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The Satyricon – Complete by Petronius Arbiter

Download The Satyricon – Complete ebook. The Satyricon, or Satyricon liber (“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.

Editorial Reviews

The Satyricon is a Roman work of fiction believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius or Petronius Arbiter, as he is more commonly known. The book is an example of Menippean satire, which is very different from the formal verse satire of Juvenal or Horace. It contains a mixture of prose and verse, serious and comic elements and erotic and decadent passages.

“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.” – John Dunlop’s History of Fiction.

The Satyricon – Complete ebook pdf, epub, mobi, prc

About the Author

Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c. 27 – 66 AD) was a Roman courtier during the reign of Nero. He is generally believed to be the author of the Satyricon, a satirical novel believed to have been written during the Neronian era (54-68 AD). Tacitus, Plutarch and Pliny the Elder describe Petronius as the elegantiae arbiter (also phrased arbiter elegantiarum), “judge of elegance” in the court of the emperor Nero. He served as suffect consul in 62. Later, he became a member of the senatorial class who devoted themselves to a life of pleasure. His relationship to Nero was apparently akin to that of a fashion advisor. Tacitus gives this account of Petronius in his historical work the Annals (XVI.18): He spent his days in sleep, his nights in attending to his official duties or in amusement, that by his dissolute life he had become as famous as other men by a life of energy, and that he was regarded as no ordinary profligate, but as an accomplished voluptuary. His reckless freedom of speech, being regarded as frankness, procured him popularity. Yet during his provincial government, and later when he held the office of consul, he had shown vigor and capacity for affairs. Afterwards returning to his life of vicious indulgence, he became one of the chosen circle of Nero’s intimates, and was looked upon as an absolute authority on questions of taste (elegantiae arbiter; note the pun on Petronius’ cognomen) in connection with the science of luxurious living. None of the ancient sources give any further detail about his life, or mention that he was a writer. However, a medieval manuscript written around 1450 of the Satyricon credited a “Titus Petronius” as the author of the original work. Traditionally, this reference is linked with Petronius Arbiter, since the novel appears to have been written or at least set during his lifetime. The link, however, remains speculative and disputed.

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