Juvenal Satires Book 3. Godwin, John (9781800854864). Hardback.

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The three poems (Satires 7, 8 and 9) that comprise Book 3 of the Satires form a brilliant collection, displaying Juvenal at the height of his powers and in the full breadth of his interests. Satire 7 takes a jaundiced look at intellectual life in Rome, bemoaning the financial poverty which is the lot of the writer, the lawyer and the teacher in an age where patrons may shower them with praise but rarely with cash. Satire 8 is an excoriating account of the old ‘noble’ families and how their current representatives are anything but noble in their behaviour both at home and in the provinces. The scandalous Satire 9 returns to the theme of patronage in a superbly acid dialogue with a certain Naevolus who has served his patron sexually and who now complains of the poor returns for his extensive and energetic labours. All three poems purport to describe and to critique Roman society, but they do so with an irony which draws attention to the medium as well as the message and which makes the speaker of the poetry often the target of his own abuse. This is the first edition of Book 3 as a unit by itself and the first edition intended for students with limited knowledge of Latin. The introduction sets the scene for the text and gathers background information on a range of essential topics pertinent to the text. The commentary as well as dealing with textual transmission, the metre, the factual background and advanced points of stylistic interest also aims to impart something of the pleasure and interest to be gained from reading this sublimely skilful poetry.

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