This article focuses on a passage in Juvenal’s Satire 2, featuring the wedding between a Gracchus and a trumpeter. In particular, I address the issue of the identity of this Gracchus, and the question why Juvenal makes him marry a trumpeter. I maintain that Ju- venal is not reporting an historical event, but creating a fictional episode that will serve the purposes of his first two books of satires: Gracchus is the paradigm of the descendant of a noble past who has betrayed the moral tradition he ought to uphold. The choice of having him marry a trumpeter, in my opinion, is driven by a literary memory: a famous anecdote portrays Gaius Gracchus as accompanied by a musician, who would use a wind instrument either to give him the perfect pitch for the tone of his voice, or to calm its excessive intensity. I maintain that Juvenal twists this episode to achieve a further devaluation of his Gracchus’ profile: in his episode, a musician does not just control the tone of voice of a Gracchus, but drives this scion of a noble family to pay him a dowry and to sit lasciviously in his lap, in a wedding that symbolizes the decay of contemporary morality.

Il matrimonio di Gracco (Iuv. 2,117-120)

Biagio Santorelli
2019

Abstract

This article focuses on a passage in Juvenal’s Satire 2, featuring the wedding between a Gracchus and a trumpeter. In particular, I address the issue of the identity of this Gracchus, and the question why Juvenal makes him marry a trumpeter. I maintain that Ju- venal is not reporting an historical event, but creating a fictional episode that will serve the purposes of his first two books of satires: Gracchus is the paradigm of the descendant of a noble past who has betrayed the moral tradition he ought to uphold. The choice of having him marry a trumpeter, in my opinion, is driven by a literary memory: a famous anecdote portrays Gaius Gracchus as accompanied by a musician, who would use a wind instrument either to give him the perfect pitch for the tone of his voice, or to calm its excessive intensity. I maintain that Juvenal twists this episode to achieve a further devaluation of his Gracchus’ profile: in his episode, a musician does not just control the tone of voice of a Gracchus, but drives this scion of a noble family to pay him a dowry and to sit lasciviously in his lap, in a wedding that symbolizes the decay of contemporary morality.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1020474
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