Superstition Within Petronius’ The Satirycon
Written during the 1st century A.D., the Satyricon is often referred to as the first Roman novel. The novel has only survived for us in fragments, and for this reason it is impossible for the modern reader to reconstruct its plot completely. However, the Satyricon serves as an invaluable source of information about the daily life and language of the Roman populace. Petronius deliberately reproduces plebeian language and slang, offering a rare insight into everyday Roman life, which polished and refined works leave absent. Petronius focuses on the large social gap between the freed slaves and scholars of the time and how superstition can show that gap. The main scene that superstition is shown is during Trimalchio’s Feast.
The scene in the novel titled as Trimalchio’s feast, describes an elaborate dinner party hosted by Trimalchio, a businessman and immigrant who gained riches in Rome without any elegance or an education fit for an aristocrat of the time. This section has been preserved more completely than some of the more fragmented chapters of the novel, its themes and motifs are able to develop more fully and be more closely understood as Petronius had originally intended. It could be interpreted within different chapters and scenes of the feast as focusing on the large social gap between Rome’s freed slaves, and the well-educated scholars whom they aimed to mimic. Although, this