Juvenal (Juvenalis), Defining Junius, a Roman satirical poet, flourished in the latter part of the 1st century A. D. and in the first quarter of the 2d. The only certain facts in his personal history are that Aquinum was either the place of his nativity or his chosen residence, and that he was an intimate friend of Martial, who addresses him in three of his epigrams. According to the oldest memoir of him, ascribed with little probability to Suetonius, he was either the son or the alumnus of a wealthy freedman, occupied himself till middle age as a pleader, and was led to devote himself to satirical composition by the success of some verses which he wrote upon a pantomimist named Paris; after much hesitation he recited his satires before numerous audiences, which were received with so much favor that he ventured to insert in one of them his attack on Paris; this was construed into an attack on an actor at that time in high favor at court, and he was therefore, although 80 years of age, appointed to command a cohort of infantry in Egypt, and soon died of vexation and grief in this honorable exile.
The pantomimist Paris, a favorite of Domitian, was put to death in A. D. 83; and as it is established that one of the satires of Juvenal was written not earlier than 96 and another not earlier than 100, he could not have been sent to Egypt in the lifetime of Paris, unless he afterward returned, in which case it is strange that his works contain no allusion to his exile. The story of his banishment is therefore questioned by some critics. Juvenal disputes with Horace the honor of being the greatest Roman satirist. Living amid the vices of a declining state, under the tyranny of Nero and Domitian, and seeing the humiliation of his countrymen, his compositions are much more purposely and formally severe than the easy and good-humored satires of Horace. Each of them is an elaborate and sonorous piece of declamation, which confirms the statement of some of his biographers that in youth he diligently attended the schools of the rhetoricians, and that he was accustomed to declaim at the forum during many years of his life. His extant works are 15 satires, and a fragment of doubtful authenticity, all in heroic hexameters. There are numerous very early editions, six of which may claim to be the princeps.
Among the most complete editions are those of Ruperti (Leipsic, 1819), Heinrich (Bonn, 1839), and Otto Jahn (Berlin, 1851). Jahn holds that only the first 9 satires and the 11th are Juvenal's, and that these contain many interpolations; see also Ribbeck's Der echte und der unechte Jwcenalis (Berlin, 1865). The English metrical translators are Holyday, Stapleton, Dryden (of five satires), Gifford, Hodgson, Badham, and Evans; there is also a literal prose translation, with notes, by J. D. Lewis (London, 1873).