Summer Reading for Latin teachers and graduates now in paperback: Petronius

Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis is now out in paperback for 10.95 USD.

The Satyricon is fairly easy Latin for advanced-level students. The obstacle has always been vocabulary, not grammar, and this new Pharr-styled commentary of Cena Trimalchionis will make it easier than ever to focus on the content–particularly for those of us who want to read for pleasure this summer.

The Cena Trimalchionis tells the story of Encolpius, who with his friends crashes a dinner party where the guests are freedman and the host is the extremely wealthy Trimalchio. The story is rich with satire and social commentary and will seem refreshingly worlds away from the Latin of Caesar, Cicero, and Vergil.

Just read the first four lines of the Cena below.

Vēnerat iam tertius diēs, id est expectātio līberae cēnae, sed tot vulneribus cōnfossīs fuga magis placēbat quam quiēsItaque cum maestī dēlīberārēmusquōnam genere praesentem ēvītārēmus procellam, ūnus servus Agamemnonis interpellāvit…

The third day had already come. There was an expectation of a free dinner, but with so many wounds struck, an escape was more pleasing than rest. And so while we were deliberating, grief-stricken, in what way we might avoid the present storm, a slave of Agamemnon interrupted…

If you have an undergraduate degree in Latin , this text is well within your grasp. Consider the suggested reading schedule below.

  • 2 pages per day (20 lines)        June 1st – August 1st
  • 1.5 pages per day (15 lines)     June 1st – September 1st
  • 1 page per day (10 lines)          June 1st – October 1st

There is no commitment to purchase the book. You can use the pdf online. Printable translation sheets are available on the Petronius page for those who prefer to write out translations or notes as they read. All you need is 20 minutes each day.

As you plan your summer reading, keep Petronius in mind.

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