Our elites would be right at home in Petronius’s world of debauchery and bored melodrama.
by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
Sometime in the mid-first century a.d., an otherwise little known consular official, Gaius Petronius, wrote a brilliant satirical novel about the gross and pretentious new Roman-imperial elite. The Satyricon is an often-cruel parody about how the Roman agrarian republic of old had degenerated into a wealth-obsessed, empty society of wannabe new elites, flush with money, and both obsessed with and bored with sex. Most of the Satyricon is lost. But in its longest surviving chapter — “Dinner with Trimalchio” — Petronius might as well have been describing our own 21st-century nomenklatura.
For the buffoonish libertine guests of the host Trimalchio, food and sex are in such surfeit that they have to be repackaged in bizarre and Read more →