The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus

Notes

Explanatory and Illustrative

Carmen ii. v. 1. Politian, commenting on Catullus, held in common with Lampridius, Turnebus and Vossius that Lesbia’s sparrow was an indecent allegory, like the “grey duck” in Pope’s imitation of Chaucer. Sannazarius wrote an Epigram smartly castigating Politian, the closing lines of which were to the effect that the critic would like to devour the bird:—

Meus hic Pulicianus

Tam bellum sibi passerem Catulli

Intra viscera habere concupiscit.

Martial says:

“Kiss me and I will give you Catullus’s sparrow,

by which he does not mean a poem.

And in the Apophoreta:

“If you have such a sparrow as Catullus’s Lesbia deplored, it may lodge here.”

Chaulieu has a similar Epigram:—

Autant et plus que sa vie

Phyllis aime un passereau;

Ainsi la jeune Lesbie

Jadis aima son moineau.

Mais de celui de Catulle

Se laissant aussi charmer,

Dans sa cage, sans scrupule,

Elle eut soin de l’ enfermer.

Héguin de Guerle however sees nothing to justify this opinion, remarking that Catullus was not the man to use a veil of allegory in saying an indecency. “He preferred the bare, and even coarse, word; and he is too rich in this style of writing to need the loan of equivocal passages.”

v. 12. The story of the race between Hippomenes and Atalanta, and how the crafty lover tricked the damsel into defeat by the three golden apples is well known. Cf. Ovid. Metam. lib. x. v. 560, et seq. According to Vossius the gift of an apple was equivalent to a promise of the last favour. The Emperor Theodosius caused Paulinus to be murdered for receiving an apple from his Empress. As to this, cf. the “Tale of the Three Apples,” in The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (Sir Richard Burton’s Translation, Benares, 1885–8, 16 volumes), vol. i. p. 191. Cf. also note to C. lxv. v. 19.

v. 13. Virgins wore a girdle, generally of wool, for wool by the ancients was supposed to excite love, which the bridegroom the first night unbound in bed. Both in Greek and in Latin the phrase to undo the zone was used to signify the loss of virginity.

C. vi. v. 8. Some say this is the spikenard, and the same with the Syrian malobathrum. But any rich odour was termed Syrian, by the Romans, who were extravagantly fond of perfumes; and used them, according to Vulpius, as provocatives to venery.

v. 9. Pulvinus, not pulvinar. Cf. carmen lxiiii. v. 47, post.

C. vii. v. 6. Battus (in Libyan) Bahatus, a chief, a ruler. — Halevy Essai, p. 164. —R. F. B.

C. viii. v. 18. Plautus speaks of Teneris labellis molles morsiunculae. Thus too Horace:

Sive puer furens

Impressit memorem dente labris notam.

Or on thy lips the fierce fond boy

Marks with his teeth the furious joy. Francis.

Plutarch tells us that Flora, the mistress of Cn. Pompey, used to say in commendation of her lover, that she could never quit his arms without giving him a bite.

C. xi. v. 5. In the Classics, Arabs always appear as a soft effeminate race; under primitive Christianity as heretics; and after the seventh century as conquerors, men of letters, philosophers, mediciners, magicians and alchemists. —R. F. B.

v. 20. Ilia rumpens. More exactly rendered by Biacca:

E sol di tutti

Tenta l’iniqua ad isnervar i fianchi.

Guarini says of a coquette, that she likes to do with lovers as with gowns, have plenty of them, use one after another, and change them often.

C. xiii. v. 9. I understand this, “Thou shalt depart after supper carrying with thee all our hearts.”—R. F. B.

C. xiiii. v. 15. Whence our Christmas-day, the Winter Solstice connected with Christianity. There are only four universal festivals —“Holy days,”— and they are all of solar origin — The Solstices and the Equinoxes. —R. F. B.

C. xv. v. 7. The Etymology of “platea” shows it to be a street widening into a kind of place, as we often find in the old country towns of Southern Europe. —R. F. B.

v. 18. Patente porta. This may be read “Your house door being open so that each passer may see your punishment,” or it may be interpreted as referring to the punishment itself, i.e., through the opened buttocks.

v. 19. This mode of punishing adulterers was first instituted amongst the Athenians. The victim being securely tied, a mullet was thrust up his fundament and withdrawn, the sharp gills of the fish causing excruciating torment to the sufferer during the process of its withdrawal, and grievously lacerating the bowels. Sometimes an enormous radish was substituted for the mullet. According to an epigram quoted by Vossius from the Anthologia, Alcaeus, the comic writer, died under this very punishment.

Lo here Alcaeus sleeps; whom earth’s green child,

The broad-leaved radish, lust’s avenger, kill’d.

C. xvi. v. 1. Paedicabo et irrumabo. These detestable words are used here only as coarse forms of threatening, with no very definite meaning. It is certain that they were very commonly employed in this way, with no more distinct reference to their original import than the corresponding phrases of the modern Italians, T’ ho in culo and becco fottuto, or certain brutal exclamations common in the mouths of the English vulgar.

v. 5. Ovid has a distich to the same effect:

Crede mihi, distant mores a carmine nostri;

Vita verecunda est, musa jocosa mihi.

“Believe me there is a vast difference between my morals and my song; my life is decorous, my muse is wanton.” And Martial says:

Lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba est.

Which is thus translated by Maynard:

Si ma plume est une putain,

Ma vie est une sainte.

Pliny quotes this poem of Catullus to excuse the wantonness of his own verses, which he is sending to his friend Paternus; and Apuleius cites the passage in his Apology for the same purpose. “Whoever,” says Lambe, “would see the subject fully discussed, should turn to the Essay on the Literary Character by Mr. Disraeli.” He enumerates as instances of free writers who have led pure lives, La Motte le Vayer, Bayle, la Fontaine, Smollet, and Cowley. “The imagination,” he adds, “may be a volcano, while the heart is an Alp of ice.” It would, however, be difficult to enlarge this list, while on the other hand, the catalogue of those who really practised the licentiousness they celebrated, would be very numerous. One period alone, the reign of Charles the Second, would furnish more than enough to outnumber the above small phalanx of purity. Muretus, whose poems clearly gave him every right to knowledge on the subject, but whose known debauchery would certainly have forbidden any credit to accrue to himself from establishing the general purity of lascivious poets, at once rejects the probability of such a contrast, saying:

Quisquis versibus exprimit Catullum

Raro moribus exprimit Catonem.

“One who is a Catullus in verse, is rarely a Cato in morals.”

C. xviii. This and the two following poems are found in the Catalecta of Vergilius, but they are assigned to Catullus by many of the best critics, chiefly on the authority of Terentianus Maurus.

v. 2. Cf. Auct. Priapeiorum, Eps. lv. v. 6, and lxxvii. v. 15.

v. 3. Ostreosior. This Epithet, peculiarly Catullian, is appropriate to the coasts most favoured by Priapus; oysters being an incentive to lust.

C. xx. v. 19. The traveller mocks at Priapus’ threat of sodomy, regarding it as a pleasure instead of as a punishment. The god, in anger, retorts that if that punishment has no fears for him, a fustigation by the farmer with the self-same mentule used as a cudgel may have a more deterrent effect. Cf. Auct. Priap. Ep. li. v. 27, 28:

Nimirum apertam convolatis ad poenam:

Et vos hoc ipsum, quod minamur, invitat.

Without doubt, ye flock to the open punishment [so called because the natural parts of Priapus were always exposed to view], and the very thing with which I threaten, allures you.

And also Ep. lxiv.,

Quidam mollior anseris medulla,

Furatum venit hoc amor poenae.

Furetur licet usque non videbo.

One than a goose’s marrow softer far,

Comes hither stealing for it’s penalty sake;

Steal he as please him: I will see him not.

C. xxiii. v. 6. Dry and meagre as wood; like the woman of whom Scarron says, that she never snuffed the candle with her fingers for fear of setting them on fire.

C. xxv. v. 1. Cf. Auct. Priap. Ep. xlv.

v. 5. This is a Catullian crux. Mr. Arthur Palmer (Trinity College, Dublin, Jan. 31, 1890) proposes, and we adopt —

“Cum diva miluorum aves ostendit oscitantes.”

(When the Goddess of Kites shows you birds agape.)

Diva miluorum is — Diva furum, Goddess of thieves; i.e., Laverna Milvus (hawk) being generally used for a rapacious robber. Mr. Palmer quotes Plaut. (Poen. 5, 5, 13; Pers. 3, 4, 5; Bacch. 2, 3, 40), and others. —R. F. B.

v. 6. Involasti, thou didst swoop — still metaphor of the prey-bird. —R. F. B.

C. xxvi. v. 3. Still the “Bora” of the Adriatic, extending, with intervals, from Trieste to Bari. It is a N.N. Easter of peculiar electrical properties, causing extreme thirst, wrecking ships, upsetting mail-trains, and sweeping carriages and horses into the sea. Austral, the south wind, is represented in these days by the Scirocco, S.S.E. It sets out from Africa a dry wind, becomes supersaturated in the Mediterranean, and is the scourge of Southern Italy, exhausting the air of ozone and depressing the spirits and making man utterly useless and miserable. —R. F. B.

C. xxviii. v. 10. These expressions, like those in carmen xvi. ante, are merely terms of realistically gross abuse.

C. xxviiii. v. 5. Cinaede Romule. The epithet is here applied in its grossest sense, which again is implied in the allusion to the spoil of Pontus; for this, as Vossius proves, can only be understood to mean the wealth obtained by Caesar, when a young man, through his infamous relations with Nicomedes, king of Pontus — as witness two lines sung by Caesar’s own soldiers on the occasion of his triumph:

Ecce Caesar nunc triumphat, qui subegit Galliam;

Nicomedes non triumphat, qui subegit Caesarem.

v. 13. Defututa Mentula = a worn-out voluptuary. Mentula is a cant term which Catullus frequently uses for a libidinous person, and particularly for Mamurra.

v. 24. Pompey married Caesar’s daughter, Julia, and is commonly supposed to be the “son-inlaw” here meant; but Vossius argues with some force, that socer and gener apply, not to Caesar and Pompey, but to Caesar and Mamurra. Those words, and the corresponding terms in Greek, were often used in an unnatural sense, as for instance in an epigram on Noctuinus, attributed to Calvus, in which occurs this very line, Gener socerque perdidistis omnia.

C. xxxi. v. 1. As the Venice–Trieste railway runs along the southern bar of the pyriform narrow, Lago di Garda, with its towering mountains, whose heads are usually in the storm-clouds, and whose feet sink into the nearest vineyards, the traveller catches a sight of the Sirmio Spit, long and sandy. It is a narrow ridge boldly projecting into the lake (once called Benacus) which was formerly a marsh, but now made into an island by the simple process of ditch cutting: at the southern end is the Sermione hill and its picturesque Scottish–German Castle. To the north are some ruins supposed to be the old Villa of Catullus, but they seem too extensive to serve for the purpose. —R. F. B.

C. xxxii. v. 11. Pezay, a French translator, strangely mistakes the meaning of the passage, as if it amounted to this, “I have gorged till I am ready to burst;” and he quotes the remark of “une femme charmante,” who said that her only reply to such a billet-doux would have been to send the writer an emetic. But the lady might have prescribed a different remedy if she had been acquainted with Martial’s line:

O quoties rigidâ pulsabis pallia venâ!

or with this quatrain of an old French poet:

Ainsi depuis une semaine

La longue roideur de ma veine,

Pour néant rouge et bien en point,

Bat ma chemise et mon pourpoint.

C. xxxvii. v. 1. Taverns and Wine-shops in Rome were distinguished by pillars projecting into the streets, the better to catch the eye of the passenger, as sign-posts of inns do with us now; the tavern in question was a house of ill-fame, and we are told it was the ninth column or sign-post from the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

v. 2. It was customary to display on the fronts of brothels the names of the inmates, just as shopkeepers’ names were inscribed over places of more reputable trade: this was called inscriptio or titulus.

v. 10. Scorpionibus. Indecent inscriptions scribbled on the walls and door with burnt sticks.

v. 11. Catullus’s mistress had, it seems, run away from him to a common brothel, in front of which it was the custom, not only for women but even for men, to sit down and offer themselves for prostitution.

v. 16. Semitarii moechi. Whoremongers who take up with common women who offer themselves at every corner of the streets for a mere trifle.

v. 20. Hibera Urina. We are assured by Strabo, Lib. 3, that this filthy custom prevailed greatly in Spain: teeth were not only washed in stale urine, the acid of which must necessarily render them white, but they were also rubbed with a powder of calcined human excrement. Persons sometimes even bathed their whole bodies in urine.

C. xxxxi. v. 3. Turpiculo naso. The kind of nose alluded to is such as sheep or goats have. Cf. Lucretius, lib. iv. v. 1152.

C. xxxxvii. v. 6. In trivio, i.e., in the most public places, in hopes of finding some host.

v. 7. This hunting for invitations does not, according to modern notions, place the two friends of Catullus in a respectable light; but it was a common and avowed practice at Rome.

C. liii. v. 5. Salaputium. A pet name for the male virile member. This word has been the subject of much debate among the learned. Some read solopachium, meaning a “mannikin eighteen inches high”; Saumasius proposes salopygium, a “wagtail”; several editors have salaputium, an indelicate word nurses used to children when they fondled them, so that the exclamation would mean, “what a learned little puppet!” Thus Augustus called Horace purissimum penem.

C. liiii. I find it an impossibility to make any sense out of this poem.

v. 5. Seni recocto. Horace applies this epithet to one who has served the office of quinquevir, or proconsul’s notary, and who was therefore master of all the arts of chicanery. These are his words, Sat. v. lib. 2:

Plerumque recoctus

Scriba ex quinqueviro corvum deludit hiantem.

A seasoned scrivener, bred in office low,

Full often dupes and mocks the gaping crow. FRANCIS.

The modern Italians say of a man of this stamp, Egli ha cotto il culo ne’ ceci rossi. The phrase seni recocto may imply one who enjoys a green and vigorous old age, as if made young again, as the old woman was by wine, of whom Petronius speaks, Anus recocta vino; or Æson, who was recooked by Medaea. That witch, says Valerius Flaccus, Recoquit fessos aetate parentes.

C. lvi. v. 6. Trusantem. Many read crissantem, which means the movement of the loins in women; ceventem being the like of a man. As the expression refers to the lad, crissantem cannot be correct.

v. 7. Pro telo. Alluding to the custom of punishing adulterers by transfixing them with darts. The double-entendre of Telo with Mentula is evident, and makes clear the apology to Venus. See lib. 9 of Apuleius for a similar passage.

C. lvii. v. 7. Erudituli. The accomplishments alluded to are not literary, but Priapeian. It is in this sense Petronius calls Gito doctissimus puer. Oezema, a grave German jurist, parodied a part of this piece. His epigram can be read without danger of having one’s stomach turned.

Belle convenit inter elegantes

Dione’s famulas, et eruditos

Antiquae Themidis meos sodales.

Nos jus justitiamque profitemur:

Illae semper amant coluntque rectum.

“There is a charming coincidence of sentiment between the fair votaries of Venus and my learned brethren: we profess law and justice; they dearly love the thing that is upright.”

C. lviii. v. 1. Caeli. This is the same with Caelius Rufus, Catullus’s rival in the affections of Lesbia, or Clodia, according to Achilles Statius; Plutarch calls her Quadrantaria; she was debauched by her own brother, Publius Clodius; afterwards she became the mistress of Catullus, and lastly the common strumpet of Rome.

v. 4. The meanest trulls frequented the public streets.

v. 5. Glubit. Glubo = to husk (corn), hence it is tropically used to denote masturbation. Cf. Ausonius, epigram 71.

C. lviiii. v. 1. Fellat. This refers to the complacent use by the female of her lips in the act of connection.

v. 3. The half-starved women of pleasure attended at funerals in the hope of picking up parts of the viands which were laid on the pile and burnt with the body.

C. lxi. v. 22. Myrtus Asia. The Asia of Catullus was that marshy tract of land near Mount Tmolus and the River Caystrus. Cf. Homer (Il. ii. 461) for the “Ancient Meadow.” It was said to be as famous for its myrtles as for its cranes. Proper “Asia Minor” is the title first used by Oratius (Orazius?) (1. 2.) in the IVth century. See the “Life and Works of St. Paul,” by Dr. Farrar (i. 465). —R. F. B.

v. 54. Timens. Many more obscenely write tumens, thus changing the “fear-full” bridegroom into the “swollen” bridegroom.

v. 123. It was usual for the mirthful friends of the newly married couple to sing obscene songs called Fescennine, which were tolerated on this occasion.

v. 124. Nec nuces pueris. This custom of throwing nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, is of Athenian origin; some say it was meant to divert the attention from the raptures of the bride and bridegroom, when in bed, by the noise they, and the scrambling boys, made on the floor. For nuces, referring to the use of boys, see Verg. Eclogue 8.

v. 125. Concubinus. By the shamelessness of this passage, it would seem to be quite a usual thing amongst the youthful Roman aristocracy to possess a bedfellow of their own sex.

v. 137. “This coarse imitation of the Fescennine poems,” says Dunlop (History of Roman Literature), “leaves on our minds a stronger impression of the prevalence and extent of Roman vices than any other passage in the Latin classics. Martial, and Catullus himself elsewhere, have branded their enemies; and Juvenal, in bursts of satiric indignation, has reproached his countrymen with the blackest crimes. But here, in a complimentary poem to a patron and intimate friend, these are jocularly alluded to as the venial indulgence of his earliest youth.”

C. lxii. v. 39, et seq. Thus exquisitely rendered by Spenser, Faery Queen, b. ii. c. 12:

The whiles some one did chaunt this lovely lay:

“Ah! see, whoso fayre thing doest faine to see,

In springing flowre the image of thy day!

Ah! see the virgin rose, how sweetly she

Doth first peepe foorth with bashfull modestie,

That fairer seemes the lesse ye see her may!

Lo see soone after how more bold and free

Her bared bosome she doth broad display;

Lo! see soone after how she fades and falls away!

“So passeth, in the passing of a day,

Of mortal life the leafe, the bud, the flowre;

Ne more doth flourish after first decay,

That erst was sought to deck both bed and bowre

Of many a lady, and many a paramoure!

Gather therefore the rose whilest yet is prime,

For soone comes age that will her pride deflowre;

Gather the rose of love whilest yet is time,

Whilest loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime.”

C. lxiii. v. 23. Women devoted to the service of Bacchus or of Cybele; for many things were common to the rights of both deities. The name is derived from [Greek: mainesthai], to rave.

v. 28. Thiasus is properly a chorus of sacred singers and dancers, living in a community, like a college of dervishes, who, indeed, are an exact counterpart of the Galli as regards their howling and dancing ritual, but have the advantage of their predecessors in one important particular, i.e., they are not castrated.

C. lxiiii. v. 65. The strophium was a band which confined the breasts and restrained the exuberance of their growth. Martial apostrophizes it thus:

Fascia, crescentes dominae compesce papillas,

Ut sit quod capiat nostra tegatque manus.

“Confine the growth of my fair one’s breasts, that they may be just large enough for my hand to enclose them.”

v. 377. Circumdare filo. That is, may you tomorrow prove that you are no longer a virgin; for the ancients had an idea that the neck swelled after venery; perhaps from the supposed descent of the procreative fluid which they thought lodged in the brain. See Hippocrates and Aristotle upon this subject. The swelling of the bride’s neck was therefore ascertained by measurement with a thread on the morning after the nuptials, and was held to be sufficient proof of their happy consummation. The ancients, says Pezay, had faith in another equally absurd test of virginity. They measured the circumference of the neck with a thread. Then the girl under trial took the two ends of the magic thread in her teeth, and if it was found to be so long that its bight could be passed over her head, it was clear she was not a maid. By this rule all the thin girls might pass for vestals, and all the plump ones for the reverse.

v. 403. Semiramis is said to have done thus by her son Ninus.

C. lxv. v. 19. The gift of an apple had a very tender meaning; according to Vossius it was quasi pignus concubitus, that is to say, it was the climax

To all those token flowers that tell

What words can never speak so well.

In one of the love epistles of Aristaenetus, Phalaris complains to her friend Petala, how her younger sister, who had accompanied her to dine with Pamphilus, her lover, attempted to seduce him, and among other wanton tricks did as follows: “Pamphilus, biting off a piece of an apple, chucked it dexterously into her bosom; she took it, kissed it, and thrusting it under her sash, hid it between her breasts.” Cf. note to C. ii. v. 12, ante.

C. lxvii. v. 21. Languidior. This expression, here obscenely applied, is proverbial, from the flagging of the leaves of the beet; hence the Latin word batizare, to droop, used by Suetonius, in Augusto. See Pliny on this plant, Cap. xiii. lib. 9.

v. 28. Zonam Solvere. See the note to C. ii. v. 13.

v. 30. Minxerit in gremium. Horace uses the word mingere in the same sense:

Dicitur ut formae melioris meïat eodem.

Hor. Sat. vii. lib. 2.

and in like manner Persius

Patriciae immeïat vulvae.

Pliny more than once uses the word urina pro semine.

C. lxviiii. v. 6. Sub alarum. Many would join these two words and form one, which, however, is not authorised by any ancient writer. The Spaniards, it is true, say sobaco, the armpit, but this does not justify a new Latin coinage of any similar word. The smell alluded to in this line has often been compared to that of a goat; it is called capram, caprum, and hircam. Thus Horace, Epod. 12,

Namque sagacius unus odoror

Polypus an gravis hirsutis cubet hircus in alis.

This tetterous complaint is peculiar to warm countries; we know scarcely anything of it in our northern climate.

C. lxxiiii. v. 6. The reader will easily guess that one reason for the uncle’s inability to murmur was owing to the occupation which Gellius had thrust on him.

C. lxxvii. v. 8. Suavia comminxit. This habit, which the filthy Rufus adopts, is mentioned by Lucretius:

Jungunt salivas

Oris, et inspirant pressantes dentibus ora.

Lucret. lib. 4.

C. lxxx. v. 6. Martial has a similar expression,

Lambebat medios improba lingua viros.

v. 8. Ilia, et emulso. Lucretius uses the word mulgere in the same sense in lib. 4.

C. lxxxiiii. v. 2. The first notice in the classics of our far-famed ‘Arry, whose female is ‘Arriet. —R. F. B.

C. lxxxviiii. v. 1. The good condition and number of the relations of Gellius are assigned as the causes of his macilency, Gellius being an adulterer of the most infamous kind. Thus Propertius, on the amorous disposition peculiar to those of a spare make,

What tho’ my slender shape enervate seem,

Think not that vigour flies my meagre frame;

At Venus’ rites I ne’er was known to fail,

Th’ experienc’d fair can this dear truth reveal.

Proper., Eleg. 22. lib. 2.

C. lxxxx. v. 6. Omentum. The sages used to draw omens from the entrails of sacrificed beasts as they were burning; but more particularly from the omentum, or caul, that apron of fat which covers the abdominal viscera.

C. lxxxxiiii. v. 1. There is a double meaning in the original, and the translator can give but half of it. Mentula, synonymous with penis, is a nickname applied by Catullus to Mamurra, of whom he says (cxv.) that he is not a man, but a great thundering mentula. Mahérault has happily rendered the meaning of the epigram in French, in which language there is an equivalent for Mentula, that is to say, a man’s name which is also a popular synonym for what characterizes the god Priapus. “Jean Chouard fornique; eh! sans doute, c’est bien Jean Chouard. C’est ainsi qu’on peut dire que c’est la marmite qui cueille les choux.” Achilles Statius interprets this distich thus, “It is the flesh that is guilty, and not I who am guilty; so is it the pot that robs the garden, and not the thief that robs the pot-herbs.”

v. 2. Ipsa olera olla legat. This may have been a cant proverb of the day containing a meaning which is now unknown to us. Parthenius interprets it “A libidinous man is apt in adultery, as a vessel is suited to hold its contents.”

C. lxxxxvii. v. 1. There is in the Greek Anthology a similar epigram by Nicarchus, which has thus been translated by Grotius:

Non culo, Theodore, minus tibi foetida bucca est

Noscera discrimen sit sapientis opus.

Scribere debueras hîc podex est meus, hic os;

Nunc tu cum pedas atque loquare simul,

Discere non valeo, quid venerit inde vel inde;

Vipera namque infra sibilat atque supra.

v. 7. Few are ignorant of what Scaliger here gravely tells us: fessi muli strigare solent, ut meiant. Vossius reads defissus, in a different sense.

C. lxxxxviiii. This poem shews beyond contradiction that Catullus himself was not free from the vice of paederasty, so universal amongst the Roman youth.

v. 10. Lupae. The infamous, fetid harlot is called lupa (a she-wolf) from the ravenousness of the wolf answering to the rapacious disposition of the generality of courtezans: but Servius, Aen. 3, assigns a much more improper and filthy reason.

C. c. v. 1. Again the Roman paederasty shews itself in Caelius’s affection for Aufilenus.

C. ciii. It appears that Catullus had given a sum of money to the pander Silo to procure him a mistress. He did not perform his engagement, but kept the money, and abused our sinning bard when he reproached him with the cheat.

C. cv. There are not wanting commentators who give a very obscene turn to this epigram against Mamurra.

C. cx. v. 4. The word dare has here an erotic sense.

v. 8. Tota corpore prostituit. Some commentators think that this alludes to such women as not only submit to prostitution, but are in every way subservient to the lascivious caprices of depraved appetites. Vossius inclines to such an interpretation.

C. cxii. v. 2. Multus. Some commentators read moltus in an obscene sense, à molendo. Vossius understands by descendere in sese the same act as is alluded to in C. lxxxviii., hence the force of the word multus, meaning cum feminâ, which he jeeringly applies to Naso as though he would ironically exclaim: Et tu feminâ! tu solus es, aut sine feminâ. He writes the epigram thus:

Multus homo est, Naso, neque secum multus homo qui

Descendit? Naso, multus es et pathicus?

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