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Arbitri Nugae

Petronius’ Short Poems in the "Satyrica</I>


Aldo Setaioli

This book aims to provide a comprehensive inquiry into the short metrical intermezzos inserted in the prose narrative of Petronius’ Satyrica. The text of each poem has been thoroughly investigated; in addition, special attention has been devoted to their function in the context and to the aspects connecting Petronius with the literature and culture of his time. Numerous contacts with other ancient authors have been pointed out to illustrate Petronius’ attitude to the cultural and literary heritage on the one hand, and the character of his own work on the other.


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Chapter II - Justice for Sale (Petr. 14.2) 51


Chapter II Justice for Sale (Petr. 14.2)* Quid faciunt leges, ubi sola pecunia regnat aut ubi paupertas vincere nulla potest? Ipsi qui Cynica traducunt tempora pera non numquam nummis vendere verba solent. Ergo iudicium nihil est nisi publica merces, 5 atque eques in causa qui sedet, empta probat. L(= ldmrtp)O(=BRP) Voss.(=Leidensis Vossianus Latinus F 111) 1-2, 5 5-6 Ioh. Sarisb. Pol. 5.15 1 faciunt ldmrtvlO Voss.: faciant tp Samb. Scaliger 2 nulla lmgdmrtRP: nuda ltvlB Voss. 3 pera Heinsius: cera 4 vendere vera solent Voss.: verba solent emere O 5 ergo LO: iam nunc 1. The first problem posed by the three elegiac couplets at Petr. 14.2 concerns their exact position. Nearly all editors place them after Ascyltos’ prose speech at the beginning of the chapter: the verse would then be its conclusion and, so to speak, the universalization of the idea which, in the prose, only concerns the par- ticular situation narrated in the context. In fact, scholars generally take it for granted that this poem is uttered by Ascyltos, even though he nowhere else speaks in verse.1 In reality, however, this arrangement is the result of a transposition carried out by Bücheler in his 1862 edition of Petronius. Bücheler followed a suggestion made by K.G. Anton in his 1781 Leipzig edition, and was in turn followed by the overwhelming majority of editors and scholars.2 In the manuscript tradition * A version of this chapter has appeared with the title La poesia in Petr. Sat....

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