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



The variety of the style makes the poems of Catullus immediate and lively, unforeseeable and never uniform.

Catullus is able to confer solemnity to the poems, with the introduction of archaisms (quicum 2,2 ; oraclum 7,5 ; potis est 72,7) that enrich the verse and elevate the stylistic register, or he is able to confer grace , delicacy, and harmony with the use of diminutives (solaciolum 2,7 ; ocelli 3,18).

He frequently addresses to himself (miser Catulle, desinas ineptire 8,1 ; Catulle 51(b),1) to introduce an exhortation or an autocommiseration, increasing the dramaticity of the tone.

The Greek model has exercised a strong influence on Catullus’ style: the poet re-proposes it, for example, using a typical Homeric adjectivation (longe resonante 11,3) or through the renewal of words or expressions that are used by famous Greek or Latin poets (candidi soles 8,3 , cfr. Aeschylus, Sophocles ; septemgeminus 11,7 cfr. Aeschylus ; morbum 76,25 cfr. Sophocles, Trach. 491 ; Euripides, Hipp. 767).

bottegaCatullus, moreover, uses different figures of speech, inserted in various contexts, to increase the slow and broken rhythm (paronomasia : it...iter 3,11) and to increase emphasis (paronomasia : male...malae 3,13), to give refinement to the expression (litotes : nec puella nolebat 8,7), to underline the bitter irony (litotes : non bona 11,6), to attribute intensity both to the sentiment and to criticism about Lesbia (simile : velut prati ultimi flos, praetereunte postquam tactus aratro est 11,23-24).

These details show how Catullus, both in so-called "nugae" and in "carmina docta", chisels the verse learnedly, making it to become learned, cultured and exquisitely refined, but even effective and expressive.



Michela Dal Bosco, Sara Roccabianca, Alice Zamberlan

















Sirmione, Catullus' villa
The "stores"