Roman Satire and the Old Comic Tradition

By Jennifer L. Ferriss-Hill

Quintilian famously claimed that satire was once tota nostra, or absolutely ours, yet this leading edge quantity demonstrates that lots of Roman Satire's so much detailed features derived from old Greek outdated Comedy. Jennifer L. Ferriss-Hill analyzes the writings of Lucilius, Horace, and Persius, highlighting the positive factors that they crafted at the version of Aristophanes and his fellow poets: the authoritative but compromised writer; the self-referential discussions of poetics that vacillate among protective and competitive; the deployment of non-public invective within the carrier of literary polemics; and the abiding curiosity in criticizing members, varieties, and language itself. the 1st book-length research in English at the dating among Roman Satire and outdated Comedy, Roman Satire and the previous comedian culture will entice scholars and researchers in classics, comparative literature, and English.

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Persius, even if, isn't really fascinated by offending the robust, maiores (1. 108): his abjection is characterised now not via worry yet through disgust. Now finally he units forth in optimistic phrases the defining features of his poetic software, although no longer earlier than invoking his illustrious predecessors: secuit Lucilius urbem, te Lupe, te Muci, et genuinum fregit in illis. omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico tangit et admissus circum praecordia ludit, callidus excusso populum suspendere naso. (1. 114–18) Lucilius sliced up the town – either you, Lupus, and also you, Mucius – and he broke his molar on those males. smart Flaccus touches each vice whereas his buddy laughs and, as soon as permit in, he performs round the heartstrings, shrewdpermanent at placing the population from his clean-blown nostril. even supposing Persius’ descriptions of them differ in tone and substance, he praises either Lucilius and Horace for the feedback they perform. Given those actions of his usual ancestors (which resonates of Terence’s attract Naevius, Plautus, and Ennius), Persius expresses outrage that he's authorized now not even to mutter his discontentment (me muttire nefas? nec clam? nec cum scrobe? nusquam? , 119). He hence avows his a hundred and forty at the trope see Rudd 1966: one hundred thirty, Bramble 1974: sixteen, 131–2, Harvey 1981: forty seven, Kissel 1990: 254–5, Wehrle 1992b: 27, and Freudenburg 2001: seventy five. Persian Twists and Juvenalian Withdrawal goal to bury his mystery whisperings as an alternative (hic tamen infodiam, 120), even though this leads to those secrets and techniques being broadcast greatly. utilising a marked regularly occurring time period (hoc ridere meum, “this giggling of mine”), he periphrastically describes his pedestrian verse and, with the satirist’s usual self-effacement, claims his output is valueless, tam nil – even though he wouldn't alternate it for a spinoff Latin translation of Homer (122–3). Persius manages in those a variety of how one can have it either methods: he pretends withdrawal, but as a satirist is by way of definition nonetheless engaged with the realm round him; and he claims that he has been forbidden to talk significantly, but however does so. those feigned poses stem from the actual types his abjection takes: whereas Aristophanes had represented himself as misunderstood and unappreciated, and Horace as in too precarious a social nation ever to believe cozy sufficient to satirize within the Lucilian demeanour, Persius, the main severe, paints himself as an outcast, silenced via the heightened depravity and hazards of his period. either Horace and Persius, then (for Lucilius’ character is sort of most unlikely to reconstruct reliably), operating within the previous comedian culture of abject poetics, make the most their ancient and social situations to nice effect, growing for themselves certain abject personae, which they each one installation to expound, responsively, their satirical courses. Persius’ first satire all started with the query, quis leget haec? His expected readership is, through his personal admission, meager – vel duo vel nemo (1. 2) – and Persius contents himself with this constrained viewers, that could be no viewers in any respect (nemo) if duo refers merely to Persius and his Lucilian interlocutor.

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