The Journey to Croton
Once we had gladly discharged this duty, and decided on|
our route, we set out. Soon we were bathed in perspiration
as we climbed a mountain. From the summit we saw a town
lying within easy distance, and perched on a lofty height.
We did not identify it in our wandering until we ascertained
from a bailiff that it was the ancient city of Croton,* once the
foremost in Italy. We then made more detailed enquiry about
the natives of this celebrated site, and the particular nature
of their business interests, now that their frequent wars had
exhausted their resources.
'My friends,' said the bailiff, 'if you are businessmen, you|
must change your plans and seek out some other place to
sustain you. On the other hand, if you are more sophisti-
cated types and can play the role of perpetual liars, you are
on the swift and direct road to profit. In this city, literary
studies have no prestige, and eloquence no standing. The
simple life and decent morals win no praise, and there-
fore no reward. Just realize that whatever men you clap eyes
on belong to one of two groups, the money-hunters and
the hunted! In this city no one brings up children, for if a
man has his own heirs, this disqualifies him from dinners
and public entertainments. He gets none of the perks, and
lives unknown as a social leper. But those who have never
married and have no relatives not only attain the top posi-
tions, but are regarded as the only men of true valour and
integrity. You are approaching a town', he added, 'that is a
plague-ridden expanse, populated by nothing but corpses
being pecked to pieces, and the crows at work pecking
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Publication information: Book title: The Satyricon. Contributors: Petronius - Author, P. G. Walsh - Translator. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 110.
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