Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 354

Much of Petronius' satyric novel Satyricon is missing. However, the surviving fragments contain a number of interesting characters. Below are some of the principal characters of this Roman novel.

Encolpius: The main character and narrator of this work, Encolpius frequently finds himself in a number of misadventures. He also deeply...

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Much of Petronius' satyric novel Satyricon is missing. However, the surviving fragments contain a number of interesting characters. Below are some of the principal characters of this Roman novel.

Encolpius: The main character and narrator of this work, Encolpius frequently finds himself in a number of misadventures. He also deeply hates the Asiatic style of rhetoric so popular at this time, a theme that comes up several times throughout the work. Early in the surviving portion of the text, he offends the god, Priapus, and he is cursed with impotency. His adventures usually involve him trying to maintain his relationship his the teenage slave-boy Giton.

Giton: Encolpius' sixteen-year-old slave-boy and lover, handsome Giton spends much of the text inviting and fending off the advances of Encolpius and his friend Ascyltos.

Ascyltos: A former gladiator, Ascyltos is Encolpius' friend and competitor for the affections of Giton, they spend much of the story fighting and forgiving each other.

Trimalchio: The wealthy and crass host of the great feast. Trimalchio was once a slave who has grown obscenely rich. He likes to flaunt his wealth but is extremely vulgar and ill-mannered. He is prone to emotional bouts of ecstasy and melancholy.

Lichas: a friend of Ascyltos, Lichas invites Encolpius into his household. After Encolpius makes love to Lichas' wife, Doris, they become enemies.

Tryphaena: A beautiful servant in Lichas' household. She makes love to both Encolpius and Giton. She is particularly enamored with Giton. Encolpius decides to leave her after a while. Tryphaena then accuses Encolpius of trying to sexually assault her, forcing him and Giton to flee.

Eumolpus: A old, poor, and deceptive poet, Eumolpus befriends Encolpius and joins him for a number of his adventures. Eumolpus is very sexually active, especially given his advanced age. He makes advances on nearly everyone he meets. Eumolpus often draws the ire of the wealthy men he meets, who despise pauper poets.

Corax: The servant of Eumolpus, Corax is a barber by trade who accompanies the main characters on several of their escapades.

Oenothea: The high priestess Oenothea attempts to cure Encolpius of his impotency, but finds mixed success.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 274

Encolpius

Encolpius (ehn-KOHL-pee-uhs), the narrator, who despises the artificiality of rhetoric and the poor preparation of his students. He goes off on a series of roguish adventures.

Agamemnon

Agamemnon (a-guh-MEHM-non), a teacher who agrees with Encolpius that students are ill-prepared. He places all the blame on parents who do not force their children to study.

Gito

Gito (GI-toh), Encolpius’ young slave. A handsome boy, he is by turns upset and happy because of the amorous attentions of Ascyltus. He deserts his master for Ascyltus’ service for a time.

Ascyltus

Ascyltus (as-KIHL-tuhs), Encolpius’ friend and companion on many of his adventures.

Lycurgus

Lycurgus (li-KUR-guhs), a rich man and a friend of Ascyltus.

Lichas

Lichas (LI-kuhs), a rich friend of Lycurgus. Completely taken with Encolpius, Lichas invites him and Gito to his house.

Doris

Doris, Lichas’ beautiful wife, to whom Encolpius makes love.

Tryphaena

Tryphaena (tri-FEE-nuh), a beautiful, amoral woman of Lichas’ household who makes love to both Encolpius and Gito. When they tire of her, she spitefully accuses them of making improper advances to her, and they have to flee from Lichas’ house.

Trimalchio

Trimalchio (trih-MAHL-kee-oh), a former slave who is now rich. He is unused to wealth and is very vulgar. He makes a great show of his riches to impress both himself and other people. He gives an elaborate, ostentatious banquet for which his name is still remembered.

Niceros

Niceros (NI-seh-ros), a freedman who tells a tale about a man who turns into a wolf.

Eumolpus

Eumolpus (yew-MOHL-puhs), a poet who becomes Encolpius’ friend and shares in some of his escapades.

Circe

Circe (SUR-see), a woman to whom Encolpius tries to make love.

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