The Ancient Library

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On this page: Juvencus or Iuvencus – Juventas or Iuventas – Knights – Labdacus – Laberius – Lacerna – Lachesis – Laconicum



As to the place and date of his banishment, the accounts vary between Britain and Egypt, and also between the last years of Domitian (against which theory there are weighty objections) and the reigns of either Trajan or Hadrian. In any case he died after 127 a.d., according to one account, in the eighty-second year of his life, or about 130, the cause being grief at his exile. By others he is made to return to Rome before his death. We possess sixteen satires by him, which the grammarians have divided into five books. In these he delineates with moral indignation and with pitiless scorn the universal corruption of society, particularly in the times of Domitian, painting its vices in all their nakedness and ugliness with the most glaring colours. His composition is often concise to the verge of obscurity, and by its strong rhetorical colouring be­trays his earlier studies. In his own day, and afterwards, his satires enjoyed great popularity, and were held in high repute even in the Middle Ages. Owing to his obscurity he early attracted the attention of learned men of old, and we still possess the remains of their industry in a collection of Scholia. [About the life of the poet

nothing certain can be really ascertained except from the hints given in his own writings. The biographies which have come down to us must be used with ex­treme caution: and it is not at all certain that the inscription mentioned above refers to him at all.]

Juvencus (Gains Vettius AquUius). A Christian Latin poet and a presbyter in Spain. About 330 he composed a poetic version of the gospel narrative (Historic!, Evanggllca) in four books; he also cast the books of Moses and Joshua [and Judges] into the form and phraseology of the Roman epic poets. This seems to have been the earliest attempt to make the Christian literature rival the pagan in beauty of form, and to supplant and supersede heathen poetry as a means of education. [The epic paraphrase of the Heptateuch is now no longer ascribed to Juvencus, but to Cyprian, not the bishop of Carthage, but a Gaul of the 6th century, in all probability the third bishop of Toulon. (The Latin Heptateuch, critically reviewed by Prof. Mayor, pp. xxxiv-xlii). See cyprian, 2.]

Juventas. The Roman goddess of youth. (See hebe.)


Knights. See equites and hippeis.

Laodacns. Son of Pfilydorus, grandson of Cadmus, and father of Lalus (q.v.).

LabMus (Declmus). The originator and leading representative of the mime (q.v.) as a form of literature; born about 105 b.c. Being a Roman knight with a strong love of freedom, he roused the wrath of the dictator Caesar; accordingly in B.C. 45 the latter compelled him to appear on the stage at the age of sixty, and to compete with his rival Publilius Syrus. In the pro­logue to the piece, one of the most beautiful monuments of Roman literature which have come down to us, Laberius complains bit­terly of the indignity put upon him. His appearing as an actor involved the loss of knightly rank, which in this case, however, was restored to him by Caesar. He died at Puteoli in 43. Apart from the prologue already mentioned, we have only unimpor­tant fragments of more than forty of his mimes These bear witness to the origina­lity of his wit and the vigour of his style.

Lacema. The Latin term for a coarse, dark-coloured cloak, fastened on the shoulder by a brooch, which was in use as a protec­tion against rain. It was provided with a hood. In later times the name was given to a light and elegant mantle, either white or dyed in Tyrian purple, which was worn over the toga to complete the costume at games or other outdoor occasions. In the time of Augustus, who forbade its use in the Forum or Circus, it formed part of the military i uniform. It was afterwards commonly worn even in Rome itself.

LachSsis (Greek). One of the three i goddesses of fate. (See mcer.e.) i A species of dry sweating-i bath, introduced from Greece by the Romans towards the end of the Republic. It was specially used to correct the effects of excessive indulgence at the table, by in­ducing severe perspiration; at the conclusion of the process it was usual to take either a | cold plunge or a shower-bath. The dry

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