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Juvenal (ca. 55 or 60 - ca. 130)  
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Considering the controversy surrounding gay marriage and the tendency to drag ancient authors into the discussion, Boswell's interpretation of the evidence will no doubt be challenged. If ancient Rome, to which modern Western civilization is heavily indebted, did indeed condone weddings between two men, supporters of gay marriage may perhaps use the Second Satire to bolster their case. Conversely, however, since homophobes frequently see the acceptance of homosexuality as one of the causes of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, opponents of gay marriage may use the Second Satire to warn of dire consequences should gay marriage be legalized.


Juvenal was rescued from obscurity by the Christian propagandist Tertullian (second century C. E.), and soon several commentaries appeared. St. Jerome and St. Augustine approvingly cited his (pagan) moralizings.

Juvenal has been imitated and emulated by many authors since the Dark Ages, and he is credited with developing a particular kind of satire that many others have employed. Later writers have admired Juvenal for his superb wit, his acute observation of cultural problems, his acerbic criticism of social decay, his powerful diction, and his savage indignation.

Nikolai Endres

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Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

_____ . Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York: Villard Books, 1994.

Braund, Susanna Morton, and Wendy Raschke. "Satiric Grotesques in Public and Private: Juvenal, Dr Frankenstein, Raymond Chandler and Absolutely Fabulous." Greece and Rome 49 (April 2002): 62-84.

Braund, Susanna Morton, ed. Juvenal: Satires. Book 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Cantarella, Eva. Bisexuality in the Ancient World. Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, trans. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992.

Highet, Gilbert. Juvenal the Satirist: A Study. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954.

Hubbard, Thomas K., ed. Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

Juvenal. The Sixteen Satires. 3rd ed. Peter Green, trans. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1998.

Richlin, Amy. "Not Before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men." Journal of the History of Sexuality 3 (April 1993): 523-73.

Rosen, Ralph M., and Victoria Baines. "'I Am Whatever You Say I Am...': Satiric Program in Juvenal and Eminem." Classical and Modern Literature 22 (Fall 2002): 103-27.

Taylor, Rabun. "Two Pathic Subcultures in Ancient Rome." Journal of the History of Sexuality 7 (Jan. 1997): 319-71.

Williams, Craig A. Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Wilson, Katharina M., and Elizabeth M. Makowski. Wykked Wyves and the Woes of Marriage: Misogamous Literature from Juvenal to Chaucer. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.

Winkler, Martin M., ed. Juvenal in English. London: Penguin, 2001.


    Citation Information
    Author: Endres, Nikolai  
    Entry Title: Juvenal  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated October 10, 2007  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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