Francis Cairns Publications

Latin and Greek Texts ISSN 0951-7391

The Satires of Persius.
Introduction, Text, Translation and Commentary

W. Barr and Guy Lee

LGT 4. ISBN 978-0-905205-37-3 (Cloth), 978-0-905205-65-6 (Paper) x+177pp. 1987.

Aulus Persius Flaccus (A.D. 34-62) wrote in racy conversational Latin six satires countering contemporary vice with Stoic morality; he died young. This is not easy poetry, with its sudden shifts of tone, switches of speaker and situation, vivid evocation of the everyday roman background, and confident handling of philosophical positions. But it is still a good read.

This edition prints the Latin text faced with a brilliant verse translation by Guy Lee. The introduction and commentary provided by William Barr make it a suitable class text.


Sell your soul for profit. Trade and slyly squeeze
The world's four corners, lest another outclass you
At slapping Cappadocian fat on the hard slave-platform.
Double your wealth. 'I have – and trebled, and quadrupled.
Tenfold I've folded it. Do point me where to stop,
And the man to quantify Chrysippus' heap is found.'


Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990) 269 (Richard Jenkinson): "Succinct, learned and informative notes in this new edition apply and enlarge existing stores of comment and citation. Lucid summaries interpret the argument and line-by-line metrical translation inventively catches the compression and other features of Persius' style."

Latomus 49 (1990) 486 (Raoul Verdière)

JACT Review 5 (1989) 16-17 (R. Jenkinson)

Revue des Etudes Latines 66 (1988) (J. Gérard): "par sa concision et son rhythme, la traduction de G. Lee est peut-être celle qui, actuellement, donne le mieux l'idée du style poétique de Perse, sons trop de sacrifices ni d'inexactitudes; elle a même l'originalité d'être strictement juxtalinéaire!"

L'Antiquité Classique 58 (1989) 344-5 (Pol Tordeur)

Classical Review 39 (1989) 29-30 (S.H. Braund): "a suitably dense and vivid translation of the Satires and illuminating commentary at an affordable price"

Les Etudes Classiques (1988) 402 (J. Filée)

Greece and Rome (1988) 214-15 (D.P. Fowler)

Gnomon 60 (1988) 505-9 (W. Kissel)