According to Juvenal, Life in Rome Was Very Dangerous. What Were the Dangers of Living in Rome and to What Extent Do You Think Juvenal Is Telling the Truth?

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Juvenal questions, ‘Who could endure this monstrous city?’ expressing his dislike of city life. The problems with Rome – its infrastructure and particularly its people – are frequent themes within his satires. I believe that in some cases of danger that Juvenal puts forward, such walking through Rome at night, that the danger is genuine. However, in others, I think that Juvenal is exaggerating to make his satire more interesting and/or amusing. A main danger of Rome seems to be the people. The wide, diverse range of citizens appears to upset Juvenal, particularly foreigners. To Juvenal, they appear to be a danger to the Roman way of life, noting they are living in a ‘Greek-struck Rome.’ He presents them as being like rodents, ‘burrowing into great houses,’ with their ‘gift of the gab.’ Even worse, as Juvenal’s friend Umbricius notes, that the Greeks are taking the places of Romans, by ‘witnessing… manumissions and wills,’ and preceding them at ‘dinner-parties.’ Juvenal goes as far to note that there was no longer any ‘room for honest Romans.’ A man who falls under this category is the ‘delta-bread houseslave’, Crispinus. This Egyptian freedman seems to be the man Juvenal despises the most, describing him as ‘a monster of wickedness,’ due to being able to get away with any crime which an ordinary Roman could not. Although many of the rich were corrupt, I believe that Juvenal does appear to hold a prejudiced attitude to those not of Roman descendent. He talks of foreigners in a degrading manner, and Greeks are not the only ones. Juvenal suggests his dislike for ‘Jewish squatters’ at the beginning of satire three and uses degrading language against Crispinus and his Egyptian heritage. He is, therefore, not a valid source to prove that foreigners were a real danger to Romans, due to harbouring discriminatory attitudes. Juvenal puts forward the point in his first

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