Saturday, 27 September 2014

In Praise of Damnation - Satire VI

Salve Indignates!

Juvenal devotes an entire book (Book II) to the follies and crimes of women...or to be more accurate starts off with a harangue at the ills of marriage having heard that Postumus a friend of his is contemplating marriage. The guns are soon lowered on anything female in sight and we follow the satirists line of fire as he piles barrage upon barrage never failing to miss a target.

l. 63-4
'Tuccia vesicae non imperat'
Its a 661-line sustained attack on the ills of matrimony and by extension women in general and has often been written off as an extreme misogynist rant but there is more than meets the eye here.  Juvenal sends everything up and nothing seems sacred ;even the sacred rite of Bona Dea, an all women rite re-imagined as a license for orgy and the occasional man in drag as sexual invader, even to the classic stereotypical Roman images of the chaste pre-lapsarian Hesiodic country lass, all hairy boobs and munching acorns like the best of them, or the haughty moralistic matron mother of the Republican freedom fighters and latter Empire builders as well, figures which you would think his chauvinism would spare by way of contrasted models of feminine virtue.

But no, all fall under his merciless high epic cleaver and in the process undermining the vantage point of the misogynist itself and it is this that makes me sense that earlier readers (Dryden for one – who wondered what had happened to Juvenal that had turned him so much against all womanhood) and some moderns are mistaken if they take Juvenal or indeed his constructed persona of the outraged equestrian jade at face value branding him in the process as a class ‘A’ Gender-war-criminal. Perhaps this less enlightened, black and white view has tended to diminish as modern scholarship focusses more on the concept of the Juvenalian satiric persona and its role in the presentation and development of the satires.

Its worth reproducing a part of Dryden's Argument to the Sixth Satyr by way of illustration of the extent and limit of his understanding. Its very perceptive as far as it goes but Dryden still appears to miss the possibility that it could be a conscious effort rather than an accidental result on Juvenals/his constructed persona's part which results in the reverse of its ostensible aim, that of the denigration and damnation of womankind and all her works. The underlinings are my own.

l.481 'verberat atque obiter faciem linit'
' This Satyr, of almost double length to any of the rest, is a bitter invective against the fair Sex. 'Tis, indeed, a Common-place, from whence all the Moderns have notoriously stoln their Sharpest Raileries. In his other Satyrs, the Poet has only glanc'd on some particular women, and generally scourged the men. But this he reserved wholly for the Ladies. How they offended him I know not. But upon the whole matter he is not to be excus'd for imputing to all, the Vices of Some few amongst them. Neither was it generously done of him, to attack the weakest as well as the fairest part of the Creation: Neither do I know what Moral he could reasonably draw from it. It could not be to avoid the whole Sex, if all had been true which he alledges against them: for that had been to put an end to human Kind. And to bid us beware of their Artifices, is a kind of silent acknowledgement that they have more Wit than Men: which turns the Satyr upon us, and particularly upon the Poet, who thereby makes a Compliment, where he meant a libel. If he intended only to exercise his Wit, he has forefeited his judgement, by making one half of his Readers his Mortal Enemies: and amongst the Men, all the happy Lovers by their own Experience, will disprove his Accusations.'

So much for Dryden. I can wholeheartedly recommend you to read the whole of the Argument as well as his Englishing of the Satyr itself. It flows well and sparkles as it fills the glass, ageing into an extremely fine vintage.

 Satire VI starts off innocently enough with Juvenals credo of a time where chastity and simplicity existed on the earth before the silver age (Hesiods Arguron Genos the second of five ages of man), the time he tells us when the first adulteries took place, once the gods and the female divinities of chastity and modesty had fled the human world. The fact that it is a credo indicates that even this stock Alexandrian epyllonic mythic framing is already pretty suspect in Juvenals eyes and worth a quick sneer a la Johnny Rotten. Things go downhill pretty fast from there. Juvenal considers that his friend Postumus has gone mad and suggests some easier methods of self- destruction but Postumus counters that even the well-known gigolo Ursidius is getting hitched.

This is the blue touch paper for Juvenal and what ensues is a coruscating display of outrages in high epic style. Readers must have recognised many of the allusions, some of them pretty obvious such as Messalina, the wanton and debauched wife of Claudius with her clandestine part-time job at the brothels and stews of Rome by night, but others, although they must have raised a laugh amongst the in-crowd of the time, are somewhat lost to us. Actors, gladiators, dancers, lyre players, teachers of all things (god forbid!) Greek and other names and allusions to figures now obscured by the clouds of time add a touch of obscurity, no doubt compounded by the often corrupted text. The sections referring to gladiators (The 'O' Passage and l.370/373A-350) are particularly difficult to unpack and interpret.

 The translation I am reading (The Loeb translation of Susanna Morton Braund 2003 HUP), although quite often innovatively accurate fails in my opinion to catch of the double or even other layers of meaning hinted at throughout the text (I am thinking for example of the senators wife Eppia l.82 ff.  who prances about on deck copping a feel of the sailor boys hard ropes! L.101 haec inter nautas et prandet et errat per puppem et duros gaudet tractare rudentis).  Braund puts it more tamely as handling the rough ropes but for me this doesnt convey the full implication of duros.rudentis. But then again perhaps I am getting carried away again on an over inspired cloud of translucent chiffon! Juvenal can tend to do this to medont get me started on the many references to swords, practice posts and grunting of female wannabe Murmillones!

 Throughout VI, the satirist displays a mastery of rhetorical technical devices, literary allusions and socio-historical references which his educated audience must have revelled in and found levels of amusement which are regrettably lost to us. That notwithstanding, a lot of the force and majesty of the satire can still shine through and Juvenal uses a wide range of poetical and linguistic devices, alliteration, assonance, chiasmus and other clever arrangements which add colour and spice to this crushing bravura performance. The satire is so relentless and forceful that he takes things right to the possible limit of satireup to the ramparts where his indignation and disgust can find no more space in which to flail and the roadrunner he has run out of tarmac at the end of the satire and it squeals to an end with the terrible and debased image of the botched poisoning of a husband aided by a swift stab of steel ferrum est quod amant. It is no surprise then that he has to start off on a different tack with the next Satire having mined this vein to its roots.

l.76-7 'accipis uxorem de qua citharoedus Echion aut Glaphyrus fiat pater..'
There are interrogations to be made of this tour-de-force of savage indignation. Juvenal doesnt leave us with a definitive answer to the issue or a final judgement or any moral direction. It is effectively a catalogue of crimes with the cataloguer becoming the figure of satire himself by his over-excessive zeal, shooting himself in the foot where a potential model of feminine virtue presents itself.  Is it misogyny? Or perhaps Misogamy? Is there a difference? Can we usefully apply such a term with all of our modern baggage associated with the term? In other words what did misogyny mean to the ancients, (e.g. Semonides of Amorgos Poem VII)? Its interesting to contrast Semonides and his earlier iambic work, a more straightforward lambast of the types of women sent by Zeus to plague us blokes with Satire VI since it further underlines the level of sophistication of the latter work with all its crazy hyperbole and sustained rhetorical power riffing.

 By pushing the Satire to its limits and beyond and, as its perverse internal logic dictates, undermining its own theoretical foundations, has Juvenal escaped such accusations of mere misogyny? If this is plausible then can we in any way sympathise with him in his subtle praise by vitriolic yet ironic damnation? If his subtle conceit is successful, what in turn does that imply for the role and purpose of his particular form of satire? If there is no clear moral instruction on offer what can we expect to take away from a deeper reading of Satire VI?


Monday, 8 September 2014

Dryden on Juvenal - Restoration Elegance and Satyrickal Wit

I got hold of the most recent Loeb translation of Juvenal and Persius translated and edited by Susanna Morton Braund. For obvious reasons I cannot reproduce any of her actual translations for comparison but I note her preface addresses her reasons for a new translation and something of her modus operandi.
She observes that previous 20th Century translations, essentially the efforts of the ‘wild and lurid’ 1960s and 70s as she might have it that were in vogue at the time ‘seem very dated’ and indulge overmuch in ephemeral expressions. It is a difficulty not unique but certainly pronounced with Latin to reflect the effects that word order and its variation had on a Latin reader when translating into English. She has also tried to render the text as natural as possible to our ears by removing connective words between clauses (nam, enim etc). The intended effect is that of robust fidelity to the original Latin and a decent and serviceable translation that will stand the test of at least a few generations, if not more.

All well and good...but what of John Dryden (1631-1700)? His style seems very fast and loose on the whole but at times his renderings to seem to crack through and expose a vein of Juvenal that no mere scholar can hope to unleash. Perhaps it is the advantage that the poet has – a supreme artist with words and an innate understanding of the lifeblood of the text rather than its accurate rendering into another language.

 I would not go so far as to say that Dryden has created another version of Juvenal but there are flashes, turns of phrase which somehow make the plainer more accurate translations fall flat. I am always torn between the two poles since I imagine that the effect on me of Dryden at his best must surely come close to hearing the work as it was intended to astound in its original language from the perspective of a native speaker of ancient Latin – one which we will never have. Can Dryden and others bring us closer or are they taking us further away from the text? Or are both the necessary light and shade to any full rendering of ancient works? At the very least it’s a good reason to explore and rediscover how subsequent eras have tackled the Classical authors.

 I will give a few of my favourite Drydian sections of each of the Satires we are going to deal with. I provide the Latin first and then Dryden’s splendiferous Restoration filigree. We shall have to wait until we meet to compare with Braund (2003), the latest offering on the Loeb slab.

Satire I: l 22-30 Why Write Satire?

‘cum tener uxorem ducat spado, Meuia Tuscum
figat aprum et nuda teneat uenabula mamma,
patricios omnis opibus cum prouocet unus
quo tondente grauis iuueni mihi barba sonabat,
cum pars Niliacae plebis, cum uerna Canopi
Crispinus Tyrias umero reuocante lacernas
uentilet aestiuum digitis sudantibus aurum
nec sufferre queat maioris pondera gemmae,
difficile est saturam non scribere.’

 ‘When Sapless Eunuchs mount the Marriage-Bed,
When Mannish Mevia, that two-handed Whore,
Astride on Horse-back hunts the Tuscan Boar,
When all our Lords are by his wealth outvy’d,
Whose Razour on my callow beard was try’d;
When I behold the Spawn of conquered Nile,
Crispinus, both in Birth and Manners vile,
Pacing in Pomp, with Cloak of Tyrian Dye
Chang’d oft a-day for needless Luxury;
And finding oft occasion to be fan’d,
Ambitious to produce his Lady-Hand;
Charg’d with light Summer-rings his fingers sweat,
Unable to support a Gem of Weight;
Such fulsome Objects meeting everywhere,
‘Tis hard to write, but harder to forbear.’

Satire III. L.60-78     The Foreigners are taking over!

‘non possum ferre, Quirites,
Graecam urbem. quamvis quota portio faecis Achaei?
iam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes
et linguam et mores et cum tibicine chordas
obliquas nec non gentilia tympana secum
vexit et ad circum iussas prostare puellas.
ite, quibus grata est picta lupa barbara mitra.
rusticus ille tuus sumit trechedipna, Quirine,
et ceromatico fert niceteria collo.
hic alta Sicyone, ast hic Amydone relicta,
hic Andro, ille Samo, hic Trallibus aut Alabandis,
Esquilias dictumque petunt a vimine collem,
viscera magnarum domuum dominique futuri.
ingenium velox, audacia perdita, sermo
promptus et Isaeo torrentior: ede quid illum
esse putes. quemvis hominem secum attulit ad nos:
grammaticus, rhetor, geometres, pictor, aliptes,
augur, schoenobates, medicus, magus, omnia novit
Graeculus esuriens: in caelum iusseris ibit.’

‘And whom I most abhor: To speak my Mind,
I hate, in Rome, a Grecian Town to find:
To see the scum of Greece transplanted here,
Receiv’d like Gods, is what I cannot bear.
Nor Greeks alone, but Syrians here abound,
Obscene Orontes diving underground,
Conveys his wealth to Tyber’s hungry shores,
And fattens Italy with foreign Whores;
Hither their crooked Harps and Customs come;
All find receipt in Hospitable Rome.
The barbarous Harlots crowd the public Place;
Go, Fools, and purchase an unclean Embrace;
The painted Mitre court, and the more painted Face.
Old Romulus and Father Mars look down,
Your Herdsman primitive, your homely Clown
Is turn’d a Beau in a loose tawdry Gown.
His once unkem’d and horrid Locks, behold
Stilling Sweet Oil: his Neck inchain’d with Gold:
Aping the Foreigners in ev’ry Dress;
Which, bought a greater Cost, becomes him less.
Mean time they wisely leave their Native Land,
From Sciyon, Samos, and from Alaband,
And Amydon, to Rome they swarm in Shoals:
So Sweet and easie is the Gain from Fools.
Poor Refugees at first, they purchase here:
And soon as Denizen’d, they domineer.
Grow to the Great, a flattering servile Rout:
Work themselves inward, and their Patrons out.
Quick-witted, Brazen fac’d, and with fluent Tongues,
Patient of Labours, and dissembling  Wrongs.
Riddle me this, and guess him if you can,
Who bears a Nation in a single Man?
A Cook, a Conjurer, a Rhetorician,
A Painter, Pedant, a Geometrician,
A Dancer on the Ropes, and a Physician.
All things the hungry Greek exactly knows:
And bid him go to Heav’n, to Heav’n he goes.’

Satire X. l.58-72 Sejanus – Today’s Big Name, Tomorrow’s Pisspot

‘descendunt statuae restemque secuntur,
ipsas deinde rotas bigarum inpacta securis
caedit et inmeritis franguntur crura caballis.
iam strident ignes, iam follibus atque caminis
ardet adoratum populo caput et crepat ingens
Seianus, deinde ex facie toto orbe secunda
fiunt urceoli, pelues, sartago, matellae.
pone domi laurus, duc in Capitolia magnum
cretatumque bovem: Seianus ducitur unco
spectandus, gaudent omnes. 'quae labra, quis illi
vultus erat! numquam, si quid mihi credis, amaui
hunc hominem. sed quo cecidit sub crimine? quisnam
delator quibus indicibus, quo teste probauit?'
'nil horum; uerbosa et grandis epistula uenit
a Capreis.' 'bene habet, nil plus interrogo.'

‘Down go the Titles; and the Statue Crown’d,
Is by base Hands in the next River drown’d.
The Guiltless Horses and the Chariot Wheel
The same Effects of Vulgar Fury feel:
The Smith prepares his Hammer for the Stroke,
While the Lung’d Bellows hissing Fire provoke;
Sejanus almost first of Roman Names,
The great Sejanus crackles in the Flames:
Form’d in the Forge, the Pliant Brass is laid
On Anvils; and of Head and Limbs are made,
Pans, Cans, and Pispots, a whole Kitchin Trade.
Adorn your Doors with Laurels; and a Bull,
Milk white and large, lead to the Capitol;
Sejanus with a Rope, is dragg’d along;
The Sport and Laughter of the giddy Throng!
Good Lord, they cry, what Ethiop Lips he has,
How foul a Snout, and what a hanging Face?
By Heav’n, I never cou’d endure his Sight;
But say, how came his monstrous Crimes to Light?
What is the Charge, and who the Evidence
(The Saviour of the Nation and the Prince?)
Nothing of this; but our old Cesar sent
A noisie Letter to His Paliament:
Nay Sirs, if Cesar writ, I ask no more,
He’s guilty; and the Question’s out of Door.’


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Corruption in the Darkness - the transmission of early manuscripts of Juvenal

I thought I would try to summarise some of my recent reading on the history and transmission of Juvenal manuscripts upon which all of our modern texts and in turn translations are inevitably based. How did Juvenal's work survive through the end of the antique period and into the dark ages and in what condition? Is it possible to arrive at a definitive or most accurate text of the Satires? How can we be sure of the accuracy of one scribal amendment over another? How do we choose and which texts do we ignore? Are they all equally relevant and part of a continually developing scholarly endeavour to continually improve our understanding of the Satires? I am not sure if we are able to answer any of these questions due to the chaos we have had to deal with when it comes to the MSS but here goes.
Juvenal has not fared as well as other classical authors - his work soon fell into obscurity a couple of generations after his death. The reasons for this relatively rapid descent into desuetude and oblivion may have been the dire state of Latin poetry in the later second century CE followed  by the crisis in the Roman Empire of the 3rd. There was a gradual cultural shift from a pagan to a Christian one in which the familiar tropes were utilised for different ends and others discarded or actively suppressed. Added to this there was a decline in the use of classical Greek and Latin and the rise of other literary cultures such as Syriac, Armenian, Coptic and vulgar Latin. In some ways it is miraculous that Juvenal survived at all. Luckily for him the early Christians were also pretty enthusiastic when it came to denouncing the vices and folly of mankind - and so they found most of his work useful for their moralising purposes. There is a whiff of stoic philosophy about his work which certainly didn’t do him any harm in their estimation.
The result of his sojourn in oblivion for centuries until being rediscovered by the christian apologists is that he survived the late antique period in only one damaged manuscript. this MS was copied and generated many commentaries and scholia and due to these various copies being made at different points in time and space across the late antique/early dark ages world, contamination and cross contamination was inevitable. The upshot of this is that of the 50 or so extant MSS not one is free from corruption and contamination. Consequently there are some serious problems to deal with when using any or a combination of manuscripts in order to create a complete text of the Satires. For example, in any given MS, the main text and any marginalia may have completely different origins. The marginalia and scholia may have been inserted into the text to become a part of it. The MS could be a hotchpotch or frankenstein text made from a scribe having various copies at hand when making their own version, or it will normally be a corrupt text with the usual scribal errors copied and occasionally magnified repeatedly.
Juvenal is known to some of the late antique and early Christian era writers, for example he is quoted by Lactantius (240-320 CE) but his mentions seem pretty sporadic and he is not quoted at length or apparently read by anyone. Then in the 4th Century (around 360-70 CE) he seems to be rediscovered and becomes more popular, possibly experiencing a revival as a useful moral epigrammatist. By 390 CE (roughly the period of the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus 320-390 CE) he is back in the limelight as a popular and well known author. Macrobius, Prudentius and other prominent 4th Century figures were aware of him. He was much imitated at +the period, the Carmina contra Paganos an invective poem ‘Poem against the Pagans’) demonstrates much of Juvenal’s style and approach (epic hyperbole, bathetic contrasts, rhetorical questions etc). It is from around this time that our single master MS must have emerged, i.e. at the height of Juvenal’s rediscovery.
The MSS tradition is dogged by two key inconsistencies. Every surviving MS is descended from a very damaged archetype, the scars of which have been inherited by all the descendants. Furthermore, some of the manuscripts have correct readings and lines which are not evident in  any other MSS. there must therefore have been two separate branches of transmission. In the past it has been assumed that the ancestor of the MSS was a unique item.However the above anomalies indicate that this cannot be the case and that the situation is more complex and hence more chaotic. Courtney ((1967) 40) mentions in his study of the MSS that ‘when a demand was once again created for texts of Juvenal γ (the conventional marker for the ancestor text) was the only manuscript which could be found at Rome. But according to Cameron (2011, 453-4) there is
‘ no justification for assuming that the text used several decades earlier by Ausonius and his pupils in Gaul derived from this same supposedly defective Roman exemplar...Texts of Juvenal were being copied all over the empire between ca. 350 and 550. The very fact that the Satires were so popular makes it all the more likely that they circulated among the smart set in the form of uncorrected, ever more corrupt luxury copies.
It even possible that the Gaul copies may have helped to provide alternate and more accurate readings, since it is clear that Ausonius possessed a copy in which the Oxford lines (discovered as late as 1899 by E.O. Winstedt an Oxford undergraduate consisting of 34 four lines of missing text immediately after 6.365).In his work Parentalia (10) the poet reuses the phrase seria vitae (life’s anxieties or troubles) from 6.O.18 a phrase which exist nowhere else in Latin literature.
The MSS can be loosely categorised into three types, good , bad and wildcard texts. The ‘good’ category indicate the MSS more directly derived from the Roman archetype and although they are more corrupt texts, the scribes decided to leave the corruptions uncorrected, happier to pass on errors than to try to repair them. The ‘bad’ are the descendants that incorporate readings from other uncorrected corrupt copies in a well-meaning but disastrous attempt to improve the text. the result being even more corruption. The last category the wildcards are from the surviving scraps of Late Antique codices (Ambr., Ant., Bob.), quotes from other authors works, lemmata (short excerpts of text used as entry headings in commentaries)  and other indirect sources.
The Roman ancestor text went through about five stages.
In the first stage the archetype MS lost its tail (the text breaking off at 16.60...ut laeti phaleris omnes et torquibus, omnes). It is an error which is found in every MSS and since there is no evidence of any later commentary or scholia this seems to happened very early on in Rome and probably before the revival of interest in Juvenal alluded to before.
There is a second stage where a copy or copies (?) are made with the Oxford fragment still intact. Ausonius’ text is probably from this point in time and outside of Rome (the Gaul family). Stage three surprising enough is where the Oxford fragment disappears. It is possible here to deduct some more details about what the MSS might have looked like. The appearance would have taken a roll with twenty-nine lines per column with 6.O.1-29 occupying one column. The loss of the first 29 lines of the Oxford fragment was thus the loss of a page or a whole column. Other MSS such as Aurel. has two columns of 29 lines per page and so lend credence to this idea.
At the fourth stage the remaining lines of O 30-34 were redacted to three, but not before a copy with the five lines still intact was made since commentaries exist for the five lines where the corresponding text is absent from the work. Finally the last stage would have been the reshaping of the five verses of O 30-34 to the three verses of 6.346-48. the fragment makes little sense in its position and may have deliberately shortened due to the scribes doubts about its relevance or meaning.
At the end of this series of manglings, the text of Juvenal emerges in the 5th Century. the family of manuscripts divides into two main streams at this point: The P stream (with its relatives) and the Phi stream. The P stream seems to flow down through time with no further offshoots remaining relatively unchanged in its overall shape and contents but the Phi stream  became quite compromised over time as a result of the polluting effect of interpolation where scribes 'correct' what they saw as errors as well as cross contamonation where scribes may have been referring to several different copies in an aerly attempt to 'improve' on what they had befoe them. There are also various wildcard texts of the 5th and 6th Centuries which add to the chaos quite admirably. The result is that Phi stream is much less reliable that the P stream but that should not cause us to assume that the P stream MSS are corruption free as Houseman (1931) has observed.
So the upshot of all this is that the would be editor of Juvenal has to make a choice between a limited group of texts whih require some emendation and tidying (the P stream) and a larger repository of texts (the Phi stream) that have already been heavily edited and modified. In essence, it's a bit of a crap shoot with perhaps some safer ground in the P stream.
The revival of Juvenal surely helped his work survive into the Carolingian Renaissance. there are fragments of three late antique codices which give some albeit limited evidence for this :-
1. Ant.=Mertens-Pack 2925. Leuven Database of Ancient Books.
An early codex fragment found at Antinoe in Egypt which gves a tantalising idea of how far across the late antique world Juvenals appeal reached. Its a single leaf of a parchment document and from forensic orthograhical evidence apparently hailing from the same scriptorium in Byzantium that produced the Justinian Digests. The writing is in uncial which is commonly found in legal texts of the period (possibly a legal scribe fulfilling a clients special commission?) and dating to the early 500s CE. There are several generations of marginal notes in both Greek and Latin which perhaps indicates that the codex itself may have travelled about a bit in both literary directions.
2.,pp. 63-64, 77-78. LDAB 7374.
Dated to te early 500s CE, written in rustic capitals and therefore of probable Italian provenance. It is a rebinding of a single outer folio stripped from one quire of another book and compromises the end of the satires with the beginning lines of Persius which is a strong indication that already in the late antique period, the two satirists were being circulated together. the text came from the monastery at Bobbio and has survived by being lucky enough to have been used as a palimpsest for the letters of Galla Placidia and the Acts of the Synod of Chalcedon.
3. Ambr.=once at Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cimelio MS 2 (now lost). LDAB 7653.
A single folio from a codex used to contain papyrus fragments (an ancient scapbook of sorts) written in half uncial. Its a rare hand and so could be interpreted as the work of a super nerd of the era...mainstram interest in the works having once again started to wane.
We know that Juvenal was part of Charlemagne's court library. The Irish founded monastery of Bobbio (as we noted above) had two books containing Juvenal (around the end of the 800s CE). the ancestry of these MSS can be more or less relaibly follwed as they survived the dark ages. from the common anceestor mentioned earlier (gamma) a generally quite accurate copy was made which led to a later version V and the family line eventually results in P manuscript, which Highet ((1954) 207) as the 'only complete manuscript which contains something close to what Juvenal actually wrote'.
The P family of mauscripts then are accepted as a very close version to the orignal state of the work soon after it left Juvenals' pen.
On the Phi side the important MSS are F,G,H,K,L,O,T,U and Z. From this mass group of interdependent texts there has been an attempt (Knoche 1940) to identify four families but it was not very successful considering the heavy intercontamination we have noted before. These Vulgate MSS are very confused and it is very difficult to create a a coherent or meaningful stemma. Its only real uuse is to act as a warning not to rely too much on the MSS of the P family and to bear it in mind when loking for clarification of other corrupt sections.
The MSS, redisovered in that later Middle Ages and the Renaissance formed the basis of the earliest printed texts and subsequent apparatus we have today.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

One, Three, Ten...Satires are go!

I seem to running out of time with my posts! There is so much to say about Juvenal but so little time in which to make posts about him and his ‘satura’. Therefore in the interests of time I draw your attention to the very useful synopsis guide to the Satires over at Wikipedia.
The link is here:

As I mentioned before we will be looking at Satires I, III and X. Why? Here are a few quick answers to that question:

Satire I ‘difficile est saturam non scribere, nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se…’(I.30-32)

Satire I outlines Juvenal’s purpose in writing his work and the rationale behind his approach – in brief, why write Satire at all? It also offers a potted tour of most of the themes covered in more detail in later books of the satires. It’s the gateway chapter to the whole shebang where we get a taste of things to come and a hint of what the satirists job should or could be. I was reminded strongly of Juvenal when I had the misfortune to catch the opening credits of BBC 1’s new ‘extravaganza’ on Saturday night..Tumble. ‘Panem et Circenses’ indeed….what would Juvenal do apart from following the advice of Democritus to laugh at such insane human folly?

Satire III  ‘quid Romae faciam?’ (III.41)

The multifarious ills of Rome and a nice setting within the satire of Umbricius’ reasons for leaving Rome...the font of all ills for the thinking and virtuous man of moral integrity. It’s an interesting use of an interlocutor as a mouthpiece for Juvenal’s famous ‘indigatio’ and sharp moral invective.

Satire X  ‘Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.’(X.356-)

Few really know what is good..wealth and fame often lead to a sticky end. Juvenal runs through the human vanities demolishing them in his epic and bathetic style.
I thought that the above three give a good snapshot of the work and provide a couple of famous quotes here and there as well. It also has a few interesting figures such as Sejanus and Seneca.

I was going to post something about the more colourful satires which are usually excised from more sensitive and earlier versions of the Satires but perhaps we could leave that until we next meet. Lots to discuss – especially Juvenal’s position in the satirists’ pantheon, compared to Lucilius, Horace, Martial and Persius.