List of poems by Catullus
Catullus' poems can be divided into three groups:
- the polymetrics (poems 1–60)
- the long poems (poems 61–68)
- the epigrams (poems 69–116)
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 Ovid, Tibullus, and Sextus Propertius. Even Virgil and Horace are also known to have adopted some elements of his poetry, although the latter was also critical of his work. Martial seems to be the only later Latin poet to be influenced significantly by Catullus. Catullus is mentioned by a few other Roman scholars, such as Pliny the Younger and Quintilian, and by St. Jerome. Since Catullus' work was not adopted as part of a classical curriculum, it was gradually forgotten over time, although one Bishop Rather of 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.
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.
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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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|54||Latin English||hendecasyllabic||7||Invective||Otho, Libo and Sufficio|
|55||Latin English||hendecasyllabic (decasyllabic)||33||Friends||Camerius|
|57||Latin English||hendecasyllabic||10||Invective||Julius Caesar and Mamurra|
|58b||Latin English||hendecasyllabic (decasyllabic)||10||Friends||Camerius|
|59||Latin English||choliambic||5||Invective||Rufa and Rufulus|
|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|
- Forsyth, pp. 2–3.
- Taken from Green (2005) and checked against Forsyth (1986).
- Forsyth PY (1986). The Poems of Catullus: A Teaching Text. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-5151-3.
- Green P (2005). The Poems of Catullus: A Bilingual Edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24264-5.
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
- Trappes-Lomax JM (2007). Catullus: A Textual Reappraisal. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales. ISBN 978-1-905125-15-9.
- Latin editions
- Garrison DH (2004). The Student's Catullus (3rd ed.). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3635-9.
- Ancona R (2004). Writing Passion: A Catullus Reader. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci. ISBN 0-86516-482-7.
- Quinn K (1976). Catullus: The Poems. New York: Macmillan; St. Martin's Press. ASIN B000K1UE9G.
- English translations
- Balmer J (2004). Catullus: Poems of Love and Hate. Highgreen, Tarset, Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books. ISBN 1-85224-645-6.
- Mulroy D (2002). The Complete Poetry of Catullus. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-17770-X.
- Martin C (1990). The Poems of Catullus. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3925-4.
- Sisson CH (1966). Catullus. London: MacGibbon and Kee. ASIN B000PHOUEU.
- Copley FO (1957). Gaius Valerius Catullus: The Complete Poetry. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. LCCN 57010149.
- Bilingual editions
- Green P (2005). The Poems of Catullus: A Bilingual Edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24264-5.
- Gregory H; Gay Z (1931). The Poems of Catullus. New York: Covici-Friede. ASIN B000NXJ7IU.
- 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.
- Mulroy DD (1986). Comites Catulli: Structured Vocabulary Lists for Catullus 1–60. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. ISBN 0-8191-5448-2. This book lists the vocabulary, with definitions, needed to read Catullus' polymetric poems. After a general introduction to Catullus' vocabulary, a separate vocubulary list is given for subsets of 2–3 poems, e.g., poems 6–8 and 9–10. The words in each list is grouped by declension and gender for nouns and by conjugation for verbs.
- Burl A (2004). Catullus: A Poet in the Rome of Julius Caesar. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-1472-7.
- Dettmer H (1997). Love by the Numbers: Form and the Meaning in the Poetry of Catullus. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 0-8204-3663-1.
- Gaisser JH (1993). Catullus and his Renaissance Readers. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-814882-8.
- Wiseman TP (1985). Catullus and his World: A Reappraisal. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-26606-8.
- Wheeler AL (1934). Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ASIN B000QY4290.