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through his abilities and his personal qualities as a friend. Under the favor of Augustus he was appointed the first prefect of Egypt in 30 B.C. Besides the intimacy with the emperor he enjoyed also that with other leaders in the literary life of his day, like Asinius Pollio and Vergil, whose tenth Eclogue is a condolence with Gallus for his unhappy love affairs." Tradition also has it — though its authenticity is seriously questioned — that the fourth Georgic originally ended with a glorification of the services of Gallus in Egypt, which Vergil felt obliged to remove after the fall of the brilliant prefect, and then substituted the less relevant story of Aristaeus. Too great prosperity apparently turned the head of Gallus, and led him to such presumption that the growing disfavor of Augustus, fostered probably by jealous rivals, was followed by a decree of banishment. Gallus, unable to endure the disgrace, promptly committed suicide. Besides certain translations from Euphorion he wrote four books of elegies on Lycoris, a pseudonym, after the manner of the age, for his beloved Cytheris, a celebrated actress whose name was coupled also with that of Mark Antony. To what extent, if any, the “durior" style of his elegies may have contributed to their total loss it is impossible for us to surmise. The direct influence of Greek elegy upon his work, through the friendship of Parthenius, has been mentioned already (10). For the various other names connected more or less closely with elegy, see the works on Roman literature by Teuffel, Schanz, Duff, etc. The prevailing character of all this body of literature is indicated by the expression of Tacitus, elegoruin lascivias.
1Cf. Ec, 6, 64.
2 Ovid, Trist. 2, 445: non fuit opprobrio celebrasse Lycorida Gallo, sed linguam nimio non tenuisse mero ; A. A. 3,536: nomen habet Nemesis, Cynthia nomen habet: vesper et eode novere Lycorida terrae; Prop. 2, 34, 91: et modo formosa quam multa Lycoride Gallus mortuus inferna vulnera lavit aqua! The fascinating story of Becker's Gallus is based throughout on classical authority, and is unsurpassed as giving a word picture of life at Rome in this circle of society under Augustus.
3 Dial, 10, 5.
13. The first Roman elegist whose works have endured to our own time was C. Valerius Catullus, a member of the new group of poets who were doing so much to establish an Alexandrian school of poetry at Rome. He was born at Verona, the unsatisfactory evidence leaving it uncertain whether the date was 87 or 84 B.C. As there are no indications that any of his poems were written later than 54 B.C., and all signs point to his early death, this date is commonly assumed as correct for that event. His family and circumstances were such that his father entertained Julius Caesar, the governor of the province, and he himself possessed country estates at Sirmio on the shores of the Lacus Benacus, and at or near Tibur, the most aristocratic of Rome's suburban resorts. He was able, after enjoying in boyhood such educational privileges as Verona afforded, to seek as a youth in Rome a wider acquaintance with the rather giddy life of the metropolis in that period of political and social unrest and extravagance, which bred a Caesar, a Catiline, and a Mamurra. His studies and tastes were fostered under the instruction of the well-known grammarian Valerius Cato (cf. § 12), where he became associated with the literary group comprising Helvius Cinna, Licinius Calvus, Furius Bibaculus, Ticidas, and other well-known poets representing the newer tendencies of the day. With an ardent and impulsive nature and the enthusiasm of young manhood he threw himself impetuously into his poetic studies and his social privileges alike. “ The giddy round of his life is reflected in the constantly altering atmosphere of his poems. Whispered scandals, nameless vices, the gay girls of Pompey's portico, Caesar's minions, Egnatius, like Dickens's Mr. Carker showing his white teeth in everlasting smiles, the Roman cockney so suitably named Arrius to admit of his superfluous aspirates, doltish husbands with pretty wives, pilfering guests, faithful and faithless friends, make a vivid register of human nature in the great capital.” 1
i Carmina, 31 and 44.
14. It was in this gay complex of life at Rome that he met his fate in the person who was within a few brief years largely to ruin his life and happiness and to win him undying fame through the verses she drove him to write. There is no longer any question that this wonderful woman — amazing in her powers for both good and ill — for whom the poet's significant pseudonym is Lesbia, was the famous and unscrupulous belle of Rome in her day, Clodia, sister of P. Clodius Pulcher, and wife of Q. Metellus Celer. The number and rank of her lovers (Catullus in a moment of petulance calls them three hundred ! ') and the epithets Medea Palatina, Bowms, and quadrantaria, as well as the terrible implication of Catullus's own epigram, when taken together with the revelation of her as a captivating charmer and well-educated lady of high birth which is seen in the poems of her young poet adorer, show how appropriate the name Lesbia was for such an embodiment of luxuriant physical and intellectual development. With a poetic appreciation worthy of the Lesbian Sappho, she was naturally flattered by the devotion of the brilliant and passionate young poet, and with her greater sophistication led him for a time to believe that he was her only idol.4 The process of disillusioning which must needs soon begin was · a bitter one, and the successive phases of his love, suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and ultimate disgust, are perfectly mirrored in the frank utterances of this most transparent of poets.
15. Desire to escape from an almost intolerable situation and
1 Duff, p. 313.
2 Ovid, Trist. 2, 427 : sic sua lascivo cantata est saepe Catullo femina, cui falsum Lesbia nomen erat; Apul. Apol. 10 : accusent C. Catullum, quod Lesbiam pro Clodia nominarit, et Ticidam similiter, quod, quae Metella erat, Perillam scripserit, et Propertium, qui Cynthiam dicat, Hostiam dissimulet et Tibullum, quod ei sit Plania in animo, Delia in versu.
379, 1: Lesbius est pulcher : quid ni? quem Lesbia malit quam te cum tota gente, Catulle, tua. 4 Cf. No. 72.
6 Cf. Sellar 8, Rep., pp. 413 sq.
a wish to offer the last tokens of respect and affection at the tomb of his brother, who had died and been buried in the Troad, were among the motives that led Catullus to seek recreation and other scenes by joining Cinna as a member of the staff of C. Memmius,' who in 57 B.C. went to Bithynia as propraetor. Restive and sad as he was, we cannot think that he waited a whole year more to perform the mournful rites at his brother's grave, but must believe that he visited this spot and took his farewell of it on the outward journey to Bithynia. Even if we discount the violent expressions of disgust for his chief, found in Nos. 10 and 28 of the Catullus collection, it is clear that Memmius was no help or inspiration to Catullus. Yet the year's travel and novel experiences, including some contact with Greek, as well as even more eastern civilization, did not fail to leave its mark upon the impressionable poet : his “ Peleus and Thetis" and his remarkable “ Attis," e.g., probably owe much local color, and perhaps even their very existence, to this sojourn.
The two years, more or less, that remained for Catullus after his joyous home-coming were spent partly in Verona and his favorite Sirmio, and partly in Rome. They were years of storm and stress. There were new alliances with men and women ; old hatreds were reopened. The growing power of Caesar and his favorites was attacked with intense bitterness; but a reconciliation with Caesar as the friend of Catullus's father was not long in forthcoming. Clodia thought it worth her while to make advances toward a renewal of relations with one whose fortunes seemed in the ascendant, but the heart of the poet was utterly steeled against her forever. Very soon the career, all too short, of one for whom the best in life seemed perhaps just about to open, came to an end, with only a verse or two to indicate final weakness and gathering gloom before the lamp went out.
1 Probably the same Memmius to whom Lucretius, the other great poet of this age, dedicated his De Rerum Natura ; cf. Lucr. 1, 26 and 42.
16. Although Ovid does not include Catullus in his wellknown canon of the Roman elegists,' he elsewhere recognizes him as belonging to the same group ? and Propertius: names as his series of erotic elegists, Varro Atacinus, Catullus, Calvus, Gallus, and himself. If there was any reason why his contemporaries should omit Catullus from any list of the leading Roman elegists, it was doubtless because even thus early it was realized that it was the rest of his poems rather than his elegies that formed his surest title to immortality. But the evidence is clearly ample that even then he belonged to the group in which the logic of fate has confirmed his membership, and that not mere accident has from the time of the renaissance produced successive editions of Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius. If in the more exact use of terms Catullus is a greater lyric than elegiac poet, nevertheless the elegies that he has left us form an invaluable link between the poetry of Alexandria and that of Tibullus and Propertius. Something of the debt owed him directly by his successors in the field of elegy will be seen from a study of the selections in this book. The genius of Horace led him mostly in other lines, so that his literary connection with Catullus is relatively slight. Vergil, on the other hand, had evidently been a careful student of Catullus, as is clear not merely from those disputed poems of the so-called Appendix
Vergiliana, but from many parallels in his certainly authentic works. And in Martial reminiscences of Catullus abound.
On the other hand, the influence of the Alexandrian school is
1 Successor fuit hic [ Tibullus] tibi, Galle, Propertius illi; quartus ab his serie temporis ipse fui. – Trist. 4, 10, 53.
2 E.g. Am. 3, 9, 59-65; Trist. 2, 427 sqq. 82, 34, 85 sqq.
4 Propertius nowhere names Tibullus, though he surely owed much to him. Cf. also Mart. 8, 73, 8, where Catullus is grouped with Gallus, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid.
5 Cf. E. K. Rand, in Harvard Stud. in Class. Phil., Vol. 17 (1906), pp. 15 sqq. For a list of real or assumed parallel passages in the Augustan poets cf. Simpson, pp. xxxvii sqq. For a list of authors that mention or cite Catullus, cf. Schwabe, pp. vii sqq.