Biography series exploring the greatest people who ever lived. Matthew Parris interviews an eminent…
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Matthew Parris invites writer and comic Natalie Haynes to explain why her nomination for a Great Life is a Roman poet about whose life we know very little. Dr Llewelyn Morgan of Brasenose College Oxford helps her explain the enduring appeal of this scurrilous writer.
On the face of it, Juvenal's life is hard to defend as a Great one. In the first place - as Dr Llewelyn Morgan, lecturer in Classical Languages and Literature at Oxford, confirms - we know very little about his life. He may have been a first-generation Roman from a Spanish family; he may have served in army; he may have been sent into exile. None of this can be confirmed. What we do know is that he uses his Satires to rant and rail against women, foreigners, gays and the upstarts who are all ruining Rome - which might make him hard to love. But Natalie Haynes, veteran of the stand-up circuit and now a writer and critic, finds Juvenal an indispensable part of her life and is very happy to explain why.
Producer Christine Hall.