Author: Petronius Arbiter

Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Second.

"But scarce had she finished, when trembled the clouds; and a

Bright flash of Jove’s lightning transfixed them with flame and was

The Lord of the Shades blanched with fear, at this bolt of his

Sank back, and drew closely together the gorge in Earth’s bosom.

By auspices straightway the slaughter of men and the evils

Impending are shown by the gods. Here, the Titan unsightly

Blood red, veils his face with a twilight; on strife fratricidal

Already he gazed, thou hadst thought! There, silvery Cynthia

Obscuring her face at the full, denied light to the outrage.

The mountain crests riven by rock-slides roll thundering downward

And wandering rivers, to rivulets shrunk, writhed no longer

Familiar marges between. With the clangor of armor

The heavens resound; from the stars wafts the thrill of a trumpet

Sounding the call to arms. AEtna, now roused to eruption

Unwonted, darts flashes of flame to the clouds. Flitting phantoms

Appear midst the tombs and unburied bones, gibbering menace

A comet, strange stars in its diadem, leads a procession

And reddens the skies with its fire. Showers of blood fall from

These portents the Deity shortly fulfilled! For now Caesar

Forsook vacillation and, spurred by the love of revenge, sheathed

The Gallic sword; brandished the brand that proclaimed civil

There, high in the Alps, where the crags, by a Greek god once

Slope down and permit of approach, is a spot ever sacred

To Hercules’ altar; the winter with frozen snow seals it

And rears to the heavens a summit eternally hoary,

As though the sky there had slipped down: no warmth from the

No breath from the Springtime can soften the pile’s wintry rigor

Nor slacken the frost chains that bind; and its menacing shoulders

The weight of the world could sustain. With victorious legions

These crests Caesar trod and selected a camp. Gazing downwards

On Italy’s plains rolling far, from the top of the mountain,

He lifted both hands to the heavens, his voice rose in prayer:

’Omnipotent Jove, and thou, refuge of Saturn whose glory

Was brightened by feats of my armies and crowned with my triumphs,

Bear witness! Unwillingly summon I Mars to these armies,

Unwillingly draw I the sword! But injustice compels me.

While enemy blood dyes the Rhine and the Alps are held firmly

Repulsing a second assault of the Gauls on our city,

She dubs me an outcast! And Victory makes me an exile!

To triumphs three score, and defeats of the Germans, my treason

I trace! How can they fear my glory or see in my battles

A menace? But hirelings, and vile, to whom my Rome is but a

Stepmother! Methinks that no craven this sword arm shall hamper

And take not a stroke in repost. On to victory, comrades,

While anger seethes hot. With the sword we will seek a decision

The doom lowering down is a peril to all, and the treason.

My gratitude owe I to you, not alone have I conquered!

Since punishment waits by our trophies and victory merits

Disgrace, then let Chance cast the lots. Raise the standard of

Again take your swords. Well I know that my cause is accomplished

Amidst such armed warriors I know that I cannot be beaten.’

While yet the words echoed, from heaven the bird of Apollo

Vouchsafed a good omen and beat with his pinions the ether.

From out of the left of a gloomy grove strange voices sounded

And flame flashed thereafter! The sun gleamed with brighter

Unwonted, his face in a halo of golden flame shining."


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Chicago: Petronius Arbiter, "Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Second.," Satyricon, trans. W. C. Firebaugh in Satyricon (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922), Original Sources, accessed August 8, 2022,

MLA: Arbiter, Petronius. "Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Second." Satyricon, translted by W. C. Firebaugh, in Satyricon, New York, Boni and Liveright, 1922, Original Sources. 8 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: Arbiter, P, 'Chapter the One Hundred and Twenty-Second.' in Satyricon, trans. . cited in 1922, Satyricon, Boni and Liveright, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 8 August 2022, from