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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 XIII - Amorous Blasphemy (Petr. 126.18) 193


Chapter XIII Amorous Blasphemy (Petr. 126.18)* Quid factum est, quod tu proiectis, Iuppiter, armis inter caelicolas fabula muta taces? Nunc erat a torva submittere cornua fronte, nunc pluma canos dissimulare tuos. Haec vera est Danae. Tempta modo tangere corpus, 5 iam tua flammifero membra calore fluent. L(=lrtp)O(=BRP) 2 iaces Fraenkel 5 Dane RP: damna B: Daphne recc. 1. These three elegiac couplets are preceded and followed in L by asterisks sig- naling a lacuna – which does not help us determine their relation to the prose narrative. According to Aragosti1 there is no lacuna either before or after the poem; he believes the verse to amount to a paroxysmic amplification of the preceding prose description of Circe’s beauty, and immediately after, at the beginning of chapter 127, the resuming prose to record the lady’s pleased reaction to the poem, as signaled by her smile. This of course necessarily assumes that these lines are recited by the character Encolpius to the lady facing him in the narrated situation. * A version of this chapter has appeared as part of Cinque poesie petroniane (Sat. 82.5, 83.10, 108.14, 126.18, 132.15), “Prometheus” 24, 1998, 217-242 (pp. 232-237) 1 Aragosti 1995, 480 n. 374. Chapter XIII 194 This hypothesis is not new,2 but even several scholars who admit the lacu- nae believe the verse to be uttered aloud by the character Encolpius and Circe’s smile to represent her reaction to it.3 In my opinion it is necessary to make a careful distiction between...

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