Summary of Satires 1, 3 and 4 with key quotes.

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  • Created on: 14-05-12 17:32
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Satire 1
Lines 128: Juvenal says he's had to put up with so much garbage churned out
without mercy that he too will have a go. He knows about mythological malarkey, so
can turn his hand at a decent speech. But why has he chosen to write satire? Hush
and he will explain.
1: "Must I always be stuck in the audience..." ­ Juvenal opens in an angry,
venomous outburst at the injustice of his having to put up with second rate poets
churning out rubbish.
Rhetorical questions draw the audience into the poem by addressing them
12: "The stale themes" ­ Juvenal spells out how fed up he is with all this myth.
17: "The other fellow is sneaking off with that golden sheepskin" ­
Juvenal makes Jason sound like a sneak thief.
Debunking a myth is a typical feature of Juvenal.
Lines 2976: One by one, Juvenal fires at us the sort of people whose vice is making
him mad. There's no order or logic, just one after the other in a bitter parade of bile.
28: "When a flabby eunuch marries..." ­ attacking sort of people in
contemporary Rome who really get on J's nerves.
28: "when wellborn girls go crazy" ­ wellborn ladies dressing up as
Amazons and taking part in the beast hunts.
30: "the barber who rasped away" ­ J is angry at low born people who inherit
enough money to hobnob with the nobility and men like J ­ he feel left behind.
31: "Crispinis" ­ a foreign, former slave and seller of fish ­ rose to become
member of Domitian's privy council. He epitomises the person J hates.
40: "An informer" ­ someone who bring accusations of treason against the
nobility ­ rife under Domitian.
45: "men who earn legacies in bed" ­ men who offer sexual pleasure to rich,
old widows for money.
67: "each pimp of a husband" ­ law preventing women inheriting from a lover,
but nothing stopping her husband inheriting on behalf ­ the husband turns a blind
Lines 7798: J concludes that in Rome today, you just wait on the street corner and a
host of vice will pass your way.
79: "like Maecenas" ­ epitome of effeminacy and luxurious living ­ very
ostentatious. His draws back the curtains of his litter so all can see his wealth.
Owes it all to crime.
89: "honesty's praised, but honest men freeze" ­ J is noted for pithy

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Lines 96146: Juvenal concentrates of people's grasping freed and in particular the
abuse of the traditional patron/client relationship.
105: "Men face the table's hazard" ­ against gambling
112: "seven courses, alone" ­ J is criticising excess
112: "Clients were guests then" ­ J laments the breakdown of the traditional
patron/client relationship.
131: "white with chalk" ­ foreign slaves for slave were marked with white feet.
132: "pernicious cash" ­ money is becoming God.…read more

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­ a trueborn Roman having to give way to a
Greek ­ things are bad when a foreigner counts for more than a trueborn
86: "the nation excels in flattery" ­ Greeks can flatter and lie convincingly
129: "Nowhere on earth..." ­ one this Greek had ingratiated himself with the
Patron, the former clients lost out ­ probably an exaggeration.
Lines 130193: More problems for the honest man.…read more

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Lines 3740: irrelevant invocation to the Muse of Epic (transition)
37: "O Muse of Epic" ­ Epic poetry would include an invocation to the Muse
­prayer for inspiration.
38: "You can sit down for the job" ­ he hints that this will not be highbrow
poetry and so the Muses can relax.
Lines 41164: A comical description of an almost panicstricken meeting of
Domitian's Privy Council as to how to deal with a prized fish.…read more


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