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Possessives of ancient proper names[edit]

I'd be grateful if someone could please refer me to a WIKI Guideline that states that the possessives of ancient proper names do not require 's. Several WIKI articles on Roman philosophers use 's while others don't and the lack of consistency is a problem. Personally, I'm happy to follow whatever the WIKI Guideline approves for possessives of ancient proper names - either with 's or without - but there should be a rule for this to avoid grammar POV.

In Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (authoritative resource found both offline & online), possessive usage is as follows:


1. Form the possessive singular of nouns with 's. Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write,

  • Charles's friend
  • Burns's poems
  • the witch's malice

This is the usage of the United States Government Printing Office and of the Oxford University Press.

Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names in -es and -is, the possessive Jesus', and such forms as for conscience' sake, for righteousness' sake. But such forms as Achilles' heel, Moses' laws, Isis' temple are commonly replaced by

  • the heel of Achilles
  • the laws of Moses
  • the temple of Isis

If we accept this rule then the possessive form of Petronius becomes Petronius's text - and not Petronius' text (Lucretius becomes "Lucretius's text"). I have, moreover, never read an academic work on Petronius that uses the possessive form of Petronius as Petronius' text. This doesn't mean I'm right, of course, and I'll be making corrections only after receiving enlightened feedback from fellow wikipedians. Jumbolino (talk) 11:07, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Text and Author[edit]

I wonder how this made it through the Middle Ages. Was it conserved in Byzantium?

According to translator Sarah Ruden, it was considered "subliterary," not being part of the canon of Roman literature that had received official approval from the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church for use in the schools. Others argue that the work nonetheless survived intact until about 900 CE, after which time monks simply collected quotations and short excerpts. Collections of such were were then copied and thus survived to the present. And that's the only reason we have what we have. In this regard, I plan to add to this article a brief manuscript history. -- Fred Edwords

Another: Petronius points here. Didn't he do anything else? I'd find it interesting to know more about him and whether he is Nero's friend as in Quo Vadis. He was the coolest character! -- Error

His life is described briefly in Tacitus, the Annals, Book 16, Chapter 18, which you can read here. -- Fred Edwords

well nobody knows how the book survived, but most likely it sat ont he shelf of some monastary somewhere rotting away, which is why only the middle of the story survived. Also yes, he was Nero's friend, but I woinder what Nero thought of this biting satire, although it is in a very Nero-ish style.

This Article[edit]

It was very resourceful to use the 1911 EB for this, but I think it needs to be pared down enormously. The text is inaccesible and unweildy, and definitely will not help Wikipedia users that aren't writing a dissertation on the topic. Ipsenaut

Is someone disputing the neutrality of the article, or the style? I don't see the neutrality problem. The text is a bit florid, but I don't agree with Ipsenaut's evaluation; I'm more concerned about how much was cribbed directly from the 1911 EB. Even though it's PD, the material should still be rewritten for Wikipedia. People can go to the 1911 EB to read the 1911 EB. We shouldn't just be reprinting the 1911 EB here. Surely someone has written noteworthy commentary on Petronius since 1911. Canonblack 13:21, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I think this article needs revamping. It should be a matter of reference, not a matter of writing a florid analysis of a poem. It is perhaps enjoyable at times to read such things, but, when one is seeking out information on a topic, it is much more useful to present as wide array of facts as possible, and then secondarily to reference whatever criticism or scholarly work exists on the topic. Nikolai stavrogin 18:55, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Moved from article:

On Wikipedia, if one wants to add his or her own personal opinions about a topic, he or she need only include such commentary under the heading of "Analysis," as is done in this so-called article (and many others). Where's the objectivity? Where's the scholarship?

The prose is pretentious, to say the least. Even after the third reading I cannot figure out what There is perhaps not a single sentence in Petronius which implies any knowledge of or sympathy with the existence of affection, conscience or honour, or even the most elementary goodness of heart is supposed to say. And I have read the satyricon. Why is it 'sympathy with the existence of affection, consicence ...', and not (the still pretentious) 'sympathy with affection, conscience ...'?

Texts of this kind do not belong into an encyclopedia. It needs to be rewritten. -- Zz 12:56, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

The Morazla Scrolls[edit]

Does anyone know anything about the supposed "Morazla Scrolls"? In the past there have been well-known forgeries of missing sections of the Satyricon. So could it be that the 2003 book by Ellery David Nest, The Satyricon: The Morazla Scrolls (Llumina Press: Tamarac, FL), is another such forgery?

The promotional blurb on the book back claims that this new translation provides "episodes that immediately precede the opening of the well known extant fragments." According to the book's Introduction, these episodes were supposedly found "during the reconstruction of Bosnia after the conflict of 1992-1995, in the small village of Morazla."

If you aren't already familiar with this book, simply Googling the author's name will link you to many available copies online. The Web site of the publisher, Llumina Press, is at and their special page for this book is here.

My reasons for suspicions regarding this work are as follows. I would appreciate any knowledgeable comment.

In his Introduction, Nest tells just a little of the history of the Morazla Scrolls, ancient parchments supposedly now stored in the National Archives in Berlin. But when I Google "Morazla Scrolls" I find nothing but his book. When I look for a village of Morazla in Bosnia or its environs I also come up with nothing.

So I have tried to track down a source the author recommends for learning the intriguing story of this manuscript discovery: The New Satyricon: The Recovered Books by Dr. David S. Johnson. But, alas, I've been unable to track down the existence of any such book, even when checking the Library of Congress and various online bookfinders. Nor can I find anything about a classical scholar of that name. As for the reputed publisher of the Johnson book, "Monticello Park Press, NY," I find no such publisher and no such municipality as Monticello Park, NY. Moreover, I can find no publishing house of any kind located in the existing Monticello, NY.

The publisher of Nest's translation, Llumina Press, exists of course. But it is an on-demand self-publisher. Though Llumina does nice work, why would any scholar need to go to such a publisher in order to publish the first English translation of a newly discovered ancient manuscript of so significant a work?

As for Nest himself, according to his biography on the back of the book:

Ellery David Nest is Professor Emeritus at Carlboro State University in East Manchester, Mass. He has also held positions at the University of Osnanich of Heidelburg in ancient langage studies, and at the Steed Road College, Cambridge England, as the director of the Latin Scholars group. He currently resides in Boston.

But I find no Carlboro State University anywhere, nor any such municipality as East Manchester, Massachusetts, where said university is supposed to be located. (There's a Manchester and a Manchester-by-the-Sea, however, but no Carlboro State University there.) Moreover, the Internet White Pages reveals no Ellery David Nest in Boston. The only things that Googling his name gives me are links to copies of his book available for sale online.

I have just e-mailed the publisher, Llumina Press, seeking contact with the author so that I might ask a few questions--such as how do I find the book by Johnson, what year were the scrolls discovered by Reinhardt Struch of Oberhausen University in Germany, and is a Latin text available? I don't know if they'll find it in their interest to help me or, if they forward my e-mail on to Dr. Nest, if he will find it in his interest to answer.

Anything you may be able to tell me about all this, or any article on the subject that you can direct me to, would be most appreciated.

-- Fred Edwords (Fredwords 20:51, 17 September 2006 (UTC))

Hadn't seen your comment till now. Clearly the book you describe is a piece of fiction, like the other modern complements to the Satyricon. I think we ought to have a section, or a separate article, about these. Andrew Dalby 12:25, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I am now starting a Supplements to the Satyricon article. I'll incorporate some of what you say above. Please correct or improve if you can! Andrew Dalby 19:06, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Just making a simple, personal and probably very defficient observation The "analysis" section,or at least it's beggining sounds somewhat censoring,moral conceptions,old or new,do not contribute to achieve an objective view and/or conception of an article.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Yes, you're right. The Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 would not be where you'd look for an unbiased analysis of the Satyricon, and that is no doubt the source of this analysis paragraph (and some of the remainder of the article). Some work to be done ... Andrew Dalby 12:25, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Giton’s compassion[edit]

I see a problem with this statement:

“There is perhaps not a single sentence in Petronius which implies any knowledge of or sympathy with the existence of affection, conscience or honour, or even the most elementary goodness of heart.”

I don’t want to enter into the dispute if Nero’s assistant was in fact the author of the Satyricon. However, there are several passages in this novel that show a compassionate and humane side of Giton. —Cesar Tort 01:15, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

There's a lot of nonsense in this article, I'm afraid. It was written by a 19th century scholar (?) who didn't approve of the Satyricon and, to judge by the sentence you quote, hadn't even read it. Those who want to do some rewriting are welcome! Andrew Dalby 14:21, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I've removed the offensive sentence but the article still needs an overhaul. —Cesar Tort 17:23, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
Job done. I rewrote the “Analysis” section and added some balance about the identity of the author. —Cesar Tort 00:14, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

cleanup tag[edit]

What else can be done to remove the cleanup tag? —Cesar Tort 06:01, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

It's fine. You've done the job! Go ahead and remove it. Andrew Dalby 10:12, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I came back and removed the cleanup tag. Hope everyone agrees. Andrew Dalby 13:15, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments! I’ve just relocated some paragraphs to a more proper place and added real info for the historical section. —Cesar Tort 19:59, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica[edit]

I have a lot of work to do in the real world and I’m removing this page from my Watchlist. I wonder, however, if after the recent rewriting of the article it still remains material from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica? If so the text at the very bottom of this article should be removed. ―Cesar Tort 20:46, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Checking the 1911 Britannica article on "Petronius", I see that the first and fourth paragraphs of the Analysis section are taken from it almost verbatim, along with a few sentences of the Synopsis. That seems to justify leaving the text there for now. EALacey 21:24, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Quintilian and Tacitus[edit]

I've removed this from the History section:

It seems that the novel was very popular since both Quintilian and Tacitus made comments about it.

Tacitus doesn't mention the Satyrica directly, unless we identify it with the exposé of Nero's sexual debauchery which Tacitus says the Neronian Petronius wrote on his deathbed. I haven't read any scholar who mentions that theory except to dismiss it, so if we refer to it we need to make clear that it's not widely accepted. I haven't seen any suggestion outside this article that Quintilian mentioned the Satyrica, so I've removed that statement too, at least until a source can be found. EALacey 18:34, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Name Issues?[edit]

In reading my copy of "The Satyricon", “Ascyltus” is the name for his companion, but in this article, he’s listed as Ascyltos.

I was just wondering if there was a reason for this difference in names before I edited them.

Sardonicone 19:34, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Good question. The Loeb edition (ed. Michael Heseltine, rev. E. H. Warmington) calls him "Ascyltos" in the Latin text (e.g., chapter 10) without noting any textual variant. The text at The Latin Library also has "Ascyltos". It seems some scholars do Latinise the name as "Ascyltus" (e.g., Gareth Schmeling in the chapter on Petronius in The Novel in the Ancient World). It's common for translations of Greek texts to Latinise names, but I can't see a basis for Latinising a Greek name found within a Latin text. So unless you have a Latin text that prints "Ascyltus" I think we should retain the "-os" form. EALacey 19:54, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Mueller's 2003 Teubner text uses Ascyltos throughout. There seems to be a Greek flavour to many of the names, although Encolpius is from the Greek but not spelled Encolpios, and there is one occurrence of Chrysanthus, which Mueller could have corrected to Chrysanthos. I haven't read Petronius for a few years, so I'm only butting-in tentatively because I've just been reading Pliny the Younger's correspondence, and in 8.1 he has a reading slave called Encolpius, which surprises me. The name is basically a sexual innuendo, and so Pliny's slave would seem to have been named after the character in the novel, so I'm keen to find out more about that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:00, 23 October 2011 (UTC)


Does anybody else see parallels between the concluding line of All the Troubles of the World and a quote from the Satyricon of Petronius that opens T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land?

“For once I myself saw with my own eyes the Sybil at Cumae hanging in a cage, and when the boys said to her ‘Sybil, what do you want?’ she replied, ‘I want to die.’”

To confirm his suspicion, Othman asks Multivac a question never previously posed to the vast computer, "Multivac, what do you yourself want more than anything else?". Multivac's answer is succint and unequivocal: "I want to die." ( 01:03, 16 May 2007 (UTC))

Insightful to everyday Roman life? (Dinner with Trimalchio).[edit]

Though it's certainly a useful piece of literature (especially concerning the attitudes towards freedmen) it's not really representative of the life of an everyday Roman. I'd request a rethink of the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Racooon (talkcontribs) 20:04, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Translated passage[edit]

That's a terrible translation under the Historical contributions section. I know enough Latin to know it's bad (e.g., mundum, in this case, does not mean world, and plane does not mean plane), but not enough to fix it up. Anyone? VaneWimsey (talk) 15:48, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. It needs a much more accurate English version. --Hors-la-loi 11:45, 15 August 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hors-la-loi (talkcontribs)

The English, too, needs a more accurate English version. "A sentence wrote by Petronius in a satyrical sense", for heaven's sake! How can you pack so much error into so few words?

First normal form: corect the speling and gramer: "A sentence written by Petronius in a satirical sense"

Second normal form: the passive voice is deprecated wherever it can easily be avoided, so it is now removed by us (while the rest of the sentence from which it has been taken is taken into account): "Petronius wrote this sentence in a satirical sense"

Third normal form: remove redundantly superfluous material. The quotation is taken entirely from the Satyricon, which is a satire. It is therefore reasonable to assume that its contents are satirical in nature. We can therefore reduce the whole thing to "Petronius wrote".

Fourth normal form: reflect on the reality that, no matter what improvements you make to the Wiki, some idiot will be along in a few days (or even minutes) to remove them. ἀποθανεῖν illiterate Wiki contributors θέλω — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:19, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Date of composition[edit]

I am rather puzzled that scholars are now all agreed for the times of Nero. When I was a schoolboy we were told that the most likely date was the early III century. Apparently scholars have become clever at detecting clues all of a sudden.Aldrasto11 (talk) 09:15, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Addition of ISBN from Wikidata[edit]

Please note that this article's infobox is retrieving an ISBN from Wikidata currently. This is the result of a change made to {{Infobox book}} as a result of this RfC. It would be appreciated if an editor took some time to review this ISBN to ensure it is appropriate for the infobox. If it is not, you could consider either correcting the ISBN on Wikidata (preferred) or introducing a blank ISBN parameter in the infobox to block the retrieval from Wikidata. If you do review the ISBN, please respond here so other editors don't duplicate your work. This is an automated message to address concerns that this change did not show up on watchlists. ~ RobTalk 01:25, 15 May 2016 (UTC)