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Petronius - Satyricon

16 March 2018

A new translation of Petronius Arbiter's novelistic prose work The Satyricon, has been added to the site. The Satyricon, a medley of loosely related adventures of a runaway slave and his associates, which is the forerunner of the picaresque novel, and embodies many elements of contemporary and later theatrical farce, is a delightful romp through aspects of the Roman world in the reign of Nero. Petronius (c27-66AD), Nero's 'arbiter of taste and manners' at court, was forced ultimately to commit suicide having fallen foul of the Emperor's henchman Tigellinus, and the events surrounding his death are described by Tacitus in the Annals. Particular attention has been paid in this translation to clear and concise renderings of the verse content of the Satyricon, as Petronius shows himself no mean poet, whether the verse was intended partly as parody, or simply as an exhibition of his own skills. The Satyricon exists in poor texts with many lacunae assumed, which are here handled in such a way as to provide a relatively seamless narrative, though sadly lacking both a beginning and an end. Readers who want a clearer view of the state of the inherited texts should consult the Loeb edition, or related commentary on the Internet. 

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