author:petronius

Petronius, Satyricon
Epigraph to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, 1922:

I have seen with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a jar,
and when the boys asked her “What do you want?” She answered,
I want to die.”


The Cumaean Sibyl was the most famous of the Sibyls, the prophetic old women of Greek mythology; she guided Aeneas through Hades in Virgil’s Aeneid. She had been granted immortality by Apollo, but because she forgot to ask for perpetual youth, she shrank into withered old age and her authority declined. Wasting away but unable to die, the Sibyl ages eternally. Hence, the waste land.

(some shit just never gets old. i mean as far as reading this poem. not the sibyl. nevermind.)
SATYRICON: I - AN INTRODUCTION

THE SATYRICON IS FUCKING WEIRD. ALL THAT SURVIVES OF IT IS BOOKS 14-16. OF 26. SO BEAR IN MIND THAT THIS SHIT WAS PROBABLY THE LONGEST PIECE OF PORN EVER.

IT’S SORT OF LIKE THE ODYSSEY BUT ROMAN AND WITH A LOT MORE SEX. OUR HERO, ENCOLPIUS, WHO IS FUCKING STUPID AND GENERALLY SHIT, IS A BIT LIKE ODYSSEUS. THE KEY DIFFERENCE IS THAT INSTEAD OF THE ANGER OF POSEIDON, GOD OF THE SEA, HE’S PROVOKED THE ANGER OF PRIAPUS, GOD OF BONERS.

ENCOLPIUS GOES OUT TO HAVE A SHITTY ADVENTURE, WITH HIS BOYFRIEND GITON (WHO’S ABOUT FIFTEEN) AND ASCYLTOS, WHO’S SORT OF A FRIEND BUT ALSO KEEPS TRYING TO SLEEP WITH GITON AND IS GENERALLY A CREEPY MOTHERFUCKER.

"Itaque primum implevi lactentibus papillis manus.”

This line was in my assignment for my Petronius class for today. Someone is going to have to read and translate that line in class today. I might have to look at my professor with a straight face and say the words, “And so first I filled up my hands with his milky nipples.”

Seleucus took over the story and said, “I don’t bathe every day. The bathman is a fuller, the water has teeth, and every day our blood runs thinner. But when I’ve downed a meal of honey wine, I tell the cold to go fuck itself. Not like I could bathe today, anyway, ‘cause I was at a funeral. A fine fellow, that good ol’ Chrysanthus, gave up the ghost. He just called for me the other day! It’s like I’m talking to him right now. It’s a damn shame! We’re just blown-up bladders walking around. We’re worth less than flies- at least flies have some sorta virtue. We’re nothin’ more’n bubbles. If only he hadn’t gone on a diet! Five days, he didn’t put water near his mouth, an’ not a crumb of bread. Still, he’s gone the way of the vast majority. The doctors finished him off- or, well, I guess it was more of a bad fate. A doctor’s nothin’ more’n a consolation, after all. Still, he was carried off pretty well, good couch, good coverings. Mighty fine wailing- he freed a good number of slaves- even if his wife barely had a tear for him. If only he hadn’t been so good to her! But women- y’know, women- they’re a race of vultures. There ain’t no point in doin’ no good for no one. It’d be the same as if you threw it in a well. But an old love’s a festering wound.”
— 

Petronius, Satyricon XLII

not one of my most literal translations, but it was a lot of fun to do. i’m having fun with the Satyricon even if i don’t know half of the words haha!