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(Decimus Junius Juvenalis) (jo͞o`vənəl), fl. 1st to 2d cent. A.D., Roman satirical poet. His verse established a model for the satire of indignation, in contrast to the less harsh satire of ridicule of Horace. Little is known about his life except that during much of it he was desperately poor. A tradition tells that as a youth he was banished from court for satirizing an imperial favorite; later his work reveals a deep hatred for the Emperor Domitian. He is known chiefly for his 16 satires, which contain a vivid representation of life in Rome under the empire. They were probably written in the years between A.D. 100 and A.D. 128. The biting tone of his diatribes has seldom been equaled. From the stern point of view of the older Roman standards he powerfully denounces the lax and luxurious society, the brutal tyranny, the affectations and immorality of women, and the criminal excesses of Romans as he saw them, especially in his earlier years. The rhetorical form of his verse is finished, exact, and epigrammatic, furnishing many sayings that have become familiar through quotation.


See translations by R. Humphries (1958), G. G. Ramsay (rev ed. 1961), and P. Green (1967, repr. 1974); studies by I. G. Scott (1927), G. Highet (1955, repr. 1961); M. Coffey, Roman Satire (1976, 2d ed. 1989).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(full Latin name, Decimus Junius Juvenalis). Born circa AD. 60 in Aquinum, near Rome; died circa 127 in Egypt. Roman satiric poet.

Juvenal wrote 16 satires in five books; the last satire was left unfinished. The satires of the first three books are stinging denunciations of Roman society, while those of books four and five are more detached soliloquies on moral themes in the manner of Stoicism

Juvenal’s view of the world, presented from the vantage point of the little man, is pessimistic. He writes of the tyranny of emperors and the stupidity of the masses with equal bitterness. His satires are grimly accusatory in tone and characterized by numerous digressions and such striking turns of speech as “bread and circuses.” According to tradition, Juvenal died in exile.


Satirae. Edited by U. Knoche. Munich, 1950.
In Russian translation:
Satiry. Moscow, 1888.
Satiry. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.


Istoriia rimskoi literatury. Edited by N. F. Deratani. Moscow, 1954.
Highet, G. Juvenal the Satirist. Oxford, 1954.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Latin name Decimus Junius Juvenalis. ?60--?140 ad, Roman satirist. In his 16 verse satires, he denounced the vices of imperial Rome
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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