1
At the School of Rhetoric
1 [Encolpius is in full flow:] 'This, surely, is the same band of
Furies goading our teachers of rhetoric when they cry: "These
wounds have I sustained for our country's liberty, this eye
have I forfeited in your service. Give me a helping hand to
escort me to my children, for my legs are hamstrung and
cannot support my body's weight." Utterances even as bad
as this we could stomach if they advanced students on the
path to eloquence. But in reality all that they achieve with
their turgid themes and their utterly pointless and empty
crackle of epigrams is that when they set foot in court they
find themselves transported into another world. This is why
I believe that our hapless youngsters are turned into total
idiots in the schools of rhetoric, because their ears and eyes
are trained not on everyday issues, but on pirates in chains
on the sea-shore, or on tyrants signing edicts bidding sons
decapitate their fathers, or on oracular responses in time of
plague urging the sacrifice of three or more maidens. These
are nothing but verbal gob-stoppers* coated in honey, every
word and every deed sprinkled with poppy-seed and sesame!
2 'Students fed on this fare can no more acquire good sense
than cooks living in the kitchen can smell of roses. Forgive
my saying so, but you teachers of rhetoric more than any
others have been the death of eloquence. Your lightweight,
empty bleatings have merely encouraged frivolity, with the
result that oratory has lost all its vigour, and has collapsed.
Young men were not as yet strait-jacketed with declamations
when Sophocles and Euripides devised the language they
needed. No professor in his ivory tower had as yet expunged
all genius when Pindar and the nine lyric poets shied from
Homeric measures in singing their songs. Not that I need
to cite the poets in evidence; so far as I am aware, neither

-1-

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The Satyricon
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Satyricon i
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Select Bibliography xlvi
  • 1 - At the School of Rhetoric 1
  • 2 - Dubious Encounters in the Town 5
  • 3 - Jealousy at the Lodging 7
  • 4 - An Episode in the Market 9
  • 5 - Enter Quartilla, the Priapic Priestess 12
  • 6 - Dinner at Trimalchio's 20
  • 7 - Giton Spurns Encolpius for Ascyltus 67
  • 8 - Eumolpus in the Art Gallery 71
  • 9 - Reconciliation with Giton; Eumolpus as Rival 79
  • 10 - The Episode on Ship. Enter Lichas and Tryphaena 88
  • 11 - The Journey to Croton 110
  • 12 - The Encounter with Circe 124
  • 13 - Eumolpus and the Legacy-Hunters 145
  • Index and Glossary of Names 205
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