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See translations by J. P. Sullivan (1986) and W. Arrowsmith (1987); study by N. Slater (1990).
(Gaius Petronius Arbiter). Year of birth unknown; died A.D. 66, in Cumae. Roman writer.
Petronius was called the “arbiter of taste” at the court of Nero. Implicated in court intrigues, he committed suicide. He is considered as most probably the author of the Satyricon. Written in the form of a Menippean satire, the novel provides a truthful reflection of the moral degeneracy of Roman society. Vignettes
of the public squares, taverns, and dens give a realistic picture of the everyday life of the middle and lower strata of Roman society. The plot consists of the amorous and picaresque adventures of characters from the “lower depths” of society. The erotic theme is treated on a low comic level. Part of the novel, the “Banquet of Trimalchio,” which describes the everyday life and mores of freedmen, is especially interesting. Writing from the viewpoint of an aristocrat and aesthete, the author satirically portrayed pretentious social climbers. The narrative manner of the Satyricon combines elegance with burlesque. The examples of colloquial Latin in the dialogue are of particular literary and linguistic interest. The text has been poorly preserved, and the extant manuscripts represent only an insignificant part of the novel.
WORKSSatyricon: Cum apparatu critico. Edited by K. Müller. Munich, 1961.
In Russian translation:
“Satirikon.” Translated by B. Iarkho. In Akhill Tatii: Levkippa i klitofont.… Moscow, 1969.
REFERENCESIstoriia rimskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1962.
Paratore, E. Il Satyricon di Petronio, parts 1-2. Florence, 1933.
Sullivan, J. P. The Satyricon of Petronius. London .
N. M. SANTROSIAN