Catullus and his World: A Reappraisal by T. P. Wiseman

By T. P. Wiseman

This publication is an try to learn the poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus in his personal context; to examine the poet and his works opposed to the cultural realities of the 1st century BC as fresh advances in historic study let us comprehend them. Catullus' personal social history, the conditions of the literary lifetime of his time, the genuine quantity of his works and the range of audiences he addressed - those and different questions are explored by means of Professor Wiseman with new and startling effects. modern excessive society and politics are illustrated via Clodia and Caelius Rufus, thought of no longer as mere adjuncts to Catullus' tale yet as major historic personalities of their personal correct. a last bankruptcy on 19th- and twentieth-century interpretations of Catullus' global exhibits how anachronistic preconceptions have avoided a formal figuring out of it, and made this radical reappraisal useful. somebody with a significant curiosity in Latin literature or Roman historical past may want to learn this publication. scholars within the higher degrees of college or at collage will locate it crucial heritage analyzing to their paintings on Catullus and Cicero's professional Caelio.

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ForClodiusattheMegalesia, on the second day oftheCaelius trial, see Wiseman 1974, 159-69. Vitr. Arch. 1, Cic. Verr. 12f, Aug. ; see J. A. Hanson, Roman Theater-Temples (Princeton 1959), passim. 57 As for ludi votivi, they were often given in association with triumphs either directly, to give thanks for the victory, or indirectly, at the dedication of temples or other public buildings put up as monumenta from the spoils of war. 58 In either case, it was the triumphant general who paid for them, and his own res gestae that were being celebrated.

A freed slave, like most mime-actresses, she quickly achieved the gloria, laudes and decus of popular applause, and but for her untimely death might have become a wealthy w o m a n like Dionysia, a senator's mistress like Nicopolis or Tertia, a poet's inspiration like Volumnia Cytheris. 5 4 What she did do, even before her fifteenth birthday, was to dance in the nobilium ludi, and be the first to appear before the public on the Graeca scaena. Both those phrases need some explanation. T h e great dramatic festivals of the R o m a n year were a s h o w piece for the magistrates w h o presided over them.

T h e y go in for shows, and w h a t follows s h o w s , the things w i t h o u t which Epicurus announces he doesn't k n o w w h a t the G o o d is. T h r o w in beautiful boys to wait on them, and clothes, silver, Corinthian bronzes, the dining place itself and the house, all in keeping. Well, I w o u l d never admit that profligates like that live a g o o d or happy life. 'Shows, and what follows shows' - here we are back with the stage-folk again, and in an explicitly erotic context. For what Epicurus declared inseparable from the Good was obscaenae 99 Cael.

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