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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 XVII - A Literary Vindication (Petr. 132.15) 243


Chapter XVII A Literary Vindication (Petr. 132.15)* Quid me constricta spectatis fronte, Catones, damnatisque novae simplicitatis opus? Sermonis puri non tristis gratia ridet, quodque facit populus, candida lingua refert. Nam quis concubitus, Veneris quis gaudia nescit? 5 Quis vetat in tepido membra calere toro? Ipse pater veri doctos Epicurus amare iussit et hanc vitam dixit habere . L(=lrtp)O(=BRP) 6 vetat Dousa: petat 7 doctos… amare Canterus: doctus in arte (defendunt Pellegrino, Raith, V. Gigante, Barbieri) 8 hoc lmgpO: hanc lt Samb. Scaliger: hic r telos lmgtmgpB: deos lrtR Samb. Scaliger: cedos P 1. These four elegiac couplets1 are regarded by many scholars as a serious statement, on the part of the author of the Satyrica, of the governing principles and the goals of his work.2 Others, even in recent times, have attempted in dif- * A version of this chapter has appeared with the title Il novae simplicitatis opus (Sat. 132.15.2) e la poetica petroniana, “Prometheus 23, 1997, 145-164; see also Cinque poesie petroniane (Sat. 82.5, 83.10, 108.14, 126.18, 132.15), “Prometheus” 24, 1998, 217-242 (pp. 237-239), and La poesia in Petr. Sat. 128,6 (con una postilla su 132,15), “Invigilata Lucernis” 21, 1999, 399-416 (pp. 412-415). 1 A formal parallel is found in Petr. fr. 41.3-4 Müller sermonis gratia, risus / vincunt naturae candidioris opus. This poem (AL 477 Shackleton Bailey) was attributed to Petronius himself by Scaliger. 2 At least since Collignon 1892, 53-55; then, among others, Stubbe 1933, 151-154; Para- tore 1933, II, 418-419; Sullivan...

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