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Hadrian succeeded Trajan in A.D. 117, and there is an allusion to the silence of the oracle of Delphi in vi. 555, which makes it appear that the Satíre was written before the reign of Hadrian, or at its commencement, for he restored that oracle which Nero had stopped. This probably took place during Hadrian's residence at Athens, A.D. 123—126.
It is not certain in what years of his reign Hadrian erected the magnificent palace near Tibur, of which the ruins still exist ; probably not before A.D. 134. But it is certain it was not built when Juvenal wrote his fourteenth Satire, or he would have referred to it among the buildings he names vv. 86–91.
But the seventh Satire, which has been the subject of so much dispute, appears to me to bear the strongest internal evidence of having been written in Hadrian's reign. He was an author himself, and the patron of authors, and Juvenal could not have said this of any of the other emperors that preceded him without egregious flattery, of which he was incapable. The statement of the Scholiast that in that Satire “Neronem palpat " is not worthy of notice,
The fifteenth Satire turns upon an event said to have happened “ nuper Consule Junio" (v. 27)? It may not be possible to say with certainty which consul Junius he refers to. But my own opinion, and that of many others, is, that it was Junius Rusticus who was consul in
19, the second year of Hadrian's reign. I cannot doubt that in this Satire Juvenal refers to his own experience of Egypt during a residence there in former years. Heinrich's pupil, Francke, has taken great pains to show that Juvenal had never been in Egypt. But he is obliged to get rid of so many verses as spurious which I believe to be as genuine as any in the Satire, that his arguments are of no value in my opinion. It is possible Juvenal may have been in Egypt before A.D. 84, when the only other Junius, Appius Junius Sabinus, was consul, that being the third year of Domitian's reign. In that case the whole story of his exile by Domitian becom a fable, as the details of it manifestly are, unless it be said that the Satire was written in Egypt, or, if written at Rome, that the poet had been recalled by the emperor who sent him
7 Jahn and C. F. Hermann, in their editions, have adopted the variant Junco for Junio, from Pithoeus' MS. Hermann, in his Dissertation on the seventh Satire (Göttingen, 1843), takes Junius Rusticus for the consul, but in the preface to his edition (1854) he argues for Juncus, who, he says, was Consul Suffectus A.D. 127. I adhere to Junius; but Hermann's date, which is eight years later, would not materially affect the view I take of the poet's career. Juncus does not appear in the Fasti till A.D. 182, and Hermann, in his Dissertation, doubts the existence of an earlier Juncus : “Siquidem Juncum consulem, si quis unquam fuit, non novimus ante a. 127 p. Chr. quo suffectos certe S. Julium Juncum, Man. Vibium Servium nuper demum Clem. Cardinalis in Actis Acad. Rom. Archaeol. 1835, T. vi. p. 240 probare conatus est.” (Disput. p. 5, n.)
away, for it was written shortly after the consulship of Junius, and therefore, if Sabinus be the man, in the middle or towards the beginning of Domitian's reign. But it will be shown below that the banishment could not have happened till late in Domitian's reign, and I believe Hadrian's consul, Junius Rusticus, is meant, and that the Satire was written early in Hadrian's reign, that is about A.D. 121, or two years, after the consulship of Junius 8.
In Sat. xiii, 17 he speaks of Calvinus, the friend he addresses, as then sixty years old, and born in the consulship of Fonteius. I think it almost certain that the consul referred to is L. Fonteius Capito, cos. A.D. 59, and that therefore the Satire was written towards the beginning of Hadrian's reign, and not earlier than A.D. 119.
The earlier date to which Lipsius and others refer it, as stated in my note (xiii. 17), is forty-seven years before the reign of Hadrian. Either, therefore, Juvenal did not write at all in that reign, or this Satire was written while Hadrian was emperor, about A.D. 119. Otherwise Juvenal's Satires must range over a period of fifty years or thereabouts, and one of the very best must have been nearly the earliest. Those who are of opinion that the allusion to Meroe in v. 163 of this Satire, resulted from personal observation, must be prepared to admit the later date, or to suppose that the banishment of Juvenal to Egypt by Domitian is altogether fabulous, and that his visit to that country must have been early in the reign of Vespasian, if not before it, since the Satire, according to the other hypothesis, must have been written about the fourth year of that reign, and nine years before Domitian became emperor.
Thus the sixth, seventh, thirteenth, and fifteenth Satires have internal evidences by which they may be referred to the reign of Hadrian, and of these the three last, I have no doubt, were written under that emperor.
But if we take A.D. 120 as the latest date of which there is evidence, how far back may we go to determine the author's age ?
It is nearly certain that the first Satire was written in Trajan's reign, not long after the banishment of Marius Priscus, A.D. 100.
The reference to war on the Euphrates in the eighth Satire (v. 51) makes it probable that the poem was written during the Armenian and Parthian wars (A.D. 114-116), in the course of which (A.D. 115)
* Ruperti, I think, is right in saying “Satira xv. hoc forte anno scripta (121) non superiore, nam si tam recens factum esset quod in ea narrat, poeta opinor v. 27 simpliciter dixisset ‘nuper,' neque adjecisset · Consule Junio?” (Vita Juy. per annos digesta, vol. i. p. xxx). This commentator thinks that Juvenal, now in his eighty-first year, was suspected of having written Satire vii. against Hadrian, and was banished by him. Poor old man !
Armenia was finally subdued by Trajan. In v. 120 the same Marius is referred to as havingnuper' stripped the Africans. But' nuper' is used with much latitude, and the name of Marius was long held in remembrance as the great spoiler of provinces, having been made more notorious through the celebrity of Tacitus the historian and Pliny the younger, who were employed to prosecute him, just as the speeches of Burke and Sheridan against Warren Hastings have perpetuated and spread the ill-fame of his Indian government.
It is certain that the fourth Satire was written after the death of Domitian, A.D. 96, since his death is expressly mentioned in the last two
This Satire therefore may be assigned to the reign of Nerva from September, A.D. 96, to January, A.D. 98, or very early in his successor Trajan's reign. The subject would only amuse soon after the tyrant's death.
The twelfth Satire, which refers to Trajan's basin in the Portus Augusti (v. 75, &c.), must have been written in his reign or after it. This argument assumes what there is no good reason to doubt, that the Scholiast is right in attributing this work to Trajan'.
According to these calculations eight out of the sixteen Satires were written after the death of Domitian. The sixteenth is a fragment, and it may be admitted that, if not the last written, it was not begun very long before the last, whichever that may have been. Thus more than half the extant Satires were written, as I suppose, between A.D. 96 and A.D. 120, or some of them possibly a little later, a period of at least twenty-four years.
If any credit is due to the statement of the Grammarians, in which they all agree, that Juvenal did not begin to write in this style till he was near middle life, we may suppose that none of the Satires were written much before the death of Domitian. We cannot tell how long the vigorous spirit that appears in all these poems may last, and show itself in compositions of this sort. It is no argument to say that Horace soon got tired of Satire. His mind and circumstances were very different from Juvenal's. But twenty-four years after the period of middle life carries a man on to an age when, under almost any circumstances, the mind loses its freshness and seeks rest, at least from the excitement of such compositions ; and I think Juvenal could not have been more than forty, and probably not so much, when Domitian died. This may be affirmed whether the Grammarians have stated the truth on the above point or not, if my calculations are not altogether wrong. This
9 Cramer (Italy, ii. 14) thinks the Scholiast has confounded this work with the har. bour of Ceutumcellae (Cività Vecchia), which was constructed by Trajan ; but Sir W. Gell (Rome and its Vicinity, ii. 175, sqq.) and other scholars entertain no doubt of this basin too being Trajan's.
would put his birth, at the earliest, in the third year of Nero, A.D. 56, and I am inclined to think that this is not far from the date. [Ribbeck has come to the same conclusion, Juvenalis Sat. Praefatio.] That he was familiar with the iniquities of Nero does not certainly prove that he lived in his reign, and according to the above supposition he was not more than twelve when Nero died, perhaps less. Of Domitian he writes with a contempt and loathing which seem to be the fruit of a personal acquaintance with his times, and a memory full of disdain. That he was of full age in Domitian's reign is certain, since he had formed an intimate friendship with Martial before the seventh book of his Epigrams was published. That book was written A.D. 93, and contains two epigrams, one alluding, and the other addressed, to Juvenal, in terms of affectionate familiarity. This alone would be sufficient proof that Juvenal was not exiled by Domitian, at any rate till after the above year, which was ten years after the death of Paris, and not three years before Domitian's. In Martial's twelfth book there is an epigram (18) addressed to Juvenal at Rome, Martial being at his native place, Bibilis in Spain. This epigram was written between the years A.D. 100 and 104, not long after the accession of Trajan, and it supposes Juvenal to be wandering restlessly about the town and tiring himself with attendance on great people. If, therefore, any banishment took place in Domitian's time, the cause could not have been that assigned by the Grammarians, and it must have been of short duration.
Adopting then such data as appear to have any probability in them, the following may be laid down as a sketch of Juvenal's life, without pretending to accuracy, for which there are no materials.
His name was Decius Junius Juvenalis.
He was born possibly at Aquinum, in Latium, about the beginning of Nero's reign, that is soon after A.D. 54, of respectable parents, his father being a rich libertinus, and he himself therefore ingenuus. He received the usual education of a Roman boy and youth, as he says (S. i. 15):
“ Et nos ergo manum ferulae subduximus, et nos
Dormiret." He took the 'toga virilis' about the beginning of Vespasian's reign, A.D. 70, and having, as he says above, learnt rhetoric in the schools, he continued to practise it as a man, not professionally, but for his own amusement, through the reign of Vespasian and the greater part of Domitian's, that is, till the year A.D. 94, in which year or the next he by some means offended Domitian, and was sent by him into Egypt with a military command, such as civilians often received during the Empire. In A.D. 96 Domitian was killed and Nerva succeeded him. Then, or soon afterwards, Juvenal was allowed to give up his command and return to Rome, being at the time of his return about forty years of age. Martial's epigram proves that he was not altogether independent or comfortable about this time. Nerva reigned less than two years, and Trajan succeeded to the empire A.D. 98, and in the early part of his reign, soon after A.D. 100, Juvenal first published a volume of Satires (of which the first in our collection was one), having already recited them to large audiences. It is not unlikely that some of these, or parts of them, had been composed in the reign of Domitian', or even earlier, but that the poet had not ventured to make them public. He continued to write freely during Trajan's reign, which ended A.D. 117, when Juvenal was about sixty, and during the early years of Hadrian's reign, that is, till about A.D. 120. During this reign he may have lived in comfort through the liberality of the emperor, though his household was on a frugal scale, as he tells us in Sat. xi., from which (v. 65) we learn that he had property at Tibur. It is not impossible he may have lived till the accession of Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian A.D. 138, when Juvenal was, according to this sketch, eighty or a little more.
Thus the statements of the Grammarians in respect to the poet's age, and of that writer who says he died of old age in the time of Antoninus Pius, would be borne out. I have also allowed the fact of an honourable banishment into Egypt, though not the cause assigned by the Grammarians, which is impossible. That Juvenal did not professedly compose satire till late in life, is admitted and accounted for. Likewise that he may have written verses before he ventured to publish them, and that some of these were afterwards incorporated with his Satires, is allowed. It is also admitted that he attended the usual schools in early life, and practised rhetoric till middle age. Beyond these facts the Grammarians I believe have been misled, probably by mistaken inferences drawn from allusions in the Satires themselves, a fertile source of error and of pretended learning on the part of the Scholiasts on all the ancient authors.
The fact of the banishment, though allowed as not being chronologically impossible, I nevertheless think is an error, but an early one, as is proved by a verse quoted from Sidonius Apollinaris, who believed the whole story, including Paris’ share in it. He wrote about the middle of the fifth century, and says (Carm. ix. 270, sqq.):
“Non qui tempore Caesaris secundi
1 See Introduction to S. ii.