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This Satire is supposed to have been written by Juvenal while he
commanded in Ægypt, (see sat. xv. l. 45, note 2.); he sets forth, ironically, the advantages and privileges of the soldiery, and how
happy they are beyond others whom he mentions. Many have thought that this Satire was not written by Juvenal;
but I think that the weight of evidence seems against that opi.
L UIS numerare queat felicis præmia, Galle, 100
Commoda tractemus primum communia, quorum
Line 1. Gallus.] Who this was does not appear; some friend, doubtless, of Juvenal, to whom he addresses this Satire.
Can number, &c.] i. e. Can reckon up the advantages and emoluments arising from a military life?
2. Now since.] The subject of the Satire is proposed, l. 1, though not entered upon till l. 7. The intermediate lines, beginning at Nam- si, &c. I. 2, to the end of 1. 6, are digressional, and humour. ously introduce the poet, now eighty years old, and forced into the service as a punishment, wishing to enter into the army with a lucky planet, as a soldier of fortune: the cheerfulness with which he seems to bear his misfortune, must have afforded no small disappointment to his enemies.--I have rendered the Nam si, as marking the transition to the poet's wish for himself. See Ainsw. Nam, No. 5, 6; and Si, No. 2.
- Prosperous camps, &c.] Where people make their fortunes.
3. Let the door.] Let my first entrance be attended with the good omen of some favourable star. It was a great notion among the Romans, that their good or ill fortune depended on the situation of the stars, at certain times, and on certain occasions. Sat. vii. I. 194, note.
- A fearful beginner.] Tyro significs a fresh-water soldier, a young beginner, a novice ; these are usually fearful at first, being unused to the fatigues and hazards of war.
ARGUMENT. nion, and that there are many passages so exactly in the style of Juvenal, as to afford the strongest, internal evidence that it was written by him. It may be granted not to be a finished piece, like the rest; but if we only regard it as a draught or design of a larger work, it is a valuable hint on the of pression and inconveniences of a military government.
V HO, O Gallus, can number the advantages of the happy Soldiery? now since prosperous camps may be gone into, Let the door receive me, a fearful beginner, with a favourable Star: for an hour of kind fate avails more, Than if an epistle of Venus were to commend us to Mars, And the mother who delights in the Samian sand.
Let us first treat common advantages; of which that will
It is to be remembered, that Juvenal, who had passed his life in the study of letters, and in writing, was sent away from Rome into Ægypt, under pretence of giving him a military command, but indeed to exile him, for having satirized Paris the player, a minion of Domitian. See sat. vii. 1. 92, note. This was in a very advanced stage of our poet's life ; therefore, though an old man, he might properly call himself a young soldier, unskilled and fearful.
4. An hour of kind fate, &c.] One lucky hour under the influ. ence of some friendly planet. See Hor. lib. ii. ode xvii. l. 17, et seq.
5. Epistle of Venus, &c.] Than if Venus, the mistress of the god of war, were to write hiin a recommendatory letter in my fa. vour, and this to be seconded by another from his mother Juno, here meant by genitrix. The poet, in this place, is again sneering at the mythology of his country. Comp. sat. xiii. 1. 40–7.
6. Delights in the Samian sand.] Juno was worshipped at Samos, a sandy island in the Icarian sea, where she was educated and married to Jupiter,; she was said to have a great delight in this island. See Æn. i. I. 19, 20.
7. Let us first treat common advantages.] The poet now enters on his subject ; and begins, first, with those privileges of the military, which are common to all of them, from the highest to the lowest.
Haud minimum illud erit, ne te pulsare Togatus
8. A Gownsman.] Any common Roman, called togatus from wearing a gown; as a soldier is called armatus, from wearing arms 1. 34, post.
9. May not dare.] No common man dare strike you if you are a soldier.
Tho'he.] Though he should be ever so beaten by you. - Let him dissemble. I Let him conceal it ; let him counter. feit, and pretend, that he came by the marks, which the soldier's blows have left, some other way.
10. Nor daie to shew, &c] Though the soldier has knocked the man's teeth out of his head, yet let not the man dare to complain to the superior officer, or shew his mangled mouth, is i
--- Prelor.] The prætor militaris was the general, or commander in chief. See Ainsw. Prætor. .
11. Black Bump, &c.] His face beat black and blue, as we say, and full of lumps and swellings.
12. And eyes left, &c.] His eyes left in such a condition, as to make it impossible for the Surgeon to promise a recovery of them.
13. A Bardiac Judge:] Bardiacus, or Bardaicus, a military judge, something like our judge advocate in the army, who had the sole cog, nizance of all military causes, and of such as arose within the camp: so called from bardi, an ancient people of Gaul, who wore a particular sort of dress, that was adopted by the Romans, and used by the military. This judge, being of the army, wore this dress, and therefore is called Bardiacus, which signisies, of the country of Gaul, or dressed like Gauls. Ainsw..
- Willing to punish, &c.] If a man will venture to complain, he will be referred to the tribunal of the military judge.
14. A shoe, &c. Calceus signifies any shoe, but probably means here a particular shoe worn by soldiers, which, like those of our rustics was filled with nails at the bottom. See sat. iii. 247, 8, note. ,
--- Large buskins.] These seem to have been the upper parts of the caligæ, as the lower were the calcei, or shoes; for the caliga, being a sort of harness for the foot and leg, the lower part, or cal.
Hardly be the least, that a gownsman to strike you
ceus, covered the foot, the upper part, or sura, reached up to the calf of the leg: they were like our half boots, and in the front had the figure of a lion, or some fierce beast,
; 14. At the great Benches.] The benches on which the superior magistrates sat were called tribunalia, those on which the lower magistrates sat were called subsellia ; so that the epithet magna, here, is probably ironical.
The poet means, that the complainant is referred to a military judge, who takes his seat on the bench in his military habit. .
· 15. Laws of Camps.] These complaints were not tried by the ci vil laws and institutions, but by the old military laws.
- The custom of Camillus.] L. Furius Camillus, during the ten years siege of Veii, a city of Tuscany, famous for the slaughter of the Fabii there, made a law, that no soldier should be impleaded without the camp, or at a distance from the standard, that he might always be on the spot in case of an engagement : so that if a man received an injury, as in the case above put, from a soldier, he could prosecute him no where but before the military judge, and that by the martial law.
17. Most just is therefore, &c.] The igitur, here, relates to what the poet mentions in the preceding lines, concerning the trial of a soldier, which was ordained to be before a military, tribunal; no other had cognizance of the cause where a soldier was a party. Now as this was ordained by law, and to prevent the military from being absent at a distance from the camp, in case of a sudden attack from an enemy, and, for this reason, must be for the public good and safety, it must be deemed highly proper and just. .
18. Nor will revenge, &c.]q. d. Though a centurion be judge, yet were I, supposing myself a common person, who prosecute a soldier on good and reasonable grounds, really to make out my cause to be true and just, I shall have sentence in my favour, and as far as the judge is concerned, I shall be avenged of my adversary : but notwithstanding this
20. The whole cohort.] The whole regiment, as it were, will be against the man who con plains against it soldier.
Consensu magno officiunt. Curabitis ut sit
20. All the companies.] Manipli, for manipuii, of which there were ten in a regiment, and answer to our companies of foot. Here may be meant all the common soldiers.
Manipulus was a small band of soldiers, which, in the days of Ro. mulus, when the Roman army was but in a poor condition, tied an handful of hay or grass to the top of a spear, and carried it by way of ensign. We have adopted this term, and often call a small de. tachment of soldiers an handful of men.. 21. Obstruct.] i.e. The course of justice.
- With great consent.] With the most hearty and earnest united opposition ; so that, if you should have the centurion, who tries the cause, on your side, his sentence can't be carried into exe. cution for fear of a mutiny, the soldiers banding together as one man to oppose it.
You will take care, &c.] You soldiers (tota cohors-omnes, que manipli) will take care, that vengeance, even heavier than the in, jury complained of, shall await the plaintiff, and that he shall find the remedy worse than the disease. Comp. 1. 24, and note..
23. The heart of Vagellius, &c.] Therefore the man who could affront a soldier, or sue him for an injury, and attempt to plead his cause against him, must have the resolution and impudence of that brawling lawyer of Mutina (hod. Modena), who, for a fee, would undertake the most dangerous and desperate causes.
24. Since you have two legs.] (Which are now safe and sound) to be objects of mischief to the soldiers, who will kick your shins with their clouted shoes, and break them.
- Common soldiers.] Caligatos--having the caliga on their. feet and legs stuck full of nails and spikes, hence called caligati. See, sat. iii. 222--48, and notes. 25. Thousands of nails.] Each soldier having a great number.
- So far from the city.] Who can be so foolish and ignopant, so unacquainted with the ways of the world, and especially with the manners of the soldiery, as to venture upon any quarrel with a soldier ?-Quis tam procul absit ab urbe?--9. d. Who can be so ignorant of the world!
The expression seems proverbial : the people in a town, or great city, as Rome was, must be supposed to know mankind better than