Page images



A CLEAR account of Juvenal's life is one of the literary problems which probably can never be satisfactorily solved. At first sight, indeed, the task might seem anything but hopeless, because the materials at hand are to all appearance abundant, but a closer examination shows the evidence to be so conflicting and so uncertain that whatever reconstruction and combination we may arrive at of the data to be considered, the result must be allowed to contain a large hypothetical element. The evidence which we have to examine may be divided into four heads—(1) a number of Lives of Juvenal, all of them of uncertain age and authorship, which are found prefixed or appended to the various MSS. of the Satires ; (2) numerous scattered references in the Satires themselves, some more definite, some less, throwing light either on the facts of Juvenal's life, or on the dates at which the Satires were composed ; (3) references in other writers, such as Martial, Sidonius Apollinaris, Joannes Malalas ; and (4) a dedicatory inscription found at Aquinum. Not the least important pieces of evidence for their intrinsic value, and by far preponderating over all the rest in quantity, are the Lives, which it has perhaps been the fashion with most editors unduly to depreciate. Of these no fewer than thirteen distinct versions are found in the numerous MSS. of the Satires. As a rule each MS. has only one of these, but in some few cases, and especially in the later MSS., several of them are inserted, one after the other, either in the same or in different hands. Although no two of these Lives are exactly the same, it is possible to reduce the thirteen to five groups, the different members of each being closely akin to one another, and differing more or less widely from the other groups. As there is no English edition of Juvenal which contains these Lives, and as the value of

any inferences drawn from them can be better tested by actual comparison of the various statements in their context, I do not think it waste of space to give in full a type of each group. In order as far as possible to give an idea of the variation within the groups themselves, I insert the chief variations from what seems to be the original version of each group in brackets. As the Lives have hitherto been best known from Jahn's edition of 1851, who, however, only gives seven of them, I have arranged the groups in such a way that Jahn's order may not be interfered with.

GROUP I. consists of two Lives (Jahn i. and ii.), differing very slightly from one another, though the second is a somewhat amplified version. The first of these, being given in Valla’s edition, and therefore presumably from Valla's lost MS. (see below, p. lviii.), and also in P., though in a later hand than the Scholia, as well as in a London MS. of the ninth century (Cod. Brit. Mus. add. 15,600), is probably the oldest of the

i See Dürr, Das Leben Juvenals, p, 3 foll., Ulm, 1888.

[ocr errors]



Lives, an inference which has also been drawn from its purer Latinity.

Iunius Iuvenalis, libertini locupletis incertum filius an alumnus [ex Aquino Volscorum oppido oriundus temporibus Claudii Neronis] ad mediam fere aetatem declamavit animi magis causa quam quod scholae se aut foro praepararet. [Deinde ad poeticen se applicavit, et postquam diu tacuit, uberiori vitiorum iam gliscente contagione ab indignatione incepit : "Semper ego auditor tantum.”] Dehinc paucorum versuum satyra non absurde composita in Paridem [Domitiani] pantomimum [et aulae histrionem] semestribus militiolis tumentem poetamque [P. Statium] hoc genus scripturae industrie excoluit et tamen bene diu ne modico quidem auditorio quicquam committere est ausus, mox magna frequentia tantoque successu bis aut ter auditus est, ut ea quoque quae prima fecerat inferciret novis scriptis : “quod non dant proceres, dabit histrio; tu Camerinos et Bareas, tu nobilium magna atria curas ? Praefectos Pelopea facit, Philomela tribunos.” Erat tunc in deliciis aulae [histrio] multique fautorum eius quotidie provehebantur. Venit ergo Iuvenalis in suspicionem quasi tempora [praesentia] figura notasset, ac statim per honorem militiae quamquam octogenarius urbe summotus est, missusque ad praefecturam cohortis in extrema Aegypti parte tendentis. Id supplicii genus placuit ut levi atque ioculari delicto par esset. Verum intra brevissimum tempus angore ac taedio periit.

GROUP II. contains four Lives (among them Jahn iii.)

Iuvenalis iste Aquinates fuit, id est de Aquino oppido temporibus Neronis Claudii imperatoris. Prima aetate siluit, ad mediam fere aetatem declamavit, unde

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »