Juvenal

Peter Tennant (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal)
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Mens sana in corpore sano

(“a healthy mind in a healthy body”);

panem et circenses

(“bread and circuses”, or “bread and races”);

sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

(“but who will guard the guards themselves?”). No doubt these sayings are familiar to many, but probably few are aware of their source: the Satires of the Roman poet Juvenal. However, Juvenal’s fame rests on far more than a miscellany of perceptive and succinct observations on life and society. It was his vivid, often lurid, portrayal—mainly in the first two books of his poems—of what he perceived to be a hopelessly decadent and corrupt society, and his vigorous and highly rhetorical style of invective, that were to ensure his enduring appeal.

Scathingly dismissive of hackneyed literary themes (such as

3514 words

Citation: Tennant, Peter. "Juvenal". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 August 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2425, accessed 22 February 2024.]

2425 Juvenal 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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