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Title: Il dolus culinario del piatto zodiacale nella Cena Trimalchionis
Author(s): BROLLI, Tiziana
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 82    Issue: 4   Date: 2023   
Pages: 669-685
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.82.4.3292689

Abstract :
This paper focuses on the exegesis of the zodiac dish that was served during Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis. The culinary deception to which Trimalchio alludes with the Virgilian quotation Sic notus Vlixes? (39.3) consists not only in the fact that the dish hides a second compartment inside it, as the famous Wooden Horse does, but also in the fact that the food hidden in it resembles a lethal food. Indeed, this contains a hare equipped with pinnae (36.2). Based on Trimalchio’s intentions, this culinary creation – which Encolpius interprets as resembling a Pegasus – reminds a sea hare, that is a sea mollusc used in ancient times (even by Nero) as food poison. So Trimalchio’s question: rogo, me putatis illa cena esse contentum, quam in theca repositorii uideratis? (39.3) alludes to the lower compartment of the tray (note the expression in theca), not to the food on the zodiac dish.

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