By Petronius

Translated by Andrew Brown

ISBN: 9781847496621

300 pages

RRP: £7.19

Documenting the colourful escapades of the former gladiator Encolpius and his less than faithful lover Giton, the Satyricon plunges the reader into the lives of ordinary Roman citizens, vividly revealing the Empire’s seamy underbelly. A host of unforgettable characters are satirically presented, such as the pretentious parvenu host Trimalchio in the memorable banquet scene, the lascivious priestess Quartilla and the narrator’s unreliable, roguish friend Ascyltus. Sometimes referred to as the first novel – although surviving only in fragments – this bawdy, picaresque and surprisingly modern narrative is considered one of the founding texts of Western literature.


Petronius Arbiter (d.66 AD) was Emperor Nero’s advisor in matters of luxury and extravagance. He is said to have devoted his life to pleasure, but a rival’s jealousy turned Nero against him, and he was forced to commit suicide.