This article argues that the sassy, sexy comebacks of Augustus's daughter Julia, preserved for us by Macrobius's Saturnalia, contribute vitally to the dialogue's moral and literary aesthetic of collaboratively appropriating the past. The argument falls into four sections: (I) The interactive style of reading that the Saturnalia's literary frame promotes makes reception of classical tradition an active endeavor: the reader engages with the text in tandem with the decorum it models. (II) The Saturnalia introduces joking as a valuable social tool. (III) The jokes before Julia's establish the political context for her jokes. Still more importantly, they demonstrate joking's humane virtues. (IV) Macrobius carefully negotiates the delicate problems of reception and decorum posed by Julia's jokes so as to preserve decorum and yet acknowledge the place of sexuality within human society and cultivated Roman tradition.
The first journal exclusively dedicated to the reception of Greek and Roman antiquity by other cultures, from the ancient world to the present time, International Journal of Classical Tradition's primary focus is on the creative use of the ancient Greco-Roman heritage in a broad range of scholarly endeavors. Articles are published in five languages. The journal includes articles, short notes, research reports, review articles, and news of the field. The official journal of the International Society for the Classical Tradition.
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