Juvenal: Satires Background

Juvenal: Satires Background

The Satires are a compilation of the Roman author Juvenal’s satirical poems. Juvenal is known to have five books of sixteen total poems, all of which are considered satirical in the Roman genres, discussing society and morals in dactylic hexameter. Book 1 contains Satires 1-5; Book 2 contains Satire 6; Book 3 contains Satires 7-9; Book 4 contains Satires 10-12; and Book 5 contains Satires 13-16 (but Satire 16 is incomplete).

The poems were written during the latter part of the 1st century and the early part of the 2nd century AD. The Satires is full of historical and mythical allusions that readers of the time period were familiar with. These allusions pointed out lessons or vices and virtues, indirectly drawing attention to and sometimes attacking apparent threats to Roman society such as highly ranking foreigners, infidelity, and excesses of each social class, mainly the Roman elite.

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