The Satyricon

The Satyricon

Introduction by: Helen Morales
Translator: J. P. Sullivan
Notes by: Helen Morales

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140448054
  • 240 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


The marvelously entertaining parody of imperial Rome

One of the most outrageous and strikingly modern works to have survived from the ancient world, The Satyricon offers an unmatched satirical portrait of the age of Nero, in all its excesses and chaos. It recounts the adventures of Encolpius and his companions as they travel around Italy, encountering courtesans, priestesses, con men, brothel-keepers, pompous professors, and, above all, Trimalchio, the nouveau riche millionaire whose debauched feasting and pretentious vulgarity make him one of the great comic characters in literature.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


“This version by a translator who understands the high art of low humor is conspicuously funny.”

“William Arrowsmith’s translation of The Satyricon meets the two fundamental requirements of the translator’s art: perfect fidelity to the original and a vitality of style that tempts the reader to believe that the English version is not a translation.… A classic of literature.”
—Allen Tate

“Arrowsmith’s brilliant translation … at one stroke renders every other version obsolete.”
London Times Literary Supplement

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