The Satyricon of Petronius / The Apocolocyntosis of Seneca Characters

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Encolpiusappears in The Satyricon

Encolpius is the young student who is one of the main characters in The Satyricon. He is the story's narrator as well. The story begins in the city of Puteoli where Encolpius is a newly arriving student. When Encolpius asks a woman to show him to his new quarters, she takes him to a brothel instead. This sets the stage for the heart of The Satyricon, which from that point on centers around the sexual adventures of Encolpius and his companions around the Mediterranean countryside.

The introduction describes how very fragmented the ancient tale of The Satyricon is and how sections and parts of sections of the story are missing. There are references to Encolpius' criminal background. There are vague allusions to his stealing and even murdering a man. Details of these incidents are fragmented or missing and are impossible to fully understand. What remains of the story, however, focuses upon his love interests. As a student in Puteoli, Encolpius is in love with the young boy, Giton who at sixteen is described as younger the Encolpius. Ascyltus, who is another friend of Encolpius, is also in love with Giton. The friendship of Encolpius and Ascyltus is greatly challenged over the competition for the love of Giton. The situation comes to a head when Giton must chose between the two. Out of fear, Giton chooses Ascyltus. Encolpius is heartbroken and leaves Puteoli in despair. He then meets an older poet named Eumolpus who becomes his mentor. Soon Giton appears wanting to reunite with Encolpius. With Ascyltus chasing them, Encolpius, Eumolpus and Giton sail away on a ship which ultimately is wrecked in a storm.

The trio survives and winds up in the town of Croton where Encolpius meets Circe, the most beautiful woman he ever saw. He vows to give up Giton for her. However, when he and Circe try to make love, he is impotent. A high priestess and a witch are summoned by Circe to cure him. They make brews and cast spells to fix Encolpius' problem. In the end, Encolpius is cured but credits the god Mercury with his recovery.

Eumolpusappears in Satyricon

The main character, the young student Encolpius, meets the older Eumolpus at an art museum in the seaside town of Pergamum. Eumolpus is a poet and intellect and is eventually referred to by Encolpius as his mentor. There is comic element to the character who loves poetry and is given to impromptu poetry recitations. However, he is generally pummeled with rocks when his recitation drags on too long. When first meeting Encolpius, Eumolpus begins to recite poetry but is short-circuited by the young student who complains that he's acting like a poet and an intellect—people don't like poets and intellects.

Eumolpus is older but seems to be as sexually active as his young companions. Like everyone else, Eumolpus is attracted to Giton and promises to support him and write poetry devoted to him. He and Encolpius get into a dispute about his overtures to Giton which is forgotten when they all hastily flee town. Later in the town of Croton, Eumolpus sexually assaults both a young boy and a young girl. At the end of the story, Eumolpus is drawn to Encolpius, who he asks to tolerate him for just one disgusting hour.

Eumolpus is a wily person given to schemes of deception. When he escapes with Encolpius and Giton from the angry Ascyltus, he sneaks them on a ship bound for an unknown destination. When Eumolpus learns that the owner of the ship, Lichas, is looking for Encolpius and Giton due to their sexual dalliance with his wife, Eumolpus creates a plan to deceive Lichas. He has the young students' heads and eyebrows shaved and stains their foreheads with the brandings of slaves. Lichas sees through the silly disguise, but Eumolpus is able to help his companions make peace with Lichas. Later in the town of Croton, to win their favor, he lies to the townspeople, telling them that his is a sickly, wealthy man who has just buried his son.

Ascyltusappears in Satyricon

Ascyltus is a young student and friend of Encolpius. He and Encolpius are both in love with Giton and have an on-going conflict over him.

Gitonappears in Satyricon

Giton is a young student and friend of Encolpius. He is younger than his other friends and is the object of adoration of both men.

Trimalchioappears in Satyricon

Trimalchio is a wealthy gentleman in Puteoli. He holds a lavish dinner with exotic dishes and entertainment which Encolpius and his friends attend.

Proselenusappears in The Satyricon

Proselenus is the witch who is dispatched by Circe to test Encolpius' virility. She confirms that he is virile but is disappointed later to learn that he is still impotent.

Circeappears in The Satyricon

Circe is the beautiful woman that Encolpius falls in love with. When they attempt to make love, Encolpius is impotent, which she takes as a personal affront. She sends a witch to try to cure him.

Priapusappears in The Satyricon

Priapus is the god of sexuality and fertility. Encolpius offends Priapus by barging in on a mystical ceremony. Encolpius is plagued by impotence after committing this offense.

Oenotheaappears in The Satyricon

Oenothea is the high priestess who, along with the witch Proselenus, tries to cure Encolpius of impotency.

Petroniusappears in The Satyricon

Titus Petronius is the author of the The Satyricon—at least that is the consensus. Some scholars are not convinced that Petronius is the author.

Senecaappears in The Apocolocyntosis

Seneca the younger is the author of The Apocolocyntosis, which is a scorching critique of Claudius I. Seneca had been exiled by Claudius for several years and probably had a personal reason for excoriating the dead emperor.

Claudius Iappears in The Apocolocyntosis

Claudius I was the subject of the political satire, The Apocolocyntosis, written by Seneca the younger.

Herculesappears in The Apocolocyntosis

Hercules is the god who convinces the other gods to refuse Claudius' request to be made a god. Claudius is then sent to hell.

Jupiterappears in The Apocolocyntosis

Jupiter is approached by Claudius in heaven. Jupiter cannot tell what the creature is who looks huge and has white hair.

Janusappears in The Apocolocyntosis

Janus argues against making Claudius a god. Ordinary men should not become gods and those that do should be turned over to the gladiators and pummeled with rods in the arena.

Diespiterappears in The Apocolocyntosis

Diespiter is the god who supports Claudius' request to become a god. He points out that Claudius is related to the Divine Augustus and the Divine Augusta.

Mercuryappears in The Apocolocyntosis

The god Mercury spirits Claudius off to hell once the gods agree that he should not become a god.

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