Catullus
Overview
Not to be confused with various Romans named "Catulus", see Lutatius
Lutatius
Lutatius was the name of an ancient Roman family . They rose into prominence during the First Punic War and produced several consuls during the subsequent generations, but were not one of the gentes maiores. The Lutatii were noble plebeians....

.

Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC) was a Latin poet
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

 of the Republican period
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.
Catullus came from a leading equestrian
Equestrian (Roman)
The Roman equestrian order constituted the lower of the two aristocratic classes of ancient Rome, ranking below the patricians , a hereditary caste that monopolised political power during the regal era and during the early Republic . A member of the equestrian order was known as an eques...

 family of Verona in Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul, in Latin: Gallia Cisalpina or Citerior, also called Gallia Togata, was a Roman province until 41 BC when it was merged into Roman Italy.It bore the name Gallia, because the great body of its inhabitants, after the expulsion of the Etruscans, consisted of Gauls or Celts...

, and according to St. Jerome, he was born in the town.
Encyclopedia
Not to be confused with various Romans named "Catulus", see Lutatius
Lutatius
Lutatius was the name of an ancient Roman family . They rose into prominence during the First Punic War and produced several consuls during the subsequent generations, but were not one of the gentes maiores. The Lutatii were noble plebeians....

.

Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca. 84 BC – ca. 54 BC) was a Latin poet
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

 of the Republican period
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.

Biography

Catullus came from a leading equestrian
Equestrian (Roman)
The Roman equestrian order constituted the lower of the two aristocratic classes of ancient Rome, ranking below the patricians , a hereditary caste that monopolised political power during the regal era and during the early Republic . A member of the equestrian order was known as an eques...

 family of Verona in Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul, in Latin: Gallia Cisalpina or Citerior, also called Gallia Togata, was a Roman province until 41 BC when it was merged into Roman Italy.It bore the name Gallia, because the great body of its inhabitants, after the expulsion of the Etruscans, consisted of Gauls or Celts...

, and according to St. Jerome, he was born in the town. The family was prominent enough for his father to entertain Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, then proconsul
Promagistrate
A promagistrate is a person who acts in and with the authority and capacity of a magistrate, but without holding a magisterial office. A legal innovation of the Roman Republic, the promagistracy was invented in order to provide Rome with governors of overseas territories instead of having to elect...

 of both Gallic
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 provinces
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

. In one of his poems Catullus describes his happy return to the family villa at Sirmio
Sirmio
Sirmio is a promontory at the southern end of Lake Garda, projecting 3.3 kilometers into the lake. It is celebrated in connection with the Roman poet Catullus, as the large ruins of a Roman villa on the promontory have been supposed to be his country house...

 on Lake Garda
Lake Garda
Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It is located in Northern Italy, about half-way between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last ice age...

 near Verona. The poet also owned a villa near the fashionable resort of Tibur (modern Tivoli
Tivoli, Italy
Tivoli , the classical Tibur, is an ancient Italian town in Lazio, about 30 km east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills...

); his complaints about his poverty must be taken with a grain of salt.

The poet appears to have spent most of his young adult years in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. His friends there included the poets Licinius Calvus
Licinius Macer Calvus
Gaius Licinius Macer Calvus was an orator and poet of ancient Rome.Son of Licinius Macer and thus a member of the gens Licinia, he was a friend of the poet Catullus, whose style and subject matter he shared. Calvus' oratical style opposed the "Asian" school in favor of a simpler Attic model: he...

, and Helvius Cinna
Helvius Cinna
Gaius Helvius Cinna was an influential neoteric poet of the late Roman Republic, a little older than the generation of Catullus and Calvus.His magnum opus Zmyrna established his literary fame; a mythological epic poem focused on the incestuous love of Smyrna for her father Cinyras, treated after...

, Quintus Hortensius
Quintus Hortensius
Quintus Hortensius Hortalus was a Roman orator and advocate.At the age of nineteen he made his first speech at the bar, and shortly afterwards successfully defended Nicomedes IV of Bithynia, one of Rome's dependants in the East, who had been deprived of his throne by his brother. From that time...

 (son of the orator and rival of Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

) and the biographer Cornelius Nepos
Cornelius Nepos
Cornelius Nepos was a Roman biographer. He was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona. His Gallic origin is attested by Ausonius, and Pliny the Elder calls him Padi accola...

, to whom Catullus dedicated the extant libellus which is the basis of his fame. He appears to have been acquainted with the poet Marcus Furius Bibaculus
Marcus Furius Bibaculus
Marcus Furius Bibaculus , Roman poet, flourished during the last century of the republic.According to Jerome, he was born at Cremona, and probably lived to a great age. He wrote satirical poems after the manner of Catullus, whose bitterness he rivaled, according to Quintilian , in his iambics...

. A number of prominent contemporaries appear in his poetry, including Cicero, Caesar and Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

. According to an anecdote preserved by Suetonius
Suetonius
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

, 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.

It was probably in Rome that Catullus fell deeply in love with the "Lesbia
Lesbia
Lesbia was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus .She was a poet in her own right, included with Catullus in a list of famous poets whose lovers "often" helped them write their verses....

" of his poems, who is usually identified with Clodia Metelli
Clodia
Clodia, Clodia, Clodia, (born Claudia Pulchra Prima or Maior or also Quadrantaria c. 95 BC or c. 94 BC and often referred to in scholarship as Clodia Metelli ("Clodia the wife of Metellus"), was the third daughter of the patrician Appius Claudius Pulcher and Caecilia Metella Balearica.She is not to...

, a sophisticated woman from the aristocratic house of patrician Claudii Pulchri and sister of the infamous Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher was a Roman politician known for his popularist tactics...

. In his poems Catullus describes several stages of their relationship: initial euphoria, doubts, separation, and his wrenching feelings of loss. Many questions must remain unanswered - most importantly, it is not clear why the couple split up - but Catullus's poems about the relationship display striking depth and psychological insight. One such poem with insight to the reasons of his parting with "Lesbia
Lesbia
Lesbia was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus .She was a poet in her own right, included with Catullus in a list of famous poets whose lovers "often" helped them write their verses....

" is poem 11, which is addressed to his companions Furius and Aurelius and requests them simply to pass a farewell insult to Lesbia.

He spent the provincial command year summer 57 to summer 56 BC in Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

 on the staff of the commander C. Memmius
Gaius Memmius (poet)
Gaius Memmius , Roman orator and poet, tribune of the people , patron of Lucretius and acquaintance of Catullus....

. While in the East, he traveled to the Troad to perform rites at his brother's tomb, an event recorded in a moving poem.

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 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, supposing that his latest poems and the publication of his libellus coincided with the year of his death, a most unlikely proposition.

Catullus's poems were widely appreciated by other poets, but Cicero despised them for their supposed amorality. Catullus was never considered one of the canonical school authors, although his body of work is on the reading lists for American Ph.D. programs in the classics, and is still taught at secondary school level in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, he greatly influenced poets such as Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

, and Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

. After his rediscovery in the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, Catullus again found admirers. His explicit writing style has shocked many readers, both ancient and modern.

Sources and organization

Catullus's poems have been preserved in an anthology
Anthology
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

 of 116 carmina (the actual number of poems may slightly vary in various editions), which can be divided into three formal parts: sixty short poems in varying metres, called polymetra, eight longer poems, and forty-eight epigram
Epigram
An epigram is a brief, interesting, usually memorable and sometimes surprising statement. Derived from the epigramma "inscription" from ἐπιγράφειν epigraphein "to write on inscribe", this literary device has been employed for over two millennia....

s.

There is no scholarly consensus on whether or not 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 hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s and one mini-epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

, or epyllion, the most highly-prized form for the "new poets".

The polymetra and the epigrams can be divided into four major thematic
Theme (literature)
A theme is a broad, message, or moral of a story. The message may be about life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and are almost always implied rather than stated explicitly. Along with plot, character,...

 groups (ignoring a rather large number of poems eluding such categorization):
  • poems to and about his friends (e.g., an invitation like poem 13).
  • erotic poems: some of them indicate homosexual
    Homosexuality
    Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

     penchants (50 and 99), but most are about women, especially about one he calls "Lesbia
    Lesbia
    Lesbia was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus .She was a poet in her own right, included with Catullus in a list of famous poets whose lovers "often" helped them write their verses....

    " (which served as a false name for his married girlfriend, Clodia
    Clodia
    Clodia, Clodia, Clodia, (born Claudia Pulchra Prima or Maior or also Quadrantaria c. 95 BC or c. 94 BC and often referred to in scholarship as Clodia Metelli ("Clodia the wife of Metellus"), was the third daughter of the patrician Appius Claudius Pulcher and Caecilia Metella Balearica.She is not to...

    , source and inspiration of many of his poems).
  • invective
    Invective
    Invective , from Middle English "invectif", or Old French and Late Latin "invectus", is an abusive, reproachful or venomous language used to express blame or censure; also, a rude expression or discourse intended to offend or hurt. Vituperation, or deeply-seated ill will, vitriol...

    s: often rude and sometimes downright obscene poems targeted at friends-turned-traitors (e.g., poem 30), other lovers of Lesbia
    Lesbia
    Lesbia was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus .She was a poet in her own right, included with Catullus in a list of famous poets whose lovers "often" helped them write their verses....

    , well known poets, politician
    Politician
    A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

    s (e.g., Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

    ) and rhetors, including Cicero
    Cicero
    Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

    .
  • condolences: some poems of Catullus are solemn in nature. 96 comforts a friend in the death of a loved one; several others, most famously 101
    Catullus 101
    Catullus 101 is an elegiac poem written by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. It is addressed to Catullus' dead brother or, strictly speaking, to the "mute ashes" which are the only remaining evidence of his brother's body....

    , lament the death of his brother.


All these poems describe the lifestyle of Catullus and his friends, who, despite Catullus's temporary political post in Bithynia, lived their lives withdrawn from politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

. They were interested mainly in poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 and love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

. Above all other qualities, Catullus seems to have sought 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
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

 that had to be proved by a political or military career), which Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 suggested as the solution to the societal problems of the late Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, meant little to them.

But it is not the traditional notions Catullus rejects, merely their monopolized application to the vita activa of politics and war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

. 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 and reinterprets it as unconditional faithfulness in love. So, despite seeming frivolity of his lifestyle, Catullus measured himself and his friends by quite ambitious standards.

Intellectual influences

Catullus's poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 was influenced by the innovative poetry of the Hellenistic Age, and especially by Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

 and the Alexandrian school, which had propagated a new style of poetry that deliberately turned away from the classical epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 in the tradition of Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

. Cicero called these local innovators neoteroi (νεώτεροι) or 'moderns' (in Latin poetae novi or 'new poets'), in that they cast off the heroic model handed down from Ennius
Ennius
Quintus Ennius was a writer during the period of the Roman Republic, and is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was of Calabrian descent...

 in order to strike new ground and ring a contemporary note. Catullus and Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

 did not describe the feats of ancient hero
Hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

es and god
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

s (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 described his work as expolitum, or polished, to show that the language he used was very carefully and artistically composed.

Catullus was also an admirer of Sappho
Sappho
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

, a female poet of the 7th century BC, and is the source for much of what we know or infer about her. Catullus 51
Catullus 51
Catullus 51 is a poem by the Roman famous love poet Gaius Valerius Catullus . It is an adaptation of one of Sappho's fragmentary lyric poems, Sappho 31. Catullus replaces Sappho's beloved with his own beloved Lesbia. Unlike the majority of Catullus' poems, the meter of this poem is the sapphic...

 follows Sappho 31
Sappho 31
Sappho 31 is a poem by Ancient Greek poet Sappho of Lesbos. It is also known as phainetai moi after the opening words of its first line, or Lobel-Page 31, Voigt 31, Gallavotti 2, Diehl 2, Bergk 2, after the location of the poem in various editions containing the collected works of Sappho...

 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
Epithalamium
Epithalamium refers to a form of poem that is written specifically for the bride on the way to her marital chamber...

, 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 twice used a meter that Sappho developed, called the Sapphic strophe
Strophe
A strophe forms the first part of the ode in Ancient Greek tragedy, followed by the antistrophe and epode. In its original Greek setting, "strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanza framed only for the music," as John Milton wrote in the preface to Samson Agonistes, with the strophe...

 in poems 11 and 51. In fact, Catullus may have brought about a substantial revival of that form in Rome.

Style

Catullus wrote in many different meters including hendecasyllabic and elegiac couplet
Elegiac couplet
The elegiac couplet is a poetic form used by Greek lyric poets for a variety of themes usually of smaller scale than the epic. Roman poets, particularly Ovid, adopted the same form in Latin many years later...

s (common in love poetry). All of his poetry shows strong and occasionally wild emotions especially in regard to Lesbia
Lesbia
Lesbia was the literary pseudonym of the great love of Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus .She was a poet in her own right, included with Catullus in a list of famous poets whose lovers "often" helped them write their verses....

. He also demonstrates a great sense of humour such as in Catullus 13
Catullus 13
-Latin text and translation:...

.

Musical settings

Catulli Carmina
Catulli Carmina
Catulli Carmina is a cantata by Carl Orff dating from 1940-1943. The work sets the texts of Catullus to music. Orff himself provided the text, in Latin, of the opening. Catulli Carmina is part of Trionfi, the musical triptych that also includes the Carmina Burana and Trionfo di Afrodite...

is a cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

 by Carl Orff
Carl Orff
Carl Orff was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana . In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children.-Early life:...

 to the texts of Catullus. Catullus' love poem "Vivamus mea Lesbia atque amemus" in the translation by Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

 was set to music (lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

 accompanied song) by Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger was an English composer and viol player of Italian descent. He straddles the line between the Renaissance and Baroque eras.-Biography:...

. The translation by Richard Crashaw
Richard Crashaw
Richard Crashaw , English poet, styled "the divine," was part of the Seventeenth-century Metaphysical School of poets.-Life:...

 was set to music in a four part glee
Glee (music)
A glee is an English type of part song spanning the late baroque, classical and early romantic periods. It is usually scored for at least three voices, and generally intended to be sung unaccompanied. Glees often consist of a number of short, musically contrasted movements and their texts can be...

 by Samuel Webbe Jr. It was also set to music in a three part glee
Glee (music)
A glee is an English type of part song spanning the late baroque, classical and early romantic periods. It is usually scored for at least three voices, and generally intended to be sung unaccompanied. Glees often consist of a number of short, musically contrasted movements and their texts can be...

 by John Stafford Smith
John Stafford Smith
John Stafford Smith was a British composer, church organist, and early musicologist. He was one of the first serious collectors of manuscripts of works by Johann Sebastian Bach....

.

Cultural references

  • The epistolary novel
    Epistolary novel
    An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use...

     Ides of March
    Ides of March (novel)
    The Ides of March is an epistolary novel by Thornton Wilder that was published in 1948. It is, in the author's words, 'a fantasia on certain events and persons of the last days of the Roman republic... Historical reconstruction is not among the primary aims of this work'...

    by Thornton Wilder
    Thornton Wilder
    Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.-Early years:Wilder was born in Madison,...

     centers on Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

    , but prominently features Catullus, his poetry, his relationship (and correspondence) with Clodia
    Clodia
    Clodia, Clodia, Clodia, (born Claudia Pulchra Prima or Maior or also Quadrantaria c. 95 BC or c. 94 BC and often referred to in scholarship as Clodia Metelli ("Clodia the wife of Metellus"), was the third daughter of the patrician Appius Claudius Pulcher and Caecilia Metella Balearica.She is not to...

    , correspondence from his family and a description of his death. Catullus's poems and the closing section by Suetonius
    Suetonius
    Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

     are the only documents in the novel
    Novel
    A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

     which are not imagined.
  • The new musical TULLY (In No Particular Order), which appeared in the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival
    New York Musical Theatre Festival
    The New York Musical Theatre Festival is an annual three-week fall Festival which presents more than thirty new musicals at venues in New York City's midtown theater district...

    , loosely adapts the poems of Catullus while retaining the non-linear structure of the published edition, exploring his relationships with both Clodia and Juventius, renamed Julie, and the timeless nature of memory and love.
  • The 20th-century Irish
    Irish people
    The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

     poet
    Poet
    A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

     Louis MacNeice
    Louis MacNeice
    Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco...

     references Catullus in his poem "Epitaph
    Epitaph
    An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial...

     for Liberal Poets," where he mentions Catullus as amongst the first liberal
    Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

     poets - "Catullus/ went down young," mentioning him in the context of the death of the individual and recognising his and the universal plight.
  • Archibald MacLeish
    Archibald MacLeish
    Archibald MacLeish was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. He is associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.-Early years:...

     wrote a poem entitled "You Also, Gaius Valerius Catullus," where he addresses the poet.
  • Catullus is discussed in John Fowles
    John Fowles
    John Robert Fowles was an English novelist and essayist. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Fowles among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".-Birth and family:...

    's novel The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969) as being one of the foremost poets of love
    Love
    Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

    , sexuality
    Human sexuality
    Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

     and desire
    Libido
    Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

    .
  • The 16th-century Spanish poet Cristóbal de Castillejo
    Cristóbal de Castillejo
    Cristóbal de Castillejo was a Spanish poet, contemporary of Garcilaso de la Vega and Juan Boscán, who championed the use of traditional forms of Spanish poetry and criticized the use of Italianate forms such as the sonnet....

     plagiarized Catullus in his well-known work "Dame amor, besos sin cuento".
  • W. B. Yeats references Catullus in his poem The Scholars
    The Scholars (poem)
    "The Scholars" is a poem written by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. It is included in the 1919 collection The Wild Swans at Coole.BALD heads forgetful of their sins, Old, learned, respectable bald heads Edit and annotate the lines...

    .
  • Ned Rorem
    Ned Rorem
    Ned Rorem is a Pulitzer prize-winning American composer and diarist. He is best known and most praised for his song settings.-Life:...

     has a song entitled, "Catullus: On the burial of his brother."
  • The poem "Be Angry at the Sun" by Robinson Jeffers
    Robinson Jeffers
    John Robinson Jeffers was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. Most of Jeffers' poetry was written in classic narrative and epic form, but today he is also known for his short verse, and considered an icon of the environmental movement.-Life:Jeffers was born in...

     includes the line "You are not Catullus, you know, To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar."
  • The 2011 radio play A Thousand Kisses was based on his life.
  • Catullus features in Steven Saylor
    Steven Saylor
    Steven Saylor is an American author of historical novels. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics....

    's historical mystery The Venus Throw (1995).
  • The webcomic Achewood
    Achewood
    Achewood is a webcomic created by Chris Onstad in 2001. It portrays the lives of a group of anthropomorphic stuffed toys, robots, and pets. Many of the characters live together in the home of their owner, Chris, at the fictional address of 62 Achewood Court. Another address used in the strip is 11...

     refers to Catullus as "the first poet who ever got his Bone on."

See also

  • Poetry of Catullus
    Poetry of Catullus
    The poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus was written towards the end of the Roman Republic. It describes the lifestyle of the poet and his friends, as well as, most famously, his love for the woman he calls Lesbia.-Sources and organization:...

  • Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 1829
    Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 1829
    Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 1829 is one of the three most important manuscripts preserving the poems of Catullus. Among students of the matter it is commonly known as Codex Romanus .- Description :...

  • Prosody (Latin)
    Prosody (Latin)
    Latin prosody deals with the science of Latin versification and its laws of meter. This article provides an overview of those laws as practised by Latin poets in the late Roman republic and early Roman empire, with verses by Catullus, Horace and Virgil as models...


External links

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