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Arbitri Nugae

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

Series:

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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Appendix III - Novelistic Love between Parody and Ideal: The Greek Novelists and Petronius 369

Extract

Appendix III Novelistic Love between Parody and Ideal The Greek Novelists and Petronius* 1. Though many critics agree in judging Petronius’ Satyrica a work with no ex- act parallel in the whole literary tradition of antiquity,1 a great deal of work and ingenuity has been directed to ascertaining its relation to previous literature, and especially to that particular genre with which scholars tend to associate it, namely what we conventionally call the novel, though the ancients lacked a comprehensive term designating the writings we normally understand when we use that word. It is true that in the last several decades a number of felicitous papyrological finds have contributed to making the Satyrica appear less isolated in the pano- rama of what we refer to as ancient fiction. The fragments of a work like Lol- lianus’ Phoinikika,2 for example, not only provide us with a specimen of narra- tive quite different from the romances of idealized love which have been trans- mitted to us in their entirety by the manuscript tradition, but contain several situations paralleled in Petronius’ work: a sort of cultic orgy, ritual cannibalism (also present in Achilles Tatius),3 and even such minor details as painted faces.4 Another important find, the publication of the fragment of the so-called Iolaus, was actually hailed as the discovery of “A New Satyricon”, though with the * A version of this appendix has appeared with the title L’amour romanesque entre idéal et parodie: les romaciers grecs et Pétrone, “Rursus...

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