The Satyricon, Satyricon liber (The Book of Satyrlike Adventures), or Satyrica,is a Latin work of fiction believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as Titus Petronius. The Satyricon is an example of Menippean satire, which is different from the formal verse satire of Juvenal or Horace. The work contains a mixture of prose and verse (commonly known as prosimetrum); serious and comic elements; and erotic and decadent passages. As with the Metamorphoses (also called The Golden Ass) of Apuleius, classical scholars often describe it as a "Roman novel", without necessarily implying continuity with the modern literary form.
The surviving sections of the original (much longer) text detail the bizarre exploits of the narrator, Encolpius, and his slave and boyfriend Giton, a handsome sixteen-year-old boy. It is the second most fully preserved Roman novel, after the fully extant Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which has significant differences in style and plot. Satyricon is also regarded as useful evidence for the reconstruction of how lower classes lived during the early Roman Empire.
Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c. 27 – 66 AD) was a Roman courtier during the reign of Nero. He is generally believed to be the author of the Satyricon, a satirical novel believed to have been written during the Neronian era (54–68 AD).
Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
W. C. Firebaugh was the author of two works on the history of inns and taverns, and also of a fine English translation of Petronius's Satyricon, the fragmentary realistic novel of low life under the Roman Empire.
The translation was published in 1922 in New York, in a very expensive ($30) limited edition, by Horace Liveright, founder of the Modern Library. Like earlier English translations, but more completely, Firebaugh's Satyricon includes the spurious supplements devised by various early scholars and forgers in an attempt to round out the fragmentary story. Firebaugh was however careful to distinguish all these supplements from the real translated text. His is still the only English translation of the supplement by José Marchena, which, because of its obscenity, had previously been printed only in the original Latin.