Juvenal, Decius Junius

, the Roman satirist, was born about the beginning of the emperor Claudius’s reign, at Aquinum, a town in Campania, since famous for the birth-place of Thomas (thence styled) Aquinas. Juvenal’s father was probably a freed man, who, being rich, gave him a liberal education; and, agreeably to the taste of the times, bred him up to eloquence. In this he made a great progress, first under Fronto the grammarian, and then, as is generally conjectured, under Quintilian; after which he attended the bar, where he made a distinguished figure for many years, as we learn from some of Martial’s epigrams. In this profession he had improved his fortune and interest at Rome, before he turned his thoughts to poetry the very style of which, in his satires, speaks a long habit of declamation “subactum redolent declamatorem,” say the critics. He is supposed to have been above forty years of age, when he recited his first essay to a small audience of his friends; but, being encouraged by their applause, he ventured a publication, in which Paris, a player, and Domitian’s favourite, was satirized; this minion complained to the emperor, who sent the poet into banishment, under pretence of giving him the command of a cohort, in the army quartered at Pentapolis, a city upon the frontiers of Egypt and Lybia. After Domitian’s death, he returned to Rome, cured of his propensity to attack the characters of those in power under arbitrary princes, and indulge in personal reflections upon living characters. His 13th satire, addressed to Calvinus, was written U. C. 8T1, in the 3d year of Adrian, when Juvenal was above seventy years old; and as it is agreed that he attained to his eightieth year, he must have died about the 11th year of Adrian.

In his person he was of a large stature, which made some think him of Gallic extraction. We meet with nothing | concerning feis morals and way of life; but, by the whole tenor of his writings, he seems to have been a man of acute observation, and a friend to liberty and virtue, but at the same time may be justly charged with a licentious boldness in his expressions. In point of classical merit, he is the last of the Roman poets, and after him Roman poetry rapidly degenerated. The most valuable edition of this poet, without Persius, is that of Ruperti, printed at Leipsic, in 1801, 2 vols. 8vo. But most generally Juvenal and Persius are printed together, of which there are many valuable editions, particularly the Variorums, the Delphin, those by Henninius, Hawkey, Sandby, &C. 1


Crusius’s Hist, of the Roman Poets. —Saxii Onomast. Dibdin’s Clasics,