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List of poems by Catullus

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List of poems by Catullus

This article lists the poems of Catullus and their various properties.

Catullus' poems can be divided into three groups:[1]

  • the polymetrics (poems 1–60)
  • the long poems (poems 61–68)
  • the epigrams (poems 69–116)

Historical context

Catullus (c. 84 BC - c. 54 BC) lived in the waning days of the Roman Republic, just before the Imperial era that began with Augustus. Catullus is the chief representative of a school of poets known as the poetae novi or neoteroi, both terms meaning "the new poets". Their poems were a bold departure from traditional models, being relatively short and describing everyday occurrences and intense personal feelings; by contrast, traditional poetry was generally large and epic, describing titanic battles among heroes and gods. These avant-garde poets drew inspiration from earlier Greek authors, especially Sappho and Callimachus; Catullus himself used Sapphic meter in two poems, Catullus 11 and 51, the second of which is almost a translation. His poems are written in a variety of meters, with hendecasyllabic verse and elegiac couplets being the most common by far.

Catullus is renowned for his love poems, particularly the 25 poems addressed to a woman named Lesbia, of which Catullus 5 is perhaps the most famous. Scholars generally believe that Lesbia was a pseudonym for Clodia Metelli and that the name Lesbia is likely an homage to Sappho, who came from the isle of Lesbos. Catullus is also admired for his elegies, especially Catullus 101 and Catullus 96, for his hymn to his homeland, Sirmio, in Catullus 31, and for his many depictions of everyday life in ancient Rome, such as Catullus 4, Catullus 10, and Catullus 13. Finally, he was well-nigh infamous even in his own time for his fierce, sometimes obscene, invectives against faithless friends (e.g., Catullus 12, Catullus 16, and Catullus 116), faithless lovers (Catullus 8, Catullus 30, Catullus 58, and Catullus 70), corrupt politicians (Catullus 28, Catullus 29), and bad poets (Catullus 14 and Catullus 44).

Catullus was admired in ancient times for his elegantly crafted poems, and inspired many of the next generation of poets, especially Verona is said to have delighted in reading his poems c. 965 AD. That changed c. 1300 AD, with the discovery of a manuscript that contained 116 poems by Catullus.

Manuscript tradition

Almost all of Catullus' poems survived from antiquity in a single manuscript discovered c. 1300 in Verona, conventionally called "V" for the "Verona codex"; legend has it that the manuscript was found underneath a beer barrel. Two copies were made from the V manuscript, which was then lost. One of the copies was itself copied twice, after which it was lost in turn. Hence, Catullus' works depend on three surviving copies of the single V manuscript. The first printed edition (edito princeps) of Catullus appeared in Venice in 1472; the following year, Francesco Puteolano published the second printed edition in Parma.

For fourteen centuries (c. 1st century BC- c. 14th century AD), the poems of Catullus were copied by hand from other hand-written copies, a process that gradually led to a few errors in the received text. Scholars have applied methods of textual criticism to undo these errors and reconstruct Catullus' original text as much as possible. As an early example, Puteolano stated in the second edition (1473) that he made extensive "corrections" of the previous (1472) edition. In 1577, J. J. Scaliger published an emended version of Catullus' works, using the then novel genealogical method of textual criticism. Scholars since then have worked to emend these reconstructions to approximate more closely the original poems of Catullus; examples of these variant readings and emendations are given in the footnotes to the text below.

Poetic meter

Main list

The table below lists all of Catullus' extant poems, with links to the full text, the poetic meter, the number of lines, and other data. The entire table can be sorted according to any column by clicking on the arrows in the topmost cell. The "Type" column is color-coded, with a green font indicating poems for or about friends, a magenta font marking his famous poems about his Lesbia, and a red font indicating invective poems. The "Addressee(s)" column cites the person to whom Catullus addresses the poem, which ranges from friends, enemies, targets of political satire, one sparrow and, of course, Lesbia.

Poems of Catullus
Poem Text Meter[2] # lines Type Themes Addressee(s)
1 Latin English hendecasyllabic 10 Friends Gifts to friends, poems Cornelius Nepos
2 Latin English hendecasyllabic 13 (10) Lesbia A young woman and her pet bird Lesbia's sparrow
2b Latin English hendecasyllabic 3 Lesbia Atalanta
3 Latin English hendecasyllabic 18 Lesbia Eulogy to the girlfriend's pet bird Orcus
4 Latin English iambic trimeter (senarius) 27 Miscellaneous An old boat, once fast, entering retirement A little boat
5 Latin English hendecasyllabic 13 Lesbia Brief lives and many kisses Lesbia
6 Latin English hendecasyllabic 17 Friends Uncovering a friend's love life Flavius
7 Latin English hendecasyllabic 12 Lesbia Never growing tired of kissing Lesbia
8 Latin English choliambic 19 Lesbia Getting over getting dumped Himself
9 Latin English hendecasyllabic 11 Friends A friend's homecoming Veranius
10 Latin English hendecasyllabic 34 Invective Caught in a boast Varus' girlfriend
11 Latin English Sapphic stanza 24 Lesbia Dumping a promiscuous girlfriend Furius and Aurelius
12 Latin English hendecasyllabic 17 Invective Shaming a napkin thief Asinius Marrucinus
13 Latin English hendecasyllabic 14 Friends Partying on a friend's dime Fabullus
14 Latin English hendecasyllabic 23 Invective Despising pompous poetry Bad poets
14b Latin English hendecasyllabic 3 Miscellaneous Risqué poetry His readers
15 Latin English hendecasyllabic 19 Invective Hands off my boy-toy (cf. 21) Aurelius
16 Latin English hendecasyllabic 14 Invective Nasty reply to critics Aurelius and Furius
17 Latin English priapean 26 Invective My friend, the utter dunce
21 Latin English hendecasyllabic 13 Invective Hands off my boy-toy (cf. 15) Aurelius
22 Latin English choliambic 21 Invective Everyone deceives themselves Suffenus
23 Latin English hendecasyllabic 27 Invective Nasty insults to whole family Furius
24 Latin English hendecasyllabic 10 Invective Don't give in to his seductions! Furius
25 Latin English iambic tetrameter catalectic 13 Invective Give me back my stuff, expressed beautifully Thallus
26 Latin English hendecasyllabic 5 Invective Losing the farm to debt Furius
27 Latin English hendecasyllabic 7 Miscellaneous Out with water, in with wine! His cupbearer
28 Latin English hendecasyllabic 15 Invective Screwed over by politicians Memmius
29 Latin English iambic trimeter (senarius) 25 Invective Waste of money by politicians Mamurra
30 Latin English greater Asclepiadean 12 Invective Boyfriends can't be trusted (cf. 70) Alfenus
31 Latin English choliambic 14 Miscellaneous A hymn to homecoming Sirmio
32 Latin English hendecasyllabic 11 Friends Really interested Ipsitilla
33 Latin English hendecasyllabic 8 Invective Father thief, son gigolo Vibennius, Sr. and Jr.
34 Latin English glyconic (3) / pherecratean (1) 24 Miscellaneous Hymn to Diana Diana
35 Latin English hendecasyllabic 18 Friends Please don't go His papyrus
36 Latin English hendecasyllabic 20 Lesbia Burning bad poetry to win love Annals of Volusius
37 Latin English choliambic 20 Lesbia Girlfriend left for richer men Egnatius
38 Latin English hendecasyllabic 8 Friends Why aren't you comforting me? Cornificius
39 Latin English choliambic 21 Invective Smiling hypocrite Egnatius
40 Latin English hendecasyllabic 8 Invective Threatening a romantic rival Ravidus
41 Latin English hendecasyllabic 8 Invective woman asking for money (political) Ameana
42 Latin English hendecasyllabic 24 Invective the effectiveness of politeness
43 Latin English hendecasyllabic 8 Invective Insulting Mamurra's girlfriend Ameana
44 Latin English choliambic 21 Invective Head colds and cold writing Sestius
45 Latin English hendecasyllabic 26 Friends Over-the-top love poem
46 Latin English hendecasyllabic 11 Miscellaneous the springtime urge to wander
47 Latin English hendecasyllabic 7 Invective unworthy become rich Porcius and Socration
48 Latin English hendecasyllabic 6 Friends Kissing Juventius
49 Latin English hendecasyllabic 7 Invective Praise (?) of a politician Cicero
50 Latin English hendecasyllabic 21 Friends Exchanging poetry between friends Calvus
51 Latin English Sapphic stanza 16 Lesbia The feeling of love; translation of Sappho Lesbia
52 Latin English iambic trimeter 4 Invective Nonius
53 Latin English hendecasyllabic 5 Invective Vatinianus
54 Latin English hendecasyllabic 7 Invective Otho, Libo and Sufficio
55 Latin English hendecasyllabic (decasyllabic) 33 Friends Camerius
56 Latin English hendecasyllabic 7 Friends Cato
57 Latin English hendecasyllabic 10 Invective Julius Caesar and Mamurra
58 Latin English hendecasyllabic 5 Lesbia Caelius
58b Latin English hendecasyllabic (decasyllabic) 10 Friends Camerius
59 Latin English choliambic 5 Invective Rufa and Rufulus
60 Latin English choliambic 5 Invective
61 Latin English glyconic (4) / pherecratean (1) 231 Friends Marriage hymn on occasion of friends' wedding Junia and Manlius
62 Latin English dactylic hexameter 66 Miscellaneous Girls and boys share views on marriage Wedding guests
63 Latin English galliambic 93 Miscellaneous Attis, who castrated self to be with Cybele Attis
64 Latin English dactylic hexameter 408 Miscellaneous Mini-epic about the wedding of Peleus and Thetis Theseus, Ariadne, Peleus and Thetis
65 Latin English elegiac couplets 24 Friends Writing poetry after his brother's death Hortalus
66 Latin English elegiac couplets 94 Miscellaneous translation of Callimachus Berenice
67 Latin English elegiac couplets 48 Miscellaneous A door
68 Latin English elegiac couplets 160 Lesbia Manius
69 Latin English elegiac couplets 10 Invective Clean up your act! Rufus
70 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Lesbia Girlfriends can't be trusted (cf. 30)
71 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective
72 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Lesbia Lesbia
73 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective
74 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Gellius
75 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Lesbia Lesbia
76 Latin English elegiac couplets 26 Lesbia The gods
77 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Rufus
78 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Gallus
78b Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Invective
79 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Lesbia Lesbius
80 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Invective Gellius
81 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Friends Juventius
82 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Friends Quintius
83 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Lesbia Lesbia's husband
84 Latin English elegiac couplets 12 Invective Arrius
85 Latin English elegiac couplets 2 Lesbia Inner turmoil
86 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Lesbia
87 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Lesbia Lesbia
88 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Invective Gellius
89 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Gellius
90 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Gellius
91 Latin English elegiac couplets 10 Lesbia Gellius
92 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Lesbia
93 Latin English elegiac couplets 2 Invective Julius Caesar
94 Latin English elegiac couplets 2 Miscellaneous Cock
95 Latin English elegiac couplets 10 Invective Volusius
95b Latin English elegiac couplets 10 Miscellaneous Antimachus
96 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Friends Elegy Friends's lover Calvus
97 Latin English elegiac couplets 12 Invective Aemilius
98 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Victius
99 Latin English elegiac couplets 16 Friends Juventius
100 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Friends Caelius
101 Latin English elegiac couplets 10 Friends An elegy for a brother His brother
102 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Friends Cornelius Nepos
103 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Invective Silo
104 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Lesbia
105 Latin English elegiac couplets 2 Miscellaneous Cock
106 Latin English elegiac couplets 2 Miscellaneous
107 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Lesbia Lesbia
108 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Invective Cominius
109 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Lesbia Lifelong love Lesbia and the gods
110 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Invective Aufilena
111 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Invective Aufilena
112 Latin English elegiac couplets 2 Invective Naso
113 Latin English elegiac couplets 4 Invective Maecilia
114 Latin English elegiac couplets 6 Miscellaneous Cock
115 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Miscellaneous Cock
116 Latin English elegiac couplets 8 Invective Gellius

References

  1. ^ Forsyth, pp. 2–3.
  2. ^ Taken from Green (2005) and checked against Forsyth (1986).

Bibliography

  • Forsyth PY (1986). The Poems of Catullus: A Teaching Text. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.  

Further reading

The literature on Catullus is oceanic, colossal, immeasurable even, and cannot be listed here, unlike the adjectives used to describe it. The following is merely a listing of a few sources that English-speaking readers may find useful in pursuing further research on Catullus.

Critical edition/textual criticism
Latin editions
  • Quinn K (1976). Catullus: The Poems. New York: Macmillan; St. Martin's Press. ASIN B000K1UE9G. 
English translations
Bilingual editions
Catullus' vocabulary
  • Wetmore MN (1961). Index Verborum Catullianus (reprint of the 1912 edition published by Yale University Press and by Oxford University Press ed.). Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung. ASIN B0007ITYOI.  A concordance specifying the poem, line and case in which each word appears, e.g., hortulus appears in the ablative case hortulo in line 88 of Catullus' poem 61. Definitions for the words are not given.
Scholarship
  • Wheeler AL (1934). Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ASIN B000QY4290. 
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