Figuring Out Roman Nobility
Juvenal's Eighth 'Satire'
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
“John Henderson's witty and provocative study of Juvenal's excoriating satire on noble family trees, sets out, as it were, to hunt for the unpatched arse-holes of the Roman aristocracy. That Juvenal's Eighth Satire exposes the pretensions of the disreputable descendants of the great and the good is evident. The only true nobility, proclaims the satirist, is virtue. But for Henderson, in Figuring Out Roman Nobility: Juvenal's Eighth Satire, the attack is broader still. Not only are the ancestors systematically ridiculed, but the entire culture of deference to the dead is demolished, taking with it the classics of Latin literature and the whole edifice of Roman education that was based on them. Even the reader is not immune to the satirist's attack, since the capacity to make any sense of this densely allusive poem betrays all too close an acquaintance with the subject of all those eulogies. The poem, in Henderson's reading, turns the tables on the ancestors, subjecting them to scrutiny, making their deeds and reputations the object of the critical and shaming gaze of the living.” –Times Literary Supplement, 12 September 1997
“This book is . . . well grounded in solid literary scholarship, displaying the author's indisputably wide and detailed knowledge of Latin literature. It is well buttressed by a supportive structure of appendices (36 pages compared with 96 pages of the main body of the book) and endnotes, in which the author's erudition is apparent. It is also grounded in a detailed examination of the Roman social and cultural history of the period of which the satire is a product. The text is firmly placed in context in the world, both material and mental, from which is comes and to which it was first directed . . . Instead of taking the text merely as an example of . . . commonplace performance, Henderson in this deftly articulated book invites us to read Juvenal Satires 8 as a distanced comment of contemporary Roman educational practice, the place of tradition in Roman life, and on 'Romanness' itself, as created, recreated and transmitted.” –Scholia, 6 (1997) 19
Chapter 1: On the way in: Text and translation of Juvenal, Satire 8. 1-38
Chapter 2: Noblesse oblige: What are pedigrees?
Chapter 3: Rome in the Nomen: Naming in Latin.
Chapter 4: Pedigree chums: The poetics and politics of Roman names.
Chapter 5: It's no good calling people names: vv.1-5
Chapter 6: Canst though not remember Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?: The 'generalizing plural' in Latin.
Chapter 7: Why the little boy was glad that everyone called him Cyril: v.3
Chapter 8: Curiouser and curioser: v.4
Chapter 9: Fallen Idols: vv.6-9
Chapter 10: The fame of the name: vv.6-9
Chapter 11: That for a game of soldiers: vv.9-12
Chapter 12: Absolutely Fabius: vv.13-8
Chapter 13: Courage, mon brave: vv.19-20
Chapter 14: Lloyd's names: vv.21-38
Chapter 15: All the way, always: Translation of Juvenal, Satire 8. 39-275
Chapter 16: Off you go and make a name for yourself: vv.39-275
Chapter 17: On your way out, if you wouldn't mind . . . : Juvenal, Satires, Book 3
Appendix 1: Horace, Odes 1. 12 and the 'generalizing plural': Discussion (with texts and translations).
Appendix 2: Virgil's roll-call of Roman Exempla: Aeneid 6.808-86, synopsis, text and translation.
Appendix 3: Fabius Maximus in Virgil, Livy, Ovid: Discussion (with texts and translations).
Appendix 4: Glossary of Roman Cognomina: Why is a Roman Emperor like P?
Index: Chief passages discussed in the text and notes.