Gareth and Me: A Petronian Pilgrimage


  • Barry Baldwin


In the course of honouring Gareth Schmeling’s Petronian scholarship, especially his founding and editing of the Petronian Society Newsletter, this essay reconsiders some of the time-honoured, still unresolved questions about Petronius and the Satyrica, notably Ira Priapi as the dominant plot motif, the precise point (comporting an analysis of John Lydus’ discussion of ancient satire) and personal targets (if any – Trimalchio/Nero loom large here) of the novel, and (last but not least) the identity and date of the author with special reference to the Tacitean obituary and his absence from Suetonius and company. A concomitant bibliographical survey of modern Petronian scholarship underscores both main and subsidiary issues.

Barry Baldwin is Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Calgary, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has lectured and written on Petronius and ancient satire over the last forty years, publishing numerous articles and reviews, including regular contributions to the Petronian Society Newsletter from its inaugural issue to the latest.