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Juvenal: Satire 2 (Latin/English)

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Juvenal: Satire 1 Latin | Satire 1 English | Satire 1 English/Latin
Juvenal: Satire 2 Latin | Satire 2 English | Satire 2 English/Latin
Juvenal: Satire 3 Latin | Satire 3 English | Satire 3 English/Latin








VLTRA Sauromatas fugere hinc libet et glacialem
Oceanum, quotiens aliquid de moribus audent
qui Curios simulant et Bacchanalia vivunt.
indocti primum, quamquam plena omnia gypso
5 Chrysippi invenias; nam perfectissimus horum,
si quis Aristotelen similem vel Pittacon emit
et iubet archetypos pluteum servare Cleanthas.
frontis nulla fides; quis enim non vicus abundat
tristibus obscaenis? castigas turpia, cum sis
10 inter Socraticos notissima fossa cinaedos?
hispida membra quidem et durae per bracchia saetae
promittunt atrocem animum, sed podice levi
caeduntur tumidae medico ridente mariscae.
rarus sermo illis et magna libido tacendi
15 atque supercilio brevior coma. verius ergo
et magis ingenue Peribomius; hunc ego fatis
inputo, qui vultu morbum incessuque fatetur.
horum simplicitas miserabilis, his furor ipse
dat veniam; sed peiores, qui talia verbis
20 Herculis invadunt et de virtute locuti
clunem agitant. "ego te ceventem, Sexte, verebor?"
infamis Varillus ait "quo deterior te?"
loripedem rectus derideat, Aethiopem albus;
quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes?
25 quis caelum terris non misceat et mare caelo,
si fur displiceat Verri, homicida Miloni,
Clodius accuset moechos, Catilina Cethegum,
in tabulam Sullae si dicant discipuli tres?
qualis erat nuper tragico pollutus adulter
30 concubitu, qui tunc leges revocabat amaras
omnibus atque ipsis Veneri Martique timendas,
cum tot abortivis fecundam Iulia vulvam
solveret et patruo similes effunderet offas.
nonne igitur iure ac merito vitia ultima fictos
35 contemnunt Scauros et castigata remordent?
I would fain flee to Sarmatia and the frozen Sea when people who ape the Curii[1] and live like Bacchanals dare talk about morals. In the first place, they are unlearned persons, though you may find their houses crammed with plaster casts of Chrysippus;[2] for their greatest hero is the man who has brought a likeness of Aristotle or Pittacus,[3] or bids his shelves preserve an original portrait of Cleanthes.[4] Men's faces are not to be trusted; does not every street abound in gloomy-visaged debauchees? And do you rebuke foul practices, when you are yourself the most notorious delving-ground among Socratic reprobates? A hairy body, and arms stiff with bristles, give promise of a manly soul: but sleek are your buttocks when the grinning doctor cuts into the swollen piles. Men of your kidney talk little; they glory in taciturnity, and cut their hair shorter than their eyebrows. Peribomius[5] himself is more open and more honest; his face, his walk, betray his distemper, and I charge Destiny with his failings. Such men excite your pity by their frankness; the very fury of their passions wins them pardon. Far worse are those who denounce evil ways in the language of a Hercules; and after discoursing upon virtue, prepare to practise vice. "Am I to respect you, Sextus," quoth the ill-famed Varillus, "when you do as I do? How am I worse than yourself?" Let the straight-legged man laugh at the club-footed, the white man at the blackamoor: but who could endure the Gracchi railing at sedition? Who will not confound heaven with earth, and sea with sky, if Verres denounce thieves, or Milo[6] cut-throats? If Clodius condemn adulterers, or Catiline upbraid Cethegus;[7] or if Sulla's three disciples[8] inveigh against proscriptions? Such a man was that adulterer[9] who, after lately defiling himself by a union of the tragic style, revived the stern laws that were to be a terror to all men-ay, even to Mars and Venus-at the moment when Julia was relieving her fertile womb and giving birth to abortions that displayed the similitude of her uncle. Is it not then right and proper that the very worst of sinners should despise your pretended Scauri,[l0] and bite back when bitten?
Non tulit ex illis torvum Laronia quendam
clamantem totiens "ubi nunc, lex Iulia?[1] dormis?"
atque ita subridens: "felicia tempora, quae te
moribus opponunt. habeat iam Roma pudorem,
40 tertius e caelo cecidit Cato. sed tamen unde
haec emis, hirsuto spirant opobalsama collo
quae tibi? ne pudeat dominum monstrare tabernae.
quod si vexantur leges ac iura,[2] citari
ante omnes debet Scantinia: respice primum
45 et scrutare viros; faciunt nam[3] plura, sed illos
defendit numerus iunctaeque umbone phalanges.
magna inter molles concordia. non erit ullum
exemplum in nostro tam detestabile sexu.
Media non lambit Cluviam nec Flora Catullam
50 Hispo subit iuvenes et morbo pallet utroque.
36 Laronia could not contain herself when one of these sour-faced worthies cried out, "What of you, Julian Law?[11] What, gone to sleep?" To which she answered smilingly, "O happy times to have you for a censor of our morals! Once more may Rome regain her modesty; a third Cato has come down to us from the skies! But tell me, where did you buy that balsam juice that exhales from your hairy neck? Don't be ashamed to point out to me the shopman! If laws and statutes are to be raked up, you should cite first of all the Scantinian:[12] inquire first into the things that are done by men; men do more wicked things than we do, but they are protected by their numbers, and the tight-locked shields of their phalanx. Male effeminates agree wondrously well among themselves; never in our sex will you find such loathsome examples of evil. . . .


"Numquid nos agimus causas, civilia iura
novimus, aut ullo strepitu fora vestra movemus?
luctantur paucae, comedunt colyphia paucae:
vos lanam trahitis calathisque peracta refertis
55 vellera, vos tenui praegnantem stamine fusum
Penelope melius, levius torquetis Arachne,
horrida quale facit residens in codice paelex.
notum est cur solo tabulas inpleverit Hister
liberto, dederit vivus cur multa puellae;
60 dives erit magno quae dormit tertia lecto;
tu nube atque tace: donant arcana cylindros.
de nobis post haec tristis sententia fertur?
dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas."
51 "Do we women ever plead in the courts? Are we learned in the Law? Do your court-houses ever ring with our bawling? Some few of us are wrestlers; some of us eat meat-rations: you men spin wool and bring back your tale of work in full baskets when it is done; you twirl round the spindle big with fine thread more deftly than Penelope, more delicately than Arachne,[l3] doing work such as an unkempt drab squatting on a log would do. Everybody knows why Hister left all his property to his freedman, why in his life-time he gave so many presents to his young wife; the woman who sleeps third in a big bed will want for nothing. So when you take a husband, keep your mouth shut; precious stones[14] will be the reward of a well-kept secret. After this, what condemnation can be pronounced on us women? Our censor absolves the raven and passes judgment on the pigeon!"


Fugerunt trepidi vera ac manifesta canentem
65 Stoicidae; quid enim falsi Laronia? sed quid
non facient alii, cum tu multicia sumas,
Cretice, et hanc vestem populo mirante perores
in Proculas et Pollittas? est moecha Fabulla,
damnetur, si vis, etiam Carfinia: talem
70 non sumet damnata togam. "sed Iulius ardet,
aestuo." nudus agas: minus est insania turpis.
en habitum quo te leges ac iura ferentem
vulneribus crudis populus modo victor, et illud
montanum positis audiret vulgus aratris.
75 quid non proclames, in corpore iudicis ista
si videas? quaero an deceant multicia testem.
acer et indomitus libertatisque magister,
Cretice, perluces. dedit hanc contagio labem
et dabit in plures, sicut grex totus in agris
80 unius scabie cadit et porrigine[4] porci
uvaque conspecta livorem ducit ab uva.
64 While Laronia was uttering these plain truths, the would-be Stoics made off in confusion; for what word of untruth had she spoken? Yet what will not other men do when you, Creticus, dress yourself in garments of gauze, and while everyone is marvelling at your attire, launch out against the Proculae and the Pollittae? Fabulla is an adulteress; condemn Carfinia of the same crime if you please; but however guilty, they would never wear such a gown as yours. "O but," you say, "these July days are so sweltering!" Then why not plead without clothes? Such madness would be less disgraceful. A pretty garb yours in which to propose or expound laws to our countrymen flushed with victory, and with their wounds yet unhealed; and to those mountain rustics who had laid down their ploughs to listen to you! What would you not exclaim if you saw a judge dressed like that? Would a robe of gauze sit becomingly on a witness? You, Creticus, you, the keen, unbending champion of human liberty, to be clothed in a transparency! This plague has come upon us by infection, and it will spread still further, just as in the fields the scab of one sheep, or the mange of one pig, destroys an entire herd; just as one bunch of grapes takes on its sickly colour from the aspect of its neighbour.


Foedius hoc aliquid quandoque audebis amictu;
nemo repente fuit turpissimus. accipient te
paulatim qui longa domi redimicula sumunt
85 frontibus et toto posuere monilia collo,
atque bonam tenerae placant abdomine porcae
et magno cratere deam; sed more sinistro
exagitata procul non intrat femina limen:
solis ara deae maribus patet. "ite profanae,"
90 clamatur, "nullo gemit hic tibicina cornu."
talia secreta coluerunt orgia taeda
Cecropiam soliti Baptae lassare Cotyton.
ille supercilium madida fuligine tinctum
obliqua producit acu pingitque trementis
95 attollens oculos; vitreo bibit ille priapo,
reticulumque comis auratum ingentibus implet
caerulea indutus scutulata aut galbina rasa,
et per Iunonem domini iurante ministro;
ille tenet speculum, pathici gestamen Othonis,
100 Actoris Aurunci spolium, quo se ille videbat
armatum, cum iam tolli vexilla iuberet.
res memoranda novis annalibus atque recenti
historia, speculum civilis sarcina belli;
nimirum summi ducis est occidere Galbam
105 et curare cutem; summi constantia civis
Bebriacis campis spolium[5] adfectare Palati,
et pressum in facie digitis extendere panem,
quod nec in Assyrio pharetrata Samiramis orbe,
maesta nec Actiaca fecit Cleopatra carina.
110 hic nullus verbis pudor aut reverentia mensae,
hic turpis[6] Cybeles et fracta voce loquendi
libertas et crine senex fanaticus albo
sacrorum antistes, rarum ac memorabile magni
gutturis exemplum conducendusque magister.
115 quid tamen expectant, Phrygio quos tempus erat iam
more supervacuam cultris abrumpere carnem?
82 Some day you will venture on something more shameful than this dress; no one reaches the depths of turpitude all at once. By degrees you will be welcomed by those who in their homes put long fillets round their brows, swathe themselves with necklaces, and propitiate the Bona Dea with the stomach of a porker and a huge bowl of wine, though by an evil usage the Goddess warns off all women from entering the door; none but males may approach her altar.[15] "Away with you! profane women" is the cry; "no booming horn, no she-minstrels here!" Such were the secret torchlight orgies with which the Baptae[16] wearied the Cecropian[17] Cotytto. One prolongs his eyebrows with some damp soot staining the edge of a needle, and lifts up his blinking eyes to be painted; another drinks out of an obscenely-shaped glass, and ties up his long locks in a gilded net; he is clothed in blue checks, or smooth-faced green; the attendant swears by Juno like his master. Another holds in his hand a mirror like that carried by the effeminate Otho: a trophy of the Auruncan Actor,[18] in which he gazed at his own image in full armour when he was just ready to give the order to advance--a thing notable and novel in the annals of our time, a mirror among the kit of Civil War! It needed, in truth, a mighty general to slay Galba, and keep his own skin sleek; it needed a citizen of highest courage to ape the splendours of the Palace on the field of Bebriacum,[19] and plaster his face with dough! Never did the quiver-bearing Samiramis[20] the like in her Assyrian realm, nor the despairing Cleopatra on board her ship at Actium. No decency of language is there here: no regard for the manners of the table. You will hear all the foul talk and squeaking tones of Cybele; a grey-haired frenzied old man presides over the rites; he is a rare and notable master of mighty gluttony, and should be hired to teach it. But why wait any longer when it were time in Phrygian fashion to lop off the superfluous flesh?


Quadringenta dedit Gracchus sestertia dotem
cornicini, sive hic recto cantaverat aere;
signatae tabulae, dictum "feliciter," ingens
120 cena sedet, gremio iacuit nova nupta mariti.
o proceres, censore opus est an haruspice nobis?
scilicet horreres maioraque monstra putares,
si mulier vitulum vel si bos ederet agnum?
segmenta et longos habitus et flammea sumit
125 arcano qui sacra ferens nutantia loro
sudavit clupeis ancilibus.
117 Gracchus has presented to a cornet player-or perhaps it was a player on the straight horn-a dowry of four hundred thousand sesterces. The contract has been signed; the benedictions have been pronounced; a crowd of banqueters seated, the new made bride is reclining on the bosom of her husband. O ye nobles of Rome! is it a soothsayer that we need, or a Censor? Would you be more aghast, would you deem it a greater portent, if a woman gave birth to a calf, or a cow to a lamb? The man who is now arraying himself in the flounces and train and veil of a bride once carried the nodding shields[21] of Mars by the sacred thongs and sweated under the sacred burden!


O pater urbis,
unde nefas tantum Latiis pastoribus? unde
haec tetigit, Gradive, tuos urtica nepotes?
traditur ecce viro clarus genere atque opibus vir,
130 nec galeam quassas, nec terram cuspide pulsas,
nec quereris patri? vade ergo et cede severi
iugeribus campi, quem neglegis.
126 O Father of our city, whence came such wickedness among thy Latin shepherds? How did such a lust possess thy grandchildren, O Gradivus? Behold! Here you have a man of high birth and wealth being handed over in marriage to a man, and yet neither shakest thy helmet, nor smitest the earth with thy spear, nor yet protestest to thy Father? Away with thee then; begone from the broad acres of that Martial Plain[22] which thou hast forgotten!


"Officium cras
primo sole mihi peragendum in valle Quirini."
"quae causa officii?" "quid quaeris? nubit amicus
135 nec multos adhibet." liceat modo vivere, fient,
fient ista palam, cupient et in acta referri.
interea tormentum ingens nubentibus haeret,
quod nequeant parere et partu retinere maritos.
sed melius, quod nil animis in corpora iuris
140 natura indulget: steriles moriuntur, et illis
turgida non prodest condita pyxide Lyde,
nec prodest agili palmas praebere luperco.
132 "I have a ceremony to attend," quoth one, "at dawn to-morrow, in the Quirinal valley." "What is the occasion?" "No need to ask: a friend is taking to himself a husband; quite a small affair." Yes, and if we only live long enough, we shall see these things done openly: people will wish to see them reported among the news of the day. Meanwhile these would-be brides have one great trouble: they can bear no children wherewith to keep the affection of their husbands; well has nature done in granting to their desires no power over their bodies. They die unfertile; naught avails them the medicine-chest of the bloated Lyde, or to hold out their hands to the blows of the swift-footed Luperci![23]


Vicit et hoc monstrum tunicati fuscina Gracchi,
lustravitque fuga mediam gladiator harenam
145 et Capitolinis generosior et Marcellis
et Catuli Paulique minoribus et Fabiis et
omnibus ad podium spectantibus, his licet ipsum
admoveas cuius tunc munere retia misit.
Esse aliquos manes et subterranea regna
143 Greater still the portent when Gracchus, clad in a tunic, played the gladiator, and fled, trident in hand, across the arena-Gracchus, a man of nobler birth than the Capitolini, or the Marcelli, or the descendents of Catulus or Paulus, or the Fabii: nobler than all the spectators in the podium;[24] not excepting him who gave the show at which that net[25] was flung.


150 et contum[7] et Stygio ranas in gurgite nigras,
atque una transire vadum tot milia cumba
nec pueri credunt, nisi qui nondum aere lavantur.
sed tu vera puta: Curius quid sentit et ambo
Scipiadae, quid Fabricius manesque Camilli,
155 quid Cremerae legio et Cannis consumpta iuventus,
tot bellorum animae, quotiens hinc talis ad illos
umbra venit? cuperent lustrari, si qua darentur
sulpura cum taedis et si foret umida laurus.
illic[8] heu miseri traducimur. arma quidem ultra
160 litora Iuvernae promovimus et modo captas
Orcadas ac minima contentos nocte Britannos;
sed quae nunc populi fiunt victoris in urbe,
non faciunt illi quos vicimus. et tamen unus
Armenius Zalaces cunctis narratur ephebis
165 mollior ardenti sese indulsisse tribuno.
aspice quid faciant commercia: venerat obses,
hic fiunt homines. nam si mora longior urbem
indulsit pueris, non umquam[9] derit amator.
mittentur bracae cultelli frena flagellum;
170 sic praetextatos referunt Artaxata mores.
149 That there are such things as Manes, and kingdoms below ground, and punt-poles, and Stygian pools black with frogs, and all those thousands crossing over in a single bark-these things not even boys believe, except such as have not yet had their penny bath. But just imagine them to be true-what would Curius and the two Scipios think? or Fabricius and the spirit of Camillus? What would the legion that fought at the Cremera[26] think, or the young manhood that fell at Cannae; what would all those gallant hearts feel when a shade of this sort came down to them from here? They would wish to be purified; if only sulphur and torches and damp laurel-branches were to be had. Such is the degradation to which we have come! Our arms indeed we have pushed beyond Juverna's[27] shores, to the new-conquered Orcades and the short-nighted Britons; but the things which we do in our victorious city will never be done by the men whom we have conquered. And yet they say that one Zalaces, an Armenian more effeminate than any of our youth, has yielded to the ardour of a Tribune! Just see what evil communications do! He came as a hostage: but here boys are turned into men. Give them a long sojourn in our city, and lovers will never fail them. They will throw away their trousers and their knives, their bridles and their whips, and thus carry back to Artaxata the manners of our Roman youth



[1] Housm. punctuates ubi nunc, lex Iulia, dormis?

[2] ac iura y (see l. 72): acturae P.

[3] nam Housm. from 0: hi Vind.y and Büch.: qui Büch. (1910).

[4] prurigine P.

[5] spolium y 0: solium Herwerd.Housm.

[6] turpis PVind.y : turpes TParis.

[7] et contum S Vind.y : et pontum PSTU. Housm. reads Cocytum after Luitprandus, Antapodosis 5 B.

[8] illic Vind.GL: illuc ATU and appar. P.

[9] non umquam GLOTHousm.: non numquam


[1] A famous family of early Rome.

[2] The eminent Stoic philosopher, pupil of Cleanthes.

[3] One of the seven wise men of Greece, b. circ. B.C. 652.

[4] Pupil and successor of Zeno, founder of the Stoic School, from about B. C. 300 to 220. Famous for his poverty and iron will.

[5] Some villainous character of the day.

[6] Alluding to the faction-fights between Clodius and Milo, B.C. 52. Clodius violated the rites of the Bona Dea; see vi 314-341 and note on p. 24.

[7] A partner in the Catilinarian conspiracy, B.C. 63.

[8] i.e. the second triumvirate (Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus) who followed the example of Sulla's proscriptions.

[9] The emperor Domitian. Domitian was a lover of his niece Julia, daughter of his brother Titus.

[10] One of the most famous families of the later Republic.

[11] In reference to the law passed by Augustus for encouraging marriage (Lex lulia de maritandis ordinibus).

[12] A law against unnatural crime.

[13] A Lydian maiden who challenged Athene in spinning and was turned into a spider.

[14] Cylindrus, a cylinder, is here used for a precious stone cut in that shape.

[15] None but women could attend the rites of the Bona Dea. Hence the scandal created in B.C. 62 by Clodius when he made his way into the house of Caesar, where the rites were being celebrated, disguised as a woman. Hence Caesar put away his wife Pompeia, as "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion." In the present passage Juvenal refers to some real or imaginary inversion of the old rule, by which none but males, clothed in female dresses, were to be admitted to the worship of the Goddess.

[16] Worshippers of the Thracian deity Cotytto.

[17] i.e. Athenian, Cecrops being the first king of Athens.

[18] The words Actoris Aurunci spolium are a quotation from Virg. Aen. xii 94. The suggestion seems to be that Otho was as proud of his mirror as if it had been a trophy of war, like the spear which King Turnus captured from Actor.

[19] The battle in which Otho was defeated by Vitellius.

[20] Mythical founder of the Assyrian empire with her husband Ninus.

[21] Gracchus was one of the Salii, priests of Mars who had to carry the sacred shields of Mars (ancilia) in procession through the city.

[22] i.e. the Campus Martius.

[23] The Luperci were a mysterious priesthood who on certain days ran round the pomoerium clad in goat-skins and struck at any woman they met with goat-skin thongs in order to produce fertility.

[24] The podium was a balustrade, or balcony, set all round the amphitheatre, from which the most distinguished of the spectators witnessed the performance.

[25] For the disgrace incurred by Gracchus in fighting as a retiarius against a secutor, see the fuller passage viii. 199-210 and note.

[26] The battle in which 300 Fabii were killed.

[27] lreland.





LCL 91



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