Satire in the common sense comes from people like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who mock the government, and the idiotic way they try to get stuff done, by using comedy and sarcasm. This form of rhetoric is by no means a modern invention. Satire dates to the Greeks and possible even before them. Maybe the first sentence from human was satirical. The first Roman to discuss satire critically was Quintilian, who invented the term to describe the writings of Lucilius. The satire that we use today can trace its origins back to poets and writers like Juvenal, Horace, and Apuleius. Satire in their work is much wider than in the modern sense of the word, including fantastic and highly coloured humorous writing with little or no real mocking intent. Roman satire was a very important literary device that played an important part in their history which shaped writings for generation to come.
The oldest dated roman satirist is Gaius Lucilius. His works are so old that only fragments remain. He was born in 160 BC as a roman citizen of the class equestrian. Surprisingly, seeing that his work is the oldest, Lucilius’ poems did not have any Greek origins. His work was inspired from the development of an indigenous dramatic entertainment. This form of entertainment came before Greek drama was reintroduced. His satirical poems would focus on the ridiculing the common way in which epics and tragic poems were created. In his works he used a vocabulary that was commonly used in social conversations of educated men. He even used some Greek word in his poems to mimic the language of his audience. Other topics that Lucilius covered included matters of daily life, of the politics, the wars, the administration of justice, the eating and drinking, the money-making and money-spending, the scandals and vices, which made up the public and private life of Rome. His style and topics would lead to some of the more famous Roman satirist.
One of the oldest roman satirical writers was Horace. He was born on December 8th, 65 BC as Quintus Horatius Flaccus, otherwise known as Horace. Horace lived in the time of Augustus’ rule and had spent time as a soldier. Using his time fighting as a muse, he brought a commonsense insight to the subject of war. When Horace criticized Augustus, he used veiled ironic terms. He had also wrote about the contradictions between practical realities and philosophic ideal and used humor to denounce vice and folly.
Through his life, Horace had written as group of satirical work known as the Epodes. The Epodes can be categorized as a form of blame poetry. This was written to shame fellow citizens into a sense of their social obligations. He is credited with nine works spanning from 35 BC to 8 BC but the dates of Horace’s work is not known. He had a very Hellenistic writing background that was present in his works. This was unique for satire because other writers tended to use a more latin approach. Horace’s style was suited for the social and ethical...