Author: Petronius Arbiter

Chapter the One Hundred and First.

I shivered, horror-struck, at this thunderbolt and, beating my throat, "Oh Destiny," I wailed, "you’ve vanquished me completely, at last!" As for Giton, he fell in a faint upon my bosom and remained unconscious for quite a while, until a sweat finally relieved our tension, whereupon, hugging Eumolpus around the knees, "Take pity upon the perishing," I besought him, "in the name of our common learning, aid us! Death himself hangs over us, and he will come as a relief unless you help us!" Overwhelmed by this implication, Eumolpus swore by all the gods and goddesses that he knew nothing of what had happened, nor had he had any ulterior purpose in mind, but that he had brought his companions upon this voyage which he himself had long intended taking, with the most upright intentions and in the best of good faith. "But," demanded he, "what is this ambush? Who is this Hannibal who sails with us? Lycas of Tarentum is a most respectable citizen and the owner, not only of this ship, which he commands in person, but of landed estates as well as commercial houses under the management of slaves. He carries a cargo consigned to market. He is the Cyclops, the arch-pirate, to whom we owe our passage! And then, besides himself, there is Tryphaena, a most charming woman, travelling about here and there in search of pleasure." "But," objected Giton, "they are the very ones we are most anxious to avoid," whereupon he explained to the astonished Eumolpus the reasons for their enmity and for the danger which threatened us. So muddled did he become, at what had been told him, that he lost the power of thinking, and requested each of us to offer his own opinion. "Just imagine," said he, "that we are trapped in the Cyclops’ cave: some way out must be found, unless we bring about a shipwreck, and free ourselves from all dangers!" "Bribe the pilot, if necessary, and persuade him to steer the ship into some port," volunteered Giton; "tell him your brother’s nearly dead from seasickness: your woebegone face and streaming tears will lend color to your deception, and the pilot may be moved to mercy and grant your prayer." Eumolpus denied the practicability of this. "It is only with difficulty," affirmed he, "that large ships are warped into landlocked harbors, nor would it appear probable that my brother could have been taken so desperately in so short a time. And then, Lycas will be sure to want to visit a sick passenger, as part of his duties! You can see for yourselves what a fine stroke it would be, bringing the captain to his own runaways! But, supposing that the ship could be put off her course, supposing that Lycas did not hold sick-call, how could we leave the ship in such a manner as not to be stared at by all the rest? With muffled heads? With bare? If muffled, who would not want to lend the sick man a hand? If bare, what would it mean if not proscribing ourselves?"


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Chicago: Petronius Arbiter, "Chapter the One Hundred and First.," Satyricon, trans. W. C. Firebaugh in Satyricon (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922), Original Sources, accessed March 29, 2023,

MLA: Arbiter, Petronius. "Chapter the One Hundred and First." Satyricon, translted by W. C. Firebaugh, in Satyricon, New York, Boni and Liveright, 1922, Original Sources. 29 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Arbiter, P, 'Chapter the One Hundred and First.' in Satyricon, trans. . cited in 1922, Satyricon, Boni and Liveright, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 29 March 2023, from