Dinner With Trimalchio Essay About Myself

"The Satyricon by Petronius translated by Alfred R. Allinson." (1930) The Panurge Press, New York.


Two thousand and ten copies of
this edition have been printed,
ten copies of which are for the
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The present copy is

No. 564


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Translated and Introduced by






    Tacitus writes (Annals, XVI. Chapters 17 and 18-20, A.D. 66):"Within a few days, indeed, there perished in one and the same batch, Annaeus Mela, Cerialis Anicius, Rufius Crispinus and Petronius. . . . With regard to Caius Petronius, his character and life merit a somewhat more particular attention. He passed his days in sleep, and his nights in business, or in joy and revelry. Indolence was at once his passion and his road to fame. What others did by vigor and industry, he accomplished by his love of pleasure and luxurious ease. Unlike the men who profess to understand social enjoyment, and ruin their fortunes, he led a life of expense, without profusion; an epicure, yet not a prodigal; addicted to his appetites, but with taste and judgment; a refined and elegant voluptuary. Gay and airy in his conversation, he charmed by a certain graceful negligence, the more engaging as it flowed from the natural frankness of his disposition. With all this delicacy and careless ease, he showed, when he was Governor of Bithynia, and afterwards in the year of his Consulship, that vigor of mind and softness of manners may well unite in the same person. With his love of sensuality he possessed talents for business. From his public station he returned to his usual gratifications, fond of vice, or of pleasures that bordered upon it. His gayety recommended him to the notice of the Prince. Being in favor at Court, and cherished as the companion of Nero in all his select parties, he was allowed to be the arbiter of taste and elegance. Without the sanction of Petronius nothing was exquisite, nothing rare or delicious.
    "Hence the jealousy of Tigellinus, who dreaded a rival in the good graces of the Emperor almost his equal; in the science of luxury his superior. Tigellinus determined to work his downfall; and accordingly addressed himself to the cruelty of the Prince,-- that master passion, to which all other affections and every motive were sure to give way. He charged Petronius with having lived in close intimacy with Scaevinus, the conspirator; and to give color to that assertion, he bribed a slave to turn informer against his master. The rest of the domestics were loaded with irons. Nor was Petronius suffered to make his defense.
    "Nero at that time happened to be on one of his excursions into Campania. Petronius had followed him as far as Cumae, but was not allowed to proceed further than that place. He scorned to linger in doubt and fear, and yet was not in a hurry to leave a world which he loved. He opened his veins, and closed them again, at intervals losing a small quantity of blood, then binding up the orifice, as his own inclination prompted. He conversed during the whole time with his usual gayety, never changing his habitual manner, nor talking sentences to show his contempt of death. He listened to his friends, who endeavored to entertain him, not with grave discourses on the immortality of the soul or the moral wisdom of philosophers, but with strains of poetry and verses of a gay and natural turn. He distributed presents to some of his servants, and ordered others to be chastised. He walked out for his amusement, and even lay down to sleep. In this last scene of his life he acted with such calm tranquillity, that his death, though an act of necessity, seemed no more than the decline of nature. In his will he scorned to follow the example of others, who like himself died under the tyrant's stroke; he neither flattered the Emperor nor Tigellinus nor any of the creatures of the Court. But having written, under the fictitious names of profligate men and women, a narrative of Nero's debauchery and his new modes of vice, he had the spirit to send to the Emperor that satirical romance, sealed with his own seal,-- which he took care to break, that after his death it might not be used for the destruction of any person whatever.
    "Nero saw with surprise his clandestine passions and the secrets of his midnight revels laid open to the world. To whom the discovery was to be imputed still remained a doubt. Amidst his conjectures, Silia, who by her marriage with a Senator had risen into notice, occurred to his memory. This woman had often acted as procuress for the libidinous pleasures of the Prince, and lived besides in close intimacy with Petronius. Nero concluded that she had betrayed him, and for that offense ordered her into banishment, making her a sacrifice to his private resentment."
    Two questions arise out of this famous passage: 1. Is Petronius (Arbiter), author of the Satyricon, the same person as the Caius Petronius here described, and spoken of by the Historian as "elegantiae arbiter" at the Court of Nero? 2. Is the existing Satyricon the "satirical romance" composed by the Emperor's victim during his dying hours and sent under seal to the tyrant?
    Both points have been long and vigorously debated, but may now be taken as fairly well settled by general consent,-- the answer to the first query being Yes! To the second, No!
    The Introductory Notice to Petronius, in the noble "Collection des Auteurs Latins," edited by M. Nisard, sums up the controversy thus: "Is Petronius, here mentioned by Tacitus, the Author of the Satyricon, and are we to regard this work as being the testamentary document addressed to Nero of which the Historian speaks?" These two questions so long and eagerly disputed, may be looked upon as decided by this time. The Consular, the favorite of Nero, the "arbiter of taste and elegance" at the Imperial Court, is generally acknowledged to be our Petronius Arbiter; whose book, diversified as it is with "strains of poetry and verses of a gay and natural turn," with its tone of good company and its easy-going Epicurean morality, is so much in keeping with the cheerful, uncomplaining death of the pleasure-loving courtier who understood his master's little peculiarities, and had, like Trimalchio, adopted for his motto, "Vivamus, dum licet esse,"-- "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." At any rate in our own opinion, this first point is finally and definitely decided.
    "Can this satire (The Satyricon) be the testament of irony and hate which the victim sent to his executioner? To this further question we answer No!-- and our personal conviction on the point is shared by the most weighty authorities. We will limit ourselves here to one or two observations. According to Tacitus, Petronius had already caused his veins to be opened, when he started to recapitulate the series of Nero's debaucheries in this deposition. The document therefore must necessarily have been brief; whereas the work we possess, too extensive as it stands to have been composed by a dying man, was originally of much greater length, for it seems proved by the titles affixed to the Manuscripts that nearly nine-tenths of the whole is lost. Besides, Petronius had expressly limited his statement to an account of Nero's secret debaucheries, with no further disguise beyond the use of fictitious names,-- 'under the names of profligate men and women.' Lastly the extremely varied character of the Work is diametrically opposed to a view, making it out to have been a personal libel, a piece of abuse that only stops short of giving the actual name of the individual pilloried."
    What is known of Petronius himself, the man Petronius?-- Granting an affirmative answer may be given to question 1, something; but even then not much.
    His name was Caius Petronius; he was a Roman Eques or Knight, born at Massilia (Marseilles). Even these initial points are not quite firmly established; Pliny and Plutarch speak of Titus Petronius, and the facts of his being an Eques and his birth at Marseilles rest on conjectural evidence. He was successively Proconsul of Bithynia, and Consul, in both which high offices he showed integrity, energy and ability.
    He was in high favor at the Court of Nero, where he devoted his undoubted talents and genial wit to the amusement of the Prince, the systematic cultivation of an elegant and luxurious idleness and the elaboration of a refined profligacy. He won the title among his fellow courtiers of "arbiter elegantiae," a nickname that with time appears to have grown into a sort of surname, posterity knowing him universally as Petronius Arbiter.
    Eventually he incurred the jealousy and enmity of Nero's all-powerful Minister, Tigellinus, who contrived his ruin. Informed against for conspiracy, or at any rate association with conspirators, he voluntarily opened his veins. Displaying much fortitude and a fine indifference, he died calmly and composedly, spending his last hours in merry conversation with his friends, the recitation of light-hearted verses and the composition of a candid and circumstantial account of the Emperor's debaucheries, which he sent under seal to his Master as his dying bequest.
    Pliny (1) and Plutarch (2) add further touch, that previous to his death he broke to pieces a Murrhine vase of priceless value, which was amongst his possessions, to prevent its falling into the tyrant's hands.
    As to his great work, the so-called Satyricon, its characteristics and place in literature, we cannot do better than quote from what Professor Ramsey says of it in the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography": "A very singular production, consisting of a prose narrative interspersed with numerous pieces of poetry, and thus resembling in form the Varronian Satire, has come down to us in a sadly mutilated state. In the oldest MSS. and the earliest editions it bears the title Petronii Arbitri Saturicon, and as it now exists, is composed of a series of fragments, the continuity of the piece being frequently interrupted by blanks, and the whole forming but a very small portion of the original, which, when entire, contained at least sixteen books, and probably many more. It is a sort of comic romance, in which the adventures of a certain Encolpius and his companions in the south of Italy, chiefly in Naples or its environs, are made a vehicle for exposing the false taste which prevailed upon all matters connected with literature and the fine arts, and for holding up to ridicule and detestation the folly, luxury and dishonesty of all classes of the community in the age and country in which the scene is laid. A great variety of characters connected for the most part with the lower ranks of life are brought upon the stage, and support their parts with the greatest liveliness and dramatic propriety, while every page overflows with ironical wit and broad humor. Unfortunately the vices of the personages introduced are depicted with such minute fidelity that we are perpetually disgusted by the coarseness and obscenity of the descriptions. Indeed, if we can believe that such a book was ever widely circulated and generally admired, that fact alone would afford the most convincing proof of the pollution of the epoch to which it belongs. . . .
    "The longest and most important section is generally known as the Supper of Trimalchio, presenting us with a detailed and very amusing account of a fantastic banquet, such as the most luxurious and extravagant gourmands of the empire were wont to exhibit on their tables. Next in interest is the well-known tale of the Ephesian Matron, which here appears for the first time among the popular fictions of the Western world, although current from a very early period in the remote regions of the East. . . . The longest of the effusions in verse is a descriptive poem on the Civil Wars, extending to 295 hexameter lines, affording a good example of that declamatory tone of which the Pharsalia is the type. We have also 65 iambic trimeters, depicting the capture of Troy (Troiæ Halosis), and besides these several shorter morsels are interspersed replete with grace and beauty."
    Teuffel in his masterly "History of Roman Literature" is brief, but to the point, in what he says of the Satyricon: "To Nero's time belongs also the character-novel of Petronius Arbiter, no doubt the same Petronius whom Nero (A.D. 66) compelled to kill himself. Originally a large work in at least 20 books, with accounts of various adventures supposed to have taken place during a journey, it now consists of a heap of fragments, the most considerable of which is the Cena Trimalchionis, being the description of a feast given by a rich and uneducated upstart. Though steeped in obscenity, this novel is not only highly important for the history of manners and language, especially the plebeian speech, but it is also a work of art in its way, full of spirit, fine insight into human nature, wit of a high order and genial humor. In its form it is a satira Menippea, in which the metrical pieces interspersed contain chiefly parodies of certain fashions of taste."
    "The narrator and hero of the romance," Nisard writes in his Preliminary Notice to "Petronius," "is a sort of Guzman d'Alfarache, a young profligate, over head and ears in debt, without either fortune, or family, and reduced, with all his brilliant qualitites, to live from hand to mouth by dint of a series of more or less hazardous expedients. The pictures he draws with such a bold and lifelike touch change and shift without plan or purpose, following each other with the same abrupt inconsequence we observe in real life; and we are strongly tempted to conclude Petronius has largely depicted in them the actual phases of his own, that of a self-made adventurer, appropriating as his own with extraordinary success the tone of persiflage and the ironical outlook on existence of a man of high birth and station. With equal ease he sounds the most contradictory notes. Verse and prose, precepts of rhetoric and of ethics, scenes of profligate indulgence, comic descriptions of a feast where luxury is carried to ludicrous extremes, anecdotes told in the happiest manner, notably the world-famous tale of the Ephesian Matron, epic poetry even, love letters and love talk breathing a refined, almost chivalric, spirit,-- such is the strange fabric of this drama, at once passionate, derisive, fanfaronading, tragic and burlesque, where the grand style and the most graceful narrative tread on the heels of provincial patois and popular saws. . . .
    "Petronius' book belongs essentially to the class of Satirae Menippeae, of which Varro had given the first example in the works he composed in imitation of the Greek Menippus, and of which Seneca's Apocolocyntosis is another capital instance."
    All critics agree upon the excellence of the Satyricon as a work of art, though many take exception to the grossness of the subject matter. Indeed there can be no two opinions as to the brilliancy and refinement of our Author's style generally; while the vivid picturesqueness of the narrative on the one hand, and the perfect adaptation of the language to the rank and idiosyncrasy of the interlocutors on the other, are particularly noteworthy. "The very criticisms which have been launched against Petronius are mingled with admiring panegyric which a due regard for truth has forced from his assailants; and in the mouth of an enemy, praise counts for much more than blame. Even the barbarisms and vulgarities of expressions that at times seem to disfigure his style, are in the eyes of Ménage the perfection of art and appropriateness; he puts them only in the mouths of servants and debuachees devoid of any touch of refinement. Note on the other hand with what elegance he makes his well-born characters speak. Petronius assigns to each one of his actors the language most suited to him. This is a merit precious in direct ratio to its rarity; the shadows with which a skillful painter darkens his canvas, only serve to bring out in more startling relief the beauties of the picture. Justus Lipsius epigrammatically styles him auctor purissimae impuritatis." (Héguin de Guerle.)
    The first thing to strike us is the brilliancy and liveliness of the book-- fragmentary as is the condition in which it has come down to us-- as a Novel of Adventure. The reader is hurried on, his interest forever on the stretch, from episode to episode of the exciting, and more often than not scandalous, adventures of the disreputable band of light-hearted gentlemen of the road, whose leader is that most audacious and irresponsible of amiable scamps, Encolpius, the narrator of the moving tale. With the exception of the six chapters devoted to describing the glories and absurdities of Trimalchio's Feast, which form a long episode apart, and a most entertaining one, the action never pauses. From lecture-room to house of ill fame, from country mansion to country tavern, from the market for stolen goods in a city slum to the Chapel of Priapus, from a harlot's palace to a rich parvenu's table, from Picture Gallery to the public baths, from ship and shipwreck to a luxurious life of imposture in a wealthy provincial town, we are hurried along in breathless haste. The pace is tremendous, but the road bristles with hairbreadth escapes and stirring incidents, and is never for one instant dull or tame. Probably the nearest parallel in other literatures is the so-called picaresque romances of Spain, of which Don Pablo de Segovia; Lazarillo de Tormes; and, if we regard it of Spanish origin, the incomparable Gil Blas de Santillana, may be taken as typical examples.
    A mere Novel of Adventure then? Not so! The Satyricon is this; but it is a great deal besides. It abounds in clear-sighted and instructive aperçus on education, literature and art, and contemporary deficiencies in these domains; its prose is interspersed with many brilliant fragments of verse, mostly parodies and burlesques, some ludicrous, some beautiful. Over and above its merits as a tale, it is a copious literary miscellany, over-flowing with wit and wisdom, drollery and sarcasm.
    Last but not least, this work of fine, if irregular, genius contains probably the most lifelike and discriminating character painting in the realm of everyday life to be found in all the range of ancient literature. To appreciate this, it is only necessary to name three or four of the principal dramatis personæ:--
    Encolpius, the gay, unprincipled profligate, but never altogether worthless, narrator of the story;
    Ascyltos, his comrade and rival, as immoral and good for nothing as the other, but without his redeeming touch of gentlemanliness and "honor among thieves";
    Giton, the minion, changeable and capricious, with his pretty face and wheedling ways;
    Tryphaena, the beautiful wanton, who "travels the world for her pleasures";
    Lichas, the overbearing and vindictive merchant and Sea-captain; Quartilla, the lascivious and unscrupulous votary of Priapus; Circe, the lovely "femme incomprise" of Croton; and finally, the never to be forgotten Eumolpus, the mad poet, the disreputable and starving pedant, at once "childlike and bland" with an ineffable naïveté of simple conceit, and frankly given up to the pursuit of the most abominable immoralities, now bolting from the shower of stones his ineradicable propensity for reciting his own poetry has provoked, now composing immortal verse, calm amid the horrors of storm and wreck and utterly oblivious of impending death.
    Another point, the admirably clever adaptation of the language to the social position and character of the persons speaking, merits a word or two more. While both the general narrative, and the conversation of the educated dramatis personæ, Eumolpus for instance, are marked by a high degree of correctness of diction and elegance of phrase, the talk of such characters as Trimalchio and his freedmen friends, Habinnas and the rest, and other uneducated or half-educated persons, is full not merely of vulgarisms and popular words, but of positive blunders and downright bad grammar. These mistakes of course are intentional, and it is only another proof of the lack of humor and want of common sense that often marked the industrious and meritorious scholars, particularly German scholars, of the old school, that some commentators have actually gone out of their way to correct these errors in the text of Petronius. There are hundreds of them; two or three examples must suffice here. Libra rubricata says Trimalchio (Ch. VII.-- xlvi), meaning libros rubricatos, "lawbooks," and vetuo "I forbid," while his guests indulge in such glaring solecisms as malus fatus, exhortavit, naufragarunt. The whole of Chapter VII., where Trimalchio's guests converse freely with one another in the temporary absence of their host, and afterwards Trimalchio harangues the company on various subjects, is full of these diverting "bulls."
    From the philologist's point of view the book is particularly valuable as containing almost our only specimens of the Roman popular, country speech,-- the lingua Romana rusticana, so all important as the link between literary Latin and the Romance languages of modern Europe. Two or three examples again must suffice: minutus populus, exactly the modern French "le menu peuple," urceatim plovebat, "it rained in bucketfuls," non est miscix, "he's no shirker," bono filo est, "he has good stuff in him." It is also a storehouse of popular saws and sayings, sometimes of a fine, vigorous outspokenness, not to say coarseness of expression, such as: caldum meiire et frigidum potare, "to piss hot and drink cold"; sudor per bifurcam volabat, "the sweat was pouring down between my legs"; lassus tanquam caballus in clivo, "as tired as a carthorse at a hill."
    "In addition to the corruptions in the text," says Professor Ramsay, "which are so numerous and hopeless as to render whole sentences unintelligible, there are doubtless a multitude of strange words and of phrases not elsewhere to be found; but this circumstance need excite no surprise when we remember the various topics which fall under discussion, and the singular personages grouped together on the scene. The most remarkable and startling peculiarities may be considered as the phraseology appropriate to the characters by whom they are uttered, the language of ordinary conversation, the familiar slang in everyday use among the hybrid population of Campania, closely resembling in all probability the dialect of the Atellan farces. On the other hand, wherever the author may be supposed to be speaking in his own person, we are deeply impressed by the extreme felicity of the style, which, far from bearing marks of decrepitude or decay, is redolent of spirit, elasticity, and vigorous freshness."
    As to the text, the following remarks by Professor Ramsay, give a complete statement which it is impossible to improve upon. "Many attempts," he writes, "have been made to account for the strangely mutilated condition in which the piece has been transmitted to modern times. It has been suggested by some that the blanks were caused by the scruples of pious transcribers, who omitted those parts which were most licentious; while others have not hesitated to declare their conviction that the worst passages were studiously selected. Without meaning to advocate this last hypothesis-- and we can scarcely believe that Burmann was in earnest when he propounded it-- it is clear that the first explanation is altogether unsatisfactory, for it appears to be impossible that what was passed over could have been more offensive than much of what was retained. According to another theory, what we now possess must be regarded as striking and favorite extracts, copied out into the common-place book of some scholar in the Middle Ages; a supposition applicable to the Supper of Trimalchio and the longer poetical essays, but which fails for the numerous short and abrupt fragments breaking off in the middle of a sentence. The most simple solution of the difficulty seems to be the true one. The existing MS. proceeded, in all likelihood, from two or three archetypes, which may have been so much damaged by neglect that large portions were rendered illegible, while whole leaves and sections may have been torn out or otherwise destroyed.
    "The Editio Princeps of the fragments of Petronius was printed at Venice, by Bernardinus de Vitalibus, 1499; and the second at Leipzig, by Jacobus Thanner, in 1500; but these editions, and those which followed for upwards of a hundred and fifty years, exhibited much less than we now possess. For, about the middle of the seventeenth century, an individual who assumed the designation of Martinus Statilius, although his real name was Petrus Petitus, found a MS. at Traun in Dalmatia, containing nearly entire the Supper of Trimalchio, which was wanting in all former copies. This was published separately at Padua, in a very incorrect state, in 1664, without the knowledge of the discoverer, again by Petitus himself at Paris, in the same year, and immediately gave rise to a fierce controversy, in which the most learned men of that day took a share, one party receiving it without suspicion as a genuine relic of antiquity, while their opponents, with great vehemence, contended that it was spurious. The strife was not quelled until the year 1669, when the MS. was dispatched from the Library of the proprietor, Nicolaus Cippius, at Traun, to Rome, where, having been narrowly scrutinized by the most competent judges, it was finally pronounced to be at least three hundred years old, and, since no forgery of such a nature could have been executed at that epoch, the skeptics were compelled reluctantly to admit that their doubts were ill founded. The title of the Codex, commonly known as the Codex Traguriensis, was Petronii Arbitri Satyri Fragmenta ex libro quinto decimo et sexto decimo, and then follow the words 'Num alio genere furiarum,' etc.
    "Stimulated, it would appear, by the interest excited during the progress of this discussion, and by the favor with which the new acquisition was now universally regarded by scholars, a certain Francis Nodot published at Rotterdam, in 1693, what professed to be the Satyricon of Petronius complete, taken, it was said, from a MS. found at Belgrade, when that city was captured in 1688, a MS. which Nodot declared had been presented to him by a Frenchman high in the Imperial service. The fate of this volume was soon decided. The imposture was so palpable that few could be found to advocate the pretensions put forth on its behalf, and it was soon given up by all. It is sometimes, however, printed along with the genuine text, but in a different type, so as to prevent the possibility of mistake. Besides this, a pretended fragment, said to have been obtained from the monastery of St. Gall, was printed in 1800, with notes and a French translation by Lallemand, but it seems to have deceived nobody."
    In the present version the portions of the narrative derived from this alleged Belgrade MS. are not specially distinguished from the genuine text; this is done advisedly, in order not to interrupt the continuity of the story. This does not of course for a moment imply that these interpolations are regarded as other than spurious, but as they are both amusing reading in themselves as well as admirable imitations of our Author's style, and supply obvious lacunae in the plot, making the whole book more interesting and coherent, they have been retained as an integral part of the work.
    We append three or four extracts bearing upon Petronius and the Satyricon, and interesting either on account of the source from which they come, the quaintness of their expression, or the weight of their authority.
    From the "Age of Petronius," by Charles Beck, 1856: "Among the small number of Latin writers of prose fiction, Petronius, the author of the Satyricon, occupies a prominent place. . . . As to this book, the quality of its language and style and the nature of its contents constitute it one of the most interesting and important relics of Roman lierature, antiquities and history.
    "The work, at least the portion which has come down to us, contains the adventures of a dissipated, unprincipled, but clever, cultivated and well-informed young man, Encolpius, the hero himself being the narrator. The book opens with a discussion on the defects of the existing system of education, in which the shortcomings of both teachers and parents are pointed out. Next follows a scene in the Forum, in which the hero and his companion, Ascyltos, are concerned, and which exhibits some of the abuses connected with judicial proceedings. After a brief and passing mention of the vices and hypocrisy of the priests, the highly interesting portion containing an account of the banquet of Trimalchio follows. This is succeeded by the account of the acquaintance which the hero, disappointed and dispirited by the faithless conduct of his companion, forms with a philosopher, Eumolpus, who besides discussing some subjects relating to art, especially painting, and to literature, gives an account of his infamous proceedings in corrupting the son of a family in whose house he had been hospitably received. The hero accepts the invitation of the philosopher to accompany him on an excursion to Tarentum. The account of the voyage, of the discovery made by Encolpius that he is on board a vessel owned by a person whose vengeance he had just ground to apprehend, of his fruitless attempt to escape detection, of the reconciliation of the hostile parties, and of the destruction of the vessel and the greater portion of the passengers by shipwreck, is full of interest. The hero and his immediate companions, being the only persons that escaped death, make their way to Croton, where Eumolpus, by representing himself as the owner of valuable and extensive possessions in Africa, works so upon the avarice and cupidity of the inhabitants, who are described as a set of legacy-hunters by profession, that he meets with the most hospitable reception. An intrigue of the hero with a beautiful lady of the city occupies a large part of this section of the story. The book closes with an account of the measures which Eumolpus takes for the purpose of avoiding the detection of his fraud, by working anew upon the avarice of his hosts. The close is abrupt as the beginning had been; the book is incomplete in both parts; the end, as well as the beginning, is wanting.
    "That the author of this work was a man of genius is unquestionable. The narrative of the events of the story is simple,-- exciting, without exhausting, the interest of the reader, the description of customs, chiefly those of the middle classes of society, is invaluable to the antiquarian, and the importance of the work in this respect can scarcely be overrated; the personages introduced into the story are drawn with such a clearness of perception of their characteristics, and such an accuracy of portraiture, extending to the very peculiarities of the language used by each, that they appear to live and breathe and move before our eyes."
    From John Dunlop's History of Fiction: "The most celebrated fable of ancient Rome is the work of Petronius Arbiter, perhaps the most remarkable fiction which has dishonored the literature of any nation. It is the only fable of that period now extant, but is a strong proof of the monstrous corruption of the times in which such a production could be tolerated, though no doubt writings of bad moral tendency might be circulated before the invention of printing, without arguing the depravity they would have evinced, if presented to the world subsequent to that period.
    "The work of Petronius is in the form of a satire, and, according to some commentators, is directed against the vices of the court of Nero, who is thought to be delineated under the names of Trimalchio and Agamemnon,-- an opinion which has been justly ridiculed by Voltaire. The satire is written in a manner which was first introduced by Varro; verses are intermixed with prose, and jests with serious remark. It has much the air of a romance, both in the incidents and their disposition; but the story is too well known, and too scandalous, to be particularly detailed.
    "The scene is laid in Magna Graecia; Encolpius is the chief character in the work, and the narrator of events;-- he commences by a lamentation on the decline of eloquence, and while listening to the reply of Agamemnon, a professor of oratory, he loses his companion, Ascyltos. Wandering through the town in search of him, he is finally conducted by an old woman to a retirement where the incidents that occur are analogous to the scene. The subsequent adventures,-- the feast of Trimalchio,-- the defection and return of Giton,-- the amour of Eumolpus in Bithynia,-- the voyage in the vessel of Lichas,-- the passion and disappointment of Circe,-- all these follow each other without much art of arrangement, an apparent defect which may arise from the mutilated form in which the satire has descended to us.
    "The style of Petronius has been much applauded for its elegance,-- it certainly possesses considerable naïveté and grace, and is by much too fine a veil for so deformed a body."
    From Addison's Preface to his Translation of Petronius: "'Petronius,' says that judicious critic, Mons. St. Evremond, 'is to be admired throughout, for the purity of his style and the delicacy of his sentiments; but that which more surprises me, is his great easiness in giving us ingenuously all sorts of Characters. Terence is perhaps the only author of Antiquity that enters best into the nature of persons. But still this fault I find in him, that he has too little variety; his whole talent being confined in making servants and old men, a covetous father and a debauched son, a slave and an intriguer, to speak properly, according to their several characters. So far, and no farther, the capacity of Terence reaches. You must not expect from him either gallantry or passion, either thoughts or the discourse of a gentleman. Petronius, who had a universal wit, hits upon the genius of all professions, and adapts himself, as he pleases, to a thousand different natures. If he introduces a Declaimer, he assumes his air and his style so well, that one could say he had used to declaim all his life. Nothing expresses more naturally the constant disorders of a debauched life than these everlasting quarrels of Encolpius and Ascyltos about Giton.
    "Is not Quartilla an admirable portrait of a prostitute woman? Does not the marriage of young Giton and innocent Pannychis give us the image of a complete wantonness?
    "All that a sot ridiculously magnificent in banquets, a vain affecter of niceness, and an impertinent, are able to do, you have at the Feast of Trimalchio.
    "Eumolpus shows us Nero's extravagant folly for the Theater, and his vanity in reciting his own poems; and you may observe, as you run over so many noble verses, of which he makes an ill use, that an excellent poet may be a very ill man. . . . The infirmity he has of making verses out of season, even at death's door; his fluentness in repeating his compositions in all places and at all times, answers his most ridiculous setting out, where he characteristically tells him, "I am a Poet, and I hope, of no ordinary genius.' . . .
    "There is nothing so natural as the character of Chrysis, and none of our confidantes come near her. Not to mention her first conversation with Polyaenus,-- what she tells him of her mistress, upon the affront she received, has an inimitable simplicity. But nobody, besides Petronius, could have described Circe, so beautiful, so voluptuous, and so polite. Enothea, the Priestess of Priapus, ravishes me with the miracles she promises, with her enchantments, her sacrifices, her sorrow for the death of the consecrated goose, and the manner in which she is pacified when Polyaenus makes her a present, with which she might purchase a goose and gods too, if she thought fit.
    "Philumena, that complaisant lady, is no less entertaining, who after she had cullied several men out of their estates, in the flower of her beauty, now being old and by consequence unfit for pleasures, endeavored to keep up this noble trade by the means of her children, whom she took every opportunity to introduce with a thousand fine discourses to old men, who had no heirs of their own.
    "In a word, there is no part of Nature, no profession, which Petronius doth not admirably paint. He is a Poet, an Orator, a Philosopher, and much more besides, at his pleasure."
    Lastly Teufel, writing of the Satyricon in Pauly's Encyclopedia, says: "The whole plan of the work is that of a novel; two freedmen, Encolpius and Ascyltos, are enamored of a boy Giton, and the adventures which have their origin in this circumstance, and which they encounter severally, the acquaintances which they make (for instance of Trimalchio and Eumolpus), form the contents at least of that portion of the book which has come down to us. But the book contains in this dress of a narrative, descriptions of manners, partly of single places (for example of Croton), partly of certain classes (for example of Trimalchio, a rich upstart, who apes the manners of a refined man of the world, but exposes himself most ridiculously, of Encolpius, a good-natured, cowardly and licentious Greek, of Eumolpus, a vain and tasteless poet, and at the same time a thoroughly demoralized preacher of virtue), all drawn with masterly truthfulness even to the minutest detail. The tone is humorous throughout; the dramatis personæ act and speak, even in the most offensive circumstances, with an openness, unconcern and self-satisfaction, as if they had the most undoubted right to be and think as they do; at the same time, a vein of gentle irony pervades the whole, which indicates the author's moral independence and higher standpoint, as well as his sincere gratification at the amusing and filthy scenes which he describes; he accompanies his heroes at every step with a smile on his lips and a low laugh. The work belongs therefore, by its contents as well as its tone, to the department of satire, resembling in tone Horace, in form the Minippean satire.
    "For not only does the language occasionally pass over from prose to verse (limping iambs and trochees), but entire poems of greater extent are interwoven (Troiæ Halosis and Bellum Civile), which are usually put in the mouth of Eumolpus, and which always have a satirical object, sometimes a double one, as in the case with the Bellum Civile, which ridicules Lucan, as well as his opponents personified by Eumolpus, the writer with genuine humor placing himself above both, and dealing against both his blows with impartial justice. The language is always suited to the character of the persons speaking, elegant in Encolpius, bombastic in Trimalchio. The language put in the mouth of the last is for us an invaluable specimen of the lingua Romana rustica, as it obtained in that part of Italy where the scene is laid,-- in Campania, and especially Naples. In conformity with the originally Greek character of this region, the language of Trimalchio and his companions is full of Greek words and Grecisms of the boldest kind (such as coupling the neuter plural with the verb in the singular). Characteristic of the local dialect are the many archaisms, compounds not known in the written language, the frequent solecisms, the many proverbial and extravagant expressions, the numerous oaths and curses."
    A brilliant passage from Emile Thomas' remarkable study of Petronius and contemporary Roman society, entitled, "Petrone: L'Envers de la Société Romaine" (Paris, 1902), may fitly sum up the situation. "This romance," he writes, "such delightful and at the same time such difficult reading, a work at once exquisite and repulsive, gives us by virtue of its defects no less than of its merits a fairly adequate representation of the under-side of Roman civilization. Would it not be a gain, and a great one, for the systematic history of morals and literature at Rome to restore this work to its proper place? and is not this place pretty well identical, barring of course the difference of field and form, with that reserved in Greek Art for the vases, statuettes and pottery of Tanagra, and of the periods before and after Tanagra; in one word, whatever allows us to comprehend, or at least get a glimpse of, the Ancient world under the aspects of its everyday life? Everybody knows how successful has been the revolution, and how fruitful in results, which has been brought about under our own eyes in these departments of Greek History and Archeology.
    "Well! here (in Petronius) we have among the authors of Rome a veritable genre painter, of a sort to take the place for us, at any rate in part, of the graceful vase-paintings of Antiquity, as well as of the grotesques of Greek art.
    "From yet another aspect, not a few points of resemblance may be detected between Petronius and the lighter literary productions, novels, tales, burlesque narratives, vers de societe, and even journals, of the last two Centuries. Our Author is refined, not to say blasé, but none the less inquisitive, full both of sagacity and passion, always exact, and above and beyond all else, a supreme master of style. Laying aside all false delicacy, let us hear what he has to tell us of the daily routine, of the outward aspect, and even of the hidden secrets, of Roman existence. Nowhere else has human life been lived on an ampler scale; no other people, no other society, has ever displayed so much variety, so many contrasts, such heights of grandeur and such depths of degradation."




    Such a long time has passed since first I promised you the story of my adventures I am resolved to keep my word today, seeing we are happily met together to season those matters with lively conversation and tales of a merry and diverting sort.
    Fabricius Veiento was discoursing very wisely to us just now on the follies of superstition, exposing the various forms of priestly charlatanry, the holy men's mania for prophecy, and the effrontery they display in expounding mysteries they very often utterly fail to comprehend themselves. Is it not much the same type of madness that afflicts our declaimers, who shout: "These wounds I got, defending our common liberties; this eye I lost in your behalf. Give me a helping hand to lead me to my children, for my poor maimed limbs refuse to bear my weight." Even such extravagances might be borne, if they really served to guide beginners in the way of eloquence; but all pupils gain by these high-flown themes, these empty sounding phrases, is this, that on entering the forum they imagine themselves transported into a new and strange world.
    This is the reason, in my opinion, why young men grow up such blockheads in the schools, because they neither see nor hear one single thing connected with the usual circumstances of everyday life, nothing but stuff about pirates lurking on the seashore with fetters in their hands, tyrants issuing edicts to compel sons to cut off their own fathers' heads, oracles in times of pestilence commanding three virgins or more to be sacrificed to stay the plague,-- honey-sweet, well-rounded sentences, words and facts alike as it were, besprinkled with poppy and sesame.
    Under such a training it is no more possible to acquire good taste than it is not to stink, if you live in a kitchen. Give me leave to tell you that you rhetoricians are chiefly to blame for the ruin of Oratory, for with your silly, idle phrases, meant only to tickle the ears of an audience, you have enervated and deboshed the very substance of true eloquence.
    Young men were not bound down to declamations in the days when Sophocles and Euripides found the very words they wanted to best express their meaning. No cloistered professor had as yet darkened men's intellects, when Pindar and the nine Lyric bards shrank from emulating the Homeric note. And not to cite poets exclusively,-- I cannot see that either Plato or Demosthenes ever practised this sort of mental exercise. A noble, and so to say chaste, style is not overloaded with ornament, not turgid; its own natural beauty gives it elevation.
    Then after a while this windy, extravagant deluge of words invaded Athens from Asia, and like a malignant star, blasting the minds of young men aiming at lofty ideals, instantly broke up all rules of art and struck eloquence dumb. Since that day who has reached the perfection of Thucydides, the glory of Hyperides? Nay! not a poem has been written of bright and wholesome complexion; but all, as if fed on the same unhealthy diet, have lacked stamina to attain old age. Painting moreover shared the same fate, after Egypt presumptuously invented a compendious method for that noble Art.
    Such and suchlike reflections I was indulging in one day before a numerous audience, when Agamemnon came up, curious to see who it was they were listening to so attentively. Well! he declined to allow me to declaim longer in the Portico than he had himself sweated in the schools but: "Young man," he cries, "seeing your words are something better than mere popular commonplaces, and-- a very rare occurrence-- you are an admirer of sound sense, I will confide to you a professional secret. In the choice of these exercises it is not the masters that are to blame. They are forced to be just as mad as all the rest; for if they refuse to teach what pleases their scholars, they will be left, as Cicero says, to lecure to empty benches. Just as false-hearted sycophants, scheming for a seat at a rich man's table, make it their chief business to discover what will be most agreeable hearing to their host, for indeed their only way to gain their end is by cajolement and flattery; so a professor of Rhetoric, unless like a fisherman he arm his hook with the bait he knows the fish will take, may stand long enough on his rock without a chance of success.
    "Whose fault is it then? It is the parents deserve censure, who will not give their children the advantages of a strict training. In the first place their hopes, like everything else, are centered in ambition, and so being impatient to see their wishes fulfilled, they hurry lads into the forum when still raw and half taught, and indue mere babes with the mantle of eloquence, an art they admit themselves to be equaled by none in difficulty. If only they would let them advance step by step in their tasks, so that serious students might be broken in by solid reading, steady their minds with the precepts of philosophy, chasten their style with unsparing correction, study deep and long what they propose to imitate, and refuse to be dazzled by puerile graces, then and then only would the grand old type of Oratory recover its former authority and stateliness. Nowadays, boys waste their time at school; as youths, they are jeered at in the forum, and what is worse than either, no one will acknowledge, as an old man, the faultiness of the teaching he received in his younger days.
    "But that you may not imagine I disapprove of satirical impromptus in the Lucilian vein, I will myself throw my notions on this matter into verse:

     "He that would be an orator, must strive
      To follow out the discipline of old,
      And heed the laws of stern frugality;
      Not his to haunt the Court with fawning brow,
      Nor sit a flatterer at great folks' boards;
      Not his with boon companions o'er the wine
      To overcloud his brain, nor at the play
      To sit and clap, agape at actors' tricks.
      But whether to Tritonia's famous halls
      The Muses lead his steps, or to those walls
      That Spartan exiles rear'd or where
      The Sirens' song thrill'd the enraptured air
      Of all his tasks let Poesy be first,
      And Homer's verse the fount to quench his thirst.
      Soon will be master deep Socratic lore,
      And wield the arms Demosthenes erst bore.
      Then to new modes must he in turn be led,
      And Grecian wit to Roman accents wed.
      Nor in the forum only will he find
      Meet occupation for his busy mind;
      On books he'll feast, the poet's words of fire,
      Heroic tales of War and Tully's patriot ire,
      Such be thy studies; then, whate'er the theme,
      Pour forth thine eloquence in copious stream."

    Listening attentively to the speaker, I never noticed that Ascyltos had given me the slip; and I was still walking up and down in the gardens full of the burning words I had heard, when a great mob of students rushed into the Portico. Apparently these had just come from hearing an impromptu lecture of some critic or other who had been cutting up Agamemnon's speech. So whilst the lads were making fun of his sentiments and abusing the arrangement of the whole discourse, I seized the opportunity to escape, and started off at a run in pursuit of Ascyltos. But I was heedless about the road I followed, and indeed felt by no means sure of the situation of our inn, the result being that whichever direction I took, I presently found myself back again at my starting point. At last, exhausted with running and dripping with sweat, I came across a little old woman, who was selling herbs.
    "Prithee, good mother," say I, "can you tell me where I live?" Charmed with the quiet absurdity of my question, "Why certainly!" she replied; and getting up, went on before me. I thought she must be a witch; but presently, when we had arrived at a rather shy neighborhood, the obliging old lady drew back the curtain of a doorway, and said, "Here is where you ought to live."
    I was just protesting I did not know the house, when I catch sight of mysterious figures prowling between rows of name-boards, and naked harlots. Then when too late, I saw I had been brought into a house of ill fame. So cursing the old woman's falseness, I threw my robe over my head and made a dash right through the brothel to the opposite door, when lo! just on the threshold, whom should I meet but Ascyltos, fagged out and half dead like myself? You would have thought the very same old hag had been his conductress. I made him a mocking bow, and asked him what he was doing in such a disreputable place?
    Wiping the sweat from his face with both hands, he replied, "If you only knew what happened to me!"
    "Why! what has happened?" said I.
    Then in a faint voice he went on, "I was wandering all over the town, without being able to discover where I had left our inn, when a respectable looking man accosted me, and most politely offered to show me the way. Then after traversing some very dark and intricate alleys, he brought me where we are, and producing his affair, began begging me to grant him my favors. In two twos the woman had taken the fee for the room, and the man laid hold of me; and if I had not proved the stronger, I should have fared very ill indeed."
    While Ascyltos was thus recounting his adventures, up came his respectable friend again, accompanied by a woman of considerable personal attractions, and addressing himself to Ascyltos, besought him to enter, assuring him he had nothing to fear, and that as he would not consent to play the passive, he should do the active part. The woman on her side was very anxious I should go with her. Accordingly we followed the pair, who led us among the name-boards, where we saw in the chambers persons of both sexes behaving in such fashion I concluded they must every one have been drinking satyrion. On seeing us, they endeavored to allure us to sodomy with enticing gestures; and suddenly one fellow with his clothes well tucked up assails Ascyltos, and throwing him down on a bed, tries to get to work a-top of him. I spring to the sufferer's rescue, and uniting our efforts, we make short work of the ruffian. Ascyltos bolts out of the house, and away, leaving me to escape their beastly advances as best I might; but discovering I was too strong for them and in no mood for trifling, they left me alone.
    After running about almost over the city, I caught sight of Giton, as it were a fog, standing at the corner of an alley close to the door of our inn, and hurried to join him. I asked my favorite whether he had got anything ready for our dinner, whereupon the lad sat down on the bed and began wiping away the tears with his thumb. Much disturbed at my favorite's distress, I demanded what had happened. For a long time I could not drag a word out of him, not indeed till I had added threats to prayers. Then he reluctantly told me. "That favorite or comrade of yours came into our lodging just now, and set to work to force me. When I screamed he drew a sword and said, 'If you're a Lucretia, you've found a Tarquin'."
    Hearing this, I exclaimed, shaking my two fists in Ascyltos' face. "What have you to say now, you pathic prostitute, you, whose very breath is abominable?" Ascyltos feigned extreme indignation, and immediately repeated my gesture with greater emphasis, crying in still louder tones, "Will you hold your tongue, you filthy gladiator, who after murdering your host, had luck enough to escape from the criminals' cage at the Amphitheater? Will you hold your tongue, you midnight cut-throat, who never, when at your bravest, durst face an honest woman? Didn't I serve you for a minion in an orchard, just as this lad does now in an inn?"
    "Did you or did you not," I interrupted, "sneak off from the master's lecture?"
    "What was I to do, fool, when I was dying of hunger? Stop and listen to a string of phrases no better than the tinkling of broken glass or the nonsensical interpretations in dream books? By great Hercules, you are dead baser than I; to compass a dinner you have condescended to flatter a Poet!" This ended our unseemly wrangle, and we both burst into a fit of laughter, and proceeded to discuss other matters in a more peaceable tone.
    But the recollection of his late violence coming over me afresh, "Ascyltos," I said, "I see we cannot get on together; so let us divide between us our bits of common funds, and each try to make head against poverty on his own bottom. You are a scholar; so am I. I don't wish to spoil your profits, so I'll take up another line. Else shall we find a thousand causes of quarrel every day, and soon make ourselves the talk of the town."
    Ascyltos raised no objection, merely saying, "For today, as we have accepted, in our quality of men of letters, an invitation to dine out, don't let us lose our evening; but tomorrow, since you wish it, I will look out for a new lodging and another bedfellow."
    "Poor work," said I, "putting off the execution of a good plan." It was really my naughty passions that urged me to so speedy a parting; indeed I had been long wishing to be rid of his jealous observation, in order to renew my old relations with my sweet Giton. Ascyltos, mortally offended at my remark, rushed out of the room without another word. So sudden a departure boded ill; for I knew his ungovernable temper and the strength of his passions. So I went after him, to keep an eye on his doings and guard against their consequences; but he slipped adroitly out of my sight, and I wasted a long time in a fruitless search for the rascal.
    After looking through the whole city, I came back to my little room, and now at length claiming my full tale of kisses, I clip my darling lad in the tightest of embraces; my utmost hopes of bliss are fulfilled to the envy of all mankind. The rites were not yet complete, when Ascyltos crept up stealthily to the door, and violently bursting in the bolts, caught me at play with his favorite. His laughter and applause filled the room, and tearing off the mantle that covered us, "Why! what are you after," he cries, "my sainted friend? What! both tucked cozily under one coverlet?" Nor did he stop at words, but detaching the strap from his wallet, he fell to thrashing me with no perfunctory hand, seasoning his blows with insulting remarks. "This is the way you divide stock with a comrade, is it? Not so fast, my friend." So unexpected was the attack I was obliged to put up with the blows in silence.
    Accordingly I took the matter as a joke, and it was well I did so; otherwise I should have had to fight my rival. My counterfeited merriment calmed his anger, and he even smiled faintly. "Look you, Encolpius," said he, "are you so buried in your pleasures, you never reflect that our money is exhausted, and the trifles we have left are valueless. Town is good for nothing in the summer days; there'll be better luck in the country. Let's go visit our friends."


    Necessity constrained me to approve his advice and restrain the expression of my resentment. So, loading Giton with our scanty baggage, we quitted the city and made our way to the country house of Lycurgus, a Roman knight. Ascyltos had been a minion in former days, so he gave us an excellent reception, and the company assembled there rendered our entertainment still more delightful. First and foremost was Tryphaena, a very handsome woman, who had come with Lichas, master of a ship and owner of estates near the seacoast.
    Words cannot describe the pleasures we enjoyed in this most delightful spot, though Lycurgus's table was frugal enough. You must know we lost no time in pairing off as lovers. The lovely Tryphaena was my fancy, and readily acceded to my wishes. But scarcely was I in enjoyment of her favors, when Lichas, furious at his lady-love being filched from him, insisted I must indemnify him for the injury done him. She had long been his mistress; so he made the festive proposal that I should make good his loss in person. He pressed me passionately; but Tryphaena possessing my heart, my ears were deaf to his importunities. My refusal made him still more eager and he followed me about like a dog, and actually came into my chamber one night. Finding his entreaties scorned, he tried to force me; but I shouted so loudly I roused the household and by favor of Lycurgus's countenance was saved from the ruffian's attempts.
    Eventually thinking Lycurgus's house inconvenient for his purpose, he endeavored to persuade me to be his guest. When I refused his invitation, he got Tryphaena to use her influence. The latter begged me to comply with Lichas's wishes, what made her so ready to do so being the prospect of leading a more independent life there. Accordingly I follow where my love leads the way. But Lycurgus, having renewed his former relations with Ascyltos, would not let him go. So we agreed that he should stop with Lycurgus, whilst we accompanied Lichas, resolving at the same time that, as opportunity offered, we should each and all lay hands on anything handy for the common stock.
    My consent delighted Lichas beyond measure. He hurried on our departure all he could, and forthwith bidding our friends farewell, we arrived the same day at his house. Lichas had cleverly arranged it in such a way that he sat beside me during the journey, while Tryphaena was next to Giton. This he had contrived because he knew the woman's notorious fickleness, and the result justified his expectations. In fact she instantly fell in love with the lad, as I saw easily enough. Lichas moreover made a point of drawing my attention to the circumstance, and assured me there was no doubt about it. This made me receive his advances more complacently, at which he was overjoyed. He felt certain the injury my mistress was doing me would turn my love into contempt, and that consequently out of pique against Tryphaena, I should be the more disposed to welcome his proposals.
    Such was the state of affairs under Lichas's roof. Tryphaena was desperately enamored of Giton; Giton's whole heart was aflame for Tryphaena; I hated the sight of both; while Lichas, studying to please me, contrived some fresh diversion every day. Doris, his pretty wife, eagerly seconded his efforts, and that so charmingly she soon drove Tryphaena from my heart. A wink informed Doris of the state of my feelings, and she returned the compliment with alluring glances; so that this mute language, anticipating the tongue, furtively expressed the mutual liking we had simultaneously conceived for one another.
    I soon saw Lichas was jealous, and this made me cautious; while the quick eyes of love had already revealed to the wife the husband's designs on me. The first opportunity we had of conversing together, she announced her discovery to me. I frankly admitted the fact, and told her how austerely I had always treated his advances. But like a wise, discreet woman, she only said, "Well! well! we must act judiciously in the matter." I followed her advice, and found that, to yield to the one was to win the other.
    Meanwhile, while Giton was recruiting his exhausted strength, Tryphaena was for returning to me; but on my repulsing her overtures, her love changed into furious hate. Nor was the ardent little wanton long in discovering my dealings both with husband and wife. The former's naughtiness with me she made light of, for she lost nothing by it; but she went savagely for Doris and her secret pleasures. She denounced her to Lichas, whose jealousy proving stronger than his love, he prepared for revenge. However Doris, warned by Tryphaena's maid to look out for storms, refrained from any clandestine meetings for the present.
    As soon as I learned the truth, cursing at once Tryphaena's perfidy and Lichas's ingratitude, I made up my mind to be gone. Fortune moreover was in my favor; for the very day before a vessel, dedicated to Isis and laden with rich offerings for the feast of the goddess, had run ashore on the rocks of the neighboring coast.
    I talked the matter over with Giton, and he readily enough agreed to my plan, for Tryphaena, after draining him of his strength, was now openly neglecting him. Accordingly we set off betimes next day for the coast, and easily got aboard the wreck as we were known to Lichas's servants, who were in charge. But finding they insisted on attending us everywhere out of politeness, so stopping any chance of looting, I left Giton with them and seizing an opportunity to get away by myself, crept into the poop, where stood the image of Isis. This I robbed of a rich mantle and a silver sistrum, besides appropriating other valuables from the Captain's cabin. This done, I slipped down a mooring-rope without anybody seeing me except Giton, who likewise eluded the men in charge before very long and sneaked after me.
    On his coming up, I showed him my booty, and we resolved to make the best of our way to Ascyltos, but we could not reach Lycurgus's house till next day. Arrived there, I gave Ascyltos a brief account of the robbery, and of our untoward love adventures. His advice was to get Lycurgus on our side, telling him that fresh persecutions on the part of Lichas had determined our sudden and secret flight. When he heard this Lycurgus took an oath he would never fail us as a bulwark against our enemies.
    Our flight was not observed until Tryphaena and Doris awoke and got up; for every morning we made a point of attending these ladies' toilette. Our unwonted absence therefore being noticed, Lichas dispatched messengers to look for us, particularly to the seashore. From them he heard of our having visited the ship, but not a word about the robbery. This was still undiscovered, because the poop lay seawards, and the Master had not as yet returned to his vessel.
    Eventually, when no doubt remained as to our flight, which annoyed Lichas extremely, the latter turned furiously upon Doris, considering her to be responsible for it. I will not describe his language nor the violence he indulged in towards her; indeed I do not know the details. Enough to say that Tryphaena, the originator of all the disturbance, prevailed on Lichas to go and look for us at Lycurgus's house, as being our most likely place of refuge, choosing herself to accompany him thither, that she might find opportunity to load us with the abuse and scorn we had so well merited at her hands.
    Setting out next day, they arrived at the mansion. We were not at home, Lycurgus having taken us to a feast of Hercules that was being celebrated at a neighboring village. Learning this, they followed us in all haste, and came up with us in the Portico of the Temple. Their appearance disconcerted us not a little. Lichas instantly began to complain bitterly of our running away to Lycurgus; but was met with such an angry brow and haughty air by the latter, that plucking up a spirit, I loudly cried shame on his lecherous attempts on my person both under Lycurgus's roof and his own. Tryphaena interfered, but got the worst of it, too, for I proclaimed her baseness to the crowds of people our altercation had attracted, and in token of the truth of my allegations, I showed them Giton pale and bloodless and myself brought to death's door by the strumpet's wantonness. The crowd burst into loud shouts of laughter, which so abashed our adversaries that they withdrew, crestfallen and vowing vengeance.
    Perceiving we had quite won Lycurgus over, they determined to wait for him at his own house, in order to disabuse his mind of this prepossession in our favor. The solemnities finished too late for us to return to the mansion that night; so Lycurgus took us to a country lodge of his situated halfway thither. Here he left us next morning still asleep, while he went home himself to attend to the dispatch of business. He found Lichas and Tryphaena waiting for him there, who talked him over so cleverly, they actually persuaded him to deliver us up into their hands. Lycurgus, a man naturally cruel and treacherous, meditating how best to betray us, urged Lichas to go for help, while he went himself to the lodge to secure our capture.
    Arrived there, he accosted us with as harsh a mien as ever Lichas might have been expected to show; then, wringing his hands, he upbraided us with our falsehood to Lichas, and ordered us to be kept fast prisoners in the chamber where we lay, excluding Ascyltos and refusing to hear a word from him in our defense. Taking the latter with him to his mansion, he left us behind in custody till his return.
    On the journey Ascyltos tried in vain to modify Lycurgus's determination, but neither prayers, caresses nor tears would move him. Accordingly our comrade conceived the idea of setting us at liberty by other means. Indignant at Lycurgus's harshness, he positively refused to sleep with him, and so found himself in a better position to carry out the plan he had formed.
    Waiting till the household were buried in their first sleep, he took our bits of baggage on his shoulders, and slipping through a breach in the wall he had previously marked, he reached the lodge at daybreak. Entering the house unopposed, he sought our room, which the guards had taken care to secure. There was little difficulty in opening the door, for the bolt being of wood, he loosened this by inserting an iron bar. Presently the lock dropped off, and awoke us in falling, for we were snoring away in spite of our unhappy situation. Yet so sound asleep were our guards, being tired out with watching, that the crash roused no one but ourselves.
    Then Ascyltos, entering our prison, briefly told us what he had done for us, nor indeed were many words necessary. While we were busy dressing, it occurred to me to kill the watchmen and loot the house. I confided my notion to Ascyltos, who approved of the robbery, but said we could gain our ends better without bloodshed. Accordingly, knowing as he did all the ins and outs of the premises, he led us to the store chamber, the doors of which he undid. Appropriating the more valuable of the contents, we made off while it was still early morning, and avoiding the public roads, never stopped till we deemed ourselves safe from pursuit.
   Hereupon Ascyltos, taking breath, declared emphatically what delight he had felt in pillaging Lycurgus's house. He was an arrant miser, he said, and had given him good reason to complain; while he had never paid him a farthing for his nights' work, he had at the same time kept him on very short commons and the thinnest of drink. So niggardly indeed was the fellow that notwithstanding his boundless wealth, he used to deny himself the barest necessaries of life.

      Unhappy Tantalus, with plenty curst,
      'Mid fruits for hunger faints, 'mid streams for
      The Miser's emblem! who of all possess'd,
      Yet fears to taste, in blessings most unbless'd.

    Ascyltos was for returning to Naples that same day. "But surely," said I, "it is acting imprudently to go to the very place of all others where they are most likely to look for us. Let us keep away for a while and ramble about the country. We have the means to do it in comfort." My advice was approved, and we set out for a hamlet embellished with a number of agreeable country residences, where several of our familiars were enjoying the pleasures of the season. But scarcely had we covered half the distance when a storm of rain coming down in bucketfuls compelled us to fly for shelter to the nearest village. Entering the inn, we found a crowd of other travelers who had turned in there to escape the inclemency of the weather.
    The throng prevented our attracting notice, which made it all the easier for us to pry about in search of anything we could appropriate. Ascyltos picked up from the floor, quite unobserved, a little bag containing a number of gold pieces. We were delighted at this lucky beginning; but fearing some one might claim the money, we stole away by the back door. There we found a servant saddling some horses, who at that moment left them to go back to the house for something he had forgotten. Profiting by his absence, I snatched a superb riding-cloak from a saddle, undoing the straps that fastened it. This done, we made off into the nearest wood under cover of some outhouses.
    Sitting down in the depths of the wood, where we were in comparative safety, we held a council of war about concealing the gold, not wishing either to be accused of the theft or to be robbed of it ourselves. Finally we decided to sew it up in a hem of an old threadbare tunic, which I threw round my shoulders, and entrusting the cloak to Ascyltos, we prepared to start for the city by way of bypaths. But just as we were quitting the forest, we hear a voice pronounce these terrible words: "They shan't escape. They've gone into the wood; and if we spread out and search everywhere, they'll easily be caught."
    These words filled us with such consternation that Ascyltos and Giton dashed away through the bushes in the direction of the city; while I stepped back so hurriedly that, without my knowing it, the precious tunic slipped from my shoulders. At length, tired out and unable to go a step further, I lay down under a tree, and then for the first time discovered my loss. Vexation gave me new strength, and starting up again to look for the treasure, I wandered up and down for a long time in vain, till worn out with toil and trouble I plunged into the darkest recesses of the forest, where I remained for four weary hours. Sick at last of the horrible solitude, I sought a way out, but as I advanced I caught sight of a peasant. Then indeed I wanted all my assurance, and it did not fail me. Going boldly up to him, I asked my way to the city, complaining I had been lost for ever so long in the wood. He led me very civilly into the high road, where he came upon two of his comrades, who reported they had searched all the paths through the forest, but had found nothing except a tunic which they showed him.
    I had not the impudence to claim the garment, as may be supposed. My vexation redoubled, and I uttered many a groan over my lost gold.
    Thus it was already late when I reached the city. Entering the inn, I found Ascyltos stretched half dead on a bed. Disturbed at not seeing the tunic intrusted to my care, Ascyltos eagerly demanded it. After a while my strength came back a little, and I then told him the whole misadventure; but he thought I was joking, and though an appealing flood of tears further confirmed my asseverations, he remained obviously incredulous, thinking I wanted to cheat him out of the money. But after all, what most troubled our minds was the hue and cry after us. I mentioned this to Ascyltos, but he made light of it, having managed to extricate himself successfully from the affair. Besides he was convinced we were safe enough, for we were not known, and nobody had set eyes on us. Still we thought it advisable to feign sickness, so as to have a pretext for keeping our room the longer. But our cash running short, we had to go abroad sooner than we had intended, and under the spur of necessity to sell some of our plunder.


    On the approach of night we took our way to the market-place, where we saw an abundance of goods for sale, not indeed articles of any great value, but rather such as needed the kindly veil of darkness, considering their rather shady origin. Thither we also conveyed our stolen riding-cloak, and seizing the opportunity, displayed a corner of it in a quiet spot, hoping a buyer might be attracted by the beauty of the garment.
    It was not long before a countryman, whose face seemed somehow familiar to me, approached in company with a young woman, and began to examine the cloak minutely. On the other part Ascyltos, casting his eye on the rustic customer's shoulders, was instantly struck dumb with surprise. Nor could I myself avoid some perturbation of mind when I saw him; for he appeared to be the identical peasant who had found our old tunic in the loneliness of the wood. Yes! he was the very man. But Ascyltos, afraid to trust his eyes and anxious not to do anything rash, first went up to the fellow as a would-be purchaser, drew the tunic from his shoulders and began to scrutinize it carefully.
    By a wonderful stroke of luck the rustic had not as yet had the curiosity to search the seams, but was offering the thing for sale with an indifferent air as some beggar-man's leavings. When Ascyltos saw our money was intact and that the vendor was a person of no great account, he drew me a little aside from the throng and said, "Do you observe, comrade, our treasure that I was regretting as lost is come back again? That is our tunic and it seems to have the gold pieces in it still: they haven't been touched. But what can we do about it? How are we to prove ownership?" I was greatly cheered not only at beholding our loot once more, but also because I thus found myself freed from a villainous suspicion, and at once declared against any sort of beating about the bush. I advised we should bring a civil action right out to compel him to give up the property to its rightful owners by law, if he refused to do so otherwise.
    Not so Ascyltos, who had a wholesome fear of the law. "Who knows us," he said, "in this place, or will believe what we say? My own strong opinion is we should buy the property, our own though it be, now we see it, and rather pay a small sum to recover our treasure than get mixed up in a lawsuit, the issue of which is uncertain."

      What worth our laws, when pelf alone is king,
      When to be poor is to be always wrong?
      The Cynic sage himself, stern moralist,
      Is not averse to sell his words for gold;
      Justice is bought, the highest bidder wins,
      A partial Judge directs a venal Court.

    But alas! except for a brace of copper coins, which we had purposed to spend on lupines and peas, we were penniless just then. So, for fear the prey might escape us meanwhile, we resolved to part with the cloak at a lower price, making the profit on the one transaction balance the loss on the other. Accordingly we spread out our merchandise; but the woman who had hitherto been standing beside the countryman closely muffled, now suddenly, after carefully scanning certain marks on the cloak, laid hold of the hem with both hands, and screamed out "Stop, thieves! Stop, thieves!" at the top of her voice.
    At this we were not a little disconcerted, but that we might not seem to acquiesce without a protest, we in our turn seized the tattered, filthy tunic, and declared no less spitefully it was our goods they had in their possession. But our case was far from being on all fours with theirs; and the crowd, that had gathered at the outcry, began to make fun of our impertinent claim, and not unnaturally, when on the one side they asserted their right to a most valuable cloak, but we to this old rag hardly worth mending. However Ascyltos adroitly stopped their ridicule by crying out, directly he could get a hearing, "Well! look you, every man likes his own property best; let 'em give us up our tunic, and they shall have their cloak."
    Both the rustic and the young woman were ready enough to make the exchange; but a couple of attorneys, or to give them their true name, night-prowlers, who wanted to appropriate the cloak themselves, demanded that both the articles in dispute should be deposited with them, and the Judge look into the case in the morning; for not only must the ownership of these be investigated, but quite another question altogether as well, to wit, a suspicion of theft on the part of both parties.
    The bystanders were by this time all in favor of sequestration, and an individual in the crowd, a bald man with a very pimply face, who was in the habit of undertaking occasional jobs for the lawyers, impounded the cloak, saying he would produce it on the morrow. But the real object was self-evident, that the knavish crew having once got hold of the article in question, they might smuggle it out of the way, while we should be scared by the fear of a charge of theft from putting in an appearance at the appointed time. This was very much what we wanted ourselves, and luck seconded the wishes of both parties. For the countryman, indignant at our requiring the surrender of an old rag, threw the tunic in Ascyltos's face, and withdrawing his own claim altogether, merely demanded the sequestration of the cloak as the only object of litigation. Having thus recovered our treasure, as we felt, we rush off full speed for our inn, and bolting the room door, start making merry over the astuteness both of our opponents and of the crowd, who had exercised so much ingenuity in giving us back our money!
    As we were unstitching the tunic to take out the gold pieces, we overheard some one asking the innkeeper what kind of people they were who had just entered his house. Terrified at the question, I went down after he had gone, to see what was the matter, and found that a Pretor's lictor, whose duty it was to see the names of strangers entered in the public registers, had seen two such enter the inn, whose names he had not yet taken down, and was therefore making inquiries as to their nationality and business. This information the inn-keeper gave in such an offhand manner as made me suspect his house was not altogether a safe place for us; so, to avoid the chance of arrest, we determined to leave the place and not return till after dark. Accordingly we sallied forth, leaving the care of providing our dinner to Giton.
    As our wish was to avoid the frequented streets, we went by way of the more lonely districts of the city. Towards nightfall we met in a remote spot two respectably robed and good-looking women, and followed them slowly and softly to a small temple, which they entered, and from which a strange humming was audible, like the sound of voices issuing from the recesses of a cavern. Curiosity impelled us likewise to enter the temple, and there we beheld a number of women, resembling Bacchantes, each brandishing an emblem of Priapus in her right hand. This was all we were permitted to see; for the instant they caught sight of us, they set up such a shouting the vault of the sacred building trembled, and tried to seize hold of us. But we fled as fast as our legs would carry us back to our inn.
    Scarcely had we eaten our fill of the dinner Giton had provided us, when the door resounded with a most imperative knocking. Turning pale, we demanded, "Who's there?"-- "Open the door," was the answer, "and you'll find out." We were still arguing when the bolt tumbled off of itself, the door flew open and admitted our visitor. This was a woman with her head muffled, the very same who a little time before had been standing by the countryman's side in the market. "Ah, ha!" she cried, "did you suppose you had really made a fool of me? I am Quartilla's maid, Quartilla whose devotions before the grotto you disturbed. She is coming in person to the inn, and begs to speak with you. Do not be afraid; she brings no accusation, and has no wish to punish your fault. She only wonders what god it was brought such genteel young men into her district."
    We were still dumb, not knowing in the least what kind of response to give, when the mistress herself entered, accompanied only by a young girl, and sitting down on my couch, wept for ever so long. Not even then had we a word to offer, but looked on in amazement at this tearful display of pretended grief. When the enticing shower had exhausted itself, she drew back the hood that concealed her haughty features, and wringing her hands till the finger joints cracked, "What means this recklessness?" she cried; "wherever have you learned these knavish tricks that for audacity outdo the heroes of the story-books. By heaven! I pity you! for be sure no man ever looked with impunity on forbidden sights. Truly our neighborhood is so well stocked with deities to hand, you will easier meet with a god than a man. But don't imagine I've come here vindictively; I'm more moved by your youth than angered by the wrong you have done me. It was in sheer ignorance, I still think, you committed your unpardonable act of sacrilege.
    "Last night I was grievously tormented, and shaken with such alarming tremblings, I dreaded an attack of tertian ague. So in my sleep I prayed for a remedy, and was bidden seek you out, that you might assuage the violence of the complaint by means of a cunning contrivance also indicated in my dream. But indeed and indeed it is not so much this cure I am exercised about; what wrings my heart and drives me almost to despair is the dread that in your youthful levity you may reveal what you saw in the shrine of Priapus, and betray the counsels of the gods to the common herd. This is why I stretch forth suppliant hands to your knees, and beg and pray you not to turn into ribaldry and jest our nocturnal rites, nor willingly divulge the secrets of so many years,-- secrets known to barely a thousand persons all told."
    After this impassioned appeal she again burst into tears, and shaken by mighty sobs, entirely buried her face and bosom in my couch. Meantime, moved at once by pity and apprehension, I bade her keep a good heart, and be quite easy on either head. For, I assured her, not one of us would divulge the mysteries, and moreover, if the god had revealed any extraordinary means of curing her ague, we would second divine providence, even if it involved danger to ourselves.
    The woman cheered up at this promise, and fell to kissing me thick and fast, and changing from tears to laughter, combed back with her fingers some stray locks that had escaped from behind my ears. "I make truce with you," she said, "and withdraw my case against you. But if you had not agreed about the remedy I am seeking, I had a posse of men all ready for tomorrow to avenge my wrongs and vindicate my honor.

     "Contempt is hateful; what I love is power,
      To work my will at my own place and hour.
      A wise man's scorn bends the most stubborn will,
      The noblest victor he who spares to kill."

    Next, clapping her hands together, she suddenly burst into such a fit of laughter as quite alarmed us. The maid, who had entered first followed suit, and was followed in turn by the little girl who had come in along with Quartilla.
    The whole place reëchoed with their forced merriment; meantime, seeing no reason for this rapid change of mood, we stand staring now at each other, now at the women. At length says Quartilla, "I have given express orders that no mortal be admitted into this inn today, that you may, without interruption, apply the remedy for my ague."
    "At this declaration Ascyltos stood for a time appalled; for myself, I turned colder that a Gallic winter, and was unable to utter a word. Still our numbers somewhat reassured me against any disaster. After all, they were only three weak women, quite incapable of any serious assault on us, who if we had nothing else manly about us, were at least of the male sex. Anyway we were all ready prepared for the fray; in fact I had already so arranged the couples, that if it came to a fight, I should myself tackle Quartilla, Ascyltos the waiting-maid, Giton the girl.
    In the middle of these reflections, up came Quartilla to me to be cured of her ague; but finding herself sadly disappointed, she flung out of the house in a rage. Returning after a little, she had us seized by some unknown bravos and carried off to a magnificent palace.


    At this crisis amazement and consternation quite broke our spirit, certain death seeming to stare us miserably in the face. "I beseech you, lady," I cried, "if you have any sinister design, put us out of our misery at once; we have done nothing so heinous as to deserve torturing to death." The maid, whose name was Psyche, now carefully spread a rug on the marble floor, and endeavored to rouse my member into activity, but it lay cold as a thousand deaths could make it. Ascyltos had muffled his head in his mantle, having doubtless learned from experience the peril of meddling with other people's secrets. Meantime Psyche produced two ribbons from her bosom, and proceeded to tie our hands with one and our feet with the other. Finding myself thus fettered, "This is not the way," I protested, "for your mistress to get what she wants." "Granted," replied the maid; "but I have other remedies to my hand, and surer ones."
    So saying, she brought me a goblet full of satyrion, and with quips and cranks and a host of wonderful tales of its virtues, induced me to drain off nearly the whole of the liquor. Then, because he had slighted her overtures a little before, she poured what was left of the stuff over Ascyltos's back without his noticing. The latter, seeing the stream of her eloquence dried up, exclaimed, "Well! and am I not thought worthy to have a drink too?" Betrayed by my laughter, the girl clapped her hands and cried, "Why! I've given it you already, young man; you've had the whole draft all to yourself." "What!" put in Quartilla, "has Encolpius drunk up all our stock of satyrion?" and her sides shook with pretty merriment. Eventually not even Giton could contain his mirth, particularly when the little girl threw her arms round his neck, and gave the boy, who showed no signs of reluctance, a thousand kisses.
    We should have cried out for help in our unhappy plight, but there was no one to hear us and besides Psyche pricked my cheeks with her hair pin every time I tried to call upon my fellow countrymen for succor, while at the same time the other girl threatened Ascyltos with a brush dipped in satyrion. Finally there entered a catamite, tricked out in a coat of chestnut frieze, and wearing a sash, who would alternately writhe his buttocks and bump against us, and beslaver us with the most evil-smelling kisses, until Quartilla, holding a whalebone wand in her hand and with skirts tucked up, ordered him to give the poor fellows quarter. Then we all three swore the most solemn oaths the horrid secret should die with us.
    Next a company of wrestlers appeared, who rubbed us over with the proper gymnastic oil, which was very refreshing. This gradually removed our fatigue and resuming the dinner clothes that we had taken off, we were then conducted into the adjoining room, where the couches were laid and all preparations made for an elegant feast in the most sumptuous style. We were requested to take our places, and the banquet opened with some wonderful hors d'oeuvres, while the Falernian flowed like water. A number of other courses followed, and we were all but falling asleep, when Quartilla cried, "Come, come! can you think of sleep, when you know this livelong night is owed to the service of Priapus?"
    Ascyltos was so worn out with all he had gone through he could not keep his eyes open a moment longer, and the waiting-maid, whom he had scorned and slighted, now proceeded to daub his face all over with streaks of soot, and bepaint his lips and shoulders as he lay unconscious.
    I too, tired with the persecutions I had endured, was just enjoying forty winks, as they say, while all the household, within doors and without, had copied my example. Some lay sprawling about the diners' feet, others propped against the walls, while others snored head to head right on the threshold. The oil in the lamps had burned low, and they shed a feeble, dying light, when two Syrian slaves came into the banquet-room to crib a flagon of wine.
    Whilst they were greedily fighting for it and scuffling amongst the silver, it parted and broke in two. At the same moment the table with the silver plate collapsed, and a goblet falling from perhaps a greater height than the rest, struck the waiting-maid who was lying exhausted on a couch underneath and cut her head open. She screamed out at the blow, at once discovering the thieves and awakening some of the drunkards. The Syrians, thus caught in the act, threw themselves with one accord onto a couch, and started snoring as if they had been asleep ever so long.
    By this time the chief butler had wakened up and put fresh oil into the expiring lamps, while the other slaves after rubbing their eyes a bit, had resumed their posts, and presently a cymbal-player came in and roused us all up with a clash of her instruments. So the banquet was resumed, and Quartilla challenged us to start a fresh carouse, the tinkle of cymbals still further stimulating her reckless gaiety.
   The next to appear is a catamite, the silliest of mankind and quite worthy of the house, who beat his hands together, gave a groan, and then spouted the following delightful effusion:
"Who hath a pathic lust,
With Delian vice accurst;
Who loves the pliant thigh,
Quick hand and wanton sigh;
Come hither, come hither, come hither,
    Here shall he see
    Gross beasts as he,
Lechers of every feather!"
    Then, his poetry exhausted, he spat a most stinking kiss in my face; before long he mounted on the couch where I lay and exposed me by force in spite of my resistance. He labored hard and long to bring up my member, but in vain. Streams of gummy paint and sweat poured from his heated brow, and such a lot of chalk filled the wrinkles of his cheeks, you might have thought his face was an old dilapidated wall with the plaster crumbling away in the rain.
    I could no longer restrain my tears, but driven to the last extremity of disgust, "I ask you, lady," I cried, "is this the 'night-cap' (ambasicoetas) you promised me?" At this she clapped her hands daintily, exclaiming, "Oh you clever boy! what a pretty wit you have! Of course you didn't know 'night-cap' is another name for a catamite?" Then, that my comrade might not miss his share too, I asked her, "Now, on your conscience, is Ascyltos to be the only guest in the room to keep holiday!"
   "So?" she cried, "why! let Ascyltos have his 'night-cap' too!" In obedience to her order, the catamite now changed his mount, and transferring his attentions to my friend, set to grinding him under his buttocks and smothering him with lecherous kisses.
    All this while Giton had been standing by, laughing as if his sides would split. Now Quartilla, catching sight of him, asked with eager curiosity, whose lad he was. When I told her he was my little favorite, "Why hasn't he kissed me then?" she cried, and calling him to her glued her lips to his. Next minute she slipped her hand under his clothes, and pulling out his unpractised tool, she observed, "This will be a very pretty whet tomorrow to our naughty appetite. For today,-- 'After such a dainty dish, I will taste no common fish!'"
    Just as she was saying this, Psyche approached her mistress laughingly and whispered something in her ear. "Yes! yes!" exclaimed Quartilla, "a capital idea! why should not our little Pannychis lose her maidenhood! 'tis an excellent opportunity, indeed." Immediately they brought in a pretty enough little girl, and who did not appear to be more than seven years old the same child who had accompanied Quartilla on her first visit to our room at the inn. So amid general applause and indeed at the special request of the company, they began the bridal preparations. I was horrified, and declared that, while on the one hand Giton, who was a very modest boy, was quite unequal to such naughtiness, on the

This article is about the book. For other uses, see Satyricon (disambiguation).

A modern illustration of the Satyricon

CountryRoman Empire

Publication date

Late 1st century AD

The Satyricon, or Satyriconliber ("The Book of Satyrlike Adventures"), is a Latin work of fiction believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as a certain Titus Petronius. The Satyricon is an example of Menippean satire, which is very different from the formal verse satire of Juvenal or Horace. The work contains a mixture of prose and verse (commonly known as prosimetrum); serious and comic elements; and erotic and decadent passages. As with the Metamorphoses (also called The Golden Ass) of Apuleius, classical scholars often describe it as a "Roman novel", without necessarily implying continuity with the modern literary form.[1]

The surviving portions of the text detail the misadventures of the narrator, Encolpius, and his lover, a handsome sixteen-year-old servant boy named Giton. Throughout the novel, Encolpius has a difficult time keeping his lover faithful to him as he is constantly being enticed away by others. Encolpius's friend Ascyltus (who seems to have previously been in a relationship with Encolpius) is another major character.

It is one of the two most extensive witnesses to the Roman novel (the only other being the fully extant Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which has significant differences in style and plot). Satyricon is also regarded as useful evidence for the reconstruction of how lower classes lived during the early Roman Empire.

Principal characters[edit]

  • Encolpius. The narrator and principal character.
  • Giton. A handsome sixteen-year-old boy, pretending to be a servant to Encolpius.
  • Ascyltos. An ex-gladiator and friend of Encolpius, rival for the ownership of Giton.
  • Trimalchio. An extremely vulgar and wealthy freedman.
  • Eumolpus. An aged, impoverished and lecherous poet of the sort rich men are said to hate.
  • Lichas. An enemy of Encolpius.
  • Tryphaena. A woman infatuated with Giton.
  • Corax. A barber, the hired servant of Eumolpus.
  • Circe. A woman attracted to Encolpius.
  • Chrysis. Circe's servant, also in love with Encolpius.


The work is narrated by its central figure, Encolpius, a teacher of rhetoric (and thus vehicle to political power) to wealthy Roman boys. The surviving sections of the novel begin with Encolpius traveling with a companion and former lover named Ascyltos, who has joined Encolpius on numerous escapades.

Encolpius's slave boy, Giton, is at his owner's lodging when the story begins. Giton is constantly called "frater" ("brother") by Encolpius throughout the novel, thereby indicating that, despite the fact that he was a slave and belonged to Encolpius, he had a levelled relationship with his owner. Since their levelled relationship involved consensual sex and could be terminated by both sides, we can understand the two as a social unit that is very similar to a modern understanding of a romantic couple.

Chapters 1–26[edit]

In the first passage preserved, Encolpius is in a Greek town in Campania, perhaps Puteoli, where he is standing outside a school, railing against the Asiatic style and false taste in literature, which he blames on the prevailing system of declamatory education (1–2). His adversary in this debate is Agamemnon, a sophist, who shifts the blame from the teachers to the parents (3–5). Encolpius discovers that his companion Ascyltos has left and breaks away from Agamemnon when a group of students arrive (6).

Encolpius locates Ascyltos (7–8) and then Giton (8), who claims that Ascyltos made a sexual attempt on him (9). After some conflict (9–11), the three go to the market, where they are involved in a dispute over stolen property (12–15). Returning to their lodgings, they are confronted by Quartilla, a devotee of Priapus, who condemns their attempts to pry into the cult's secrets (16–18).

The companions are overpowered by Quartilla and her maids, who overpower and sexually torture them (19–21), then provide them with dinner and engage them in further sexual activity (21–26). An orgy ensues and the sequence ends with Encolpius and Quartilla exchanging kisses while they spy through a keyhole at Giton having sex with a virgin girl; and finally sleeping together (26).

Chapters 26–78, Cena Trimalchionis (Trimalchio's dinner)[edit]

This section of the Satyricon, regarded by classicists such as Conte and Rankin as emblematic of Menippean satire, takes place a day or two after the beginning of the extant story. Encolpius and companions are invited by one of Agamemnon's slaves, to a dinner at the estate of Trimalchio, a freedman of enormous wealth, who entertains his guests with ostentatious and grotesque extravagance. After preliminaries in the baths and halls (26–30), the guests (mostly freedmen) join their host and enter the dining room.

Extravagant courses are served while Trimalchio flaunts his wealth and his pretence of learning (31–41). Trimalchio's departure to the toilet (he is incontinent) allows space for conversation among the guests (41–46). Encolpius listens to their ordinary talk about their neighbours, about the weather, about the hard times, about the public games, and about the education of their children. In his insightful depiction of everyday Roman life, Petronius delights in exposing the vulgarity and pretentiousness of the illiterate and ostentatious wealthy of his age.

After Trimalchio's return from the lavatory (47), the succession of courses is resumed, some of them disguised as other kinds of food or arranged to resemble certain zodiac signs. Falling into an argument with Agamemnon (a guest who secretly holds Trimalchio in disdain), Trimalchio reveals that he once saw the Sibyl of Cumae, who because of her great age was suspended in a flask for eternity (48).

Supernatural stories about a werewolf (62) and witches are told (63). Following a lull in the conversation, a stonemason named Habinnas arrives with his wife Scintilla (65), who compares jewellery with Trimalchio's wife Fortunata (67). Then Trimalchio sets forth his will and gives Habinnas instructions on how to build his monument when he is dead (71).

Encolpius and his companions, by now wearied and disgusted, try to leave as the other guests proceed to the baths, but are prevented by a porter (72). They escape only after Trimalchio holds a mock funeral for himself. The vigiles, mistaking the sound of horns for a signal that a fire has broken out, burst into the residence (78). Using this sudden alarm as an excuse to get rid of the sophist Agamemnon, whose company Encolpius and his friends are weary of, they flee as if from a real fire (78).

Chapters 79–98[edit]

Encolpius returns with his companions to the inn but, having drunk too much wine, passes out while Ascyltos takes advantage of the situation and seduces Giton (79). On the next day, Encolpius wakes to find his lover and Ascyltos in bed together naked. Encolpius quarrels with Ascyltos and the two agree to part, but Encolpius is shocked when Giton decides to stay with Ascyltos (80). After two or three days spent in separate lodgings sulking and brooding on his revenge, Encolpius sets out with sword in hand, but is disarmed by a soldier he encounters in the street (81–82).

After entering a picture gallery, he meets with an old poet, Eumolpus. The two exchange complaints about their misfortunes (83–84), and Eumolpus tells how, when he pursued an affair with a boy in Pergamon while employed as his tutor, the youth got the better of him (85–87). After talking about the decay of art and the inferiority of the painters and writers of the age to the old masters (88), Eumolpus illustrates a picture of the capture of Troy by some verses on that theme (89).

This ends in those who are walking in the adjoining colonnade driving Eumolpus out with stones (90). Encolpius invites Eumolpus to dinner. As he returns home, Encolpius encounters Giton who begs him to take him back as his lover. Encolpius finally forgives him (91). Eumolpus arrives from the baths and reveals that a man there (evidently Ascyltos) was looking for someone called Giton (92).

Encolpius decides not to reveal Giton's identity, but he and the poet fall into rivalry over the boy (93–94). This leads to a fight between Eumolpus and the other residents of the insula (95–96), which is broken up by the manager Bargates. Then Ascyltos arrives with a municipal slave to search for Giton, who hides under a bed at Encolpius's request (97). Eumolpus threatens to reveal him but after much negotiation ends up reconciled to Encolpius and Giton (98).

Chapters 99–124[edit]

In the next scene preserved, Encolpius and his friends board a ship, along with Eumolpus's hired servant, later named as Corax (99). Encolpius belatedly discovers that the captain is an old enemy, Lichas of Tarentum. Also on board is a woman called Tryphaena, by whom Giton does not want to be discovered (100–101). Despite their attempt to disguise themselves as Eumolpus's slaves (103), Encolpius and Giton are identified (105).

Eumolpus speaks in their defence (107), but it is only after fighting breaks out (108) that peace is agreed (109). To maintain good feelings, Eumolpus tells the story of a widow of Ephesus. At first she planned to starve herself to death in her husband's tomb, but she was seduced by a soldier guarding crucified corpses, and when one of these was stolen she offered the corpse of her husband as a replacement (110–112).

The ship is wrecked in a storm (114). Encolpius, Giton and Eumolpus get to shore safely (as apparently does Corax), but Lichas is washed ashore drowned (115). The companions learn they are in the neighbourhood of Crotona, and that the inhabitants are notorious legacy-hunters (116). Eumolpus proposes taking advantage of this, and it is agreed that he will pose as a childless, sickly man of wealth, and the others as his slaves (117).

As they travel to the city, Eumolpus lectures on the need for elevated content in poetry (118), which he illustrates with a poem of almost 300 lines on the Civil War between Julius Caesar and Pompey (119–124). When they arrive in Crotona, the legacy-hunters prove hospitable.

Chapters 125–141[edit]

When the text resumes, the companions have apparently been in Crotona for some time (125). A maid named Chrysis flirts with Encolpius and brings to him her beautiful mistress Circe, who asks him for sex. However, his attempts are prevented by impotence (126–128). Circe and Encolpius exchange letters, and he seeks a cure by sleeping without Giton (129–130). When he next meets Circe, she brings with her an elderly enchantress called Proselenos who attempts a magical cure (131). Nonetheless, he fails again to make love, as Circe has Chrysis and him flogged (132).

Encolpius is tempted to sever the offending organ, but prays to Priapus at his temple for healing (133). Proselenos and the priestess Oenothea arrive. Oenothea, who is also a sorceress, claims she can provide the cure desired by Encolpius and begins cooking (134–135). While the women are temporarily absent, Encolpius is attacked by the temple's sacred geese and kills one of them. Oenothea is horrified, but Encolpius pacifies her with an offer of money (136–137).

Oenothea tears open the breast of the goose, and uses its liver to foretell Encolpius's future (137). That accomplished, the priestess reveals a "leather dildo," (scorteum fascinum) and the women apply various irritants to him, which they use to prepare Encolpius for anal penetration (138). Encolpius flees from Oenothea and her assistants. In the following chapters, Chrysis herself falls in love with Encolpius (138–139).

An aging legacy-huntress named Philomela places her son and daughter with Eumolpus, ostensibly for education. Eumolpus makes love to the daughter, although because of his pretence of ill health he requires the help of Corax. Encolpius reveals that he has somehow been cured of his impotence (140). He warns Eumolpus that, because the wealth he claims to have has not appeared, the patience of the legacy-hunters is running out. Eumolpus's will is read to the legacy-hunters, who apparently now believe he is dead, and they learn they can inherit only if they consume his body. In the final passage preserved, historical examples of cannibalism are cited (141).

Reconstruction of lost sections[edit]

Although interrupted by frequent gaps, 141 sections of consecutive narrative have been preserved. These can be compiled into the length of a longer novella. The extant portions were supposedly "from the 15th and 16th books" from a notation on a manuscript found in Trau in Dalmatia in 1663 by Petit. However, according to translator and classicist William Arrowsmith, "this evidence is late and unreliable and needs to be treated with reserve, all the more since—even on the assumption that the Satyricon contained sixteen rather than, say, twenty or twenty-four books—the result would have been a work of unprecedented length." Nonetheless speculation as to the size of the original puts it somewhere on the order of a work of thousands of pages, and reference points for length range from Tom Jones to In Search of Lost Time by Proust. The extant text runs 140 pages in the Arrowsmith edition. The complete novel must have been considerably longer but its true length cannot be known.

Statements in the extant narrative allows the reconstruction of some events that must have taken place earlier in the work. Encolpius and Giton have had contact with Lichas and Tryphaena. Both seem to have been lovers of Tryphaena (113) at a cost to her reputation (106). Lichas' identification of Encolpius by examining his groin (105) implies that they have also had sexual relations. Lichas' wife has been seduced (106) and his ship robbed (113).

Encolpius states at one point, "I escaped the law, cheated the arena, killed a host" (81). The second of these claims can be connected with an insult by Ascyltos (9), which might indicate that Encolpius escaped from fighting as a gladiator because the arena collapsed, although the text at that point is uncertain.[3]

A number of fragments of Petronius's work are preserved in other authors. Servius cites Petronius as his source for a custom at Massilia of allowing a poor man, during times of plague, to volunteer to serve as a scapegoat, receiving support for a year at public expense and then being expelled.[4]Sidonius Apollinaris refers to "Arbiter", by which he apparently means Petronius's narrator Encolpius, as a worshipper of the "sacred stake" of Priapus in the gardens of Massilia.[5] It has been proposed that Encolpius's wanderings in the Satyricon began after he offered himself as the scapegoat and was ritually expelled.[6] Other fragments may relate to a trial scene.[7]

Also, among the poems ascribed to Petronius is an oracle predicting travels to the Danube and to Egypt. Edward Courtney notes that the prominence of Egypt in the ancient Greek novels might make it plausible for Petronius to have set an episode there, but expresses some doubt about the oracle's relevance to Encolpius's travels, "since we have no reason to suppose that Encolpius reached the Danube or the far north, and we cannot suggest any reason why he should have."[8]


Date and authorship[edit]

The date of the Satyricon was controversial in 19th- and 20th-century scholarship, with dates proposed as varied as the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD.[9] A consensus on this issue now exists. A dramatic date under Nero (1st century AD) is indicated by the work's social background[10] and in particular by references to named popular entertainers.[11][12]

Evidence has been found in the author's style and literary concerns that this was also the period at which he was writing. Except where the Satyricon imitates colloquial language (e.g., in the speeches of the freedmen at Trimalchio's dinner), its style is in line with the literary prose of the period. Eumolpus's poem on the Civil War and the remarks with which he prefaces it (118–124) are generally understood as a response to the Pharsalia of the Neronian poet Lucan.[12][13]

Similarly, Eumolpus's poem on the capture of Troy (89) has been related to Nero's Troica and to the tragedies of Seneca the Younger,[14] and parody of Seneca's Epistles has been detected in the moralising remarks of characters in the Satyricon.[15] There is disagreement about the value of some individual arguments but, according to S. J. Harrison, "almost all scholars now support a Neronian date" for the work.[9]

The manuscripts of the Satyricon ascribe the work to a "Petronius Arbiter", while a number of ancient authors (Macrobius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Marius Victorinus, Diomedes and Jerome) refer to the author as "Arbiter". Probably the name Arbiter is derived from Tacitus's reference to a courtier named Petronius as Nero's arbiter elegantiae or fashion adviser (Annals16.18.2). That the author is the same as this courtier is disputed. Many modern scholars accept the identification, pointing to a perceived similarity of character between the two and to possible references in the Satyricon to affairs at the Neronian court.[16] Others consider this conclusion "beyond conclusive proof".[17]


The Satyricon is considered one of the gems of Western literature, and may be the earliest extant work classifiable as a novel, although some would give that honour to Chariton's Callirhoe.[citation needed] Petronius mixes together two antithetical genres: the cynic and parodicmenippean satire, and the idealizing and sentimental Greek romance.[18] The mixing of these two radically contrasting genres generates the sophisticated humor and ironic tone of Satyricon.[18]

The name “satyricon” implies that the work belongs to the type to which Varro, imitating the Greek Menippus, had given the character of a medley of prose and verse composition. But the string of fictitious narrative by which the medley is held together is something quite new in Roman literature.[citation needed] The author was happily inspired in his devices for amusing himself and thereby transmitted to modern times a text based on the ordinary experience of contemporary life;[citation needed] the precursor of such novels as Gil Blas and The Adventures of Roderick Random. It reminds the well-read protagonist of Joris-Karl Huysmans's À rebours of certain nineteenth-century French novels: "In its highly polished style, its astute observation, its solid structure, he could discern curious parallels and strange analogies with the handful of modern French novels he was able to tolerate."[19]

Unlike Fellini’s film discussed below, the caricature of the Satyricon does not deform the everyday life of the Roman people. Petronius uses real names for all his characters, most of them laypeople, who talk about the theatre of ancient Rome, the amphitheatre and the circus with the same enthusiasm of today’s fans of football and other team sports.[citation needed] If there is parody in the Satyricon it is not about the main characters—Encolpius, Giton and Ascyltos—but of the described social reality, and the literary genres of certain famous poets and writers, Homer, Plato, Virgil and Cicero included. Petronius's realism has a Greek antecedent in Aristophanes, who also abandoned the epical tone to focus on ordinary subjects.[citation needed]

The Satyricon was widely read in the first centuries of the Common Era. Through poetry and philosophy, Greco-Roman literature had pretended to distance itself from everyday life, or to contemplate it loftily as in history or oratory. Petronius rebelled against this trend: “Nihil est hominum inepta persuasione falsius nec ficta severitate ineptius” (“There is nothing as blatantly false as unconvincing statements made by men and nothing as blatantly unconvincing as their fake seriousness” —section 132).

Literary and cultural legacy[edit]

Apocryphal supplements[edit]

Main article: Supplements to the Satyricon

The incomplete form in which the Satyricon survives has tantalized many readers, and between 1692 and the present several writers have attempted to round the story out. In certain cases, following a well-known conceit of historical fiction, these invented supplements have been claimed to derive from newly discovered manuscripts, a claim that may appear all the more plausible since the real fragments actually came from two different medieval sources and were only brought together by 16th and 17th century editors.

The claims have been exposed by modern scholarship, even 21st century apocryphal supplements.

Historical contributions[edit]

Found only in the fragments of the Satyricon is our source of information about the language of the people who made up Rome's populace. The Satyricon provides description, conversation, and stories that have become invaluable evidence of colloquial Latin. In the realism of Trimalchio’s dinner party, we are provided with informal table talk that abounds in vulgarisms and solecisms which gives us insight to the unknown Roman proletariat.

Chapter 41, during the dinner with Trimalchio, depicts such a conversation after the overbearing host has left the room. Dama, a guest at the party, after calling for a cup of wine, begins first:

"Dies," inquit, "nihil est. Dum versas te, nox fit. Itaque nihil est melius quam de cubiculo recta in triclinium ire. Et mundum frigus habuimus. Vix me balneus calfecit. Tamen calda potio vestiarius est. Staminatas duxi, et plane matus sum. Vinus mihi in cerebrum abiit."

"Daytime," said he, "is nothing. You turn around and night comes on. Then there's nothing better than going straight out of bed to the dining room. And it's been pretty cold. I could scarcely get warm in a bathtub. But a hot drink is a wardrobe in itself. I've had strong drinks, and I'm flat-out drunk. The wine has gone to my head."

Modern literature[edit]

In the process of coming up with the title of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald had considered several titles for his book including "Trimalchio" and "Trimalchio in West Egg;" Fitzgerald characterizes Gatsby as Trimalchio in the novel, notably in the first paragraph of Chapter VII:

It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over.[20]

An early version of the novel, still titled "Trimalchio", is still in print by the Cambridge University Press.

T. S. Eliot's seminal poem of cultural disintegration, The Waste Land, is prefaced by a verbatim quotation out of Trimalchio's account of visiting the Cumaean Sibyl (Chapter 48), a supposedly immortal prophetess whose counsel was once sought on all matters of grave importance, but whose grotto by Neronian times had become just another site of local interest along with all the usual Mediterranean tourist traps:

Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: "Σίβυλλα τί θέλεις;" respondebat illa: "ἀποθανεῖν θέλω".

Arrowsmith translates:

I once saw the Sibyl of Cumae in person. She was hanging in a bottle, and when the boys asked her, "Sibyl, what do you want?" she said, "I want to die."[21]

In Isaac Asimov's short story "All the Troubles of the World", Asimov's recurring character Multivac, a supercomputer entrusted with analyzing and finding solutions to the world's problems, is asked "Multivac, what do you yourself want more than anything else?" and, like the Satyricon's Sibyl when faced with the same question, responds "I want to die."

A sentence written by Petronius in a satyrical sense, to represent one of the many gross absurdities told by Trimalchio, reveals the cupio dissolvi feeling present in some Latin literature; a feeling perfectly seized by T. S. Eliot.

Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, mentions "What to imperial Neronian Rome the author of the Satyricon once had been."

DBC Pierre's novel Lights Out in Wonderland repeatedly references the Satyricon.

Graphic arts[edit]

A series of 100 etchings illustrating the Satyricon was made by the Australian artist Norman Lindsay. These were included in several 20th century translations, including, eventually, one by the artist's son Jack Lindsay.


In 1969, Federico Fellini made a film, Fellini Satyricon, that was loosely based upon the book. The film is deliberately fragmented and surreal though the androgynous Giton (Max Born) gives the graphic picture of Petronius's character. Among the chief narrative changes Fellini makes to the Satyricon text is the addition of a hermaphroditic priestess, who does not exist in the Petronian version.

In Fellini's adaptation, the fact that Ascyltos abducts this hermaphrodite, who later dies a miserable death in a desert landscape, is posed as an ill-omened event, and leads to the death of Ascyltos later in the film (none of which is to be found in the Petronian version). Other additions Fellini makes in his filmic adaptation: the appearance of a minotaur in a labyrinth (who first tries to club Encolpius to death, and then attempts to kiss him), and the appearance of a nymphomaniac whose husband hires Ascyltos to enter her caravan and have sex with her.

The year before another film version of SatyriconSatyricon—had already been made, hence the addition of the name Fellini to the title.


The Norwegian black metal band Satyricon is named after the book.

American composer James Nathaniel Holland adapted the story and wrote the music to the ballet, The Satyricon.

English translations[edit]

Over a span of more than three centuries the Satyricon has frequently been translated into English, often in limited editions. The translations are as follows. The online versions, like the originals on which they are based, often incorporate spurious supplements which are not part of the real Satyricon.

  • William Burnaby, 1694, London: Samuel Briscoe. Includes Nodot's spurious supplement. Available online.
  • John Addison, 1736, London.
  • Walter K. Kelly, 1854, in the volume Erotica: The elegies of Propertius, The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, and The Kisses of Johannes Secundus. London: Henry G. Bohn. Includes the supplements by Nodot and Marchena.
  • Paris, 1902. Published by Charles Carrington, and ascribed by the publisher (on a loose slip of paper inserted into each copy) to Sebastian Melmoth (a pseudonym used by Oscar Wilde). Includes the Nodot supplements; these are not marked off.[22]
    • reprint "in the translation attributed to Oscar Wilde", 1927, Chicago: P. Covici; 1930, Panurge Press. Available online as the translation of Alfred R. Allinson.
  • Michael Heseltine, 1913, London: Heinemann; New York; Macmillan (Loeb Classical Library).
    • revised by E. H. Warmington, 1969, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • William Stearns Davis, 1913, Boston: Allyn and Bacon (being an excerpt from "The Banquet of Trimalchio" in Readings in Ancient History, Vol. 2 available online with a Latin word list.)
  • W. C. Firebaugh (illustrated by Norman Lindsay), 1922, New York: Horace Liveright. Includes the supplements by de Salas, Nodot and Marchena, separately marked. Available online.
  • J. M. Mitchell, 1923, London: Routledge; New York: Dutton.
  • Jack Lindsay (with the illustrations by Norman Lindsay), 1927, London: Fanfrolico Press; 1944, New York: Willey; 1960, London: Elek.
  • Alfred R. Allinson, 1930, New York: The Panurge Press. (This is the same translation published in 1902 with a false attribution to Oscar Wilde.)
  • Paul Dinnage, 1953, London: Spearman & Calder.
  • William Arrowsmith, 1959, The University of Michigan Press. Also 1960, New York: The New American Library/Mentor.
  • Paul J. Gillette, 1965, Los Angeles: Holloway House.
  • J. P. Sullivan, 1965 (revised 1969, 1977, 1986), Harmondsworth, England: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044489-0.
  • R. Bracht Branham and Daniel Kinney, 1996, London, New York: Dent. ISBN 0-520-20599-5. Also 1997, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21118-9 (paperback).
  • P. G. Walsh, 1997, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-283952-7 and ISBN 0-19-283952-7.
  • Sarah Ruden, 2000, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 0-87220-511-8 (hardcover) and ISBN 0-87220-510-X (paperback).
  • Frederic Raphael (Illustrated by Neil Packer), 2003, London: The Folio Society
  • Andrew Brown, 2009, Richmond, Surrey: Oneworld Classics Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84749-116-9.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Harrison (1999). Nonetheless, Moore (101–3) aligns it with modern novels like Joyce's Ulysses and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.
  2. ^The Satyricon (Illustrated Edition), Barnes & Noble, Retrieved 28 June 2017
  3. ^Edward Courtney (2001). A Companion to Petronius. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-19-924594-0. 
  4. ^Petronius, fr. 1 = Servius on Aeneid 3.57
  5. ^fr. 4 = Sidonius Apollinaris, Carmen 23.155–157
  6. ^Courtney, pp. 44–45
  7. ^fr. 8 = Fulgentius, Expositio Vergilianae continentiae, p. 98; fr. 14 = Isidorus, Origines 5.26.7
  8. ^Courtney, pp. 45–46
  9. ^ abHarrison (1999), p. xvi.
  10. ^R. Browning (May 1949). "The Date of Petronius". Classical Quarterly. 63 (1): 12–14. doi:10.1017/s0009840x00094270. 
  11. ^Henry T. Rowell (1958). "The Gladiator Petraites and the Date of the Satyricon". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 89: 14–24. doi:10.2307/283660. JSTOR 283660. 
  12. ^ abK. F. C. Rose (May 1962). "The Date of the Satyricon". Classical Quarterly. 12 (1): 166–168. doi:10.1017/S0009838800011721. 
  13. ^Courtney, pp. 8, 183–189
  14. ^Courtney, pp. 141–143
  15. ^J. P. Sullivan (1968). "Petronius, Seneca, and Lucan: A Neronian Literary Feud?". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 99: 453–467. doi:10.2307/2935857. JSTOR 2935857. 
  16. ^e.g., Courtney, pp. 8–10
  17. ^Harrison (2003) pages 1149–1150
  18. ^ abBranham (1997) pp.18–21
  19. ^Against Nature, trans. Margaret Mauldon (Oxford, 1998), p. 26.
  20. ^F. Scott Fitzgerald. (1925). The Great Gatsby, pp 119. Scribners Trade Paperback 2003 edition.
  21. ^Arrowsmith, William. The Satyricon. Meridian, 1994, p. 57
  22. ^Boroughs, Rod, "Oscar Wilde's Translation of Petronius: The Story of a Literary Hoax", English Literature in Transition (ELT) 1880-1920, vol. 38, nr. 1 (1995) pages 9-49. The 1902 translation made free use of Addison's 1736 translation, but mistakenly attributes it to Joseph Addison, the better known author and statesman who died in 1719. The bibliography is disappointing in both range and accuracy.The underlying text is very bad and turns of phrase suggest that the translation was more likely from French renderings than directly from the original Latin. Despite the publisher's slip of paper ascribing it to Oscar Wilde, the style is not good enough and Carrington could not, when challenged, produce any of the manuscript. Gaselee, Stephen, "The Bibliography of Petronius", Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, vol. 10 (1908) page 202.


Further reading[edit]

  • Bodel, John. 1999. “The Cena Trimalchionis.” Latin Fiction: The Latin Novel in Context. Edited by Heinz Hofmann. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Boyce, B. 1991. The Language of the Freedmen in Petronius' Cena Trimalchionis. Leiden: Brill.
  • Connors, C. 1998. Petronius the Poet: Verse and Literary Tradition in the Satyricon. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • George, P. 1974. "Petronius and Lucan De Bello Civili." The Classical Quarterly 24.1: 119-133.
  • Goddard, Justin. 1994. "The Tyrant at the Table." Reflections of Nero: Culture, History, and Representation. Edited by Jaś Elsner & Jamie Masters. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Highet, G. 1941. "Petronius the Moralist." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 72: 176-194.
  • Holmes, Daniel. 2008. "Practicing Death in Petronius' Cena Trimalchionis and Plato's Phaedo." The Classical Journal 104.1: 43-57.
  • Panayotakis, C.1995. Theatrum Arbitri. Theatrical Elements in Satyrica of Petronius. Leiden: Brill.
  • Plaza, M. 2000. Laughter and Derision in Petronius’ Satyrica. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
  • Ferreira, P., Leão, D. and C. Teixeira. 2008. The Satyricon of Petronius: Genre, Wandering and Style. Coimbra: Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Humanísticos da Universidade de Coimbra.
  • Ragno, T. 2009. Il teatro nel racconto. Studi sulla fabula scenica della matrona di Efeso. Bari: Palomar.
  • Rimell, V. 2002. Petronius and the Anatomy of Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sandy, Gerald. 1970. "Petronius and the Tradition of the Interpolated Narrative." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 101: 463-476.
  • Schmeling, G. 2011. A Commentary on the Satyrica of Petronius. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Schmeling, G. and J. H. Stuckey. 1977. A Bibliography of Petronius. Lugduni Batavorum: Brill.
  • Setaioli. A. 2011. Arbitri Nugae: Petronius' Short Poems in the Satyrica. Studien zur klassischen Philologie 165. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
  • Slater, N. 1990. Reading Petronius. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Zeitlin, F. 1971. "Petronius as Paradox: Anarchy and Artistic Integrity." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 102: 631-684.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Fortunata, illustration by Norman Lindsay.
The epigraph and dedication to The Waste Land showing some of the languages that T. S. Eliot used in the poem: Latin, Greek, English and Italian.


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