to the morals of children comes from the vices of their parents.
  • lines 14.38-58 – People should restrain themselves from vice for the sake of their children. It is unjust for a father to criticize and punish a son who takes after himself.
  • lines 14.59-85 – People are more concerned to present a clean atrium to outsiders than to keep their house free of vice for their children. The tastes acquired in childhood persist into adulthood.
  • lines 14.86-95 – Caetronius squandered much of his wealth by building many fine houses; his son squandered the rest by doing the same.
  • lines 14.96-106 – People learn to be Jewish from their parents.
  • lines 14.107-134 – Avarice has the appearance of a virtue, but it leads to cruel deprivation of one’s slaves and one’s own self.
  • lines 14.135-188 – It is madness to live like an indigent just to die rich. There is no amount of money or land that will satisfy greed, but ancient Romans veterans of the Punic wars
    Punic Wars
    The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

     or of the war against Pyrrhus
    Pyrrhus of Epirus
    Pyrrhus or Pyrrhos was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic era. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house , and later he became king of Epirus and Macedon . He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome...

     were content with only two iugera
    Jugerum
    ', jugera or ' was a Roman unit of measurement of area, 240 ft or 73 m in length and 120 ft or 37 m in breadth, containing therefore 28,800 square feet...

    (acres) of land in return for all their wounds. Impatient greed leads to crime.
  • lines 14.189-209 – Become a lawyer, join the army, or become a merchant. Profit smells good, wherever it’s from. Nobody inquires into where you got it, but you have to have it.
  • lines 14.210-255 – The greedy son will surpass his father as much as Achilles
    Achilles
    In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

     did Peleus
    Peleus
    In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

    . Instilling avarice is the same as teaching a child every form of crime. A son whom you have taught to have no mercy will have no mercy on you either.
  • lines 14.256-283 – Those who take risks to increase their fortunes are like tightrope walkers. Fleets sail wherever there is hope of profit.
  • lines 14.284-302 – Avaricious men are willing to risk their lives and fortunes just to have a few more pieces of silver with someone’s face and inscription on them.
  • lines 14.303-316 – The anxiety of protecting wealth and possessions is a misery. Alexander the Great realized that the cynic Diogenes
    Diogenes of Sinope
    Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. Also known as Diogenes of Sinope , he was born in Sinope , an Ionian colony on the Black Sea , in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.Diogenes of Sinope was a controversial figure...

     was happier than himself while living in his pottery home, since Alexander’s anxieties and dangers matched his ambitions, while Diogenes was content with what he had and could easily replace.
  • lines 14.316-331 – How much is enough then? As much as Epicurus
    Epicurus
    Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

     or Socrates
    Socrates
    Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

     was content to possess is best, or - in the Roman manner - a fortune equal to the equestrian order. If twice or three times that does not suffice, then not even the wealth of Croesus
    Croesus
    Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. The fall of Croesus made a profound impact on the Hellenes, providing a fixed point in their calendar. "By the fifth century at least," J.A.S...

     or of Persia will suffice.

Satire XV: People without Compassion are Worse than Animals

174 lines. The narrator discusses the centrality of compassion for other people to the preservation of civilization. While severe circumstances have at times called for desperate measures to preserve life, even the most savage tribes have refrained from cannibalism. We were given minds to allow us to live together in mutual assistance and security. Without limits on rage against our enemies, we are worse than animals.
  • lines 15.1-26 – In Egypt they worship bizarre animal-headed gods, but not the familiar Roman ones. Similarly, they won't eat normal things, but do practice cannibalism. Ulysses
    Odysseus
    Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

     must have been thought a liar for his tale of the Laestrygonians
    Laestrygonians
    The Laestrygonians are a tribe of giant cannibals from ancient Greek mythology. Odysseus, the main character of Homer's Odyssey, visited them during his journey back home to Ithaca...

     or the Cyclopes
    Cyclops
    A cyclops , in Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the middle of his forehead...

    .
  • lines 15.27-32 – Recently in upper Egypt, an entire people was guilty of this crime.
  • lines 15.33-92 – Two neighboring cities hated each other. One attacked while the other held a feast. Fists gave way to stones and then to arrows; as one side fled, one man slipped and was caught. He was ripped to pieces and eaten raw.
  • lines 15.93-131 – The Vascones, however, were blameless, because they were compelled to cannibalism by the siege of Pompey the Great. Even at the altar of Artemis
    Artemis
    Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

     in Taurus
    Tauri
    The Tauri , also Scythotauri, Tauri Scythae, Tauroscythae were a people settling on the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula, inhabiting the Crimean Mountains and the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the Black Sea...

    , humans are only sacrificed, not eaten.
  • lines 15.131-158 – Compassion is what separates humans from animals. The creator gave humans mind (animus) as well as life (vita), so that people could live together in a civil society.

Satire XVI: Soldiers are above the Law

60 lines preserved. The primary theme of the preserved lines is the advantages of soldiers over mere citizens.
  • lines 16.1-6 – The narrator wishes that he could join the legions, since soldiers have many advantages over civilians.
  • lines 16.7-34 – Soldiers are immune to justice since they have to be tried in the camp among other soldiers, where a plaintiff will get no help prosecuting them, and may get a beating in addition for their trouble.
  • lines 16.35-50 – Soldiers do not have to wait for legal action like civilians
  • lines 16.51-60 – Only soldiers have the right to make a will while their father lives – leading to an inversion of power with the soldier son being above his father.

External links

  • Juvenal's 16 "Satires" in Latin, at The Latin Library
    The Latin Library
    The Latin Library is a website that collects public domain Latin texts. The texts have been drawn from different sources. Many were originally scanned and formatted from texts in the Public Domain. Others have been downloaded from various sites on the Internet . Most of the recent texts have been...

  • Juvenal's Satires 1, 2, and 3 in Latin and English (translation G. G. Ramsay) at the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook
  • Juvenal's Satire 3 in Latin and English, at Vroma
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