Petronius [Gaius Petronius Arbiter]

Gareth Schmeling (ed.), A Commentary on The Satyrica of Petronius

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Chapter 113

§§1–2 (1) risu … nautae … (2) erubescente … Tryphaena … (3) Lichas … iratum commovens caput. E. reports these three (were there more?) reactions to the story. The sailors, being salty men, see the power of sex, appreciate it openly and laugh. Tryphaena, though a mulier libidinosa (§7) and exul (100. 7), blushes like a puella casta and snuggles up to Giton. The blush disguises her past with its worse scandals. Lichas thinks of the matrona Ephesi as belonging to the same species of woman as Hedyle (§3, his wife?) who was apparently involved also in grand larceny on his ship, and his reaction to the story is one of anger: the governor should have buried the husband and crucified the matrona—note: not crucified the miles. The reader can appreciate each of the reactions but especially the quality of the fabula, which is a jewel.

§3 Hedyle expilatumque libidinosa migratione navigium. It is generally held that Hedyle is Lichas' wife (106. 2), perhaps seduced (sometime earlier) by E.; stolen items (114. 5 vestem illam divinam sistrumque redde navigio) might also be involved with the seduction of Hedyle or be stolen at the current dramatic time.

§7 nec tamen adhuc sciebam utrum magis puero irascerer, quod amicam mihi auferret, an amicae, quod puerum corrumperet. Another one of those love-triangles of which E. is so fond, explained in the symmetrical rhetoric over which E. has total control. captivitate praeterita. Which 'past captivity' is meant here? From the nature of the narrative here it seems that the 'arrest' concerned E. only, but it might refer to the ergastulum at 81. 5; or does that apply to Giton only?

§8 Giton … veritus ne … recentem cicatricem rescinderet. E. thus excuses (for this motif, Courtney 2001, 174) Giton's petting of Tryphaena: it is not Giton's fault; the situation (according to E.'s ineffectual judgement of Giton) demands it. E.'s Latin echoes a similar sentiment from Horace Ep. 1. 3. 31–2 an male sarta / gratia nequiquam coit et rescinditur.

pg 436

§§10–13 These four brief fragments separated by lacunae might be misplaced according to van Thiel (1971) 47, 76 ff.; he suggests distributing them in various places in the text. Vannini (2010) ad loc. notes that this is one way to find homes for many small fragmentary sentences of which L has an abundance, but there is no way to attach these fragments with any sense of security to any certain place in the S.

§10 nec domini supercilium induebat. Probably refers to Lichas, but the text here is fragmentary. P. is perhaps building up some sympathy for Lichas, who will be the only character to drown in the storm (115. 11).

§11 {Ancilla Tryphaenae ad Encolpium} (del. by all editors: l in the text, rtp in the margins)… illum (Courtney 1970: illam L)… spint(h)riam (tmg: various other readings in L; cf. OLD s.v.). Is an ancilla (the one in 110. 1) now making a play for E. and censuring Giton? Although earlier the ancillae as a group had clearly liked Giton, had saved him from punishment (105. 6), and one of them had greatly improved his appearance (110. 1), if she is now a rival of Giton for E.'s affection, she could turn on a dime and utter such harsh criticisms of him (illum). Her abuse becomes pertinent if she foreshadows Chrysis, ancilla to Circe, who falls in love with E. at 139. 4. Sullivan (1986) 197, however, believes that this section should be attributed to E., who is jealously protesting over Giton's behaviour with Tryphaena; to be consistent, he should not have changed illam to illum.

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