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 Trimalchio, the pretentious parvenu host, in a 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 masterpieces of Western literature.
'Andrew Brown has captured the vivacious playfulness of the original... Nothing here is to be taken seriously, which is why this work is so attractive. It may be nearly 2,000 years old, but you can't help thinking that this is where modernity starts.'
'Andrew Brown's terrific new translation captures Petronius's comedy of sex and class... with all the mischievous swagger that the tale demands.'
Read an excerpt from Satyricon