Satyricon, vol 6, Editors Notes

Satyricon, vol 6, Editor's Notes

The Project Gutenberg EBook The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, v6
#6 in our series by Petronius Arbiter (Translated by Firebaugh)
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Title: The Satyricon, v6 (Editor's Notes)
Author: Petronius Arbiter
Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5223] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on June 8, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


This eBook was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making
an entire meal of them. D.W.]

Complete and unexpurgated translation by W. C. Firebaugh, in which
are incorporated the forgeries of Nodot and Marchena, and the readings
introduced into the text by De Salas.

There are two basic instincts in the character of the normal individual;
the will to live, and the will to propagate the species. It is from the
interplay of these instincts that prostitution took origin, and it is for this
reason that this profession is the oldest in human experience, the first
offspring, as it were, of savagery and of civilization. When Fate turns
the leaves of the book of universal history, she enters, upon the page
devoted thereto, the record of the birth of each nation in its
chronological order, and under this record appears the scarlet entry to
confront the future historian and arrest his unwilling attention; the only
entry which time and even oblivion can never efface.
If, prior to the time of Augustus Caesar, the Romans had laws designed
to control the social evil, we have no knowledge of them, but there is
nevertheless no lack of evidence to prove that it was only too well
known among them long before that happy age (Livy i, 4; ii, 18); and
the peculiar story of the Bacchanalian cult which was brought to Rome
by foreigners about the second century B.C. (Livy xxxix, 9-17), and the
comedies of Plautus and Terence, in which the pandar and the harlot

are familiar characters. Cicero, Pro Coelio, chap. xx, says: "If there is
anyone who holds the opinion that young men should be interdicted
from intrigues with the women of the town, he is indeed austere! That,
ethically, he is in the right, I cannot deny: but nevertheless, he is at
loggerheads not only with the licence of the present age, but even with
the habits of our ancestors and what they permitted themselves. For
when was this NOT done? When was it rebuked? When found fault
with?" The Floralia, first introduced about 238 B.C., had a powerful
influence in giving impetus to the spread of prostitution. The account of
the origin of this festival, given by Lactantius, while no credence is to
be placed in it, is very interesting. "When Flora, through the practice of
prostitution, had come into great wealth, she made the people her heir,
and bequeathed a certain fund, the income of which was to be used to
celebrate her birthday by the exhibition of the games they call the
Floralia" (Instit. Divin. xx, 6). In chapter x of the same book, he
describes the manner in which they were celebrated: "They were
solemnized with every form of licentiousness. For in addition to the
freedom of speech that pours forth every obscenity, the prostitutes, at
the importunities of the rabble, strip off their clothing and act as mimes
in full view of the crowd, and this they continue until full satiety comes
to the shameless lookers-on, holding their attention with their wriggling
buttocks." Cato, the censor, objected to the latter part of this spectacle,
but, with all his influence, he was never able to abolish it; the best be
could do was to have
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