The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Sarissa – Sarpedon – Satire – Satura



of the elder Scipio Africanus, of the 3rd century b.c. It is made of common stone, and is the only example remaining from the old Roman time.

Sarissa. The thrusting-lance of the Macedonian hoplites (see phalanx) and light cavalry, which in the time of Philip and Alexander was 18 feet long, afterwards 14 ; from this lance the light cavalry were called sarissfiphori (sarissa-bearers).

Sarpedon. According to Homer, son of Zeus and LaOdamla and grandson of Bel-lerophon ; like his cousin Glaucus (q-v.} 4), a prince of the Lycians and ally of Priam. At the storming of the Greek camp he, in company with Glaucus, was the first upon the enemy's wall; on his falling by the hand of Patroclus, a fearful battle arose over his body, until Apollo, by the command of Zeus, rescued the disfigured corpse from the Greeks, and, alter washing it and anoint­ing it with ambrosia, had it carried through the air to Lycia by the twin brothers Sleep and Death [Homer, xvi 419-G83]. Later writers describe him as a son of Zeus and Europa, and brother of Minos ; driven out by the latter, he won for him­self a lordship in Lycia, and lived there by the favour of Zeus for three generations.

Satire (Lat. satira, older form satura). The word properly denotes a medley of heterogeneous things, and in particular a kind of dramatical farce, which consisted of a mixture of speech, song, music, and dancing. (Sec fesoennini.)

Before the rise of an artistic type of Roman drama, these farces were performed on festive occasions by itinerant minstrels, the representation taking place upon the public stage erected at Rome in 390 b.c.

After the introduction of the Greek drama by Livlus Andrfintcus, 240 b.c., the satura' sank to the position of after-pieces (exfidid) which were improvised by masked Roman youths after the conclusion of the performance proper; in this shape they lasted until they were entirely supplanted by the Atelldiue. As an artistic composi­tion the satura is wholly undramatical, and designates in the first instance a col­lection of miscellaneous pieces of poetry of heterogeneous contents and metres; in this form it seems to have been first introduced into literature by ennius. A definite impress, Axing its character for all future time, was given to the satura in the 2nd century B.C. by LuclLlus, who made it essentially what we now under­stand by satire, and is therefore designated

by Horace [Sat. ii 1, 62] as the inventor of this branch of literature. Even his satires, as may be gathered from the fragments that survive, were of a very miscellaneous char­acter, as regards matter and as regards form. All possible aspects of the life of the time were made the objects of a discus­sion, which might be serious, jocular, or censorious, as occasion required. It was composed in the form sometimes of an essay, sometimes of a letter, sometimes of a dia­logue, and in the conversational style in vogue at the time. In his earlier poems he made use of various metres, afterwards almost exclusively of the hexameter. The significant example of Lucilius invited emu­lation all the more, because the prosaic and didactic element in satire was in the most thorough accordance with the Roman char­acter and poetical capacities. Accordingly a number of imitators are mentioned reaching down to the end of the Republic, though, in the judgment of Horace, their endeavour to attain the level of their model was a vain one [Sat. i 10, 47]. A revival and develop­ment answering to the more refined taste of the time was given to the Lucilian satura by Horace, who, however, confined himself to social and literary life, and used the hexameter alone. In the latter respect his example was followed by persius and juvenal ; but these treated the contrast between the ideal and the actual, which provokes the satire, not with the humour of Horace, but with bitterness and severity.

An ancient (or pre-Lucilian) style of satura was revived towards the end of the Republic by the " most learned of the Romans," Terentius varro, with his Menippean Satires, in which, following the example of the Cynic Menippus of Gadar4r he treated serious subjects in humorous fashion and in a mixed form of prose and poetry. This mixed form was also adopted in the time of Nero by petronius in his satirical romance of manners, and by seneca in his satire on Claudius, as well as in later times by the emperor julian in his CaisdrSs, written in Greek.

The satire is a thoroughly Roman species of poetry [Quintilian, x 1 § 93: Satura quidem tota nostra est]; for though there is much in the poetry of the Greeks which, in regard to subject-matter, corresponds in. some degree to the satire, still they were never able to produce a literature of this kind stamped with a definite character of its own, and described by a distinctive name.

Satura. See satire.

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.