Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis and Petronius’ Satyricon


  • Michael Paschalis


After presenting the features of the Apocolocyntosis that distinguish it from other Menippean satires, the paper proceeds to show analogies and similarities between Claudius’ afterlife journey, which is more or less a continuation of his earthly life, and the adventurous Encolpius. Both lead intertextual lives in fictional worlds of their own, identify with Odysseus, Aeneas, and other literary heroes, and play out scenarios written by themselves or the narrators. The paper argues that Petronius is likely to have been a ‘reader’ of the Apocolocyntosis and compares Claudius and Encolpius as ‘readers’ of Homer, Virgil, and other literature. It furthermore examines the interplay of fiction, history, and judicial language between the Apocolocyntosis and the Satyricon.

Michael Paschalis is Professor of Classics at the University of Crete. He has written on Apuleius, Petronius, Longus, the Alexander Romance, and the reception of the ancient novel. He co-organizes RICAN and has co-edited the volumes Space in the Ancient Novel (2002), Metaphor and the Ancient Novel (2005), The Greek and the Roman Novel: Parallel Readings (2007), and The Reception of Antiquity in the Byzantine and Modern Greek Novel (2005).