Author: Petronius Arbiter

Chapter the Seventy-Fourth.

He had not ceased speaking when a cock crowed! Alarmed at this omen, Trimalchio ordered wine thrown under the table and told them to sprinkle the lamps with it; and he even went so far as to change his ring from his left hand to his right. "That trumpeter did not sound off without a reason," he remarked; "there’s either a fire in the neighborhood, or else someone’s going to give up the ghost. I hope it’s none of us! Whoever brings that Jonah in shall have a present." He had no sooner made this promise, than a cock was brought in from somewhere in the neighborhood and Trimalchio ordered the cook to prepare it for the pot. That same versatile genius who had but a short time before made birds and fish out of a hog, cut it up; it was then consigned to the kettle, and while Daedalus was taking a long hot drink, Fortunata ground pepper in a boxwood mill. When these delicacies had been consumed, Trimalchio looked the slaves over. "You haven’t had anything to eat yet, have you?" he asked. "Get out and let another relay come on duty." Thereupon a second relay came in. "Farewell, Gaius," cried those going off duty, and "Hail, Gaius," cried those coming on. Our hilarity was somewhat dampened soon after, for a boy, who was by no means bad looking, came in among the fresh slaves. Trimalchio seized him and kissed him lingeringly, whereupon Fortunata, asserting her rights in the house, began to rail at Trimalchio, styling him an abomination who set no limits to his lechery, finally ending by calling him a dog. Trimalchio flew into a rage at her abuse and threw a wine cup at her head, whereupon she screeched, as if she had had an eye knocked out and covered her face with her trembling hands. Scintilla was frightened, too, and shielded the shuddering woman with her garment. An officious slave presently held a cold water pitcher to her cheek and Fortunata bent over it, sobbing and moaning. But as for Trimalchio, "What the hell’s next?" he gritted out, "this Syrian dancing-whore don’t remember anything! I took her off the auction block and made her a woman among her equals, didn’t I? And here she puffs herself up like a frog and pukes in her own nest; she’s a blockhead, all right, not a woman. But that’s the way it is, if you’re born in an attic you can’t sleep in a palace I’ll see that this booted Cassandra’s tamed, so help me my Genius, I will! And I could have married ten million, even if I did only have two cents: you know I’m not lying! ’Let me give you a tip,’ said Agatho, the perfumer to the lady next door, when he pulled me aside: ’don’t let your line die out!’ And here I’ve stuck the ax into my own leg because I was a damned fool and didn’t want to seem fickle. I’ll see to it that you’re more careful how you claw me up, sure as you’re born, I will! That you may realize how seriously I take what you’ve done to me— Habinnas, I don’t want you to put her statue on my tomb for fear I’ll be nagged even after I’m dead! And furthermore, that she may know I can repay a bad turn, I won’t have her kissing me when I’m laid out!"


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Chicago: Petronius Arbiter, "Chapter the Seventy-Fourth.," Satyricon, trans. W. C. Firebaugh in Satyricon (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922), Original Sources, accessed February 9, 2023,

MLA: Arbiter, Petronius. "Chapter the Seventy-Fourth." Satyricon, translted by W. C. Firebaugh, in Satyricon, New York, Boni and Liveright, 1922, Original Sources. 9 Feb. 2023.

Harvard: Arbiter, P, 'Chapter the Seventy-Fourth.' in Satyricon, trans. . cited in 1922, Satyricon, Boni and Liveright, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 9 February 2023, from