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   Catullus: love and poetry                   indexitaliano.jpg (1812 byte)     virtual tour



Catullus, in his poems, uses particular archaisms (quicum 2,2 ; oraclum 7,5) that are typical of ancient language and are used to give solemnity to the verse or for simple metrical reasons.

He uses even the proverbial expressions (quod vides perisse perditum ducas 8,2) and the typical expressions of the familiar language (quantum est hominum 3,2 ; unius assis 5,3 ; satis superque 7,2 ; nulla 8,14 ; omnia si faciat 75,4) such the terms prevalently used by Latin playwrights, like Plautus (ipsa - is used in the language of slaves of Plautine comedies to designate the mistress - ; vivere - is used instead of ‘to be’).

Another exemple of colloquial language, typical in Catullus poems, is the use of diminutives

(solaciolum 2,7 ; ocelli 3,18) that the poet uses with specific affective value, especially to describe the physiognomy and the characteristics of the darling woman, and the diminutives are tightly connected to erotic-affective language (puellae 2,1 ; iocosa 8,6 ; rogabit 8,13 ; bella 8,16) always present in poems and that the poet uses to describe his bound with Lesbia and their amorous affair.

In poems concerning Catullus’disillusion about Lesbia’s love, the erotic-affective language is turned into obscene language ( glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes 58,5 ) that results offensive when it is reported to a woman, but enriches the poem’s language moving the tone.

botteCatullus inserts in his compositions even words and expression by Greek poets (typical are the homeric expressions : primum digitum 2,3 ; nox 5,6; harenae 7,3 ; longe resonante 10,3 - typical homeric adjectives -) that give a very elevated tone and contribute to enrich the "Catullus’ use of different language forms".



Michela Dal Bosco, Sara Roccabianca e Alice Zamberlan
















Sirmione,  Catullus' villa.
A barrel vault