Roman Religion and Ideas About Afterlife in Petronius Satyricon Essay

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion


"Litterae thesaurum est."

(The Satyricon, sec. 46)

During the time of Petronius, who lived during the reign of the Emperor Nero, in one of the most reportedly "unpredictable and daunting periods of Roman history," the perception of the afterlife likely consisted of a Platonic manner. The Satyricon, which reflects the debauchery of Nero's Rome, is noted as the most significant, surviving prose from the ancient world. Some describe this work as "the first realistic novel, the father of the picaresque genre. It recounts the sleazy progress of a pair of literate scholars as they wander through the cities of the southern Mediterranean in the age of Nero, encountering en route type-figures whom the author wishes to satirize" (Petronius, 1999, unnumbered). This paper contends that The Satyricon, by Petronius reveals that Roman religion purported that divine justice delegate rewards and punishments to humans; that afterlife did exist, and that then, as now included the perception of heaven and hell. The researcher asserts that the quote introducing this study: "Litterae thesaurum est," "Education is a treasure" (The Satyricon, sec. 46) aptly applies to the work invested in this study; that it simultaneously serves to educate the researcher, as well as the reader.

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Walsh's introduction in the translated book, The Satyricon, notes a number of intentions and meanings related in the work, along with explain the history of literary influence from The Satyricon. The date Petronius, who lived in Tacitus, "published" The Satyricon is not clear. It is deduced, nevertheless, that Petronius, committed suicide in early AD 66, which contributes the proposition the work may have been created sometime during AD 63-65 (Petronius, 1999)/

Here and Now Primarily Considered

Essay on Roman Religion and Ideas About Afterlife in Petronius Satyricon Assignment

Epicurus, the sage, taught that fearing death was foolish. He contended that because consciousness is physical, there was no afterlife, "only oblivion, and so there is nothing to fear. People should devote themselves to the here and now to the discerning management of their bodies and their practical affairs that is the only source of real benefit" (Ruden, p. 186). The researcher notes the following quote, albeit supports the thesis for This paper, that the afterlife is perceived to be real. "Glyco! you've paid your price; as long as you live, you're a marked man, - a brand Hell only can obliterate. A man's mistakes always come home to roost" (Petronius, 1999, p. 125).

A further support supporting this paper's thesis is found on page 129: "If he kicks, I've made up my mind to teach him a trade, - a barber, or an auctioneer, or best of all a lawyer, - which nothing but Hell can rob him of (Petronius, 1999).

Roman Religion

Trimalchio invented "household gods" after he acquired a household. These included:

1. The "guardian spirits" or personal gods the freedmen keep invoking;

2. Priapus, a god with a giant phallus, revenging himself on En-colpius for some slight and making him impotent;

3. The "sacred goose" killed near the end of the extant novel. (Ruden, 2000, p. 168)

Roman religion, Petronius indicates, may appear to mirror a free-for-all. Historically, nevertheless, the Ro-man beliefs about the supernatural scene appeared to almost replicate the fictional depictions in The Satyricon. A primary religious difference Petronius reveals between the ancient and contemporary is that the ancient was "polytheistic, worshipping man gods" (Ibid.) In time, monotheism-religion of one god evolved, and won over the contention of a number of gods. Romans beliefs and practices included the perception that the di-vine world was immediate and tangible. The following segment reflects more about the Roman religion:

Romans were an agri-cultural people until quite late. Farmers tend to feel a reciprocal rela-tionship with entities they live and work around, particularly with powerful natural forces. Animism, the belief that inanimate things are alive, led to a huge array of Roman gods attached to everyday life. & #8230; Robigo, the god of rust blight, whom farmers propitiated in the interest of their grain crops. Romans imagined the Olympian gods (Jupiter. Juno, Minerva, Apollo. Venus, and others whose home was thought to be in the sky above Mount Olympus) to be more remote, but even with these they cultivated personal relationships, asking favors in exchange for gifts and avoiding giving personal offense through wrong-doing in any particular god's domain, such as sex or commerce. It was as if these celestial beings were powerful, rather touchy friends.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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