Satire, written in the verse of heroic epic but focused on the evils of contemporary society, was ancient Rome’s original contribution to world literature. Two great practitioners of this art, Persius and Juvenal, wrote under the early emperors. Inspired by their Republican predecessors, both radically reinvented the genre.
The companion breaks new ground by examining both authors as “satiric successors,” using a model that has been successfully applied to other imperial writers, particularly epic poets. Detailed individual contributions examine topics such as the satirists’ techniques of allusion, their relationship to other genres, and their political stance. A preliminary section orients readers to the lives and times of these authors, the transmission of their texts, ancient scholarship on them, and their sometimes challenging language. The volume includes an examination of the successors to Persius and Juvenal, including the dramatic revival of the tradition in the Renaissance. An outstanding feature of this book is an in-depth exploration of Persius and Juvenal’s afterlives as found in the work of modern poets and translators, in scholarship and school texts, and in the present-day mass media.