Follow TV Tropes

Following

Literature / The Satyricon

Go To

“The disgusting indecencies of which the remains of Petronius are full . . . give him so bad a name, that he who confesses an intimate acquaintance with the poem, and expresses gratification with it, exposes himself to a severe judgement, and affords a good opportunity for the display of sanctimonious hypocrisy."
—Barthold Georg Niebuhr

"It sounds like a cross between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a gay porno parody of Grand Theft Auto."
—jumpingjacktrash
Advertisement:

The Satyricon (or Satyrica) is a work of fiction that is generally attributed to Gaius Petronius Arbiter, one of Nero's courtiers. It follows the criminal misadventures of three vagabonds: Encolpius, his lover Giton, and his friend Asciltos; as they wander the earth; getting into all kinds of bizzare sexual situations and running afoul of the law. Only fragments of The Satryicon survive, so the plot is incomplete. Scholars believe that Encolpius is forced to wander the earth after offending Priapus—a Roman fertility god—or possibly that he was ritually expelled from his home city to prevent a plague. From there, the fragmented narrative follows the trio's escapades before ending abruptly.

While The Satyricon is infamous for its grotesque sexual content, it does have literary merit. It is a satire of the Neronian court, a possible early example of the novel, and an insight into the lives of ordinary Romans and its class structure.

Advertisement:

While most Latin text are serious works of oratory or poetry, The Satyricon provides a rare example of more ordinary prose written about ordinary subjects. Despite its sordid reputation, The Satyricon has inspired many famous authors. F. Scott Fitzgerald references The Satyricon in The Great Gatsby, and originally planned to name it "Trimalchio in West Egg", after a character. It is also referenced in The Waste Land, and The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In 1969 it was adapted into a fittingly surreal film by Federico Fellini, titled Fellini Satyricon.


Advertisement:

Tropes in the work include:

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback