Juvenal’s Satires

Juvenal (55–140), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Juvenal’s Satires are a series of 16 Latin poems from the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD, adhering to the ‘satura’, a structured Roman poetic form for social critique. His work, in five books, employs dactylic hexameter to address societal norms and ethics. Noted for their ironic to outraged tone, the satires examine morality more than the specifics of Roman life, avoiding the explicitness found in Martial or Catullus. Juvenal’s texts, rich with historical and mythological allusions, suggest his audience was the well-educated Roman elite, particularly conservative men. His narrative warns of societal degradation due to foreigners and moral decay within the upper classes. The dating of his books is debated, but Book 5 is post-127 AD, with some arguments placing Book 1 around 100 AD. Juvenal’s contemporaries included Martial, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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