« PreviousContinue »
very great obligation to my friend and colleague, Professor Kirby Flower Smith, not only for the chapter on Metre, which is entirely his, but also for almost daily help and counsel for years; and to the editors of this series, especially to Professor Gildersleeve, who has read the proof sheets and added value to both Introduction and Commentary by many a helpful suggestion.
HARRY LANGFORD WILSON.
The Johns HOPKINS UNIVERSITY,
BALTIMORE, May 15. 1903.
The Development of Roman Satire
1. Origin. The generally accepted derivation of satura is the adjective satur, whose origin and cognates are entirely in doubt. The primary meaning of the word is ‘sated,' with reference especially to food, and occasionally even to drink, but its use as the designation of a literary type may perhaps be explained by means of the expressions per saturam, lanx satura, and lex satura.' In these phrases, with the idea of fulness there was developed the further notion of mixture or variety; for per saturam means 'confusedly,' without orderly arrangement,' lanx satura is a dish filled with various ingredients, and lex satura a law embodying a number of different provisions. The most prominent idea,
“ then, in this early use of the word satura is that of a medley or mixture, and this seems to have been in the mind of Juvenal when he spoke of his own work as a hotch-potch.' How satura came to have its literary application cannot be definitely ascertained ; but it does not seem unnatural that a word which described a mixture of different kinds of food should be transferred to signify a literary medley—that is to
1 For attempts at derivation, both ancient and modern, see A. Funck, 'Satur' und die davon abgeleiteten Wörter, in A.L.L. V, pp. 33-48 ; Lindsay, Lat. Lang., p. 558, and Brugmann, Vergl. Gram., 12, p. 173. Satur should be regarded as the earliest form attested in Latin, notwithstanding the Leyden gloss pinguis : saturus (Loewe, Prod., p. 410). Other occurrences of saturus are given by Georges, Lex. d. lat. Wortf.
2 Satur = cibo plenus in Plaut. Capt. 812, Ter. Ad. 765, Catull. 32, 10, etc.; ebrius in Plaut. Curc. 362, Petron. fr. xxix, 5, Mart. III, 58, 41, and Augustin. Conf. vi, 6, 9.
3 For a discussion of these expressions and a collection of examples, see A. Funck, 1. l. pp. 37 f.
• Cf. Paulus (p. 459 Thew.) satura et cibi genus dicitur ex variis rebus conditum, et lex multis aliis conferta legibus.
o 1, 85 f. quidquid agunt homines ... nostri farrago libelli est.
say, a work dealing with a variety of subjects in different metres or even in prose.'
2. Roman claim to originality. Every other class of Latin poetry is known by a Greek title; satire alone has a naine distinctly Roman, and is based on no corresponding Greek type. For this reason the claim to originality set up by Horace and Quintilian must, with some modification, be regarded as valid. When we say that satire is a genuine creation of the Roman genius, we do not mean that there are no satiric elements in Greek; for, from the beginning, Greek literature abounds in such elements. Nor do we mean to say that satire, unlike all other Latin poetry, was not largely influenced by Greek thought and Greek methods of expression ; on the contrary, such influence was widespread, and was acknowledged by the Romans themselves.' But the Romans first recognized satire as a distinct literary type, saw its possibilities, and gave it development, and in this sense they were the creators of a new department.
3. Early satura. Ennius. Varro. The earliest form in which the satura existed at Rome cannot with certainty be determined. According to Livyo the term was used to indicate a dramatic performance of varied character, in which the old Italian verses of banter and ridicule, the socalled versus Fescennini, were combined with the dancing, music, and stage action learned from Etruscan actors brought to Rome in 364 B.c. Whether this be true or not,
1 The author is thus regarded as a purveyor ; the use of satura with lex also shows a metaphor of exactly the same sort. Compare our use of the word 'miscellany.'
2 Hor. Sat. 1, 10, 66 Graecis intacti carminis ; Quintil. x, 1, 93 satura quidem tota nostra est. 3 Th. Birt, Zwei politische Satiren des alten Rom, Marburg, 1888, pp. 10 ff.
VII, 2, 4 ff. 5 The correctness of Livy's account has in recent years been called in question by F. Leo, Varro und die Satire, in Hermes, xxiv, 1889, pp. 67-84, and by G. L. Hendrickson, The Dramatic Satura and the Old Comedy at Rome, in Am. Jour. Phil., xv, 1894, pp. 1-30 ; cf. ib. xix, 1898, pp. 285-311. The former sees in Livy the unwarranted assumption of an early Roman parallel to the Greek satyr drama; the latter regards the passage as a pure invention based on the history of the old Attic comedy. Neither seems to have
the first saturae of which we have any knowledge, those of Q. Ennius (239–169 B.C.), are simply a collection of poems, in various metres, treating of various subjects. The same literary form was adopted by M. Terentius Varro of Reate (116–28 B.C.), in his Saturae Menippeae, which, though modelled to some extent after Menippus, yet in their general character differ little from the saturae of Ennius. 4. Lucilius and his successors.
To C. Lucilius (180103 B.C.), on the other hand, is ascribed the introduction of the element of personal criticism and invective, an element which is characteristic in varying degrees of the satiric writing of Horace, Petronius, Seneca, Persius, and Juvenal, and is an essential feature of satire in modern literature. At the same time, the conception of the satura as a medley seems never to have faded out of the Roman mind; for everywhere a wide range of subjects is admitted, and in Lucilius, Varro, and Petronius various metres are employed, though Persius and Juvenal, following the example of Horace, excluded all but the dactylic hexameter. The variety of subject, the personal element, the dramatic situation and occasional dialogue, the criticism of men and manners, and the colloquial style—the leading characteristics of the department-are all prominent in Juvenal, who must now be considered in more detail.'
Life of Juvenal
5. Sources. It is a remarkable fact that in the case of many a celebrated writer we are left almost entirely without reliable biographical detail. This is true of Juvenal, not, however, from any lack of evidence bearing on the subject, but because of the very uncertain character of most of the sources on which we must ultimately depend. These sources may be considered in the following order : Ancient biographies, an inscription from Aquinum, references in Martial, and the satires themselves.
proved his point. For a brief defence of the traditional view, see H. M. Hopkins, Dra. matic Satura in Relation to Book Satura and the Fabula Togata, in Proc. Am. Phil. Assoc., XXXi, 1900, pp. l-li.
1 Instead of giving a fuller treatment of the history of Roman satire, it seems suffcient for present purposes to refer the student to the excellent article on Satira contributed by E. M. Pease to Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, New York, 1897. H. Nettleship's essay, The Original Form of the Roman Satura, in Lectures and Essays, 11, pp. 24-43, will also be found interesting. For a brief review of the whole field, see B. L. Gildersleeve's article on 'Satire' in Johnson's Universal Cyclopaedia.
6. Ancient biographies. The vitae found in the Mss. of Juvenal are as numerous as they are untrustworthy.' They give no dates for the poet's birth and death; they appear to be based to a considerable extent on doubtful interpretations of passages in the satires, and they are not free from manifest absurdities. In spite of many variations and discrepancies, all these biographies go back to one ancient source’; nearest to that source is the following vita, which in style and subject matter is superior to the rest, and seems itself to be the authority for most of the statements found in the others.
Vita D. IvnII IVVENALIS. — Iunius Iuvenalis, libertini locupletis incertum est filius an alumnus, ad mediam fere aetatem declamavit animi magis causa quam quod se scholae aut foro praepararet. deinde paucorum versuum satura non absurde conposita in Paridem pantomimum poetamque eius semenstribus militiolis tumentem genus scripturae industriose excoluit. et tamen diu ne modico quidem auditorio quicquam committere est ausus. mox magna frequentia magnoque successu bis ac ter auditus est, ut ea quoque quae prima fecerat inferciret novis scriptis [7, 90] :
quod non dant proceres, dabit histrio. tu Camerinos
erat tum in deliciis aulae histrio multique fautorum eius cottidie provehebantur. venit ergo Iuvenalis in suspicionem, quasi tempora figurate
1 Twelve are edited by J. Dürr, Das Leben Juvenals, Ulm, 1888, pp. 22-5. Seven of these are found also in the edition of Jahn, 1851.
? Dürr, l. 1. p. 5. 3 F. Buecheler, edition of 1893, p. 234.