TCD MS 602 and the transmission of Petronius in England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries


Trinity College Library MS 602 is indirectly related to the
complex textual tradition of one of the most admired classical
works, the first-century AD novel Satyrica by Petronius, who
wrote under the Emperor Nero.1 It was not until the early 1970s
that the section of the manuscript containing a collection of
short stories was identified as a work deeply influenced,
thematically and stylistically, by Petronius. For this collection
TCD 602 is the only manuscript witness. The author of the
discovery was Professor Marvin Colker of the University of
Virginia, to whom Trinity College Library also owes its superb
Descriptive Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Latin
Manuscripts (1991 and 2008). Colker named the collection at
fols. 132r-149v ‘Fabellae Dublinenses’ and its anonymous
author ‘Petronius Redivivus’, detecting the deep connection
between the text and the work of the ancient Roman writer.2
Before Colker’s discovery, the only twelfth-century author
known to have a noteworthy knowledge of Petronius’ novel,
including its famous longest fragment, Cena Trimalchionis, was
John of Salisbury.


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