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

 


CATULLUS’ 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 Sirmione’s 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 didn’t participate to political life (it was different from the attitude of a good "civis" who lived in "negotium", the public life) because they weren’t interested in the state business and maybe they disliked Rome political events.sostruzione

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 Metello’s 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.
Buildings' foundations