|Who is it?||Poet|
|Birth Place||Aquino, Italy, Italian|
|Died On||second century AD|
Juvenal claims as his purview, the entire gamut of human experience since the dawn of history. Quintilian – in the context of a discussion of literary genres appropriate for an oratorical education - claimed that, unlike so many literary and artistic forms adopted from Greek Models, “satire at least is all ours” (satura quidem tota nostra est). At least in the view of Quintillian, earlier Greek satiric verse (e.g. that of Hipponax) or even Latin satiric prose (e.g. that of Petronius) did not constitute satura, per se. Roman Satura was a formal literary genre rather than being simply clever, humorous critique in no particular format.
Juvenal wrote at least 16 poems in the verse form dactylic hexameter. These poems cover a range of Roman topics. This follows Lucilius—the originator of the Roman satire genre, and it fits within a poetic tradition that also includes Horace and Persius. The Satires are a vital source for the study of ancient Rome from a number of perspectives, although their comic mode of expression makes it problematic to accept the content as strictly factual. At first glance the Satires could be read as a critique of pagan Rome. That critique may have ensured their survival in the Christian monastic scriptoria although the majority of ancient texts did not survive.
In any case it would be an error to read the Satires as a literal account of normal Roman life and thought in the late first and early second centuries AD, just as it would be an error to give credence to every slander recorded in Tacitus or Suetonius against the members of prior imperial dynasties. Themes similar to those of the Satires are present in authors spanning the period of the late Roman Republic and early empire ranging from Cicero and Catullus to Martial and Tacitus; similarly, the stylistics of Juvenal’s text fall within the range of post-Augustan literature, as represented by Persius, Statius, and Petronius.