Compton, Todd M. 2006. Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History. Hellenic Studies Series 11. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Compton.Victim_of_the_Muses.2006.
Chapter 20. “Wounded by Tooth that Drew Blood”: The Beginnings of Satire in Rome
Thus narrative poetry, as martial paraenesis, is central to archaic Roman culture; it also seemingly has an aspect of ancestor worship in it.
Considering the role of invective in Cicero’s career and death, this is a highly ironic passage; he assumes that a system of justice will be just.
condita post frumenta leuantes tempore festo
corpus et ipsum animum spe finis dura ferentem,
cum sociis operum et pueris et coniuge fida
Tellurem porco, Siluanum lacte piabant,
floribus et uino Genium memorem breuis aeui.
Fescennina per hunc inuenta licentia morem
uersibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit,
libertasque recurrentis accepta per annos
lusit amabiliter, donec iam saeuus apertam
in rabiem coepit uerti iocus et per honestas
ire domos impune minax . Doluere cruento
dente lacessiti , fuit intactis quoque cura
condicione super communi; quin etiam lex
poenaque lata, malo quae nollet carmine quemquam
describi: uertere modum, formidine fustis
ad bene dicendum delectandumque redacti.
According to Horace, then, Roman blame thus started from light-hearted ritual abuse at harvest festivals; this became more and more abusive and political, and was turned against the aristocracy. Society, even those who were not attacked, saw it as a major problem, and the Twelve Tables law was passed against it, after which poets had to be more civil and even entertaining.