Incunabula and the Keio University Library Collection


Juvenal, Satyrae (Venice: Johannes Tacuinus, de Tridino, 24 July 1498)

Satyrae (Comm: Antonius Mancinellus; Domitius Calderinus; Georgius Merula; Georgius Valla)

IIIF Drag-n-dropIIIF Manifest

Juvenal, whose full name was Decimus Junius Juvenalis, was a satirical poet active in Imperial Rome in the 2nd and 3rd decades of the 2nd century. He is believed to have been born in Aquinum, 100 km south-east of Rome. His works fall into the genre of Roman satire originated by Lucilius; in fact, he was the last poet in this tradition. Juvenal left hardly any information about himself and little is known about his life. The only contemporary references to him are in the epigrams of Martial, who describes Juvenal as eloquent (facundus).

The sixteen extant poems of Juvenal, divided into five volumes, are arranged in chronological order. He is praised as the last Roman poet who could command the hexameter, the traditional meter used for epics and satires. His satires direct scorn at the ills of contemporary society rather than espousing moral attitudes through preaching. The poet is said to have been exiled by the Emperor Domitian because of the acerbity of his early satirical writings.

Juvenal's works received only limited attention until the latter half of the 4th century, when the Satyrae (Satires) was first compiled, complete with commentaries. This ensured that his works became widely known and read, and so the satirical tradition was passed on down to later generations. After the medieval and Renaissance periods, a number of satirists chose Juvenal as a model; works in this vein include John Dryden's Satyrae and Samuel Johnson's London and the Vanity of Human Wishes.

The colophon of the Keio copy identifies the publisher as 'Ioannē de Cereto alias Tacuinē de Tridino' (Johannes Tacuinus once lived in Ceretto, a small town near Turin). The great majority of books printed by Johannes Tacuinus are directly or indirectly related to classical works. His first publication bears the date 18 August 1492, after which he continued to be active until the early 16th century. Tacuinus rarely altered the dates of colophons when reprinting, so that his reprints have caused some bibliographical confusion (BMC, V, xlix); nevertheless, the Keio copy was probably printed on 24 July 1498, as the colophon indicates; it is Tacuinus's 3rd edition. The title page contains a large woodcut illustration, in which a scribe is depicted with a pen in his right hand and a paper-knife in his left hand. The commentaries, printed in roman type, accompany the main text, and woodcut capitals decorate the beginnings of paragraphs.

  Wilson, Katharina M., and Elizabeth M. Makowski, Wykked Wyves and the Woes of Marriage: Misogamous Literature from Juvenal to Chaucer (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990)



Juvenalis, Decimus Junius
Place of Publication
Johannes Tacuinus, de Tridino


Date of Publication

17th-century vellum binding over card boards.

Bibliographical Notes

218 leaves; with a woodcut illustration on the title page, woodcut initials throughout the volume, printer's device on RZ5v; some contemporary marginalia.

Goff J666, H 9714*, BMC V 533, IJL 195, IJL2 243, PP 104
Acquisition Year

T.E.D. Phillips (signature; flyleaf).