Oops… Petronius Broke the Triangle of Roman Satire

I apologize that this post is late. I thought that Petronius was a pretty cut-and-dry case and that his work did simultaneously attack, entertain, and preach, as Niall Rudd believes Roman satire does. However, upon further investigation that delayed me a bit, I discovered that Petronius is not truly preaching in his work: his main character Encolpius, who serves as the narrator, is not a hero, but an anti-hero. The reader then must question everything seen through Encolpius’s point of view. In many cases when Encolpius expresses a view on something, he is in fact being hypocritical. For example, he complains that standards of education have declined due to the emphasis placed on declamation. However, by making a speech in the way he does and in his use of rhetorical devices, he is attacking declamation with declamation! No one in the work escapes attack or ridicule; there are no characters in the work that serve as models of morality.

[Read more…]

The Triangle of Roman Satire: On the Challenges of Reading a 2,000 Year Old Text and A Reminder Not to Drink And Drivel

For those just picking up with this post, my project is to read Petronius’s Cena Trimalchionis, or the Dinner of Trimalchio, in Latin to determine whether, as the scholar Niall Rudd claims, Roman satire simultaneously attacks, entertains, and preaches.

[Read more…]

The Triangle of Roman Satire: Does it always attack, entertain, and preach?

No rest for the weary: I’m moving almost straight from my internship at a nonprofit roofing corporation run through my church to my Monroe project. That’s why I’m a bit late in starting this, but I’ll be working on my project virtually the whole time between now and my return to Williamsburg, and I’ve been looking forward to this all summer. Now: what is my project?

[Read more…]