Petronius is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of Classical Antiquity. The bits and pieces of his biography that have come down to us, together with his surviving work, the Satyricon, suggest that he was a man of unusual sophistication, with remarkable insight into human nature, the foibles of his contemporary Rome, and the long traditions of Greek and Roman literature.
The Petronius Arbiter to whom our manuscripts attribute the Satyricon is almost certainly the Petronius described by the historian Tacitus (Annals 16.17; the manuscript of Tacitus records his first name as Gaius, but other sources suggest it was Titus). Tacitus portrays Petronius as an eccentric:
His days w…
Moore, Timothy J.. "Petronius". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 April 2006
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