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from him by his own unavailing attempts to secure further promotion in his military career.
RECONSTRUCTION OF JUVENAL'S LIFE Decimus Junius Juvenalis, the son of a well-to-do freedman, was born at Aquinum in 55 A.D. After passing through the ordinary grammar-school course (Sat. i. 15), probably at Rome, and also some brief rhetorical training (Sat. i. 16), he gained admission, perhaps through the influence of his father's patron, to the equestris militia, and served first as ordinary centurion, and then as primipilus, though where we do not know. In 81 A.D. he received his promotion to the command of an auxiliary cohort of Dalmatians, which was then engaged in Britain under Agricola in a war against the tribes of Scotland. On the recall of Agricola in 84 Juvenal returned too, possibly invalided, and instead of seeking for his next post, the tribunate of a legion, he settled in his native town, and passed successively through the offices of quaestor, aedile, and duovir quinquennalis, attaining the latter post in 87 A.D., and in the same year being appointed flamen divi Vespasiani. In the course of the next year or so, i.e. at the age of thirtythree or thirty-four, he went to live at Rome, very likely hoping to continue his military career by being appointed tribune of a legion. Meanwhile he resumed his interrupted rhetorical studies, though without any definite purpose of practising in the courts. At Rome he came across and contracted a friendship for the poet Martial, and together the two seem to have experienced the discomfort and snubs to which literary men, hoping for liberal patrons, and candidates for military or civil posts and senile reminiscence of his days of active service. The loss of the greater part of the last Satire is, to judge by the commencement, by no means a serious one. Soon after this, very likely in the first year of Antoninus Pius, Juvenal died at the age of eighty-two or eightythree. That during his exile he revised and added to his Satires we can hardly believe, unless he added those feeble lines which Jahn, with more regard for the poet's reputation than the poet himself possessed, has relegated to a bracketed existence.
JUVENAL'S INDICTMENT OF HIS TIMES
can accept the view usually taken of Juvenal as a stern moralist in an age of corruption unsparingly lashing the vices of his time, and impelled by the resistless force of a lofty indignation, it is necessary to subject the Satires to a certain amount of analysis to see what precisely were the features of his time which roused this indignation most, and whether the charges of vice, degradation, and corruption can fairly be sustained against Roman society in general.
One subject may be dismissed at the outset in a very few words. That there was in ancient society in general, and in Rome in particular, a great deal of the grosser forms of immorality is certain, and it cannot be said that Juvenal when he touches on this subject is guilty of exaggeration, except in so far as in the sixth Satire his arraignment of the female sex in general is far too sweeping. Whether society in the Roman capital was worse in these respects than our large modern cities is fortunately a question which need not here be discussed. In what follows the subject need not be again mentioned.
The first Satire is a sort of general indictment of the times : vice is at its zenith ; there never was a greater abundance of it; it is difficult not to write satires ; indignation compels at any rate the attempt. Let us see what in this general introduction strikes him most. First of all there is the frequency and length of recitations, no doubt a nuisance, and regarded so more or less even by good-natured dilettanti like Pliny, but still not without its uses, and hardly an object for moral indignation. Then we have rich and prosperous upstarts like the barber Cinnamus, the parvenu Crispinus, Matho the successful attorney, Regulus the arch-informer. On this it is sufficient to observe that bad as the system of delatio was, it was only an occasional evil at Rome, and under Trajan at any rate Juvenal's anger with it must have had an element of unreality. Then we get the dishonest guardian-at-law, the corrupt provincial governor, the horsey noble, the dandified forger, and the ladypoisoner. Of poisoning there was no doubt more in Rome than in modern times, but otherwise this is simply the ordinary criminal annals of any city; while with regard to provincial government, as we shall see in connection with Sat. viii., Juvenal is most unfair not only to Domitian and Trajan, but to the imperial system generally. Then after a reference to avarice and gambling we have no less than thirty lines devoted to the unfairness of the sportula and the ill-rewarded labours of clients. No doubt clients had much to complain of, but one can hardly help suspecting that both Martial and Juvenal are indignant on somewhat personal grounds. Then after a tirade, again somewhat lengthy, on the gluttony and selfishness of patrons, he exclaims,
in praecipiti vitium stetit," and the Satire closes with a
of satire writing, and a resolution to attack the dead.
The third Satire opens with the general accusation "artibus honestis nullus in urbe locus," an accusation which is considerably weakened by the examples immediately following of the sort of men who succeed at Rome, since they turn out to be simply upstarts, fortune's favourites, who have acted on Vespasian's maxim that money is money, however sordid the trade by which it is gained. A little farther on we get praising a bad book and promising the death of a father classed together as equally heinous offences. Then we have an indictment against the Greeks and Orientals who flock to Rome, and who supplant the Roman client. This, no doubt, was the cause of considerable moral corruption, but Juvenal does not work out the theme from this point of view; it is not abhorrence of Greek vice but jealousy of Greek success and versatility that moves his anger,
and the conclusion drawn after seventy lines devoted to the subject is simply “nusquam minor est iactura clientis.” The same point of view is maintained very much in what follows on the idolatry of wealth, and the ridicule levelled at the poor client, who is ousted from the equestrian seats to make room for rich but low-born upstarts. The Satire ends with complaints of the experiences of life at Rome, of the danger from fires, falling houses, crowded streets, drunken revellers, and footpads. On the whole it must be confessed that the third Satire, though fully justifying from its literary merits the reputation it has always enjoyed, is written in a somewhat light vein, and certainly does not give a very lurid picture of Roman corruption.
Still less do we find anything of the sort in Sat. iv., where it may be noticed that while Crispinus the adulterer is very briefly dismissed, Crispinus the extravagant parvenu excites great indignation. Then follows the story of the turbot which, if true, only proves that Domitian in his last years of suspicion and cruelty had more sense of humour than we should have given him credit for.
Sat. V., again, is written entirely from the point of view of the client, and no doubt fairly represents the treatment to which they were often exposed; but at the same time all patrons were certainly not like Virro. Pliny expressly disapproves of invidious distinction made by a host between the various guests at his table, and there is no doubt that Pliny represented in this respect a class, possibly a less numerous one than Virro, of generous patrons both to literary men and other clients. Pliny's letters show many instances of kindly feeling for this class of dependents : e.g. he sends one of his freedmen to Egypt for his health, another to the Riviera, while numerous inscriptions raised by patrons to their freedmen, or by freedmen to their patrons, show that feelings of mutual kindness and affection were far from uncommon.
So, too, with regard to the terrible and scathing indictment against women in Sat. vi. Juvenal takes exclusively the dark side; he picks out conspicuous instances of female depravity, and leads his readers to suppose that these are representatives of the sex.
We have every reason to believe that this was not the case. We have numerous instances of fidelity and heroism in women of the upper classes in Tacitus and Pliny. So