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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 XII - A Dirge on Lost Hair (Petr. 109.9-10) 177


Chapter XII A Dirge on Lost Hair (Petr. 109.9-10)* 109.9 Quod solum formae decus est, cecidere capilli, vernantesque comas tristis abegit hiemps. Nunc umbra nudata sua iam tempora maerent, areaque attritis ridet adusta pilis. O fallax natura deum: quae prima dedisti 5 aetati nostrae gaudia, prima rapis. 109.10 Infelix, modo crinibus nitebas Phoebo pulchrior et sorore Phoebi. At nunc levior aere vel rotundo horti tubere, quod creavit unda, 10 ridentes fugis et times puellas. Ut mortem citius venire credas, scito iam capitis perisse partem. 1-6 L(=lrtp)O(=RP) 7-13 L(=lrtp)O(=BRP) 1 solum: summum 6 post rapis lacunam indicant rtp1 7-13 recte ordinavit Turnebus: codd. 10 unda: imber Jahn: umor seu umbra Busche 1. The verses transcribed above are recited by Eumolpus aboard Lichas’ ship, af- ter Encolpius and Giton have made peace with Lichas and Tryphaena and con- cord regained has produced a playful atmosphere encouraging the nearly drunk old poet to make fun of his two companions’ plight with what Encolpius regards as coarse and offensive jokes. As a matter of fact, Encolpius and Giton are (at least temporarily) bald and (at least ostensibly) branded like runaway slaves. Af- ter exhausting his whole stock of such jokes Eumolpus proceeds to recite verse, which will now only develop the first theme (the loss of hair), and is introduced Chapter XII 178 with a Greek term which, in spite of the seeming obviousness of the literary ref- erence, is anything but easy to interpret, besides not...

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