The Satyricon Of Petronius

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Even if it may not be readily apparent on the perceptual level of reader-response, every literary composition necessarily relies on some underlying framework of intention whether conscious or unconscious which provides cogency and purpose to the author's own activity, and thus.

Satyricon: Puteoli (60) by Petronius

Perry, The Ancient Romances, Berkeley, , pp. He contends that the Satyricon is merely intended as an ironic framework within which Petronius can safely exhibit his own attempts at poetry and literary criticism without exciting Nero's jealousy. The narrative architecture of Petronius' Satyricon [article] Thomas K. Even if it may not be readily apparent on the perceptual level of reader-response, every literary composition necessarily relies on some underlying framework of intention whether conscious or unconscious which provides cogency and purpose to the author's own activity, and thus 1 See K.

On this account, I received his advances more graciously, at which he was overjoyed. He was certain that contempt would be engendered from the inconstancy of my "sister," with the result that, being piqued at Tryphaena, I would all the more freely receive his advances. Now this was the state of affairs at the house of Lycas, Tryphaena was desperately in love with Giton, Giton's whole soul was aflame for her, neither of them was a pleasing sight to my eyes, and Lycas, studying to please me, arranged novel entertainments each day, which Doris, his lovely wife, seconded to the best of her ability, and so gracefully that she soon expelled Tryphaena from my heart.

A wink of the eye acquainted Doris of my passion, a coquettish glance informed me of the state of her heart, and this silent language, anticipating the office of the tongue, secretly expressed that longing of our souls which we had both experienced at the same instant. The jealousy of Lycas, already well known to me, was the cause of my silence, but love itself revealed to the wife the designs which Lycas had upon me.

The Satyricon

At our first opportunity of exchanging confidences, she revealed to me what she had discovered and I candidly confessed, telling her of the coldness with which I had always met his advances. The far-sighted woman remarked that it would be necessary for us to use our wits. It turned out that her advice was sound, for I soon found out that complacency to the one meant possession of the other.

Giton, in the meantime, was recruiting his exhausted strength, and Tryphaena turned her attention to me, but, meeting with a repulse, she flounced out in a rage. The next thing this burning harlot did was to discover my commerce with both husband and wife. As for his wantonness with me, she flung that aside, as by it she lost nothing, but she fell upon the secret gratifications of Doris and made them known to Lycas, who, his jealousy proving stronger than his lust, took steps to get revenge. Doris, however, forewarned by Tryphaena's maid, looked out for squalls and held aloof from any secret assignations.

When I became aware of all this, I heartily cursed the perfidy of Tryphaena and the ungrateful soul of Lycas, and made up my mind to be gone. Fortune favored me, as it turned out, for a vessel sacred to Isis and laden with prize-money had, only the day before, run upon the rocks in the vicinity. After holding a consultation with Giton, at which he gladly gave consent to my plan, as Tryphaena visibly neglected him after having sapped his virility, we hastened to the sea-shore early on the following morning, and boarded the wreck, a thing easy of accomplishment as the watchmen, who were in the pay of Lycas, knew us well.

But they were so attentive to us that there was no opportunity of stealing a thing until, having left Giton with them, I craftily slipped out of sight and sneaked aft where the statue of Isis stood, and despoiled it of a valuable mantle and a silver sistrum. From the master's cabin, I also pilfered other valuable trifles and, stealthily sliding down a rope, went ashore.

Giton was the only one who saw me and he evaded the watchmen and slipped away after me. I showed him the plunder, when he joined me, and we decided to post with all speed to Ascyltos, but we did not arrive at the home of Lycurgus until the following day. In a few words I told Ascyltos of the robbery, when he joined us, and of our unfortunate love-affairs as well. He was for prepossessing the mind of Lycurgus in our favor, naming the increasing wantonness of Lycas as the cause of our secret and sudden change of habitation.

When Lycurgus had heard everything, he swore that he would always be a tower of strength between us and our enemies. Until Tryphaena and Doris were awake and out of bed, our flight remained undiscovered, for we paid them the homage of a daily attendance at the morning toilette. When our unwonted absence was noted, Lycas sent out runners to comb the sea-shore, for he suspected that we had been to the wreck, but he was still unaware of the robbery, which was yet unknown because the stern of the wreck was lying away from the beach, and the master had not, as yet, gone back aboard.

Lycas flew into a towering rage when our flight was established for certain, and railed bitterly at Doris, whom he considered as the moving factor in it. Of the hard words and the beating he gave her I will say nothing, for the particulars are not known to me, but I will affirm that Tryphaena, who was the sole cause of the unpleasantness, persuaded Lycas to hunt for his fugitives in the house of Lycurgus, which was our most probable sanctuary.

She volunteered to accompany him in person, so that she could load us with the abuse which we deserved at her hands. They set out on the following day and arrived at the estate of Lycurgus, but we were not there, for he had taken us to a neighboring town to attend the feast of Hercules, which was there being celebrated. As soon as they found out about this, they hastened to take to the road and ran right into us in the portico of the temple.

At sight of them, we were greatly put out, and Lycas held forth violently to Lycurgus, upon the subject of our flight, but he was met with raised eyebrows and such a scowling forehead that I plucked up courage and, in a loud voice, passed judgment upon his lewd and base attempts and assaults upon me, not in the house of Lycurgus alone, but even under his own roof: and as for the meddling Tryphaena, she received her just deserts, for, at great length, I described her moral turpitude to the crowd, our altercation had caused a mob to collect, and, to give weight to my argument, I pointed to limber-hamed Giton, drained dry, as it were, and to myself, reduced almost to skin and bones by the raging lust of that nymphomaniac harlot.

So humiliated were our enemies by the guffaws of the mob, that in gloomy ill-humor they beat a retreat to plot revenge. As they perceived that we had prepossessed the mind of Lycurgus in our favor, they decided to await his return, at his estate, in order that they might wean him away from his misapprehension. As the solemnities did not draw to a close until late at night, we could not reach Lycurgus' country place, so he conducted us to a villa of his, situated near the halfway point of the journey, and, leaving us to sleep there until the next day, he set off for his estate for the purpose of transacting some business.

Upon his arrival, he found Lycas and Tryphaena awaiting him, and they stated their case so diplomatically that they prevailed upon him to deliver us into their hands. Lycurgus, cruel by nature and incapable of keeping his word, was by this time striving to hit upon the best method of betraying us, and to that end, he persuaded Lycas to go for help, while he himself returned to the villa and had us put under guard. To the villa he came, and greeted us with a scowl as black as any Lycas himself had ever achieved, clenching his fists again and again, he charged us with having lied about Lycas, and, turning Ascyltos out, he gave orders that we were to be kept confined to the room in which we had retired to rest.

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Nor would he hear a word in our defense, from Ascyltos, but, taking the latter with him, he returned to his estate, reiterating his orders relative to our confinement, which was to last until his return. On the way back, Ascyltos vainly essayed to break down Lycurgus' determination, but neither prayers nor caresses, nor even tears could move him. Thereupon my "brother" conceived the design of freeing us from our chains, and, antagonized by the stubbornness of Lycurgus, he positively refused to sleep with him, and through this he was in a better position to carry out the plan which he had thought out.

When the entire household was buried in its first sleep, Ascyltos loaded our little packs upon his back and slipped out through a breach in the wall, which he had previously noted, arriving at the villa with the dawn. He gained entrance without opposition and found his way to our room, which the guards had taken the precaution to bar. It was easy to force an entrance, as the fastening was made of wood, which same he pried off with a piece of iron.

The fall of the lock roused us, for we were snoring away, in spite of our unfortunate situation.

Petronius, Satyricon, section 62

On account of the long vigil, the guard was in such a deep sleep that we alone were wakened by the crashing fall of the lock, and Ascyltos, coming in, told us in a few words what he had done for us; but as far as that goes, not many were necessary. We were hurriedly dressing, when I was seized with the notion of killing the guard and stripping the place. This plan I confided to Ascyltos, who approved of the looting, but pointed out a more desirable solution without bloodshed: knowing all the crooks and turns, as he did, he led us to a store-room which he opened.

We gathered up all that was of value and sallied forth while it was yet early in the morning. Shunning the public roads; we could not rest until we believed ourselves safe from pursuit. Ascyltos, when he had caught his breath, gloatingly exulted of the pleasure which the looting of a villa belonging to Lycurgus, a superlatively avaricious man, afforded him: he complained, with justice of his parsimony, affirming that he himself had received no reward for his k-nightly services, that he had been kept at a dry table and on a skimpy ration of food.

This Lycurgus was so stingy that he denied himself even the necessities of life, his immense wealth to the contrary notwithstanding. The tortured Tantalus still stands, to parch in his shifting pool,. And starve, when fruit sways just beyond his grasp:.


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The image of the miser rich, when his avaricious soul. Robs him of food and drink, in Plenty's clasp. Ascyltos was for going to Naples that same day, but I protested the imprudence of going to any place where they would be on the lookout for us. We are well supplied with means. Scarcely had we covered half the distance, however, before it began to pour down rain by the bucketful, compelling us to run for the nearest village.

Upon entering the inn, we noticed many other wayfarers, who had put up there to escape the storm. The jam prevented our being watched, and at the same time made it easier for us to pry about with curious eyes, on the alert for something to appropriate. Ascyltos, unseen by anyone, picked up off the ground a little pouch in which he found some gold pieces.

We were overjoyed with this auspicious beginning, but, fearing that some one would miss the gold, we stealthily slipped out by the back door. A slave, who was saddling a horse in the courtyard, suddenly left his work and went into the house, as if he had forgotten something, and while he was gone I appropriated a superb mantle which was tied fast to the saddle, by untying the thongs, then, utilizing a row of outbuildings for cover, we made off into the nearest wood.

When we had reached the depths of the grove, where we were in safety, we thoroughly discussed the surest method of secreting our gold, so that we would neither be accused of robbery nor robbed ourselves, and we finally decided to sew it into the hem of a ragged tunic, which I threw over my shoulders, after having turned the mantle over to Ascyltos for safekeeping; we then made ready to start for the city via the unfrequented roads.

We were just about to emerge from the shelter of the wood when we heard, from somewhere on our left, "They can't get away, they came into this wood; let's spread out and beat, and they will easily be caught! At last, completely fagged out, and unable to take another step, I lay down under a tree, and there I first became aware of the loss of the tunic.

Chagrin restored my strength and I leaped to my feet to look for the treasure, and for a long time I beat around in vain. Worn out with work and vexation, I forced my way into the thickest part of the grove and remained there for four mortal hours, but at last, bored to extinction by the horrible solitude, I sought a way out. As I went ahead, I caught sight of a peasant; then I had need of all my nerve, and it did not fail me.

Marching boldly up to him, I asked my way to the city, complaining that I had been lost in the wood for several hours. Seeing my condition, he took pity upon me, for I was covered with mud and paler than death, and asked me whether I had seen anyone in the place. As may be readily supposed, I did not have the audacity to claim it, though well aware of its value, and my chagrin became almost insupportable as I vented many a groaning curse over my lost treasure. The peasants paid no attention to me, and I was gradually left behind, as my weakness increased my pace decreased.

For this reason, it was late when I reached the city, and, entering the inn, beheld Ascyltos, stretched out, half dead, upon a cot. Too far gone to utter a single syllable, I threw myself upon another. Ascyltos became greatly excited at not seeing the tunic which he had entrusted to me, demanding it insistently, but I was so weak that my voice refused its office and I permitted the apathy of my eyes to answer his demand, then, by and by, regaining my strength little by little, I related the whole affair to Ascyltos, in every detail.

He thought that I was joking, and although my testimony was fortified by a copious flood of tears, it could easily be seen that he remained unconvinced, believing that I wanted to cheat him out of the gold. Giton, who was standing by during all this, was as downcast as myself, and the suffering of the lad only served to increase my own vexation, but the thing which bothered me most of all, was the painstaking search which was being made for us; I told Ascyltos of this, but he only laughed it off, as he had so happily extricated himself from the scrape.

He was convinced that, as we were unknown and as no one had seen us, we were perfectly safe. We decided, nevertheless, to feign sickness, and to keep to our room as long as possible; but, before we knew it, our money ran out, and spurred by necessity we were forced to go abroad and sell some of our plunder.

Twilight was falling, as we entered the market-place, in which we noticed a quantity of things for sale, not any of much value, it is true, but such as could be disposed of to the best advantage when the semi-darkness would serve to hide their doubtful origin. As we had brought our stolen mantle, we proceeded to make use of so favorable an opportunity, and, in a secluded spot, displayed a corner of it, hoping the splendid garment would attract some purchaser.

Nor was it long before a certain peasant, whose face was familiar to my eyes, came up, accompanied by a young woman, and began to examine the garment very closely. Ascyltos, in turn, cast a glance at the shoulders of our rustic customer, and was instantly struck dumb with astonishment. Nor could I myself look upon this man without some emotion, for he seemed to be the identical person who had picked up the ragged tunic in the lonely wood, and, as a matter of fact, he was!

Ascyltos, afraid to believe the evidence of his own eyes for fear of doing something rash, approached the man, as a prospective buyer, took the hem of the tunic from the rustic's shoulders, and felt it thoroughly. Oh wonderful stroke of Fortune! The peasant had not yet laid his meddling hands upon the seams, but was scornfully offering the thing for sale, as though it had been the leavings of some beggar. When Ascyltos had assured himself that the hoard was intact, and had taken note of the social status of the seller, he led me a little aside from the crowd and said, "Do you know, 'brother,' that the treasure about which I was so worked up has come back to us?