Satyricon's Trimalchio: Dinner at Trimalchio'sby Gaius Petronius
When readers think of a dinner banquet in ancient times, what comes to mind is Plato's Symposium, in which Plato treats his readers to a discussion of the most delicious intellectual delicacies, such as the theme
Of all the stories narrated, "Trimalchio" tells the story from beginning to end, though in bits and pieces; that is, in the fragments that have survived.
When readers think of a dinner banquet in ancient times, what comes to mind is Plato's Symposium, in which Plato treats his readers to a discussion of the most delicious intellectual delicacies, such as the theme of love.
In contrast what one finds in "Trimalchio," is a dinner of the most delicious culinary delicacies, and a dearth of intellectual discussion. The guests at the dinner table consist of gabby table-talkers who delight in conversing about the most trivial themes-supernatural tales- which they cap with obscene and vulgar behavior, such as the mistreatment of slaves and women.
The nouveau riche Trimalchio, holds the dinner party at his grossly expensive estate, where a retinue of slaves, cooks, and servants, serve the guests with exotic, abundant, extravagant, and wasteful dishes.
Given that F. Scott Fitzgerald's recreates such extravagant parties in his novel The Great Gatsby, he initially named the novel, Trimalchio. While both, Petronius and Fitzgerald, appear to have been concerned with portraying the moral decay that accompanies the noveau riche, Petronius' book manages to capture the spirit of ancient Rome, through its low characters; Fitzgerald fails to capture the spirit of New York in the 1920s.
This selection presents only one story of the Satyricon: "Dinner at Trimalchio's." The reader should not expect all the stories of the Satyricon.
- CreateSpace Publishing
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