LIFE (84-54 B.C.)
Through his poetry and in his short life, Catullus always showed affection to
the traditional values his birthplace Verona gave him. He was born there in 84 B.C. from a
wealthy family who owned a great part of the Sirmiones peninsula, on the lake Garda.
This place was particulary dear to the poet since he talked about it in one of his most
famous poems (31).
When he moved to Rome, he got in touch with intellectual and political people in the
Roman society of the first century: among these there were Cicero and Cornelius Nepos (the
"Liber" was dedicated to the last one). His poetry was born in a small
group of young poets, called "Poetae novi" or "Neoteroi",
who spent a quite different life from the Roman tradition, based on luxury and free
love-affairs; they didnt participate to political life (it was different from the
attitude of a good "civis" who lived in "negotium", the
public life) because they werent interested in the state business and maybe they
disliked Rome political events.
This poetic group owned a vast and refined culture, which imitated the Greek one;
Catullus took a lot of elements from Saffic and Alexandrine poetry
(see for example poem 51).
An important experience in Catullus' life was the relationship with Lesbia; this woman
was probably Clodia, Cecilio Metellos widow, who Cicero
talks about in his famous oration "Pro Caelio" (31-38). This
relationship between a widow and a younger man (stupri consuetudo) was judged a
scandal for the Roman tradition and outlaw.
These things caused Catullus pains and anger.
The difficult love story is the main theme of Liber Catullianus.
Caterina Croce, Margherita De Mori, Federica Giarola, Manuela Marai e Valentina Pesci
Sirmione, Catullus' villa.