Talk:Petronius

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anecdotes[edit]

I heard an interesting anecdote about how Petronius commited suicide. Supposedly he fell out of favor with Nero, so at the begining of one evening he slit his wrists and tied off his vein with a turniquette. He invited his friends over and told jokes, and whenever they didn't laugh he let out a little blood. Sounds very funny and classy, and I heard this from an intelligent person, but I can't be sure if it's true. Citizen Premier 15:31, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I've heard of a joke dying, but this is taking it too far! (BTW: Corrected some trivial formatting this date.) Charlie (Colorado) 22:45, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I heard this quote: We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization. Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C. --69.15.40.98 21:38, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The date's wrong and the name's wrong. Otherwise, it's a nice quote. Had Petronius been born in the 20th century and joined a basketball team, he might well have said this shortly before slitting his wrists. Andrew Dalby 09:28, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

The anecdote about Petronius' death is probably true, it's narrated from Tacitus in his work "Annales" and it sounds like this: "[Petronius] incisas venas, ut libitum, obligata aperire rursum ed adloqui amicos, non per seria aut quibus gloriam constantiae peteret."="[Petronius] as to satisfy a whim, opened again his veins, which were already cut and tied off, and he talked with his friends, not about serious matters or matters with whom he could obtain self-confidence" (I apologise for my english since i'm italian)

“disputed” tag[edit]

There were twelve Petronius in those times, but only two “Petronius Arbiter”. The first, Gaius Petronius Arbiter, was Nero’s fashion adviser. The second, Titus Petronius, was an obscure poet who had been in Marseilles and lived in Nero’s and Domitian’s times. Recent scholarship tends to distinguish between the two, considering the latter the most likely candidate for the paternity of the Satyricon.

This can only mean that the present article confuses two different persons and that it should be divided in twain. —Cesar Tort 08:25, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

There certainly has to be an article on A. Nero's fashion adviser. If the author of the Satyricon could be distinguished as a person with a biography different from A, there would then have to be an article on him too (B). But what evidence is there, really, for the obscure poet who lived in Marseille in Nero’s and Domitian’s times? He sounds like fiction to me. In what recent scholarship is he mentioned? Is he simply a fictional construct from the Satyricon text? Andrew Dalby 10:08, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

I have three different editions of the Satyricon, all in Spanish with introductions at the beginning. Two of them cast serious doubts about the identification of Nero’s adviser with the author. But you are right: the Marseille poet was so obscure that they seem to be speculating. Perhaps it’s wise to remove the tag (and reinsert it only if some of us can find a reliable source in English about Titus Petronius Arbiter)? For the moment I will merely quote León Ignacio, who wrote the prologue of the Ediciones 29 edition of the Satyricon. I am quoting him in Spanish since you say in your user page that you understand it. As to Nero’s adviser, León Ignacio wrote:

Es de suponer, no obstante, que el autor no trabajaría a marchas forzadas, como si debiera concurrir a un premio literario, y que dedicó años a esta tarea.

No olvidemos que lo que ahora se conoce no son más que fragmentos del original y que, por las referencias a hechos anteriores que se encuentran en el texto así como por los comentarios de la época, se calcula que en un principio se componía de veinte tomos.

Por tanto, muy bien pudo comenzarla mientras reinaba Calígula, seguirla con Nerón y no ver la luz pública hasta el siguiente. De no tratar hechos contemporáneos, de todos conocidos, no valía la pena mencionar tantos nombres.

Sin embargo, estas fechas no aclaraban gran cosa, pues, por entonces, había unos doce Petronios. Su número se redujo un poco a causa del Arbiter. De éstos, sólo quedaban dos.

Durante mucho tiempo se creyó que se trataba de Cayo Petronio Turpilano, del que habla Tácito en sus escritos. Fue un cortesano aficionado a las artes, que se ganó por completo el favor de Nerón, tanto por sus vicios como por su ingenio y su elegancia. Es decir, una especie de Oscar Wilde con toga. De él, dice Tácito que […].

Tanto el apodado de arbiter elegantorum, como sus inclinaciones artísticas, convencieron a muchos de que este Petronio era el autor de El Satiricón. Además, el personaje resultaba tan novelesco que Enrique Sienkiewicz le hizo aparecer en Quo Vadis? Llegaron incluso a suponer que la crónica de los devaneos de Nerón, que le envió a modo de despedida, era el libro que ahora nos ocupa.

Es difícil imaginar, no obstante, que, mientras se le escapaba la sangre por las venas cortadas, le quedasen ánimos para escribir una obra en veinte tomos, aparte de que, como ya he dicho, el arbiter es aquí un apodo que ni siquiera se incluye completo en el encabezamiento.

De ser éste el autor de El Satiricón, lo escribiría años antes de su muerte.

El otro candidato a la paternidad de la obra es un oscuro poeta llamado Tito Petronio Arbiter, natural de Marsella, que vivió en tiempos de Nerón y Dioclesiano.

A favor de éste, se alegan los indudables conocimientos literarios que se exponen en la novela, que delatan más al intelectual preocupado por su profesión, que al cortesano cínico y frívolo que pretende distraerse. Además, como se verá, se trata de un trabajo demasiado concienzudo para no ser obra de un profesional, aunque, excepcionalmente, pueda darse el caso a la inversa.

Por otra parte, la acción no se desarrolla en Roma, sino en las provincias y casi ninguno de los hombres son latinos. Parece como si el autor hubiese tenido interés en mostrarnos la realidad del imperio, que no conocían en la capital, donde, según costumbre, se preocupaban tan sólo por el área comprendida entre las siete colinas.

Este era el mundo del Petronio marsellés.

Por desgracia, según se ha visto, no se ha aclarado quién en realidad es el autor de El Satiricón y la polémica puede durar mucho. Sea quien fuere, escribió una de las grandes obras de la literatura mundial.

Julio Picasso, the scholar that translated the Satyricon for Spain’s Ediciones Cátedra in 1984, says similar things in his introduction of Petronius’ work. —Cesar Tort 18:05, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you so much for typing all of this, Cesar, it is extremely interesting.
I quite agree that the identification of the author with Nero's courtier is very doubtful. And I don't think any modern scholars take seriously the idea that the Satyricon is the document that Petronius sent to Nero just before he committed suicide. But I have a suspicion that the Satyricon, which has inspired so many people to the creation of fiction or near-fiction, and has inspired so many others to believe these fictions, has inspired León Ignacio, too, to say a little more than he really knows. And Julio Picasso has perhaps taken this pleasant idea more seriously than it deserves. You see, I don't know of any ancient reference to a poet of Marseille called Petronius, and, if there were such a reference, I feel that other scholars would have investigated it too.
I think there may be no need for the "disputed" tag. But I am sure there is need to improve the article -- specifically on the question of whether this Petronius, or some other, wrote the Satyricon -- and I think we are both going to have to work on it! Best wishes Andrew Dalby 18:42, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I have removed the tag. —Cesar Tort 18:58, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Other works than Satyricon attrbuted to Petronius[edit]

There are some lovely lyric poems attributed to Petronius. Since they only survive in medieval manuscripts, most scholars think they're not really his. But it's rather pleasant to imagine that he had a gentle lyrical side. Tom129.93.17.66 04:15, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

St. Petronius?[edit]

I don't think the last link to a St. Petronius in the Catholic Encyclopedia is correct. I'm going to remove it. Matthæus (talk) 01:38, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

In Film section[edit]

Removed reference to Have Gun Will Travel; if that entire episode had been a retelling of the Satyricon, this might be defensible; since it is merely a mention of it, it seems trivial in the extreme, of interest only to dedicated fans both of Petronius and of the TV show. Country Wife (talk) 23:24, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Comment moved from top[edit]

What on earth is this line about "He was also described as a top jewish neek by Juvenal and Negro (Nero)." Saboteur at work? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.242.53.142 (talk) 21:03, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted this ridiculous edit.--Noe (talk) 22:24, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Joshuus Ellius?[edit]

The article currently has Traditionally this reference is linked with Joshuus Ellius. I've never heard of Joshuus Ellius; Google finds no references to him except in pages derived from this article.

Who, if he actually existed, was Joshuus Ellius? I feel that either we should provide a reference, or delete the sentence. --Kay Dekker (talk) 16:34, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Sabotage[edit]

Unfortunately it is obvious that this page has been heavily sabotaged. Some evidence has already been cited. Let me also point out that the reference to cannabis in the first quote from Tacitus is also spurious-- at least it does not occur in any other version of the text that I have seen:

Nam illi dies per somnum, nox officiis et oblectamentis vitae transigebatur; utque alios industria, ita hunc ignavia ad famam protulerat, habebaturque non ganeo et profligator, ut plerique sua haurientium, sed erudito luxu. Ac dicta factaque eius quanto solutiora et quandam sui neglegentiam praeferentia, tanto gratius in speciem simplicitatis accipiebantur...

Nor is "Joshuus Ellius" a proper Latin form, and even apart from the fact that it is here inserted in a way that makes no sense whatever, one must suspect some further nanky-poo.

It is dificult to tell (given this mangling) whether this article ever had much to recommend it; but clearly it stands it is worse than useless. As has already been pointed out, it fails to distinguish among the various Petronii (Nero's courtier, the author of the Satyricon, the author(s) of the lyrics, the consul suffectus of 62 or thereabouts, and others).

In fact it fails to mention the lyrics at all.

Some of the material, furthermore, is not only very speculative, but also both anachronistic and political in a way that I for one find unacceptable in an encyclopaedia article ("his homophobic parents"). But of course this may be no more than further sabotage.

This article clearly needs to rewritten on a blank page by someone who knows more about the subject than I do.

Mjhrynick (talk) 14:28, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Most of the vandalism you refer to seems to have happened in this edit, so I restore the version previous to that edit. It may not solve all problems, but is ceratinly an improvement.-- (talk) 14:59, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Quotation[edit]

What power has law where only money rules.[1] --Pawyilee (talk) 14:29, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Gaius ?= Petronius Arbiter :reference?[edit]

We seem to be assuming that the Roman courtier Gaius Petronius (whom la.wp redirects to Publicus Petronius Niger) is the same as the author of Satyrica, who was only identified as Petronius or Titus Petronius and by contemporaries as Petronius Arbiter or T. Petronius Arbiter. The article Satyricon does not make this assumption. Do we have a reference that establishes this? Otherwise, we should move the material on the work to Satyricon or eliminate it and make this article about the courtier as la.wp does. Do we even have a good reference to the name Gaius Petronius Arbiter? la.wp doesn't even redirect that name.--Doug.(talk contribs) 15:35, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

The original source of confusion between Gaius and Titus was the mediaeval MSS where the letters T and C are both lunate and easily confused. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.186.116.94 (talk) 13:00, 25 August 2012 (UTC)


We have at least two contemporary references to the name "Titus" as praenomen for Petronius Arbiter. The German Wikipeda entry on Titus Petronius Arbiter (linked to this one as "German version") cites Plinius, Naturalis historia 37, 20 and Plutarch, de adulatore et amico. Quite possibly Tacitus mixed him up, as Tacitus is the solitary source for the praenomen Gaius. Ursus Maior (talk) 12:53, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

satirical novel?[edit]

The first paragraph seems to disagree with Satyricon, which (1) claims that the Satyricon is not a novel, and (2) says it's questionable whether it was satirical or not.

Crasshopper (talk) 05:06, 4 November 2011 (UTC)