Petronius: The Satyricon
Translated by Alfred R. Allinson. (1854–?)
The Panurge Press, New York. (1930)
Written in the first century, this is possibly the first novel to be written (depending on one’s definition of a novel). It is sexually explicit. The hero has offended the God, Priapus, and suffers in the appropriate parts.
“The surviving portions of the text detail the misadventures of the narrator, Encolpius, and his lover, a handsome sixteen-year-old boy named Giton. Throughout the novel, Encolpius has a hard time keeping his lover faithful to him as he is constantly being enticed away by others. Encolpius' friend Ascyltus (who seems to have previously been in a relationship with Encolpius) is another major character. It is a rare example of a Roman novel, the only other surviving example (quite different in style and plot) being Metamorphoses written by Lucius Apuleius. It is also extremely important evidence for the reconstruction of what everyday life must have been like for the lower classes during the early Roman Empire.”
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