J.C. Zietsman


As a satirist, Persius is strongly opposed to the grand themes of epic and tragedy. In the first 29 lines of Satire 5 (cast in the form of a dialogue between the poet and his friend, Cornutus), Persius is mainly concerned with the style and themes of contemporary epic and tragedy (1-9), metaphorically linking the process of contemporary literary production (with special reference to tragic writers) and the consumption of ghastly, cannibalistic banquets dished up by tragic writers and actors. He then justifies his approach to his own poetry and the appropriate style for the satirist (10-29). Although reference will be made in passing to the whole of lines 1-29, this paper will focus on Satire 5:1-9 and 17-18 by discussing the meanings and nuances of key words first and then interpreting each pericope as a unit.

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