Black and white engraving of Roman author Petronius.


(c. 27 - 66)

According to the historian Tacitus, Petronius “idled into fame, and he was reckoned not a debauchee and spendthrift...but a man learned in luxury.” After serving as proconsul and consul in the province of Bithynia, he was made the “arbiter of elegance” in the court of Nero, upon whom the character of Trimalchio is thought in part to be based in his comic novel the Satyricon. Petronius was spuriously implicated in a conspiracy against the emperor in 66, and like Seneca the Younger a year before him, slit his wrists so he could die a slow, tasteful death, spending his last night in conversation with friends.

All Writing

From a man’s face, I can read his character. If I can see him walk, I know his thoughts.

—Petronius, c. 60

What are men anyway but balloons on legs, a lot of blown-up bladders?

—Petronius, c. 64

Voices In Time

c. 64 | Campania

Piggy Bank

Petronius witnesses an embarrassment of sausages.More

Issues Contributed