Catullus 12

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Catullus 12 is a poem by the Roman poet Catullus. In it, he chides Asinius Marrucinus for stealing one of his napkins, calling it uncouth and noting the disapproval of his brother, Pollio. Note the reversal of the praenomen and nomen in the first line. While "Asini Marrucine" could be translated simply as "Asinius Marrucinus", the inverted word order introduces the alternative meaning "Marrucinus [son] of a jackass". Napkins in Ancient Rome were handmade and therefore far more valuable than they are today; also, Catullus has a sentimental attachment to the napkins, as they were a gift from two close friends, Fabullus and Veranius. In comparison to Catullus' other invective poetry, this is relatively light: the main point of the poem could be to praise Pollio rather than to chide Marrucinus.

The meter of this poem is hendecasyllabic, a common form in Catullus' poetry.

Latin text[edit]

Line Latin Text
1 Marrucine Asini, manu sinistra
2 non belle uteris: in ioco atque vino
3 tollis lintea neglegentiorum.
4 Hoc salsum esse putas? Fugit te, inepte:
5 quamvis sordida res et invenusta est.
6 Non credis mihi? Crede Pollioni
7 fratri, qui tua furta vel talento
8 mutari velit—est enim leporum
9 differtus puer ac facetiarum.
10 Quare aut hendecasyllabos trecentos
11 exspecta, aut mihi linteum remitte,
12 quod me non movet aestimatione,
13 verum est mnemosynum mei sodalis.
14 Nam sudaria Saetaba ex Hiberis
15 miserunt mihi muneri Fabullus
16 Et Veranius; haec amem necesse est
17 ut Veraniolum meum et Fabullum.

See also[edit]


  • Nappa, C (1998). "Place Settings: Convivium, Contrast, and Persona in Catullus 12 and 13". American Journal of Philology. 119 (3): 386–397. doi:10.1353/ajp.1998.0041. 
  • Forsyth, PY (1985). "Gifts and Giving: Catullus 12-14". Classical World. 79: 571–574.