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Gaius Valerius Catullus
Catullus
(/kəˈtʌləs/, (Latin pronunciation: [kaˈtʊlːʊs]; c. 84 – 54? BC) was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic
Roman Republic
who wrote chiefly in the neoteric style of poetry, which is about personal life rather than classical heroes. His surviving works are still read widely and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art. Catullus's poems were widely appreciated by other poets. He greatly influenced Ovid, Horace, Virgil, and others. After his rediscovery in the Late Middle Ages, Catullus
Catullus
again found admirers. The explicit sexual imagery which he uses in some of his poems has shocked many readers. Indeed, Catullus's work was never canonical in schools, although his body of work is still frequently read from secondary school to graduate programs across the world, with his 64th poem often considered his greatest.

Contents

1 Life 2 Poetry

2.1 Sources and organization 2.2 Intellectual influences 2.3 Style 2.4 Musical settings 2.5 Cultural depictions

3 See also 4 Notes 5 Further reading 6 External links

Life[edit] Gaius Valerius Catullus
Catullus
(Classical Latin: [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs waˈɫɛ.ri.ʊs kaˈtʊl.lʊs]) was born to a leading equestrian family of Verona, in Cisalpine Gaul. The social prominence of the Catullus
Catullus
family allowed the father of Gaius Valerius to entertain Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
when he was the Promagistrate
Promagistrate
(proconsul) of both Gallic provinces.[2] In a poem, Catullus
Catullus
describes his happy homecoming to the family villa at Sirmio, on Lake Garda, near Verona; he also owned a villa near the resort of Tibur (Tivoli).[2] Catullus
Catullus
appears to have spent most of his young adult years in Rome. His friends there included the poets Licinius Calvus, and Helvius Cinna, Quintus Hortensius (son of the orator and rival of Cicero) and the biographer Cornelius Nepos, to whom Catullus
Catullus
dedicated a libellus of poems,[2] the relation of which to the extant collection remains a matter of debate.[3] He appears to have been acquainted with the poet Marcus Furius Bibaculus. A number of prominent contemporaries appear in his poetry, including Cicero, Caesar and Pompey. According to an anecdote preserved by Suetonius, Caesar did not deny that Catullus's lampoons left an indelible stain on his reputation, but when Catullus apologized, he invited the poet for dinner the very same day.[4]

Catullus
Catullus
at Lesbia's by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

It was probably in Rome
Rome
that Catullus
Catullus
fell deeply in love with the "Lesbia" of his poems, who is usually identified with Clodia Metelli, a sophisticated woman from the aristocratic house of patrician family Claudii Pulchri, sister of the infamous Publius Clodius Pulcher, and wife to proconsul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer. In his poems Catullus
Catullus
describes several stages of their relationship: initial euphoria, doubts, separation, and his wrenching feelings of loss. Clodia had several other partners; "From the poems one can adduce no fewer than five lovers in addition to Catullus: Egnatius (poem 37), Gellius (poem 91), Quintius (poem 82), Rufus (poem 77), and Lesbius (poem 79)." There is also some question surrounding her husband’s mysterious death in 59 B.C., some critics believing he was domestically poisoned. Yet, a sensitive and passionate Catullus
Catullus
could not relinquish his flame for Clodia, regardless of her obvious indifference to his desire for a deep and permanent relationship. In his poems, Catullus
Catullus
wavers between devout, sweltering love and bitter, scornful insults that he directs at her blatant infidelity (as demonstrated in poems 11 and 58). His passion for her is unrelenting— yet it is unclear when exactly the couple split up for good. Catullus's poems about the relationship display striking depth and psychological insight.[5] He spent the provincial command year summer 57 to summer 56 BC in Bithynia
Bithynia
on the staff of the commander Gaius Memmius. While in the East, he traveled to the Troad
Troad
to perform rites at his brother's tomb, an event recorded in a moving poem.[2]

Bithynia
Bithynia
within the Roman Empire

There survives no ancient biography of Catullus: his life has to be pieced together from scattered references to him in other ancient authors and from his poems. Thus it is uncertain when he was born and when he died. St. Jerome
St. Jerome
says that he died in his 30th year, and was born in 87 BC. But the poems include references to events of 55 and 54 BC. Since the Roman consular fasti make it somewhat easy to confuse 87–57 BC with 84–54 BC, many scholars accept the dates 84 BC–54 BC,[2] supposing that his latest poems and the publication of his libellus coincided with the year of his death. Other authors suggest 52 or 51 BC as the year of the poet's death.[6] Though upon his elder brother's death Catullus
Catullus
lamented that their “whole house was buried along” with the deceased, the existence (and prominence) of Valerii Catulli is attested in the following centuries. T.P. Wiseman argues that after the brother's death Catullus
Catullus
could have married, and that, in this case, the later Valerii Catulli may have been his descendants.[7] Poetry[edit] Main article: Poetry of Catullus

Catullus
Catullus
et in eum commentarius (1554)

Sources and organization[edit] Catullus's poems have been preserved in an anthology of 116 carmina (the actual number of poems may slightly vary in various editions), which can be divided into three parts according to their form: sixty short poems in varying meters, called polymetra, eight longer poems, and forty-eight epigrams. There is no scholarly consensus on whether Catullus
Catullus
himself arranged the order of the poems. The longer poems differ from the polymetra and the epigrams not only in length but also in their subjects: There are seven hymns and one mini-epic, or epyllion, the most highly prized form for the "new poets". The polymetra and the epigrams can be divided into four major thematic groups (ignoring a rather large number of poems that elude such categorization):

poems to and about his friends (e.g., an invitation like poem 13). erotic poems: some of them (50 and 99) are about his homosexual desires and acts, but most are about women, especially about one he calls "Lesbia" (which served as a false name for his married girlfriend, Clodia, source and inspiration of many of his poems). invectives: often rude and sometimes downright obscene poems targeted at friends-turned-traitors (e.g., poem 16), other lovers of Lesbia, well-known poets, politicians (e.g., Julius Caesar) and rhetors, including Cicero. condolences: some poems of Catullus
Catullus
are solemn in nature. 96 comforts a friend in the death of a loved one; several others, most famously 101, lament the death of his brother.

All these poems describe the lifestyle of Catullus
Catullus
and his friends, who, despite Catullus's temporary political post in Bithynia, lived their lives withdrawn from politics. They were interested mainly in poetry and love. Above all other qualities, Catullus
Catullus
seems to have valued venustas, or charm, in his acquaintances, a theme which he explores in a number of his poems. The ancient Roman concept of virtus (i.e. of virtue that had to be proved by a political or military career), which Cicero
Cicero
suggested as the solution to the societal problems of the late Republic, meant little to them. However Catullus
Catullus
does not reject traditional notions, but rather their particular application to the vita activa of politics and war. Indeed, he tries to reinvent these notions from a personal point of view and to introduce them into human relationships. For example, he applies the word fides, which traditionally meant faithfulness towards one's political allies, to his relationship with Lesbia
Lesbia
and reinterprets it as unconditional faithfulness in love. So, despite the seeming frivolity of his lifestyle, Catullus
Catullus
measured himself and his friends by quite ambitious standards. Intellectual influences[edit] Catullus's poetry was influenced by the innovative poetry of the Hellenistic Age, and especially by Callimachus
Callimachus
and the Alexandrian school, which had propagated a new style of poetry that deliberately turned away from the classical epic poetry in the tradition of Homer. Cicero
Cicero
called these local innovators neoteroi (νεώτεροι) or 'moderns' (in Latin
Latin
poetae novi or 'new poets'), in that they cast off the heroic model handed down from Ennius
Ennius
in order to strike new ground and ring a contemporary note. Catullus
Catullus
and Callimachus
Callimachus
did not describe the feats of ancient heroes and gods (except perhaps in re-evaluating and predominantly artistic circumstances, e.g. poems 63 and 64), focusing instead on small-scale personal themes. Although these poems sometimes seem quite superficial and their subjects often are mere everyday concerns, they are accomplished works of art. Catullus
Catullus
described his work as expolitum, or polished, to show that the language he used was very carefully and artistically composed. Catullus
Catullus
was also an admirer of Sappho, a female poet of the seventh century BC, and is the source for much of what we know or infer about her. Catullus 51 follows Sappho
Sappho
31 so closely that some believe the later poem to be, in part, a direct translation of the earlier poem, and 61 and 62 are certainly inspired by and perhaps translated directly from lost works of Sappho. Both of the latter are epithalamia, a form of laudatory or erotic wedding-poetry that Sappho had been famous for but that had gone out of fashion in the intervening centuries. Catullus
Catullus
twice used a meter that Sappho developed, called the Sapphic strophe, in poems 11 and 51. In fact, Catullus
Catullus
may have brought about a substantial revival of that form in Rome. Catullus, as was common to his era, was greatly influenced by stories from Greek and Roman myth. His longer poems—such as 63, 64, 65, 66, and 68—allude to mythology in various ways. Some stories he refers to are the wedding of Peleus
Peleus
and Thetis, the departure of the Argonauts, Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur, Ariadne's abandonment, Tereus
Tereus
and Procne, as well as Protesilaus and Laodamia. Style[edit] Catullus
Catullus
wrote in many different meters including hendecasyllabic verse and elegiac couplets (common in love poetry). A great part of his poetry shows strong and occasionally wild emotions, especially in regard to Lesbia. Catullus
Catullus
describes his Lesbia
Lesbia
as having multiple suitors and often showing little affection towards him. He also demonstrates a great sense of humour such as in Catullus
Catullus
13. Musical settings[edit] Catullus
Catullus
Dreams (2011) is a song cycle by David Glaser set to texts of Catullus. The cycle is scored for soprano and seven instruments. It was premiered at Symphony Space in New York by soprano Linda Larson and Sequitur Ensemble. Catulli Carmina
Catulli Carmina
is a cantata by Carl Orff
Carl Orff
to the texts of Catullus. "Carmina Catulli" is a song cycle arranged from 17 of Catullus' poems by American composer Michael Linton. The cycle was recorded in December 2013 and premiered at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in March 2014 by French baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer and pianist Jason Paul Peterson.[8][9][10] Catullus
Catullus
5, the love poem "Vivamus mea Lesbia
Lesbia
atque amemus", in the translation by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
was set to music[11] (lute accompanied song) by Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger. Thomas Campion
Thomas Campion
also wrote a lute-song using his own translation of the first six lines of Catullus 5 followed by two verses of his own. The translation by Richard Crashaw was set to music[12] in a four-part glee by Samuel Webbe Jr. It was also set to music[13] in a three-part glee by John Stafford Smith. Finnish jazz singer Reine Rimón has recorded poems of Catullus
Catullus
set to standard jazz tunes. The American composer, Ned Rorem, set Catullus 101 to music for voice and piano. The song, "Catallus: on the Burial of His Brother" was originally published in 1969. The Icelandic composer, Johann Johannsson, set Catullus 85 to music. The poem is sung through a vocoder. The music is played by a string quartet and piano. Titled "Odi Et Amo", the song is found on Johannsson's album Englaborn. Cultural depictions[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2017)

Catullus
Catullus
was the main protagonist of the historical novel Farewell, Catullus
Catullus
(1953) by Pierson Dixon. The novel shows the corruption of the Roman society.[14][15] See also[edit]

Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 1829 Poetry of Catullus Prosody (Latin)

Notes[edit]

^ The bust was commissioned in 1935 by Sirmione's mayor, Luigi Trojani, and produced by the Milanese foundry Clodoveo Barzaghi with the assistance of the sculptor Villarubbia Norri (N. Criniti & M. Arduino (eds.), Catullo e Sirmione. Società e cultura della Cisalpina alle soglie dell'impero (Brescia: Grafo, 1994), p. 4). ^ a b c d e "Gaius Valerius Catullus". www.BookRags.com. Retrieved September 13, 2014.  ^ M. Skinner, "Authorial Arrangement of the Collection", pp. 46–48, in: A Companion to Catullus, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007. ^ Suetonius
Suetonius
Divus Iulius 73". ^ Howe, Jr., Quincy (1970). Introduction to Catullus, The Complete Poems for American Readers. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc. pp. vii to xvii.  ^ M. Skinner, "Introduction", p.3, in: A Companion to Catullus, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. ^ T.P. Wiseman, "The Valerii Catulli of Verona", in: M. Skinner, ed., A Companion to Catullus, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. ^ McMurtry, Chris (August 19, 2014). "New Release: Linton: Carmina Catulli". RefinersFire. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.  ^ "LINTON: Carmina Catulli". www.operanews.com.  ^ "Priape, Lesbie, Diane et caetera - Forum Opéra". www.forumopera.com.  ^ http://gerbode.net/ft2/composers//Ferrabosco/songs/06_come_my_celia/pdf/06_come_my_celia.pdf ^ http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/images/3/37/Web-com.pdf ^ http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/images/5/52/Smi-let.pdf ^ Dixon, Pierson. "Farewell, Catullus" – via Biblio.com.  ^ Reine Rimón and her Hot Papas jazz band; Gregg Stafford; Tuomo Pekkanen; Gaius Valerius Catullus, Variationes iazzicae Catullianae (in Latin), retrieved 2013-10-07 

Library resources about Catullus

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

By Catullus

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

Balme, M.; Morwood, J (1997). Oxford Latin
Latin
Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Balmer, J. (2004). Catullus: Poems of Love and Hate. Hexham: Bloodaxe.  Barrett, A. A. (1972). " Catullus 52
Catullus 52
and the Consulship of Vatinius". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association. 103: 23–38.  Barwick, K. (1958). "Zyklen bei Martial
Martial
und in den kleinen Gedichten des Catull". Philologus. 102: 284–318.  Claes, P. (2002). Concatenatio Catulliana, A New Reading of the Carmina. Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben Clarke, Jacqueline (2006). "Bridal Songs: Catullan Epithalamia and Prudentius Peristephanon 3". Antichthon. 40: 89–103.  Coleman, K.M. (1981). "The persona of Catullus' Phaselus". Greece &Rome. N.S. 28: 68–72. doi:10.1017/s0017383500033507.  Dettmer, Helena (1997). Love by the Numbers: Form and the Meaning in the poetry of Catullus. Peter Lang Publishing.  Deuling, Judy (2006). " Catullus 17
Catullus 17
and 67, and the Catullan Construct". Antichthon. 40: 1–9.  Dorey, T.A. (1959). "The Aurelii and the Furii". Proceedings of the African Classical Associations. 2: 9–10.  Duhigg, J (1971). "The Elegiac Metre of Catullus". Antichthon. 5: 57–67.  Ellis, R. (1889). A Commentary on Catullus. Oxford: Clarendon Press.  Ferguson, J. (1963). " Catullus
Catullus
and Martial". Proceedings of the African Classical Associations. 6: 3–15.  Ferguson, J. (1988). Catullus. Greece & Rome:New Surveys in the Classics. 20. Oxford: Clarendon Press.  Ferrero, L. (1955). Interpretazione di Catullo (in Italian). Torino: Torino, Rosenberg & Sellier.  Fitzgerald, W. (1995). Catullan Provocations; Lyric Poetry and the Drama of Position. Berkeley: University of California Press.  Fletcher, G.B.A. (1967). "Catulliana". Latomus. 26: 104–106.  Fletcher, G.B.A. (1991). "Further Catulliana". Latomus. 50: 92–93.  Fordyce, C.J. (1961). Catullus, A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Gaisser, Julia Haig (1993). Catullus
Catullus
And His Renaissance Readers. Oxford: Clarendon Press.  Greene, Ellen (2006). "Catullus, Caesar and the Roman Masculine Identity". Antichthon. 40: 49–64.  Hallett, Judith (2006). " Catullus
Catullus
and Horace
Horace
on Roman Women Poets". Antichthon. 40: 65–88.  Harrington, Karl Pomeroy (1963). Catullus
Catullus
and His Influence. New York: Cooper Square Publishers.  Havelock, E.A. (1939). The Lyric Genius of Catullus. Oxford: B. Blackwell.  Hild, Christian (2013). Liebesgedichte als Wagnis. Emotionen und generationelle Prozesse in Catulls Lesbiagedichten. St.Ingbert: Röhrig. ISBN 978-3-86110-517-6. Jackson, Anna (2006). " Catullus
Catullus
in the Playground". Antichthon. 40: 104–116.  Kaggelaris, N. (2015), "Wedding Cry: Sappho
Sappho
(Fr. 109 LP, Fr. 104(a) LP)- Catullus
Catullus
(c. 62. 20-5)- modern greek folk songs" [in Greek] in Avdikos, E.- Koziou-Kolofotia, B. (ed.) Modern Greek folk songs and history, Karditsa, pp. 260-70 [1] Kidd, D.A. (1970). "Some Problems in Catullus
Catullus
lxvi". Antichthon. 4: 38–49.  Kokoszkiewicz, Konrad W. (2004). "Et futura panda sive de Catulli carmine sexto corrigendo". Hermes. 32: 125–128.  Kroll, Wilhelm (1929). C. Valerius Catullus
Catullus
(in German). Leipzig: B.G. Teubner.  Maas, Paul (1942). "The Chronology of the Poems of Catullus". Classical Quarterly. 36: 79–82. doi:10.1017/s0009838800024605.  Martin, Charles (1992). Catullus. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press. ISBN 0-300-05199-9.  Munro, H.A.J. (1878). Criticisms and Elucidations of Catullus. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell and co.  Newman, John Kevin (1990). Roman Catullus
Catullus
and the Modification of the Alexandrian Sensibility. Hildesheim: Weidmann.  Quinn, Kenneth (1959). The Catullan Revolution. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.  Quinn, Kenneth (1973). Catullus: The Poems (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan.  Rothstein, Max (1923). "Catull und Lesbia". Philologus. 78: 1–34.  Small, Stuart G.P. (1983). Catullus. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-2905-4.  Swann, Bruce W. (1994). Martial's Catullus. The Reception of an Epigrammatic Rival. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.  Thomson, Douglas Ferguson Scott (1997). Catullus: Edited with a Textual and Interpretative Commentary. Phoenix. 34: suppl. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-0676-0.  Townend, G.B. (1980). "A Further Point in Catullus' attack on Volusius". Greece &Rome. n.s. 27: 134–136. doi:10.1017/s0017383500025791.  Townend, G.B. (1983). "The Unstated Climax of Catullus
Catullus
64". Greece &Rome. n.s. 30: 21–30. doi:10.1017/s0017383500026437.  Tesoriero, Charles (2006). "Hidden Kisses in Catullus: Poems 5, 6, 7 and 8". Antichthon. 40: 10–18.  Tuplin, C.J. (1981). " Catullus
Catullus
68". Classical Quarterly. n.s. 31: 113–139. doi:10.1017/s000983880002111x.  Uden, James (2006). "Embracing the Young Man in Love: Catullus 75
Catullus 75
and the Comic Adulescens". Antichthon. 40: 19–34.  Watson, Lindsay C. (2003). "Bassa's Borborysms: on Martial
Martial
and Catullus". Antichthon. 37: 1–12.  Watson, Lindsay C. (2006). " Catullus
Catullus
and the Poetics of Incest". Antichthon. 40: 35–48.  Wheeler, A. L. (1934). Catullus
Catullus
and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry. Sather Classical Lectures. 9. Berkeley: University of California Press.  Wilamowitz-Möllendorf, Ulrich von (1913). Sappho
Sappho
und Simonides (in German). Berlin: Weidmann.  Wiseman, T. P. (1969). Catullan Questions. Leicester: Leicester University Press.  Wiseman, T. P. (2002). Catullus
Catullus
and His World: A Reappraisal (1st pbk. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31968-4.  Wiseman, T. P. (1974). Cinna the poet and other Roman essays. Leicester: Leicester University Press. ISBN 0-7185-1120-4. 

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works written by or about: Catullus

Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Catullus

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catullus.

Works by Catullus
Catullus
at Perseus Digital Library Works by Gaius Valerius Catullus
Catullus
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Catullus
Catullus
at Internet Archive Works by Catullus
Catullus
at LibriVox
LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) Catullus
Catullus
translations: Catullus's work in Latin
Latin
and multiple (ten or more) modern languages, including scanned versions of every poem Catullus
Catullus
in Latin
Latin
and English Catullus
Catullus
translated exclusively in English Translated by A. S. Kline Catullus
Catullus
Online: searchable Latin
Latin
text, repertory of conjectures, and images of the most important manuscripts Catullus: Latin
Latin
text, concordances and frequency list Catullus
Catullus
purified: a brief history of Carmen 16 by Thomas Nelson Winter SORGLL: Catullus
Catullus
5, read by Robert Sonkowsky A Translation of Catullus’s ‘Ad Sirmium Insulam’ Translated by Douglas Thornton

v t e

The poems (Carmina) of Catullus

Lesbia
Lesbia
poems

2 2b 3 5 7 8 11 36 37 51 58 68 70 72 75 76 79 83 85 86 87 91 92 104 107 109

Invective poems

10 12 14 15 16 17 21 22 23 24 25 28 29 30 33 39 40 41 42 43 44 47 49 52 53 54 57 59 60 69 71 73 74 77 78 80 84 88 89 90 93 95 97 98 103 108 110 111 112 113 116

Unusual poetic meters

4 8 11 17 22 25 29 30 31 34 37 39 44 51 52 59 60 61 62 63 64

Hendecasyllabic verse

1 2 2b 3 5 6 7 9 10 12 13 14 14b 15 16 21 23 24 26 27 28 32 33 35 36 38 40 41 42 43 45 46 47 48 49 50 53 54 55 56 57 58 58b

Elegiac couplets

65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116

Related links

List of poems by Catullus Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 1829

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 100218993 LCCN: n79006943 ISNI: 0000 0001 2145 2004 GND: 118519719 SELIBR: 180626 SUDOC: 02677254X BNF: cb118955751 (data) MusicBrainz: 2029d279-783f-48ed-a05f-d2c6625f0839 NLA: 35026673 NKC: jn20011019206 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV00778 RLS: 000083299 BNE: XX1047

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