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great crowds, and with great success, several times : so that he was led to insert in his first writings those verses which he had written first :
Quod non dant proceres dabit histrio : tu Camerinos
Praefectos Pelopea facit, Philomela tribunos 2.' The player was at that time one of the favourites at court, and many of his supporters were daily promoted. Juvenal, therefore, fell under suspicion as one who had covertly censured the times; and forthwith under colour of military promotion, though he was eighty years of age, he was removed from the city, and sent to be praefectus of a cohort which was stationed in the farthest part of Egypt. That sort of punishment was determined upon as being suited to a light and jocular offence. Within a very short time he died of vexation and disgust.”
The chief points stated in the foregoing life are, that Juvenal was the son of a rich freedman either by birth or by adoption (for this I suppose the writer means); that he was a practised rhetorician; that he began to write satire after middle life; that his first attempt was an epigram upon Paris the pantomimus'; that he was encouraged by the success of this production to write Satires on a larger scale, which at first he concealed, but afterwards read them to large audiences with great applause ; that whereas he was rash enough to introduce in one of his poems the original epigram (which, as I suppose the writer means to imply, so became more public, and probably for the first time reached the ears of the person it was aimed at), Paris by his influence at court obtained his banishment, under the honourable form of a military command, to the farthest part of Egypt; that he was then eighty years of age", and that he shortly died of vexation.
Another of these notices states that Juvenal was born at Aquinum, in the reign of Claudius ; that he returned from exile, survived the reign of Trajan, and finally died of old age in a fit of coughing.
In a third we are told that when he returned to ne, finding his friend Martial was dead, he died of grief in his eighty-second year.
A fourth says it was Domitian who exiled him ; that he never returned, but that after correcting and adding to his Satires in Egypt, he died there of old age in the reign of Antoninus Pius.
From a fifth we learn that he was advanced to the equestrian rank through his own merit ; that the place of his honourable exile was Scotland, and that the motive was that he might be killed in battle ;
2 S. vii. 90, sqq.
3 Though there were two players of this name, one a favourite of Nero, the other of Domitian, there can be no doubt the writer means Domitian's man.
4 As Paris was put to death A.D. 83, this would make Juvenal to have been boru about the year one of the Christian era (vi. 87, note).
that the emperor in a despatch addressed to him with the army, wrote these words, "et te Philomela promovit" (alluding to his own epigram), and that, learning from this the anger of the emperor, he died of a broken heart.
The sixth memoir makes Trajan the emperor, Paris being still the hero of the epigram, and agrees with the fifth about Scotland.
A seventh agrees substantially with the first, except that the emperor is said to have been Nero.
These seven are published at the end of Jahn's edition.
It seems clear that not one of these notices is original. They have come, and that not at first hand probably, from two or three common stocks, which have been confounded according to the fancy of the writer ; and whatever amount of truth there may have been in the originals has been perverted and confused in the later editions, which show very little evidence of accurate information.
The only authority for Juvenal's birthplace contained in his poems is in Sat. iii. 319, where his friend says, “quoties te Roma tuo refici properantem reddet Aquino.” But this only shows that Juvenal was in the habit of frequenting that town. Persius (S. vi. 7) speaks of the sea on the Ligurian coast as meum mare,' because he was staying there at the time, but no one now infers from this that he was born on that coast. Where Juvenal was born therefore is uncertain", and the time of his birth is equally so.
That he wrote as late as the reign of Trajan, who succeeded Nerva A.D. 98, is certain from the allusion in the first Satire (v. 47), and the eighth (v. 120) to the crimes and banishment of Marius Priscus, whose exile took place A.D. 100.
Another proof is that, in Sat. xii. 75, he refers to the inner basin of the Portus Augusti, constructed by Trajan. [If Juvenal wrote this Satire, the conclusion from the text is true ; and if he did not, the passage still proves that this Satire was written after Trajan's port was constructed.]
In Sat, vi. 502, there is an allusion to the way ladies wore their hair, which seems to show that this Satire was written in the reign of Trajan, or early in that of Hadrian (see note).
In v. 407 of the same Satire, Lipsius traces a reference to the reduction of Armenia to the condition of a Roman province, by the same emperor, in A.D. 106. This argument however has not much force.
See Life of Persius. 6 There is no reason to suppose the grammarians had more authority for calling him Aquinas than we have. In Pithoeus' MS. it is said, “ Juvenalem aliqui Gallum propter corporis magnitudinem, aliqui Aquinatem dicunt.”
appear that the
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 Satire 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 A.D. 119, 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 becomes 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
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 ®.
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 Juv. 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 having nuper' 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 Centumcellae (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.