Bryn Mawr Classical Review 97.7.9


Susanna Morton Braund (ed.), Juvenal: Satires Book 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Pp. viii, 323. $64.95 (hb), $22.95 (pb). ISBN 0-521-35566-4 (hb), 0-521-35667-9 (pb).


Reviewed by Craig A. Williams, Brooklyn College, CUNY, cawbc@cunyvm.cuny.edu.

Even the most enthusiastic fans of Juvenal must admit that he is difficult: the language is often compressed, the rhetorical flow sometimes hard to follow, and topical references appear in nearly every line. Reading a Juvenalian satire for the first time is hard work indeed, and even a rereading requires frequent recourse to a commentary. Thus the appearance of a new commentary on Book 1 (Satires 1-5) is a welcome development: we need all the help we can get. But Susanna Morton Braund (hereafter "B.") has provided more than a crutch; she has given us a thoughtful, thought-provoking commentary on a challenging but fascinating text.

B. begins with a useful introductory discussion on such topics as genre (a question to which she pays a good deal of attention throughout) and Juvenal's predecessors in satire; "the characteristics of Juvenal's satire: indignation, rhetoric and epic"; Juvenal's style and metre (with a particularly helpful compilation of rhetorical and metrical figures); the recurrent themes of Book 1; and Juvenal's Nachleben. It is a telling sign of the shifts in scholarly approaches that have taken place over the last few decades that B.'s introduction begins not, like earlier commentaries, with Juvenal's life -- about which, in the end, we know precious little -- but rather with the position of Juvenal's poetry within the genre of satire. This seems to me a more fruitful way to begin, and indeed I found almost all of B.'s introduction to be quite helpful, although for some details, e.g. questions of chronology, Courtney (see below) is more thorough, and B.'s introductory discussion of the patron-client relationship (pp. 32-33) I find less than satisfying, especially for a commentary aimed at beginning students of Roman literature.1 Her concluding discussion of the textual tradition is succinct and clear, and she appends a table indicating her deviations from the text of Clausen's OCT, which she adopts by permission. Some of these are worth noting: in three places she restores material that Clausen brackets (4.7-8 [nemo malus ... et idem], 5.66, 5.140), in four places she brackets material that he accepts (1.14, 1.29, 2.105-6 [summi ... campis], 4.116), she posits two lacunae not marked in his text (after 1.156 and 3.9), and she suggests some transpositions in the opening passage of Satire 3 (10-20). In a few other places B. supports a reading different from Clausen's; she discusses these in her commentary, and most of them are convincing (latebrae at 3.231 being one exception). After this prefatory matter, B. prints the entire text of Satires 1-5 continuously (without apparatus), and then presents commentary on the Satires individually, offering an interpretive essay at the conclusion of each.

Although B. nowhere explicitly states how she aims to differ from the already existing commentaries, it seemed to me that the best way to gain an appreciation for her work was to compare it closely with its predecessors in English, above all Edward Courtney's 1980 commentary (hereafter "C."), but sometimes also the editions of Duff (1898) and Mayor (1886). One thing that quickly became clear was that, in comparing B. with C., it could not be a question of absolute evaluation ("Which one is better?"). The two commentaries have different audiences and exemplify different approaches to the task of commenting on an ancient text, at least partially because they reflect the preoccupations and interests of two rather different intellectual environments, C.'s commentary having been completed by 1978 and B.'s by 1996.

I begin with the question of audience. The Cambridge "green and yellow" series to which B. belongs designates undergraduates as a major component of its intended audience, and accordingly B. contains much material that is useful, even indispensable, for beginning readers of Latin literature -- material that was not considered necessary for a scholarly commentary such as C.'s (C., p. ix).2 In general, beginning readers will find in B. basic assistance missing from C.: a great deal of help on questions of syntax and vocabulary3 (although there are times when, to my mind, B. gives away too much, usually by translating phrases that do not seem especially difficult or obscure)4 and a generous helping of background information on Roman culture. Thus we find brief notes on who Verres, Milo, Clodius, Catilina, and Cethegus were (2.26, 27); on what a vilicus (3.228) was; on traditional Roman prejudices regarding occupations (3.31); and on Baiae, "the Roman fashionable resort par excellence" (3.4: although I miss a reference to the moralistic tradition condemning Baiae evident in, e.g., Cicero's Pro Caelio and Sen. Epist. 51).

Another feature of B.'s commentary that will be especially welcome to beginning readers is her practice, where C. tends to offer unadorned or only sketchily explicated lists of parallels, of elucidating or contextualizing parallels, with a judicious amount of quotation. I cite a typical example. On 1.46 (populum gregibus comitum premit) B. notes:

Social status was measured by the size of a man's entourage as he went about the city on business and social calls. The entourage consisted of 'clients', i.e., dependents (clientes 132), usually called comites, as here (OLD comes 2, cf. also 119, 6.353, 7.44, 142, 3.284 comitum longissimus ordo). These criminals evidently have enormous bands of hangers-on, whose behaviour is offensive and oppressive (cf. the rich man who uexat lutulenta balnea turba 7.131; also the millionaire in Lucian Nigr. 13 who jostled passers-by with his retinue; greges, uncomplimentary, suggests that their behaviour is sub-human: cf. Mart. 2.57.5, quem grex togatus sequitur, Cic. Sull. 66 greges hominum perditorum.5
Contrast this with C.:
PREMAT The subjunctive seems necessary (see the apparatus).
GREGIBUS COMITUM Cf. 7.142, Mart. 2.57.5, Cic. Ad Att. 1.18.1, Lucian Nigrin. 13; i.e. clientum cf. 119, 3.284, 7.44 and 142, 6.353.
But B.'s strength in this quarter does not signify a weakness in C., who, for the benefit of his different audience, tends to offer richer and fuller collections of parallels from the ancient sources and scholia, along with more detailed references to modern scholarship (e.g., on 2.67 [perores], 2.102-3 [annalibus and historia], 3.33 [domina hasta], and 4.53 [Palfurius and Armillatus]). Sometimes, too, C. alerts readers to alternative interpretations whose existence a reader of B. would not suspect (e.g., the alternative reading premat in 1.46, cited above; aestivum in 1.28; the girlfriend's lacerna in 1.62; vix fractum in 5.68; illo in 5.139). In this regard B. does not (and was obviously not designed to) replace C.

As for changes in the intellectual environment that have occurred between the 1970s and the 1990s, B.'s discussions display a more explicit concern for or sensitivity toward such areas as Roman ideologies of gender and sexuality, the concept of the persona in first-person narratives, and Roman techniques of intertextuality. I will return to questions of gender and sexuality at the end of my review, but treat the remaining two subjects here.

With regard to the concept of the satiric persona, C. confesses that he takes "a rather less subtle view than is currently fashionable" (p. ix); and this was written nearly twenty years ago! Consequently it should come as no surprise that in an introductory section entitled "Juvenal's View of Society and Morals" C. asserts that "we must not, in my view, doubt that fundamentally the historical Juvenal held the view of the world expounded in his satires" (p. 21). Times have indeed changed. Due in no small part to the work of W.S. Anderson, classicists today are much more inclined to make a distinction between the narrative voice in the satires and the man D. Junius Juvenalis, and are alive to the possibility that the angry, bitter speaker may himself be an object of satire. Thus, for example, B. suggests that the speaker of Satire 1 is portrayed as "no paragon of virtue (though he clearly casts himself in this role) but a spineless and petty bigot" (p. 120), a comment that stands in illuminating contrast with C.'s note on 1.26: "For Juvenal's dislike of Egyptians cf. 130-1, Sat. 15 passim and pp. 27-8" (where he says that Juvenal's "xenophobia is striking but not indiscriminate"). Likewise B.'s treatment of Umbricius in Satire 3 (he is a "manifestation of the petty greed and jealousy which haunts the city of Rome," perhaps even "a jaundiced failure," p. 234) is more nuanced than that of C., who virtually identifies Umbricius with Juvenal himself (p. 153: "The fact that Juvenal must be assumed to be entirely in sympathy with Umbricius, who to us does not seem to be a wholly faultless character, shows that he did not possess the intellect to diagnose the problem presented by urban society in his day").

As for intertextuality, earlier scholarship (C. included) was often quite skilled at pinpointing allusions and their sources, but B. (who sometimes, in fact, identifies allusions not noticed by previous commentators) exemplifies more recent desires to interpret intertextual play. Thus, for example, she nicely brings out the "epic flavour" of the gambling scene at 1.89-92; she argues on 2.153-7 that the meeting of the ghosts of Roman heroes with the shade of a decadent latter-day aristocrat is a "perversion" of Aeneas' visit to the Underworld in Aeneid 6, pointing to specific linguistic echoes; she well describes the mock-epic and bathetic tone of 3.243-6, 261-7; and at 3.17 she notes that "the setting of the poem represents a satiric parody of Plato's Phaedrus and Cicero De Legibus," a comment that relates to her longer discussion of how Satire 3 parodies pastoral poetry (pp. 235-6). On these passages C., by contrast, either offers nothing or simply notes the parallel without further discussion (e.g., on 1.91, proelia: "cf. arma 14.5 (there the dice; here the arma are coins) and elsewhere, Anth. Lat. 193.7-10"; on 2.153, Scipiadae: "Verg. Aen. 6.843 (where see Norden) also has the plural, followed by mention of Fabricius and the Fabii").

B.'s previous work on Juvenal (most notably her 1988 volume Beyond Anger) has shown a sensitivity to the ways in which characters, including the speaker himself, are endowed with emotion, and above all their characteristic anger and indignation, by various rhetorical devices. Her commentary is rich in new contributions on this score, beginning with the first line (1.1: "ego indicates the speaker's self-centredness"); cf. also 1.7-13 (the four indirect questions "suggest by the variation of the question word ... and by their insistence that the speaker knows every possible theme of epic"); 1.139-40 ("language typical of anger: rhetorical question and verb of enduring," with parallels); 2.1-35 ("the speaker is immediately established as the raging, indignant, narrow-minded, chauvinistic bigot of Satire 1, who sees Rome as a city seething with corruption. His language is characterised by telling oxymora (3, 8-9, 10, 20-1) and angry questions (8-10, 24-8, 34-5)"); 3.309-11 (Umbricius' exaggeration is an indication of his "obsession and pessimism"; C.'s note simply reads "14.276 shows a similar exaggeration"); 4.130 (Domitian's only direct speech in the satire is "ruthlessly abrupt: ignoring the fulsome flattery, he presses the consilium for practical advice"); 5.107-113 ("the speaker interrupts the menu to attack the patron with increasing directness and rising indignation: ipsi and praebeat, third person; nemo petit ... quae mittebantur, ellipse of direct reference to the patron...; poscimus ut cenes, the second person with the politeness of the indirect command; hoc face et esto, direct imperative").

B. also shows a special sensitivity to the metrical and syntactical patterns of Juvenal's verse. Again and again she points out interesting rhythms (especially enjambments or verse- final monosyllables), suggesting how our reading might be shaped by them, e.g.: 1.60-1 ("the dactylic rhythm matches his speed"); 3.8-9 ("enjambment brings surprise: saeua suggests savage beasts, not Vrbs"); 4.121 (enjambment of belua, implying the fish's abnormal size, "increases its impact"); 5.14 ("the rhythm, i.e. bucolic diaeresis and strong punctuation, contributes to the satirical effect: anticipation of the reward (fructus, figurative, OLD 5) is disappointed by the swift pyrrhic cibus, which is nonetheless put down in the ledger"). So too B. notes the ways in which the appearance of balanced or "golden" lines often serves to point the contrast between smooth artistry and harsh content (e.g., 2.91, 3.304, 4.31, 5.17, 5.29).

B.'s keen awareness of Juvenalian rhetoric gives her the wherewithal to provide a service for which beginning readers of Juvenal will find themselves forever in her debt: her skilful elucidation of the poetry's occasional but frustratingly sudden shifts in argument. Scattered throughout her commentary are sign- posts (almost entirely absent from C., and, where present in other commentaries, generally much less helpful) indicating where the argument has been and where it is going. I offer two representative illustrations taken from the first satire: 87-95 ("a link-passage into the first extended scene, the sportula. Here the range of subject-matter is narrowed from 'all human activity' to one vice -- contemporary greed"); 149-171 ("this closing passage complements the opening section (1-21): both present self-justification, referring to Lucilius and indicating relationship between satire and epic"). Comments like these (and there are many others like them throughout her commentary) are invaluable to the beginning reader, and hardly unwelcome to advanced readers.

A related strength of B.'s commentary stems from her attention to broader questions of structure and unity. Like all commentators on this poet, she attempts to defend his poetry on charges of poor structure or irrelevant rambling, generally with success (see particularly her essays on 1, 2, and 4, where she often goes a step beyond C.: for example, to C.'s observation that in Satire 4 "we have a chiastic scheme -- crimes of C[rispinus], follies of C., follies of D[omitian], crimes of D." (p. 196), B. adds another chiasmus: "Crispinus as prominent in the shorter, opening section where Domitian features in a minor role, while in the longer main section Domitian is the prominent figure and Crispinus features in a minor part. That is, the poem presents a kind of balance: Cd:Dc" (p. 273). Likewise B.'s case for viewing Book 1 as a compositional unity, which she presents more consistently than her predecessors, is generally convincing. Consider, for example, her introductory overview of the thematic unities of Book 1 (pp. 30-36) along with her appreciation of the progression from the second to the third satire (p. 172: the introduction of Laronia's ironic voice in 2 "prepares the ground for" Umbricius in 3, and the "flight motif" that begins 2 is "a preparation for the same dynamic" in 3). She notes too that, as the final poem in Book 1, Satire 5 "appropriately ... features the final event of the Roman day, the dinner-party (cena)" (p. 304). In the last sentence of her essay on this final poem, B. suggests that "the treatment of Trebius in Satire 5 shows graphically how in the course of Book 1 J.'s speaker has shifted a long way from his sympathy for the client into an altogether bleaker outlook which emphasises the breakdown of society" (p. 308). The argument seems overstated to me (surely the "breakdown of society" looms large in Satire 1), but B. is on to something.

By now it will be clear that B. in fact has something to offer even to readers who are well beyond their first encounter with Juvenal. Her commentary is peppered with original contributions to our reading of this poet: she seems particularly alive to double- entendres and ironies, and she is often able to bring out nuances not previously noticed. Some illustrative comments: 1.115 (salutato "seems to pun on the general context of the salutatio (95n.)"); 2.33 ("effunderet combined with crude offas, usually of lumps of food, suggests that she is vomiting, cf. Plin. N.H. 23.43 quorum stomachus in uomitiones effunditur"); 2.47 (citing the use of concordia as a political slogan, she observes that the word is here used "ironically in a trivialising context"); 2.76 (testem "delivers a pun, meaning both 'a witness' and 'a testicle', in the latter sense virtually equivalent to 'masculinity'," with parallels); 2.78 (perluces: "a brilliant double significance which refers both to Creticus' see-through clothing ... and to his revealed hypocrisy," with parallels for both meanings); 2.143 ("the verb uicit indicates Gracchus' failure to meet Roman manly standards: his fighting for entertainment in the gladiatorial arena is a substitute for real military conflict"); 3.227 ("the adjective tenuis suggests that the plants are 'poor' (3.162-3n.) like their master"); 5.18 (una simus: direct speech is rare in this poem, and "significantly this is the only direct communication between patron and client ... and it ironically conflicts with the double menus: patron and client are never really 'together'"; by contrast, C.'s note reads, "These are the only words spoken by Virro to his guest; it is quite a polite formula."); 5.70-5 ("the patron's bread is described in terms of sexual attractiveness (tener, niueus, mollis), as if it were a beautiful slave-boy"); 5.170 (sapit: "appropriately 'has good sense' and referring to the sense of taste: Virro is 'a discriminating host'" -- a successful pun on B.'s own part, possibly inspired by Mayor ad loc.: "Virro shews his nice discrimination of character in selecting you as his butt").

No commentary, of course, is without its weaknesses. I begin with some minor points. In harmony with B.'s emphasis on the unity of Book 1, the text of Satires 1-5 is printed continuously (pp. 45- 73) and the heading, spread across facing pages, reads simply "D. IVNII IVVENALIS / SATVRARVM LIBER PRIMVS." I, for one, found the absence of an indication of which satire I was looking at (the numbers of the individual poems are only indicated at the beginning of each) to be a nuisance, especially when I was trying to find a particular passage. Otherwise, the book is produced quite attractively, and only a few typographical errors caught my eye, none of them particularly serious ("wittly" on p. 224; "+ and gen." on p. 110; "les Scantinia" in the index, p. 321; there is a problem with punctuation in the comment on censura at 2.63: "a name virtually synonymous with censorship" should be set off by parentheses, commas, or dashes to avoid confusion).

There are some details that, I imagine, would be confusing to a beginning reader, such as the unexplained terms progymnasma (p. 19) and syllepsis (on 1.72; by contrast, B. explains oxymoron at 1.139-40 and para prosdokian at 1.146), and references to earlier editions that are not cited in the bibliography (Dobree on 1.14, and Valla on 3.107-8). There were a few places where a cross-reference would have helped (at 1.155-6, on the effect of the sound f, to 2.8n.; at 3.156-8, on iuvenes for filios, to 4.95n.). And there were some points of interpretation on which I found B. less illuminating or convincing than C.: for example, on 1.55-7, C.'s references to the lex Julia and to the stories about Maecenas and Gabba are to the point (especially since Gabba appears at 5.4) but missing from B.; on 2.69 B. notes that the name Carfinia "is otherwise unknown," but C. calls it "a perfectly well-attested name," citing the TLL onomasticon; on 2.138 C. does well to point to the traditional Roman understanding of the purpose of marriage as being the procreation of legitimate children (see now Treggiari's magisterial Roman Marriage: 'Iusti Coniuges' from the Time of Cicero to the Time of Ulpian, Oxford, 1991), but B. is silent on the point.

It also struck me that B. invokes the modern concepts "multi-culturalism" and "racism" in a rather uncritical way: I am not sure what she means when she says that the "multi-culturalism" of Ennius' southern Italian background "manifested itself in [his] literary innovations" (p. 6), and B. casually attributes "racism" to Umbricius (p. 35) and to the speaker of Satire 1 (on 1.26-8); I am more comfortable when she speaks in terms of "xenophobia" (on 3.58-125) or "chauvinism and bigotry" (p. 270). Here B.'s discussion could, I think, have benefited from the insights on the concept of "race" in antiquity offered by Lloyd A. Thompson's Romans and Blacks (Norman, 1989).

Both B.'s introductory discussion and her comments on specific passages suffer from a lack of reference to general works on Roman social practices for beginning readers who might be interested in further study of, say, gladiatorial combat or dinner parties; she might have referred readers to any of the "everyday life" books, or even (since she does cite other German scholarship, such as RE and Otto's Sprichwörter) the rich compendia by Marquardt, Blümner, and Friedlaender (C., for his part, frequently refers to the first two). Moreover, a beginning reader of Satire 3 ought to be pointed in the direction of scholarship on questions of Roman cultural identity, particularly in relation to Greece: mention of the work of Nicholas Petrochilos, J.P.V.D. Balsdon, and Erich Gruen6 would have been useful. I also missed any attempt at comprehensive discussion of the relationship between Juvenal's satires and Martial's epigrams: parallels from Martial appear throughout the commentary, but some unifying discussion, or at least reference to W.S. Anderson's piece "Lascivia vs. ira"7 and J.P. Sullivan's monograph on Martial8 would have helped.

Finally, I turn to B.'s treatment of issues relating to Roman ideologies of gender and sexuality. First it should be noted that her discussions undoubtedly represent an improvement over those of her predecessors: C. wrote his commentary before much work had been done in the area (before, for example, Adams' Latin Sexual Vocabulary or Richlin's Garden of Priapus appeared), and Duff, writing in a very different era, merely avoided the issue, omitting Satire 2 in its entirety and excising offending passages from other satires: 1.37-44, 3.96-7 (vacua ... rima), and 3.134-6 simply do not appear in his text, let alone his commentary. Here, too, times have changed. B. is able to incorporate some insights from recent work on sexuality and to offer help to beginners in plain English: e.g., on 2.10 fossa, she notes "lit. 'ditch'; for fossa as a sexual term, denoting the vagina or anus (as here) see Adams (1982) 86 and cf. 9.45-6 foderit ... dominum, where fodio is used of the active role in intercourse" (where C. simply observes: "Thes. s.v. 1213.16 and see Goldberger Glotta 18, 1929, 57"); B.'s note at 2.57 on the meaning of paelex -- a term often vaguely and misleading translated as "mistress" or "rival" -- is clearer and more accessible to beginners than C.'s discussion; on 3.111, non filius ante pudicus, she helpfully glosses pudicus as "sexually pure" and rightly observes that "for the social superior to take the passive role in sexual intercourse with the client, as the son does with the Greek, would be shameful" (C. is silent on the entire phrase).

But on other occasions B.'s interpretations are less than satisfying. On 1.22-30 she cites as an example of "perversion of the norms of sexual behaviour" the appearance of bare-breasted women in the arena; is this not rather a perversion of the norms of "gender"? Her note on 4.3-4 ("sex with unmarried women was technically stuprum, but it seems that adulterium and stuprum could be used interchangeably") is somewhat misleading. Sexual relations between a Roman man and any free-born Roman of either sex other than his wife were liable to being called stuprum; relations with a slave woman, for example, would not usually be called stuprum, while relations with a free- born boy would (see, e.g., Elaine Fantham, "Stuprum: Public Attitudes and Penalties for Sexual Offences in Republican Rome," EMC 35 [1991] 267-91, and my own "Greek Love at Rome," CQ 45 [1995]: 517-39). Her note on 2.13 fails to illuminate the nasty bite of the speaker's allusion to the hypocrites' hemorrhoids (mariscae): piles were sometimes thought to result from overindulgence in the receptive role in anal intercourse.9 At 2.21, ceventem is not "mincing around" (so B.) but quite specifically "wiggling your buttocks" (again directly suggesting the receptive role in anal intercourse: see Adams, pp. 136-7). B.'s discussion of the lex Julia at 2.37 is sketchy, and ought perhaps to have cited more detailed discussions such as those of Richlin and Raditsa.10 B.'s treatment of Laronia's reference to the lex Scantinia (2.43- 4) is problematic: the label that B. applies to the law, de Venere nefanda, does not appear in any ancient source; and her statement that the law "is never heard of again" is confusing (it does not recur in Juvenal to be sure, but there are frustratingly allusive references to the law in Tertullian, Ausonius, and Prudentius). But above all B.'s discussion sidesteps what is perhaps the biggest question here, namely how and why Laronia applies the law to her interlocutor, and what this passage might tell us about the (debatable) provisions of the law. Later, with regard to Laronia's assertion that no women plead in court, B. rightly notes that this character's speech, because it is so polemical, cannot be "treated as offering reliable evidence about Roman life" (on 2.51-2). I assume that she views Laronia's reference to the lex Scantinia in this light; if so, she ought to have made her stance clearer, and in any case I do think she should have made reference to the ongoing controversy about the provisions of the law, since this passage plays an important role in it.11

The most serious problems in B.'s discussions of Roman sexuality stem from her uncritical use of the terms "homosexual" and "homosexuality," particularly in her commentary on Satire 2. In her concluding essay on the satire she observes, citing the work of Richlin (though she might also have cited Veyne, Cantarella, Edwards, and Gleason), that while the targets of the poem "are often described as hypocrites or homosexuals or hypocritical homosexuals," none of these terms "exactly squares with categories of Roman thought: the cultural variations in taxonomy, especially regarding sexual matters, are notoriously wide." She continues by noting that "it is more accurate to say that, in Roman terms, the targets are all men who forfeit their claim to masculinity, an essentially active, dominating role, by their effeminate, passive or submissive behaviour" (p. 168). All of this, it seems to me, is exactly on the mark, for reasons that I consider at length in my forthcoming book.12 And yet B.'s commentary on Satire 2 is dotted with references to "homosexuals" and "homosexuality": in other words, the commentary makes precisely the mistake that the essay warns against. I suspect that the commentary was written before, and the essay after, B. had read Richlin, Konstan, and Edwards, and that the commentary was not subsequently rewritten. This is unfortunate.

I offer one example of the kind of problem created by speaking of "homosexuals" or "homosexuality" in Satire 2. Throughout B.'s commentary we read of "homosexuals" (11-15, 15-23, 20, 21, 22), "effeminates and homosexuals" (1-35) and even of "homosexuals/effeminates" (83-7). But, as B. notes on 143-8, the "final, clinching proof of the shamelessness of Gracchus-the-bride" has nothing to do with his sexual practices: rather, he appears in the arena as a gladiator (C. unconvincingly argues that the passage is a digression that should be placed in parentheses; this is contradicted, it seems to me, by the marked rhetorical build-up in vicit et hoc monstrum, 143). Now, it is immediately after this description of Gracchus in the arena that the poet imagines (149-59) a meeting in the Underworld between the shades of ancient, virtuous Romans and a representative of today's corrupt aristocracy. In the phrase that sets up the meeting, quotiens hinc talis ad illos / umbra venit (156-7), talis umbra most naturally evokes the last image presented to us, that of Gracchus in the arena, at least as much as (and probably more than) the earlier image of Gracchus as bride. Apparently recognizing this, B. drops the language of "homosexuality" here, speaking only of "an effeminate ghost" (on 149-52). In fact, the corruption that has taken hold of the aristocrats, represented by this Gracchus who is bride to a lower-class man and who -- the ultimate disgrace -- appears as a gladiator in the arena, is not fundamentally a question of "homosexuality" (as B.'s commentary sometimes implies) or "sexual immorality" (as C., p. 122, explicitly claims to be the case). Rather, as B. herself later implies in her essay, it stems from an inversion of gender norms, a forfeiture of masculinity embodied in various unacceptable behaviors such as playing the "woman's role" in a sexual relationship or appearing in the arena to entertain the masses. Here we should compare the highly apposite parallel from Seneca (N.Q. 7.31.3) that B. cites on p. 159: Seneca culminates an attack on effeminacy by speaking of how men disgrace themselves and their masculinity (cotidie comminiscimur per quae virilitati fiat iniuria): one man castrates himself, another hires himself out to be a gladiator. Clearly "homosexuality" is not the problem for Seneca; nor is it for Juvenal. If we are to describe in terms of "homosexuality" the degeneracy attacked in Satire 2 (as does B. on, e.g., 78-81), then we must also describe the corruption satirized in 1.22 (a eunuch takes a wife) or 1.37-41 (a rich old woman financially rewards men in proportion to their genital endowments) in terms of "heterosexuality." B.'s essay seems to be aware of the problem; it is a pity that her commentary does not clearly reflect that awareness.

But these weaknesses do not, in the end, outweigh the great strengths of B.'s commentary: the generous assistance it provides beginning readers, its attention to questions of characterization and structure and to the tricky issue of the satiric persona, its explorations of the dynamics of intertextuality, and the sheer number of perceptive comments that it offers throughout. B. makes a first reading of Juvenal 1-5 both less difficult and more rewarding than do her predecessors, and while for subsequent in-depth study, those predecessors -- C. above all -- remain indispensable, they are greatly complemented by B. It is to be hoped that B. will publish further commentary on this rich and complex poet.


NOTES

1. For example, having described the client's duties to his patron, B. simply notes that "in return for this, the client might then be invited to dinner" -- a bathetic oversimplification. Her discussion on 1.95 is better.

2. Duff contains some material of this kind, but less than B., and in any case he censors on a number of occasions (see below). The beginners' commentary by Niall Rudd and Edward Courtney (Satires I, III, X, Bristol, 1977) provides a great deal of help on linguistic matters for the three poems included, but by their own admission (p. 1) Rudd and Courtney offer very little by way of "literary appreciation" and only a minimum of assistance on "historical points."

3. A sampling: 1.104 (licet + subjunctive = "although"), 1.152 (animo flagrante, abl. of attendant circumstances), 1.168-70 (the construction of paenitet), 2.56 (Penelope and Arachne are ablatives), 2.108-9 (postponed nec), 2.132-3 (dative of agent with gerundive peragendum), 3.31 (quis=quibus), 4.107 (abdomine, abl. of cause), 4.139 (meaning of usus).

4. Examples: 2.49, 2.69-70 (where one could simply note that damnata has a conditional force: similarly with 4.50, non dubitaturi), 2.81, 2.82-3 (simply noting the long vowel in hoc would suffice), 3.221-2, 3.301 (the notes that liceat is impersonal and reverti deponent should suffice).

5. Note that the parenthesis is never closed in the text: one of a few typographical errors (see below).

6. N. Petrochilos, Roman Attitudes to the Greeks, Athens, 1974; J.P.V.D. Balsdon, Romans and Aliens, London, 1979; E. Gruen, Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome, Ithaca, 1992.

7. Included in his collection Essays on Roman Satire, cited in B.'s bibliography.

8. J.P. Sullivan, Martial: The Unexpected Classic, Cambridge, 1991.

9. See Peter Howell, A Commentary on Book One of the Epigrams of Martial (London, 1980), pp. 259-60 (on Mart. 1.65). The point in Juvenal is obliquely noted by C. ad loc., more explicitly by Martin M. Winkler, The Persona in Three Satires of Juvenal (Hildesheim, 1983), p. 94.

10. Amy Richlin, "Approaches to the Sources on Adultery at Rome" (in Helene P. Foley, ed., Reflections of Women in Antiquity [New York, 1981], pp. 379-404); L.F. Raditsa, "Augustus' Legislation concerning Marriage, Procreation, Love Affairs and Adultery" (ANRW II.13 [1980]: 278-339).

11. In addition to the discussions of Boswell and Lilja cited by B., see especially Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (New Haven, 1992), pp. 106-119 and Richlin, "Not before Homosexuality" (cited in B.'s bibliography), pp. 569-571.

12. Craig A. Williams, Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity, Oxford University Press (forthcoming).