Fragments of Roman sexuality in Petronius' Satyricon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Reading Petronius' Satyricon is an experience of the incomplete and the unknown. Not only do modern editions and translations consist of stitchedtogether segments representing some unknown but small portion of the original whole, but they bear frequent marks of lacunae, not all of them universally accepted. In this article, I focus on two episodes from the surviving portions of this text (7-8, 16-26) to illustrate implications for our understandings of gender and sexuality in Latin literature, an area in which the Satyricon has long played a prominent role. We find the same textual details cited in support of quite different conclusions; readers over the centuries have had sometimes significantly different texts in front of them; and the practices of editors and translators have sometimes increased the effects of the uncertain and the open. Reading Petronius provides an exemplary illustration of the possibilities and limitations of reading not only fragmentary texts, but ancient texts in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLabor Imperfectus
Subtitle of host publicationUnfinished, Incomplete, Partial Texts in Classical Antiquity
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783111340944
ISBN (Print)9783111340791
StatePublished - Nov 6 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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