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JUVENALIS
Form: Decimus Iunius.
The great Roman Satirist, born at Aquinum, a town of the Volscians, about 47 A.D. According to the accounts of his life which have come down to us, he was the son, either real or adopted, of a wealthy freedman, and spent the first half of his life in Rome engaged in declamatory exercises, more for pleasure than as a preparation for the Forum or the schools. He continued there until he became a knight. In an inscription of the time of Domitian he is named as duumvir and as a flamen of Vespasian in his native town, and also as tribune of the first Dalmatian cohort. The command of a cohort is also specified in the accounts already mentioned. According to these he was sent into banishment under the pretence of military distinction, because in a satirical composition he had taken the liberty of denouncing the political influence of a favourite comedian of the emperor. As to the place and date of his banishment, the accounts vary between Britain and Egypt; and also between the last years of Domitian (against which theory there are weighty objections) and the reigns of either Trajan or Hadrian. In any case he died after 127 A.D., according to one account, in the eighty-second year of his life, or about 130, the cause being grief at his exile. By others he is made to return to Rome before his death. We possess sixteen satires by him, which the grammarians have divided into five books. In these he delineates with moral indignation and with pitiless scorn the universal corruption of society, particularly in the times of Domitian, painting its vices in all their nakedness and ugliness with the most glaring colours. His composition is often concise to the verge of obscurity, and by its strong rhetorical colouring betrays his earlier studies. In his own day, and afterwards, his satires enjoyed great popularity, and were hold in high repute even in the Middle Ages. Owing to his obscurity he early attracted the attention of learned men of old, and we still possess the remains of their industry in a collection of Scholia. [About the life of the poet nothing certain can be really ascertained except from the hints given in his own writings. The biographies which have come down to us must be used with extreme caution: and it is not at all certain that tie inscription mentioned above refers to him at all.]
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