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Juvenal




JUVENAL (DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS) has been more read and admired in modern times than any other Latin poet, with the exception of Virgil, Horace, and perhaps Ovid. The attraction which he has had, not for scholars only, but for men of letters and men of the world, is probably due less to any intrinsic superiority of genius,—for in genius he is not the equal of Lucretius or Catullus,— but to a quality of his writing to which one of the most recent and best of his English editors has drawn attention. " In depicting character," says Mr Lewis, " in drawing scenes, even in turns of expression, he is, of all ancient authors, the most distinctly modern." But besides this attraction, which is due to the fact that he wrote at a time when the interest in social life and manners had superseded that formerly felt in the commonwealth, he has his own peculiar value to students of antiquity. He closes the roll of the great writers of Borne, and is the last vital represen-tative of her national spirit and genius. It is mainly from his representation that the picture of the social life of the imperial city during the first century of our era lives in the imagination of the world. He is the most effective satirist of Borne, not because he was the greatest writer who made satire his theme, but because the age in which he lived supplied the largest material for purely satiric representa-tion, and because his eye was fixed on the more sombre aspects of his time to the exclusion of those happier or more genial aspects which are reflected in the pages of Statius, Martial, and Pliny. The first impression produced by the satire of Juvenal is more powerful than that produced by the satire of Horace, as the impression produced by the tragical and sensational incidents of life is greater than that produced by its ordinary course and its lighter humours. The final verdict as to their relative excellence need not be in accordance with the first impres-sion, but will be determined by the abiding sense of truth and conformity with real life which each representation leaves upon us. But Juvenal does stand prominently out, not in ancient literature only, but in the literature of the world, as the typical example of a social satirist, writing with a serious purpose. The burning indignation to which he attributes the inspiration of his verse, and its not unfrequent accompaniment, the "censure of a sardonic laugh," are his distinguishing notes.

Nor is it only in respect of subject-matter and the spirit in which that is treated, but also in respect of literary form and style, that poetical satire finds its typical representa-tive in Juvenal. The systematic treatment of some special topic, the sustained rhetorical pitch, so unlike the natural conversational manner of Horace, at which the treatment is maintained, the strongly-drawn scenes and portraits illustrative of the theme, the effort to make every line effective by point and emphasis, which distinguish some of the great products of modern poetical satire, have their prototype in Juvenal. The frank communicativeness,—the impulse to establish a confidential relation with the reader, —which made the writings of Lucilius appear to a later generation like a " picture of his life " drawn by his own hand, and which gives to the satires of Horace all the charm of an autobiography, has altogether disappeared from the satire of Juvenal, and given place to an attitude almost as impersonal as that assumed in the letters of Junius. And this is the attitude which modern poetical satire for the most part maintains. It commands respect by the boldness and incisiveness of its assaults on classes and individuals, or it gains popularity by gratifying the natural love of detraction, but it leaves to the prose essayist and the novelist the humaner part of acting on the reader through his sympathies. '

This absence from the writings of Juvenal of that personal element which played so large a part in the satires of Lucilius and Horace forces us to depend almost entirely on external evidence for our knowledge of his life. And our available external evidence is unfortunately very meagre and untrustworthy. After reviewing it all and reading it as far as possible by light derived from his own writings, we shall have to acknowledge that we know very little with certainty of his career, that the impression we form of his character and associations is indistinct and perhaps fallaci-ous, and that even the indications which seem to fix the date of the composition of various satires may be misleading. Still, in order to read his writings with full profit and pleasure, we must try to bring ourselves in thought as near to the writer as our knowledge admits of. The ideal presentation of human life and character in an epic poem or drama bears its own evidence of its truth. It either conforms to, or fails to conform to, what the imagination conceives of the capabilities of human nature. In read-ing the realistic representation of an exceptional phase of society, we wish to know whether the painter of it was, from his position, likely to have seen and understood it, whether his object was to describe it as he saw it, and whether he was a man capable of judging it reasonably and candidly.

A brief account of Juvenal's life, varying considerably in some of its details, is prefixed to the different MSS. of his works. But the original on which these various versions of the life are founded cannot be traced to Suetonius or to any competent authority, and some of the statements contained in it are intrinsically improbable. According to the form prefixed to the most valuable of the MSS., " Juvenal was the son or ward of a wealthy freedman; he practised declamation till middle age, not as a professional teacher, but as an amateur, and made his first essay in satire by writing the lines on Paris, the actor and favourite of Domitian, now found in the seventh satire (line 90 sq.) :—

' Quod non dant proceres, dabit histrio,' &c. Encouraged by their success, he devoted himself diligently to this kind of composition, but refrained for a long time from either publicly reciting or publishing his verses. When at last he did come before the public, his recita-tions were attended by great crowds and received with the utmost favour. But the lines originally written on Paris, having been inserted in one of his new satires, excited the jealous anger of an actor of the time, who was a favourite of the emperor, and procured the poet's banishment under the form of a military appointment to the extremity of Egypt. Being then eighty years of age, he died shortly afterwards of grief and vexation." In one account the time of his banishment is said to have been the last years of Domitian; in another he is said to have been appointed to a command against the Scots by Trajan, in another to have died in exile in the reign of Antoninus Pius, and in another to have died of a broken heart on his return to Rome, because he found his friend Martial was no longer there. One account even makes Claudius the author of his banishment. In several Aquinum is mentioned as his birthplace, and in one he is said to have been born in the time of Claudius.

Some of these statements are so much in consonance with the indirect evidence afforded by the satires that they might almost be supposed to be a series of conjectures based upon them. The rare passages in which the poet speaks of his own position, as in satires xi. and xii., indicate that he was in comfortable but moderate circumstances. We should infer also that he was not dependent on any professional occupation, and that he was separated in social station, and probably too by tastes and manners, from the higher class to which Tacitus and Pliny belonged, as he was by character from the new men who rose to wealth by servility under the empire. Juvenal is no organ of the pride and dignity, still less of the urbanity, of the cultivated representatives of the great families of the republic. He is the champion of the more sober virtues and ideas, and perhaps the organ of the rancours and detraction, of an educated but depressed and embittered middle class. The literary representative of such a class might well be found in the heir of a well-to-do freedman, born and bred in a provincial town, too independent both in position and character to become permanently a hanger-on of the great, and perhaps too ungracious in manner and uncompromising in speech to mix easily with the class which inherited the aristocratic and courtly traditions of Roman literature. The statement that he was a trained and practised declaimer is confirmed both by his own words (i. 16) and by the rhetorical mould in which his thoughts and illustrations are cast. The allusions which fix the dates when his satires first appeared, and the large experience of life which they imply, agree with the statement that he did not come before the world as a professed satirist till after middle age.

The statement that he continued to write satires long before he gave them to the world accords well with the nature of their contents and the elaborate character of their composition. They are not the expression of some passing impulse, but seem to sum up the experience of a lifetime. They hive indeed the freshness of immediate impressions, but they are so combined as to show that they have been long brooded over before assuming their final form. And that he was known as a writer of satires for years before the publication of any of them in their present form might almost be inferred from the emphatic but yet guarded statement of Quintilian in his short summary of Roman literature. After speaking of the merits of Lucilius, Horace, and Persius as satirists, he adds, " There are, too, in our own day, distinguished writers of satire whose names will be heard of hereafter" {Inst. Or., x. 1, 94). There is no Roman writer of satire who could be mentioned along with those others by so judicious a critic, and whose names have been heard of in after times, except Juvenal.
The motive which a writer of satire must have had for secrecy under Domitian is sufficiently obvious; and the necessity of concealment and self-suppression thus imposed upon the writer may have permanently affected his whole manner of composition.

So far the various authors of these lives have followed a probable and consistent tradition. But when we come to the story of the poet's exile, they are at variance both with probability and with one another. Some apparent confirmation is given to the tradition by the lines of a poet of the 5th century, Sidonius Apollinaris :—

" Nee qui consimili deinde casu Ad vulgi tenuem strepentis auram Irati fuit liistrionis exul."

There is no reason to doubt that these lines refer to Juvenal, but they only prove that the original story from which all the varying lives are derived was generally believed before the middle of the 5th century of our era. If Juvenal was banished at the age of eighty, the author of his banishment could not have been the " enraged actor " in reference to whom the original lines were written, as Paris was put to death in 83, and Juvenal was certainly writing satires long after 100 A.D. The satire in which the lines now appear was probably first published soon after the accession of Hadrian, when Juvenal was not an octogenarian but in the maturity of his powers. The cause of the poet's banishment at that advanced age could not therefore have been either the original composition or the first publication of the lines. But it has been conjectured that the anger of another actor, a favourite of the emperor, may have been excited by a later application of them on some public occasion, and that the poet was punished for this unfortu-nate revival of lines which had never been intended for the person who resented them. Against this conjecture, based on a number of confused, uncertain, and contradictory traditions, we have to weigh the intrinsic improbability of the story. An expression in sat. xv. 45 is quoted as a proof that J uvenal had visited Egypt. He may have clone so as an exile or in a military command; but it seems hardly consistent with the importance which the emperors attached to the security of Egypt, or with the concern which they took in the interests of the army, that these conditions were combined at an age so unfit for military employment. If any conjecture is warrantable on so obscure a subject, it is more likely that this temporary disgrace may have been inflicted on the poet by Domitian. Among the many victims of Juvenal's satire it is only against him and against one of the vilest instruments of his court, the Egyptian Crispinus, that the poet seems to be animated by personal hatred. A sense of wrong suf-fered at their hands may perhaps have mingled with the detestation which he felt towards them on public grounds. But if he was banished under Domitian, it must have been either before or after the year 93 A.D., at which time, as we learn from an epigram of Martial, Juvenal was in Rome. The whole story may be rauked with the tradition of the love potion which is said to have maddened Lucretius, as one resting on such slight evidence as to admit neither of confirmation nor refutation.

More ancient and apparently more authentic evidence of the position filled by Juvenal during some period of his life has been recovered in recent times, in the form of an inscription found at Aquinum, recording, so far as it can be deciphered, the dedication of an altar to Ceres, by Junius Juvenalis, tribune of the first cohort of Dalmatians, " duumvir quinquennalis," and " flamen Divi Vespasiani." The terms of this inscription, when read along with one of the few passages in the satires in which Juvenal distinctly speaks of himself (iii. 318 sq.)—

" Et quotiens te Roma tuo refici properantem reddet Aquino, Me quoque ad Helvinam Cererem vestramque Dianam Converte a Cumis: satirarum ego, ni pudet illas, Auditor gelidos veniam caligatus in agros—"

leaves little doubt that the author of the inscription was either the poet himself or some member of his family, of whose existence we have no other indication. If then, as is most probable, Juvenal is himself the author of it, we learn that he did hold, at one period of his life, a post of military rank, one of municipal importance in his native town, and a priesthood of the deified Vespasian. But to what period of his life does this tablet bear evidence 1 The fact that he filled the position of " duumvir quinquen-nalis " shows that he was a man of influential position in the municipium, but the office was only held for a year,— the year apparently in which the census was taken at Rome,—and its tenure does not imply any prolonged absence from the metropolis. The satires, though they indicate an occasional preference for the simpler life of the country towns, are the product not of leisure in the pro-vinces but of immediate and intimate familiarity with the life of the great city ; and an epigram of Martial, written at the time when Juvenal was most vigorously employed in their composition, speaks of him as settled in Rome. It is possible, but not likely, that he may have retired to his native town in the latter years of his life, and that the last book of his satires (xiii.-xvi.), which contains no immediate references to Rome, and is written in a less angry mood than the earlier ones, may be the work of this retire-ment, and that it may have been during that time that he filled this office. On the other hand, it was by Domitian that the worship of Vespasian was established with especial sanctity, and it may be doubted whether a priesthood instituted in his honour would be recorded as a title of dignity late on in the reign of Hadrian. The lines already quoted from satire iii. imply that during his early career as a satirist Juvenal maintained his connexion with Aquinum, and that he had some special interest in the worship of the " Helvinian Ceres." Nor is the tribute to the national religion implied by the dedication of the altar to Ceres inconsistent with the beliefs and feelings expressed in the satires. While the fables of mythology are often treated contemptuously or humorously by him, other passages in the satires clearly imply a conformity to and even a respect for the observances of the national religion. The spirit of Juvenal, which sought for a standard of right action rather in the old Roman and Italian traditions than in the tenets of philosophy, would incline him to sympathize with the revival of religious observance and also of a kind of belief in divine agency on human affairs, which accompanied the establishment of the empire. The evidence as to the military post filled by him is curious, when taken in connexion with the confused tradition of his exile in a position of military importance; and there appears to be some further evidence that the cohort of which he was tribune was quartered in Britain. But it cannot be said that the satires bear traces of military experience. The life described in them is such as would present itself to the eyes of a civilian, and would be talked about and commented on at the dinner tables and in the clubs, baths, theatres, and places of public resort in the great metropolis.2
The only other contemporary evidence which affords a glimpse of his actual life is contained in three epigrams of Martial. Two of these (vii. 24 and 91) were written in the time of Domitian, the other (xii. 18) early in the reign »f Trajan, after Martial had retired to his native Bilbilis. The first of these epigrams, addressed to some backbiter who had endeavoured to embroil the two friends with one another, attests the strong regard which Martial felt for him; but the subject of the epigram seems to hint that there may have been something suspicious or uneasy in the temper of the satirist, which made the maintenance of a steady friendship with him difficult. In the second of these epigrams, addressed to Juvenal himself, the epithet " facundus" is applied to him, one which might equally be employed whether he was best known at the time as a writer of poetic satires or as an eloquent rhetorician. In the last Martial imagines his friend wandering about dis-contentedly (inquietus) through the crowded streets of Rome, and undergoing all the discomforts incident to attendance on the levees of the great:—_

'' Dum per limina te potentiorum Sudatrix toga ventilat."

Two lines in the poem (22-3) suggest that the satirist, who has inveighed with just severity against the worst corruptions of Roman morals, was not too rigid a censor of the morals of his friend. Indeed, his intimacy with Martial is a ground for not attributing to him exceptional strictness of life.





The additional information as to the poet's life and cir-cumstances derivable from the satires themselves is not important. He tells us what might easily be inferred from the number of allusions to the Greek and Latin poets con-tained in his satires, that he had enjoyed-the training which all educated men received in his day (i. 15); he indicates, as was mentioned above, his connexion with the old Volscian town Aquinum ; he speaks of his farm in the territory of Tibur (xi. 64), which furnished a young kid and moun-tain asparagus for a homely dinner to which he invites a friend during the festival of the Megalesiaca. In the satire in which this invitation is contained, and in one or two more of the later ones, he seems partially to remove the mask which he wears in the earlier and more directly aggressive satires. From it we are able to form an idea of the style in which he habitually lived, and to think of him as enjoy-ing a hale and vigorous age (line 203), and also as a kindly master of a household (159 sq.). The negative evidence afforded in the account of his establishment, and the bitter tone in which his friend is reminded of his domestic un-happiness (186-9), suggest the inference that, like Lucilius and Horace, Juvenal had no personal experience of either the cares or the softening influence of family life. A comparison of this poem with the invitation of Horace to Torquatus (Ep., i. 5) brings out strongly the differences not in urbanity only but in kindly feeling between the two satirists. It reminds us also of how much less we know of the one poet than of the other, and of how shadowy a personage the Persius of the one is as contrasted with the Torquatus of the other.

An excellent critic of Latin literature, M. Gaston Boissier, has drawn from the indications afforded of the career and character of the persons to whom the satires are addressed most unfavour-able conclusions as to the social circumstances and associations of Juvenal. If we believe that the Trebius, Postumus, Ponticus, Nsevolus, Persicus, of the satires were real people, with whom Juvenal lived in intimacy, we should conclude that he was most unfortunate in his associates, and that his own relations to them were marked rather by outspoken frankness than civility. But these personages seem to be more "nominis umbrae" than real men ; they serve the purpose of enabling the satirist to aim his blows at one particular object instead of declaiming at large. They have none of the individuality and traits of personal character discernible in the Damasippus or Trebatius of Horace's satires, or the Julius Floras, the Torquatus, the Celsus, the Fuscus, the Bullatius, &c., of the epistles. It is noticeable that, while Juvenal writes of the poets and men of letters, Statius, Saleius Bassus, Quintilian, &c., of a somewhat earlier time, as if they were still living, he has no reference to the career or reputation of his friend Martial, and that he is equally silent about the two illustrious writers who wrote their works during the years of his own literary activity,—the younger Pliny and Tacitus. It is equally noticeable that among the many cultivated and estimable men a.id women who are brought before us in the correspondence of the former of these writers the name of Juvenal does not appear.

We feel on more certain ground in endeavouring to de-termine the times at which the satires were given to the world. But these do not in all cases coincide with those at which they were written and to which they immediately refer. Thus the manners and personages of the age of Domitian often supply the material of satiric representa-tion, and are spoken of as if they belonged to the actual life of the present, while allusions even in the earliest show that, as a finished literary composition, it belongs to the age of Trajan. The most probable explanation of these discrepancies is that already hinted at, viz., that in their present form the satires are the work of the last thirty years of the poet's life, while the first nine at least, the most powerful and most characteristic among them, not only reproduce the im-pressions of his earlier manhood, but may have preserved with little change passages written and perhaps familiarly known in his own literary circles during this earlier time.

This seems more probable than that he should Lave used such famous names as those of Statius and Quintilian to signify some poet or rhetorical professor of a later time; although probably like Horace he may have availed himself either of false names, or names belonging to a former time, for his satiric nomenclature. The combination of the impressions, and, perhaps of the actual compositions, of different periods also explains a certain want of unity and continuity found in some of them.

There is no reason to doubt that the sixteen satires which we possess were given to the world in the order in which we find them, and that they were divided, as they are referred to in the ancient grammarians, into five books. A minute examination of the various satires composing these books enables us to form at least a probable conjecture as to the intervals at which they appeared, and to con-ceive the changes of mood through which the poet passed during these intervals. Book I., embracing the first five satires, is written in the freshest vigour of the author's powers, and is animated with the strongest hatred of Domitian. The publication of this book belongs to the early years of Trajan. The mention of the exile of Marius (49) shows that it was not published before the year 100 A. D. In the second satire, the lines 29 sq.,

"Qualis erat nuper tragico pollutus adulter Concubitu,"

show that the memory of one of the foulest scandals of the reign of Domitian was still fresh in the minds of men. The third satire, imitated by Johnson in his London, presents such a picture as Rome may have offered to the satirist at any time in the 1st century of our era ; but it was under the worst emperors, Nero and Domitian, that the arts of flatterers and foreign adventurers were most success-ful, and that such scenes of violence as that described at 277 sq. were most likely to occur ; while the mention of Veiento (185) as still enjoying influence is a distinct reference to the court of Domitian. The fourth, which alone has any political significance, and reflects on the emperor as a frivolous trifler rather than as a monster of lust and cruelty, is the reproduction of a real or imaginary scene from the reign of Domitian, and is animated by the profoundest scorn and loathing both of the tyrant himself and of the worst instruments of his tyranny. The fifth is a social picture of the degradation to which poor guests were exposed at the banquets of the rich, but many of the epigrams of Martial and the more sober evidence of one of Pliny's letters show that the picture painted by Juvenal, though perhaps exaggerated in colouring, was drawn from a state of society prevalent during and immediately subsequent to the times of Domitian. The second book contains the most elaborate of the satires, that which by many critics is regarded as the poet's masterpiece, the famous sixth satire, directed against the whole female sex, which shares wTith Domitian and his creatures the most cherished place in the poet's antipathies. It shows certainly no diminution of vigour either in its representation or its invective. If it is desirable that such a subject should be treated in the spirit in which Juvenal has treated it, it may be regarded as fortunate that it has been done once for all with such power, with such free-dom from the restraints imposed either by modesty or humanity, and with, apparently, such intimate knowledge, that no writer of later ages has attempted to rival it. The time at which this satire was composed cannot be fixed with certainty, but some allu-sions (lines 502, 407-11, 205, 555 ) render it highly probable that it was given to the world in the later years of Trajan, and before the accession of Hadrian. The date of the publication of Book III., containing the seventh, eighth, and ninth satires, seems to he fixed by its opening line "Etspes et ratio studiorum in Ceesare tantum," to the first years after the accession of Hadrian. If the seventh satire stood alone, we might, from the notices of Statius, Quintilian, &c, regard it as probably belonging to the age of Domitian ; nor is it unlikely that much of it was written then, and that the con-dition of poets and men of letters there described, with more of fellow-feeling than is apparent in most of his satires, is drawn from the life at Rome with which the poet was first familiar. But it is inconceivable that the complimentary language applied to "Caesar" in the opening lines could have been meant for Domitian ; and the new hopes which are held out for the neglected race of poets would naturally be suggested by the change from the rule of a great soldier, whose thoughts were chiefly bent on foreign conquest, to that of an accomplished lover of art, like Hadrian. In the eighth satire another reference is made (line 120) to the misgovernment of Marius in Africa as a recent event (nujjer), and at line 51 there may be an allusion to the Eastern wars that occupied the last years of Trajan's reign. The ninth has no allusion to determine its date, but it is written with the same outspoken freedom as the second and the sixth, and belongs to the period when the poet's power was most vigorous, and his exposure of vice most uncompromising. In the fourth book, comprising the famous tenth, the eleventh, and the twelfth satires, the author appears more as a moralist than as a pure satirist. In the tenth, the theme of the "vanity of human wishes " is illustrated by great historic instances, rather than by pictures of the men and manners of the age ; and, though the declamatorv vigour and power of expression in it are occasionally as great as in the earlier satires, and although touches of his saturnine humour, and especially of his misogyny, appear in all the satires of this book, yet their general tone shows that the white heat of his indigna-tion is abated ; and the lines of the eleventh, already referred to (199«?.),

" Spectent juvenes quos clamor et audax Sponsio, quos culta} decet assedisse puella} : Nostra bibat vernum contracta cutícula solem,"

leave no doubt that he was well advanced in years when they were written.

Two important dates are found in the last book, comprising satires xiii.-xvi. At xiii. 16 Juvenal speaks of his friend Calvinus "as now past sixty years of age, having been born in the consul-ship of Eonteius." There was a C. Fonteius Capito consul in 59 A.D., and L. Fonteius Capito in 67. If it is accepted that the different books of the satires appeared at different intervals, that the third book was given to the world after Hadrian's return to Rome (118 A.D.), and that some time must have elapsed b.tween the appearance of the third and fourth books, and again between that of the fourth and fifth, the date referred to must be the latter of these, and thus the fifth and last book could not have been pub-lished till after the year 127 A.D. Again at xv. 27 an event is said to have happened in Egypt "nuper consule Junco," for which some editions read "Junio." There was a Junius consul in 119 A.D. Even if he were the person referred to, the word nwper (as at ii. 29, viii. 120) might well indicate a date of some ten or twelve years earlier than that of the composition of the satire. Recent investi-gations, however, make out that there was a L. iEmilius Juncus consul suffectus in 127 A.D. (see Mayor's note on the passage). The fifth book must therefore have been published some time after this date. More than the fourth, this book bears the marks of age, both in the milder tone of the sentiments expressed, and in the feebler power of composition exhibited. The last satire is left incomplete, and the authenticity both of it and of the fifteenth has been questioned, though on insufficient grounds.

The general conclusion arrived at is that the satires were published at different intervals, and for the most part, composed, under Trajan and Hadrian, between the years 100 and 130 A.D., or a year or two later, but that the most powerful in feeling and vivid in conception among them deal with the experience and impressions of the reigu of Domitian, occasionally recall the memories or traditions of the times of Nero and Claudius, and reproduce at least one startling page from the annals of Tiberius. The same overmastering feeling which constrained Tacitus (Agrie, 2, 3), when the time of long endurance and silence was over, to recall the "memory of the former oppression," acted upon Juvenal. There is no evidence that these two great writers, who lived and wrote at the same time, who were animated by the same hatred of the tyrant under whom the be.-t years of their manhood were spent, and who both felt most deeply the degradation of their times, were even known to one another. They belonged to different social circles, Tacitus to that of the highest official and senatorial class, Juvenal apparently to the middle class and to that of the struggling men of letters ; and this difference in position had much influence in determining the different bent of their genius, and in forming one to be a great national historian, the other to be a great social satirist. If the view of the satirist is owing to this circumstance more limited in some directions, and his taste and temper less conformable to the best ancient standards of propriety, he is also saved by it from prejudices to which the traditions of his class exposed the historian. But both writers are thoroughly national in sentiment, thoroughly masculine in tone. No ancient authors express so strong a hatred of evil. None of the other contemporary writers share this feeling. Pliny has the natural repugnance of a gentleman and honourable man to coarseness and baseness ; but he liked to live with people of tastes and manners congenial to his own, and to see as little as possible of the corruption which existed under the surface of society. Martial, as a foreigner living in Rome, endowed with a lively observation and a keen capacity for pleasure, enjoyed whatever was enjoyable in the life around him, found in its excesses and perversions materials for his wit, and, after flattering the worst of the emperors assidu-ously through all his career, was ready with impartial sycophancy to flatter one of the best. The peculiar greatness and value of both Juvenal and Tacitus is that they did not shut their eyes to the evil through which they had lived, but deeply resented it,—the one with a vehement and burning passion, like the " saeva indignatio" of Swift, the other with perhaps even deeper but more restrained emotions of mingled scorn and sorrow, like the scorn and sorrow of Milton when " fallen on evil days and evil tongues." The wickedness of the age brought out more strongly than at any previous time the opposition between good and evil. The idea of conscience, as the connecting bond between religion and morality, appears in greater prominence in Tacitus and Juvenal than in any other ancient writers.





There is a criticism of an eminent living writer1 to the effect that the secret of Juvenal's concentrated power consisted in this, that he knew what he hated, and that what he did hate was despotism and democracy. But it would be hardly true to say that the animating motive of his satire was political. It is true that he finds the most typical examples of lust, cruelty, levity, and weakness in the emperors and their wives,—in Domitian, Otho, Nero, Claudius, and Messalina. It is true also that he shares in the traditional idolatry of Brutus, that he strikes at Augustus in his mention of the " three disciples of Sulla," and that he has no word of recognition for what even Tacitus acknowledges as the beneficent rule of Trajan, So too his scorn for the Roman populace of his time, who cared only for their dole of bread and the public games, is unqualified. But it is only in connexion with its indirect effects that he seems to think of despotism ; and he has no thought of democracy at all. It is not for the loss of liberty and of the senatorian rule that he chafes, but for the loss of the old national manliness and self-respect, alike in the descendants of "the Latian boors" and in the representatives of the iEmilii and the Fabii. There is no more grandly imaginative passage in all his satires than that in which he evokes the ghosts of those who died at Cremera and Cannae (ii. 153 sq.) to shame the degener-ate debauchees of his own time. While we feel that we know little or nothing of his career, while we may imagine that personal disappointment may have supplied some of the gall in which his pen is dipped, and may doubt whether his own life and associations would have justified him in acting as a severer censor on what most Romans regarded- as permitted indulgences than Lucilius and Horace, we cannot doubt that both his intellect and character were of a most masculine strength, and that his hatred for all that corrupted the old national character and enfeebled the national intellect was sincere and consistent. This feeling explains his detestation of foreign manners and superstitions, his loathing not only of inhuman crimes and cruelties but of such derelictions from self-respect as the appearance of a Roman nobleman on the arena or even the more harmless indulgence of a taste for driving, his scorn of luxury and of art as ministering to luxury, his mockery of the poetry and of the stale and dilettante culture of his time, and perhaps, too, his indifference to the schools of philosophy and his readiness to identify all the professors of stoicism with the reserved and close-cropped puritans,— '' Rarus sermo illis et multa libido tacendi Adque supercilio brevior coma," —

who concealed the worst vices under an outward appearance of austerity. The great fault of his character, as it appears in his writings, is that he too exclusively indulged this mood. It is much more difficult to find what he loved and admired than what he hated. But it is characteristic of his strong nature that, where he does betray any sign of human sympathy or tenderness, it is for those who by their weakness and position are dependent on others for their protection,-—as for " the peasant boy with the little dog, his playfellow," or, for " the home-sick lad from the Sabine highlands, who sighs for his mother whom he has not seen for a long time, and for the little hut and the familiar kids."

If Juvenal is to be ranked as a great moralist, it is not for his greatness and consistency as a thinker on moral questions. In the rhetorical exaggeration of the famous tenth satire, for instance, the highest energies of patriotism, —the gallant and desperate defence of great causes, by sword or speech,—are quoted as mere examples of dis-appointed ambition; and, in the indiscriminate condemna-tion of the arts by which men sought to gain a livelihood, he leaves no room for the legitimate pursuits of industry. His services to morals do not consist in any positive contri-butions to the notions of active duty, but in the strength with which he has realized and expressed the restraining influence of the old Boman and Italian ideal of character, and also of that religious conscience which was becoming a new power in the world. Though he disclaims any debt to philosophy (xiii. 121), yet he really owes more to the " Stoica dogmata," then prevalent, than he is aware of. But his highest and rarest literary quality is his power of painting characters, scenes, incidents, and actions, whether from past history or from contemporary life. In this power, which is also the great power of Tacitus, he has few equals and perhaps no superior among ancient writers. The difference between Tacitus and Juvenal in power of representation is that the prose historian is more of an imaginative poet, the satirist more of a realist and a grotesque humorist. He can paint great historical pictures in all their detail—as in the famous representation of the fall of Sejanus,—or call them up with all their imaginative associations in a line or two, as for instance in these— " Atque ideo postquam ad Cimbros stragemque voiabant Qui nunquam attigerant majora cadavera corvi;"

3 ii. 14 sq.

he can describe a character elaborately or hit it off with a single stroke; and in either case he fixes the impression which he desires to produce firmly in the mind. The picture drawn may be a caricature, or a misrepresentation of the fact,—as that of the father of Demosthenes, "blear-eyed with the soot of the glowing mass," &c,—but it is, with rare exceptions, realistically conceived, and, as is well said by Mr Lewis, it is brought before us with the vivid touches of a Defoe or a Swift. Still more happily the same editor has illustrated Juvenal's power as a realistic painter of scenes from contemporary life,—and of scenes which gene-rally combine grotesque and humorous features with serious meaning,—by comparing him with the great pictorial satirist of the last century, Hogarth.1 Yet even in this, his most characteristic talent, his proneness to exaggeration, the attraction which coarse and repulsive images have for his mind, and the tendency to sacrifice general effect to minuteness of detail not unfrequently mar his best effects.

The difficulty is often felt of distinguishing between a powerful rhetorician and a genuine poet,-—and there is no writer about whom it is more difficult to determine to which of the two classes he belongs than about Juvenal. He himself knew and has well described (vii. 53 sq.) the conditions under which a great poet could flourish; and he felt that his own age was incapable of producing one. He has little sense of beauty either in human life or nature. Whenever such sense is evoked it is only as a momentary relief to his prevailing sense of the hideous-ness of contemporary life, or in protest to what he regarded as the enervating influences of art. Even his references to the great poets of the past indicate rather a blase sense of indifference and weariness than a fresh enjoy-ment of them. Yet his power of touching the springs of tragic awe and horror is a genuine poetical gift, of the same kind as that which is displayed by some of the early English dramatists. But he is, on the whole, more essen-tially a great rhetorician than a great poet. His training, the practical bent of his understanding, his strong but morose character, the circumstances of his time, and the materials available for his art, all fitted him to rebuke his own age and all after times in the tones of a powerful preacher, rather than to charm them with the art of an accomplished poet. The composition of his various satires shows no negligence, but rather the excess of elaboration; but it produces the impression of mechanical contrivance rather than of organic growth. His movement is sustained and powerful, but there is no rise and fall in it. He seems to forget how much more telling indignation is when it is severely controlled, but allowed occasionally to break forth in blasting scorn and wrath, as it is in Tacitus, than when it shows itself as the habitual mood of the writer. The verse is most carefully constructed, and is also most effec-tive, but it is so with the rhetorical effectiveness of Lucan, not with the musical charm of Virgil. It was calculated to bring down the applause of an excited audience, not to perpetuate its melody through all succeeding times. So, too, the diction is full, even to excess, of meaning, point, and emphasis. Few writers have added so much to the currency of quotation. But his style altogether wants the charm of ease and simplicity. It wearies by the constant strain after effect, its mock-heroics, and allusive periphrasis. It excites distrust by its want of moderation. It makes us long to return to nature and to the apparently more careless but really truer art and the lighter touch of the satirist of the Augustan age—

" Parcentis viribus atque Extenuantis eas consulto."

Lewis, Introduction, p. 215.

On the whole no one of the ten or twelve really great writers whom ancient Bome produced leaves on the mind so mixed an impression, both as a writer and as a man, as Juvenal. He has little, if anything at all, of the high imaginative mood—the mood of reverence and noble admiration—which made Ennius, Lucretius, and Virgil the truest poetical representatives of the genius of Bome. He has nothing of the wide humanity of Cicero, of the urbanity of Horace, of the ease and grace of Catullus. Yet he represents another mood of ancient Bome, the mood natural to her before she was humanized by the lessons of Greek art and thought. If we could imagine the elder Cato living under Domitian, cut off from all share in public life, and finding no sphere for his combative and censorious energy except that of literature, we should perhaps under-stand the motives of Juvenal's satire and the place which is his due as a representative of the genius of his country. As a man he shows many of the strong qualities of the old Roman plebeian,—the aggressive boldness, the intolerance of superiority and privilege, which animated the tribunes in their opposition to the senatorian rule. Even where we least like him we find nothing small or mean to alienate our respect from him. Though he loses no opportunity of being coarse, he is not licentious; though he is often trucu-lent, he cannot be called malignant. It is, indeed, impos-sible to say what motives of personal chagrin, of love of detraction, of the mere literary passion for effective writing, may have contributed to the indignation which inspired his verse. But the prevailing impression we carry away after reading him is that, in all his early satires, he was animated by a sincere and manly detesta-tion of the tyranny and cruelty, the debauchery and luxury, the levity and effeminacy, the crimes and frauds, which we know from other sources were rife in Rome in the century in which Christianity made its first converts there, and that a more serene wisdom and a happier frame of mind were attained by him when old age had somewhat allayed the fierce rage which vexed his manhood.

It would be impossible to enumerate here the various editions and works forming the literature connected with Juvenal which have sprung up between the appearance of the editio princeps in 1470 and the present day. They occupy more than five pages of E. Hübner's Grundriss zu Vorlesungen über die Hämische Literatur-geschichte. Among the best critical editions of the text is that of 0. Jahn, and among those which may be most recommended to students are the editions of Heinrich, Macleane, Mayor, and Lewis. The last is accompanied by a literal prose translation. The verse translations of Dryden and Gifford, and Johnson's imitations of the third and tenth satires in the London and Vanity of Human Wishes, will convey to readers ignorant of Latin a good impression of the power of the original. There is no better criticism of Juvenal as a writer than that contributed by the late Professor Ramsay to Dr Smith's Dictionary of Ancient Biography and Mythology. (W.Y.S.)


Footnotes

2). Junii Juvenalis Satirae, with a literal English prose transla-tion and notes, by John Delaware Lewis, M.A.

For the possible connexion of Crispinus with Juvenal's banish-ment compare Mayor, vol. ii. p. 421

See especially xiii. 3-16.
s Comp. i. 145, "It nova nec tristis per cunctas tabula cenas"; xi. 3 sq. —
" Omnis convictus, thermae, stationes. omne theatrum Be Butilo."
This is especially noticeable in the seventh satire, but it applies also to the mention of Crispinus, Latimis, the class of delatores, &c, in the first, to the notice of Veiento in the third, of Rubellius Blan-dus in the eighth, of Gallicus in the thirteenth, &c.

Cf. Tacitus, Annals, xiii. 25.
Pliny's remarks on the vulgarity as well as the ostentation of his lost imply that he regarded such behaviour as exceptional, at least in the circle in which he himself lived (Ep., ii. 6),
See Mr Lewis's edition, p. 317.
Friedlander supposes that, as Juvenal has hitherto addressed Calvinus in the second person, the '' hie " refers to himself, and that in the words " Fonteio Consule natus " we have the date of the poet's own birth. But elsewhere we find the poet changing suddenly from the second to the third person when there can be no doubt that they both refer to the same individual, e.g. (v. 18)—
" Votorum summa! quid ultra Quaeris ? habet Trebius, propter quod," &c
x. 56-107.

1 Mr Swinburne.
Unde nefas tantum Latiis pastoribus ? (ii. 127).
'' Meliusne hie rusticus infans Cum matre et casulis et conlusore catello," &c.—ix. 6U
xi. 152, 153.

3 ii. 14 sq.

Lewis, Introduction, p. 215.




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