Titi Petronii Arbitri Equitis Romani Satyricon

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Titi Petronii Arbitri Equitis Romani Satyricon: cum Fragmento Nuper Tragurii Reperto. Accedunt Diversorum Poëtarum Lusus in Priapum, Pervigilium Veneris, Ausonii Cento Nuptialis, Cupido Crucifixus, Epistolae de Cleopatra, & alia Nonnulla. Omnia Commentariis, & Notis Doctorum Virorum Illustrata

by Petronius Arbiter

Petronius was a Latin satirical writer born in 66CE.[1] Though he did write several lyric and elegiac poems,[2] Petronius is best known for writing the Satyricon “Tales of satyrs” or Satyrica.[3] Extant are only fragments of books 14, 15, and 16.[4] It cannot be proven that he is the same Petronius who was a politician and “arbiter elegantiae” from Nero’s court. However, the Satyrica’s style and detail combined with Tacitus’ description of Nero’s courtier indicate the likelihood of their unity as one individual.[5]

Petronius’s work closely resembles a Greek Hellenistic novel with strong imagery.[6] However, it also contains many familiar Roman satirical themes including legacy-hunting and the comic meal.[7] The almost-complete Book 15 contains the well-known comic meal of the Satyrica – “Trimalchio’s Feast” which parodies Plato’s Symposium. Trimalchio is a vulgar and ignorant freedmen ostentatiously displaying his wealth at a dinner party[8] to which he welcomes random adventurers.[9] The evening is characterized by over-the-top decorations, extravagant courses, ridiculous conversation, and unexpected and inappropriate dinner incidents (a dog-fight and drunken brawl). Though not good examples of Roman moral character, Trimalchio and the other guests are somewhat likable as their behavior becomes more and more raucous with added alcohol, and their explicit, colloquial Latin helps modern scholars understand how the common Roman people spoke at the time.[10]

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.

Author Petronius Arbiter
Editor Michael Hadrianides?
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Amstelodami: Typis Ioannis Blaev
Date 1669
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language Latin
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages 942
Desc. {{{desc}}}
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

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 armoral bookplate of Well. Coll. Master's Library.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog

External Links

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  1. "Petrō'nius A'rbiter” in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, ed. by M.C. Howatson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  2. “Petrōnius" in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, ed. by John Roberts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  3. Ibid.
  4. “Petrōnius"
  5. Ibid.
  6. "Petrō'nius A'rbiter”
  7. “Petrōnius"
  8. Ibid.
  9. "Petrō'nius A'rbiter”
  10. Ibid.