Satyricon by Petronius
(Oneworld Classics)

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Documenting the colorful escapades of the former gladiator Encolpius and his less-than-faithful lover Giton, the Satyricon plunges the reader into the lives of ordinary Roman citizens, vividly revealing the Empire’s seamy underbelly. A host of unforgettable characters are satirically presented, such as Trimalchio, the pretentious parvenu host, in a memorable banquet scene; the lascivious priestess Quartilla; and the narrator’s unreliable, roguish friend Ascyltus. Sometimes referred to as the first novel—although surviving only in fragments—this bawdy, picaresque, and surprisingly modern narrative is considered one of the founding masterpieces of Western literature.

About Petronius

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Petronius Arbiter (d.66 AD) was Emperor Nero's advisor in matters of luxury and extravagance. He is said to have devoted his life to pleasure, but a rival's jealousy turned Nero against him, and he was forced to commit suicide.
Published June 1, 2010 by Oneworld Classics. 256 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Petronius's portrayal of nouveau riche vulgarity as embodied by Trimalchio, who inspired F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (its original title was apparently Trimalchio in West Egg), has lost none of its force.

Jun 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Satyricon (Oneworld Classics)

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