Titi Petronii Arbitri Equitis Romani Satyricon: cum Fragmento Nuper Tragurii Reperto
by Petronius Arbiter
|Titi Petronii Arbitri Equitis Romani Satyricon|
Title page from Titi Petronii Arbitri Equitis Romani Satyricon, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.
|Published||Amstelodami: Typis Ioannis Blaev|
|Volumes||2 volumes in 1 volume set|
|Desc.||Octavo (20 cm.)|
With strong imagery, Petronius’s work closely resembles a Greek Hellenistic novel. However, it also contains many familiar Roman satirical themes, including legacy-hunting and the comic meal. The almost-complete Book 15 contains the well-known comic meal "Trimalchio’s Feast," which parodies Plato’s Symposium. Trimalchio is a vulgar and ignorant freedmen ostentatiously displaying his wealth at a dinner party, to which he welcomes random adventurers. The evening is characterized by over-the-top decorations, extravagant courses, ridiculous conversation, and inappropriate dinner incidents such as a dog-fight and a drunken brawl. Alhough not good examples of Roman moral character, Trimalchio and his guests are somewhat likable even as their behavior becomes more and more raucous. Their explicit, colloquial Latin helps modern scholars understand how common Romans spoke at the time.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Petronius. notis varior. 8vo." This was one of the books kept by Thomas Jefferson. He later sold two copies of Petronius to the Library of Congress in 1815, but the likely match for George Wythe's copy no longer exists to verify the edition or Wythe's prior ownership. George Wythe's Library on LibraryThing indicates that the 1669 edition published in Amsterdam is the "probable edition." The Brown Bibliography agrees, noting "the 1669 edition ... more closely corresponds to the [Wythe] copy recorded" by Jefferson. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the same edition.
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Rebacked with contemporary leather boards. Spine features red morocco label with gilt lettering and designs. Includes the armorial bookplate of Wellington College, Master's Library (Berkshire, England) on the front pastedown.
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