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date: 27 October 2020

Juvenallocked

  • Susanna Braund

Extract

Juvenal (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis), Roman satirist. Known primarily for the angry tone of his early Satires, although in later poems he developed an ironical and detached superiority as his satiric strategy. The highly rhetorical nature of the Satires has long been recognized but only recently has the allied concept of the ‘mask’ (persona) been deployed (primarily by Anderson, see bibliog. below) to facilitate assessment of the Satires as self-conscious poetic constructs, rather than the reflections of the realities of Roman social life for which they have often been read. This approach is reinforced by rejection of the biographical interpretation, in which Juvenal's ‘life’ was reconstructed from details in the Satires. In fact, virtually nothing is known of his life: he is the addressee of three epigrams of *Martial (themselves highly sophisticated literary constructions) which indicate his skill in oratory. The absence of dedication to a patron in Juvenal's Satires may suggest that he was a member of the élite.

Subjects

  • Classical Literature

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