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



























This word passed from its original meaning to its opposite: while at first it denoted an interior state of peace, as time went by its meaning became negative: it became the free time of a single person. Catullus lived in literary OTIUM (by his own choice and not forced like Sallustius was) and he didn’t do anything for the State: he belonged to Neoteroi, a group of poets interested only in life’s pleasures.

10, 2 (Varus me meus ad suos amores uisum duxerat e foro otiosum).
44,15 (et me recuraui otioque et urtica).
51,13 (otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est, otio exsultas nimiumque gestis. Otium et reges prius et beatas urbes perdidit).
68, 104 (otia pacato degeret in thalamo)

The word appears just once in the whole of Catullus’ "liber" (72).
It is fundamental because it contains all the torment of a disappointed and resigned Catullus: it summarizes the long crisis which marked the relationship between him and Lesbia.

72, 12 (quod amantem iniuria talis cogit amare magis, sed bene uelle minus).

In two poems both FIDES and FOEDUS occur together (they have the same etymological origin). It is one of the most important key words in Catullus’s poems.Rule-breaking on the one hand, traditionalist because tied to old values, on the other, Catullus has a strong consideration for the reciprocal FIDES, which of course doesn’t come from his experience as a Neoteros, but rather from his provincial origins. FIDES is the reading key to nearly all the friendships which exist in the poems.

30, 6 (eheu quid faciant, dic, homines cuiue habeant fidem?).
67, 8 (in dominum ueterem deseruisse fidem).
76, 3 (nec sanctam uiolasse fidem, nec foedere nullo).

The verb DILIGERE is important because it has many meanings: vulgar love or pure affection.

6,5 (scorti diligis: hoc pudet fateri).
72,4 (sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos).
76,23 (non iam illud quaero, contra me ut diligat illa).

BENE VELLE is the opposite of "amare" because it rapresents a superior sentiment.
BENE VELLE is affection with confidence.

72, 8 (cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus).
75,3 (ut iam nec bene velle queat tibi).

FOEDUS is the relationship between Catullus and Lesbia. The FOEDUS is based on FIDES.

64, 335 (nullus amor tali coniunxit foedere amantes), 373 (accipiat coniunx felici foedere diuam).
76, 3 (nec foedere nullo divum ad fallendos numine abusum homines).
87, 3 (nulla fides ullo fuit umquam foedere tanta).
109, 6 (aeternum hoc sanctae foedus amicitiae).


Francesca Consolini, Andrea Masotti e Carlo Pigozzi