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Last Reviewed 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.

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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 (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 (a-guh-MEHM -non), a teacher who agrees with Encolpius that students are...

(The entire section contains 628 words.)

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