Juvenal

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Definition

Decimus Junius Juvenalis (l. c. 55-138 CE), better known as Juvenal, was a Roman satirist. He wrote five books, containing 16 satires, each of which criticized a different element of Roman society, whether it was poor housing, the patron/client relationships, the presence of Greeks in the city, the raising of children, prayer, or the arrogance and vanity of the city's women. Although earlier poets such Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65-8 BCE) and Gaius Lucillius (180-103 BCE) wrote satire, Juvenal was the first author to devote himself entirely to satire. Written between 110 and 130 CE, around the same time as Tacitus' Annals, the satires are filled with both hatred and anger: hatred for the old aristocrats who controlled the city and anger at how the impoverished were treated. His outbursts towards the corruption he saw prevalent in Roman society and human cruelty are major themes throughout his satires. Rome, in Juvenal's eyes, was inhabited by degenerates and its virtue had all but perished.

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