Juvenal


Biography of Juvenal

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet active in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD, author of the Satires. The details of the author's life are unclear, although references within his text to known persons of the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD fix his terminus post quem (earliest date of composition).

In accord with the manner of Lucilius—the originator of the genre of Roman satire—and within a poetic tradition that also included Horace and Persius, Juvenal wrote at least 16 poems in dactylic hexameter covering an encyclopedic range of topics across the Roman world. While the Satires are a vital source for the study of ancient Rome from a vast number of perspectives, their hyperbolic, comedic mode of expression makes the use of statements found within them as simple fact problematic. At first glance the Satires could be read as a critique of pagan Rome, perhaps ensuring their survival in Christian monastic scriptoria, a bottleneck in preservation when the large majority of ancient texts were lost.

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