Supplements to the Satyricon

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Petronius's Satyricon, the only realistic classical Latin novel (probably written c. AD 60), survives in a very fragmentary form. Many readers have wondered how the story would begin and end.

Between 1629 and the present several authors in various languages have attempted to round the story out. In certain cases, following a well-known conceit of historical fiction, these invented supplements have been claimed to derive from newly discovered manuscripts.

José Antonio González de Salas, 1629[edit]

José Antonio González de Salas (born 1588, died 1654) published an edition of the Satyricon in 1629; it was reissued in 1643 with a portrait. It included linking passages (in Latin) which de Salas claimed to have taken from an earlier Paris edition, but this does not exist. It is assumed that he invented them. The only English translation including these passages is by W. C. Firebaugh.

François Nodot, 1693[edit]

In October, 1690, François Nodot, a French writer and mercenary soldier, announced a remarkable discovery to the French academies. A certain Du Pin, a French officer, had been present at the sack of Belgrade in 1688 and came across a manuscript, a copy of which he had sent to Nodot. It proved to contain supplements to the known text of the Satyricon. Nodot's claims were initially accepted and the supplements were thought to be genuine. They were published as such in 1693, but soon gave rise to suspicion. They were conclusively shown to be spurious by Pieter Burmann the Elder (whose Latin edition of Petronius appeared in 1709), yet they were sometimes printed in editions of the real fragments down to the early 20th century. They were translated into English by William Burnaby in 1694, into French by Héguin de Guerle, and into various other languages; translations incorporating the Nodot supplements continued to appear in print until the early 20th century. They are currently included (in English) in at least three online versions of the Satyricon.

José Marchena, 1800[edit]

José Marchena Ruiz de Cueto, a Spaniard, was at Basle in 1800, attached to the staff of the French general Moreau. In his spare time he wrote scholarly notes on ancient sexuality, and eventually constructed a supplement to Petronius which illustrated his researches. He translated the fragment into French, attached the notes, and published the book as Fragmentum Petronii (Paris? 1800), claiming that the fragment was by Petronius and the translation and notes were by a certain "Lallemand", a Doctor of Theology. In Marchena's preface, dedicated to the Napoleonic Army of the Rhine, he states that he found the fragment in a manuscript of the work of Saint Gennadios on the Duties of Priests; close examination had revealed that it was a palimpsest and that this fragment formed the underlying text.

According to Stephen Gaselee "in every line it has exactly the Petronian turn of phrase." An English translation of both text and notes is included in Firebaugh's translation of the Satyricon. The Latin text of the fragment, very rare in its original edition, is included in the 1854 W. K. Kelly translation of the Satyricon.

H. C. Schnur, 1968[edit]

H. C. Schnur's German translation of the Satyricon, published in 1968, includes an original supplement to the story written by the translator.

  • H. C. Schnur, 1968, Petronius: Satyricon. Ein römischer Schelmenroman. Stuttgart.
  • Christian Laes, "Imitating Petronius: H.C. Schnur’s Petronian supplement" in D. Sacré, G. Tournoy (ed.), Myricae. Essays in Memory of Jozef Ijsewijn (Leuven, 2000) pp. 647–675.

Ellery David Nest, 2003[edit]

In a self-published volume, Ellery David Nest has devised new episodes that immediately precede the opening of the real text of the Satyricon. Elaborate fictional claims are made concerning the origin of these episodes, which are said to derive from a manuscript found at Morazla by Reinhardt Struch of Oberhausen University, by way of a Latin edition by David S. Johnson, The New Satyricon: The Recovered Books (Monticello Park Press). In the blurb, Nest is said to be Professor Emeritus at Carlboro State University in East Manchester, and to have held positions at the University of Osnanich in ancient language studies, and at the Steed Road College as director of the Latin Scholars group. All these names and places, apparently including the name of Nest himself, are fictional.

  • Ellery David Nest, 2003, The Satyricon: The Morazla Scrolls. Tamarac, Florida: Llumina Press. ISBN 1-59526-302-0

Andrew Dalby, 2005[edit]

Andrew Dalby recently published an epilogue to the Satyricon, a narrative of a dinner party set at Massilia twenty years after the dramatic date of the surviving text.

  • Andrew Dalby, 2005, "The Satyrica concluded" in Gastronomica vol. 5 no. 4 pp. 65–72.

See also[edit]

General bibliography[edit]

  • Hugh McElroy, "The Reception and Use of Petronius: Petronian pseudepigraphy and imitation" in Ancient Narrative vol. 1 (2000–2001) p. 350 ff.