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Considerazioni sull’autorappresentazione di Trimalchione: gli affreschi della porticus e il monumento funebre


  • Claudia Conese



This article addresses some issues relating to the life of Trimalchio, the well-known freedman of Petronius' Satyricon. In particular, it focuses on the modalities of self-representation of the freedman through two ekphrasis, the one painted in the frescoes of the porticus, and the other represented by the monumental complex of his tomb. The two descriptions are interpreted not only in the light of literary references, both internal and external to the Petronian novel, but also trying to find precise archaeological counterparts that would help to insert literary fiction in a realistic context. From the comparison with the literary and archaeological data some details emerge that highlight the complex and multifaceted Trimalchio’s desire for self-representation, which denotes a deep and lucid consciousness of himself and of his own condition beyond the well-known cliché of the rich upstart.

Author Biography

Claudia Conese

Claudia Conese is a PhD in Latin Literature at the Universities of Florence and Geneva and post-doc at the University of Florence. Her research deals with philological and literary criticism of Augustan poetry and Petronius. She recently published: "Maenius absentem Novium cum carperet" (Horace, "Satires" 1.3.21): Characters, Places, Monuments’, Hermathena, 193, 2012; ‘Properzio 4.4: topografia di un mito’, Prometheus, 44, 1, 2018; ‘La tabula terebinthina di Trimalchione’, Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici, 83, 2, 2019.