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'An American Satyricon'


"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."

Read more: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review Online

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