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Arbitri Nugae

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

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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 XIV - Homeric Love (Petr. 127.9) 199

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Chapter XIV Homeric Love (Petr. 127.9)* Idaeo quales fudit de vertice flores terra parens, cum se concesso iunxit amori Iuppiter et toto concepit pectore flammas: emicuere rosae violaeque et molle cyperon, albaque de viridi riserunt lilia prato: 5 talis humus Venerem molles clamavit in herbas, candidiorque dies secreto favit amori. L(=lrtp)O(=BRP) 1 qualis Hadrianides 2 concesso Samb.: confesso 6 cumulavit Courtney 1. We have seen in the preceding chapter that the poem at 126.18 and this one, which comes shortly after, are related and complementary1 and are both part of a context which, though enclosed in the Circe episode which often takes the cue from the Odyssey,2 is modeled after a different Homeric scene: Hera’s and Zeus’ amorous encounter on mount Ida in the XIV book of the Iliad. The former poem remakes in its own way the catalog of the supreme god’s amorous conquests cited by Zeus himself in the Homeric episode, and turns it into a blasphemous address to the god, depicted as old and impotent and there- fore unable, by now, to keep up with his old amorous exploits. Encolpius has no qualms about stating that the true Danae is the woman he is about to make his * A version of this chapter has appeared with the title La poesia in Petronio Sat. 127.9, “Prometheus” 25, 1999, 247-258. 1 In both Jupiter is protagonist and both contain the theme of the amorous flame, which also appears in Circe’s words at 127.7, quoted in...

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