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New Evidence For Dating The Discovery At Traù Of The Petronian Cena Trimalchionis

Nicola Pace


The date of the discovery by Marino Statileo of the long fragment of Petronius’ Satyricon (the Cena Trimalchionis), at Traù in Dalmatia, has been fluctuating in a bewildering way for three centuries in Petronian scholarship. In the 20th century scholars generally agreed to fix the date around 1650, without taking into account the main documents of the time. This study aims to examine these documents, above all the historian Giovanni Lucio’s report of the discovery, in relation to the recent publication of the list of Dalmatian graduates at the University of Padua, which shows that Marino Statileo graduated in law in 1644: since the discovery coincides, in the reports, with his return home to Traù soon after graduating, we can date the discovery to around 1645, about twenty years before the editio princeps (1664). This long interval must be explained by the widespread opposition to the printing of the new text at Traù, Padua, and Rome.

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