Petronius, Nero’s master of ceremonies, wrote a dazzling comic panorama of Roman pretension, perversion, high life, and low life – the earliest novel in the West, surviving in these fragments.
“[Ruden] has caught, better than any translator known to me, both the conversational patterns of Petronian dialogue and the camera-sharp specificity and color of the Satyricon’s descriptive passages…. A quite extraordinary achievement against heavy odds.”
—Peter Green, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
“The ship you promised would come from Africa with money and an entourage has not arrived. The legacy hunters, just about cleaned out, have diminished their giving. Either I am mistaken, or the bill for our rare good fortune is about to arrive with interest.”
“All beneficiaries of my will, except for my freedmen, may inherit under this condition: that they cut my body into pieces and eat it with all the townspeople watching.”
“We know that certain nations maintain the custom of relatives devouring their dead. In fact, the sick are often scolded for the deterioration of their flesh. For these reasons, I admonish my dear friends not to deny my request, but to eat my body with the same eagerness with which they prayed for it to die”