Friday, January 26, 2007

Week 4: Specialty Words

If you read enough of an author, you begin to notice subtle or not so subtle patterns in his/her writing. Those patterns might be thing like the clear, short, straightforward sentences of a Hemingway, or lengthy, complex sentences describing scenes in great detail like Mellville. The same is true for Latin authors and Latin poets in particular. We can notice patterns in meter, and we can notice patterns in themes (like poems about how much Catullus loves Lesbia). We can notice that certain Latin authors favor or repeat certain word order in their verses. And, we can notice specialty words. I am calling specialty words those words that show up often, or which seem to be the central word or words that give a particular poem its focus.

Consider the 6 poems that we have studied in the "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" theme (51, 5, 7, 86, 43 and 2) and identify what you think are the "specialty" words. And then, comment on how these words enable Catullus to talk about his love for Lesbia. How would these very same poems change if these specialty words were deleted.

Magister Patricius

43 comments:

Wolf Angel said...

"Basia," "omnis," and "nox," seem to be specialty words. Catullus's use of basia (kiss/kisses) clearly shows his love for Lesbia, because whenever he mentions kisses, he mentions lots of them (as in 7 and 5). With “omnis” Catullus expresses his love by declaring that Lesbia is the best and most beautiful out of all others (it’s hard to get more flattering than that!). The use of nox helps express not so much love, but the romantic mood, as in Carmen 7, when Catullus mentions the stars watching the secret love affairs in the night (basically the “romantic night” cliché that we know so well). If these specialty words were deleted, the poems would lose a good bit of their meaning. Merely saying that Lesbia is beautiful isn’t nearly as powerful as saying that she has snatched away all the Venustas from all women. The absence of so many kisses would greatly through off Catullus’s request of stirring up the accounts since it’s impossible to stir up accounts that don’t exist. If nox was cut out, it would change the mood of the poems in which it appeared, such as in 5, when Catullus says they must “sleep a perpetual night” when their life ends; in this case, the night means death, which is a rather important thing to include when trying to make the point that life is short.

welchie said...

In Catullus 51, the specialty words are "ille", which is used twice in the first two lines, and "otium", which is used in the last three lines. These words bring out the theme of 51, which is that Catullus is jealous of "that man" and that he is scolding himself for spending too much time in leisure. He is thinking that if he worked more, he would be able to get "that man" out of his mind. In 5, the specialty words are in lines 7-10. They bring out the theme in 5, which is to live life to the fullest at that very moment, and to not worry about anything else. Catullus is just worried about kisses in 5. In Catullus 43, "nec" is the specialty word because its continued use points out all the things that this girl is not, and all the things that Lesbia is. Catullus 2 uses "ludere" twice, bringing out the playful nature of the poem. The use of "kisses" in Catullus 7 echoes the playfullness of Catullus 5. The use of "nulla" in Catullus 86 is similar to the use of "nec" in 43 because Catullus is telling how beautiful Lesbia is by saying what another girl is not. If the specialty words were taken away, the poems would not have such strong, memorable, and recognizable themes.

Jesx said...

In poem 5, Catullus uses "dein" and "deinde" to describe how many kisses he would give Lesbia. If those words weren't there, it wouldn't empathesis the continuous sequence of kisses that would keep on going and not stopping. Also, poem 43 has "nec" many times to describe all the things this girl isn't compared to Lesbia. Without these repetitions, it wouldn't describe but one thing that made her less beautiful than Lesbia.

Gretzky said...

Catullus seems to like the idea of "kisses." He explicity talks just about kisses in poes 7 and 5 and they way that he feels about them, and/ or how many he wants (as many as he can get). If the word "basia" was not in the poem, it would not make any sence, and the "roman" form would be lost. He/ the Romans use the "feeling" part of love to describe how they feel about someone. Ovid uses many word to describe how Lesbia looks, talks, and laughs. It all, however, centalizes around basia, the kisses. He depends on kisses to cary his poems and make them feel like they fit together. Without basia, the six poems would not make any sence, they would in essence be fancy giberish.

Vance224 said...

Catullus’ poetry often has themes of being cursed by jealous observers of Lesbia and himself. In carmen 5 he says that they will “stir up the accounts so that someone won’t be able to curse them,” and in carmen 7 he refers to someone cursing them with an evil tongue. Catullus probably uses these words to flatter Lesbia, by stating that she is worth great envy, envy capable of cursing both of their lives. Without these words in Catullus’ poetry would seem less flattering.

XRoSeSrReD317X said...

"formosa", "basia", and "venustas" are the specialty words in the poems of Catullus. These words enable Catullus to talk about his love for Lesbia because the word "formosa" which means beautiful is used throughout a lot of his poems to describe Lesbia. He uses "basia", kisses, to say what he wants from her. When he talks about another girl, he uses "formosa" but the only reason Quinta, used in another poem, is not like Lesbia because she lacks "venustas", charm. These poems would change drastically without these words because the meaning of the poem relies on them. Without these words, the poem would lose their point.

chmathew said...

The main point in the poems that we have studied in the “Catullus Lesbiam Amat” theme is that Catullus is that Catullus simply adores Lesbia. He considers her far more beautiful than any other woman. He even goes so far as saying that she has snatched away all the sex-appeal from women. He seems to be obsessed with the kisses. He talks of how it makes him feel and how many and such. If basia was removed from all the poems, it would simply not make sense.

shocka said...

Throughout the poems of we have read that are categorised in the theme "Catullus Lesbiam Amat," Catullus focuses in on certain words for each poem that enhance the connotation of the literature.

In Catullus 51 he uses the noun "otio" in the last stanza that makes use of the literary device called polyptoton. This device uses the same word in different forms. In Catullus 5, the hortatory subjunctives in the first few lines repeat the implied words "let us" and then later focuses on many "basia," and continues this theme throughout Catullus 7. In Catullus 5, he uses "nulla" to emphasize all that Quinta is lacking in comparison to Lesbia, his love. This idea occurs again in Catullus 43, with the continuous usage of "nec." In Catullus 2, the optitive subjunctive "possum" is meant to be the main verb and implied through every line of the poem.

These words are have a pattern of repetition that allow Catullus to share his love for Lesbia in many different forms. Some are direct, such as the kisses he wants, and others are indirect, such as pointing out others flaws to make Lesbia look better. If these specialty words were deleted, the repetition of ideas and phrases would be lost. Catullus would not be able to explain his feelings for the woman he loves on such a diverse level.

latin blogger said...

In Carmen 51, Catullus repeats the words ille, te, and otium. Ille refers to the man that sits and watches Lesbia. Ille creates a sense of mystery as to who this person is who is Catullus is jealous of. Catullus uses te when he refers to Lesbia. When he uses that it is like Catullus is speaking directly to Lesbia and says, “When I look at you...”. Catullus describes otium as destructive and worrisome. I think he repeats the word to show what impact leisure has hand on his life and in the past. In Carmen 5, Catullus repeats the words mille, centum, basia, and deinde. Once again, in Carmen 7, he uses the word basia. All of these words describe to what extent Catullus is in love with Lesbia. In Carmen 86, Catullus uses the words venustas and formosa. The words are used to show the major difference between the two (mentioned in the last blog). In Carmen 43, he uses the word nec over and over. This word is very important because it describes the good qualities which “amica Formiani” doesn’t posses which in turn explains that Lesbia does have these good qualities. In Carmen 2, Catullus uses the word passer in the beginning. This is important because the bird is a metaphor. Without the use of this particular ambiguous word there couldn’t be a double meaning to the poem.

LOL said...

"Basia," "venustas," and "Veneres" are specialty words. Catullus frequently uses the word "basia," or kisses, in poems 5 and 7. In poem 5, Catullus asks for "a thousand kisses, then a hundred, then another thousand, then a second hundred, then all the way to another thousand, then a hundred." He wants to stir up the accounts of these kisses so that an evil someone cannot be jealous. In poem 7, Catullus says that to kiss so many kisses, which neither the inquisitive are able to count nor an evil tongue bewitch, are enough and more than enough for him. Through using the word "basia," Catullus reveals how great his love for Lesbia is and states that no one can do or say anything to curse them because all those kisses have strengthened the power of their love. In poem 86, Catullus uses the words "venustas" and "Veneres" to compare Lesbia to other women, particularly Quintia. Catullus says that although Quintia and other women might have physical beauty, they do not have "venustas" like Lesbia does, and that Lesbia snatches all "Veneres" from other women. Through using these words, Catullus states how special Lesbia is compared to all other women because while looking at other women with mere physical beauty does not affect his emotions, looking at Lesbia, who has "venustas," does. If specialty words such as "basia," "venustas," and "Veneres" aren't used, then the poems would not be able to deliver the meaning and effect that Catullus implies.

Dr. Gregory House said...

In the six poems we have studied, “Catullus Lesbiam Amat” seems to be the central theme. All of the poems focus on how Catullus feels so strongly about Lesbia that no one else and nothing else matters. Lesbia may even be a specialty word because Catullus uses it in all of the poems we have studied except for 2, and even then he speaks of “deliciae meae puellae.” The poems are focused around Lesbia, so without her name, the poems would not have the same impact because they would be much more ambiguous. We know the loves Lesbia because he constantly repeats her name.

Another word that could be a specialty word is “Formosa” in Carmen 86. By repeating the word beautiful, Catullus emphasizes how beautiful both Quintia and Lesbia are. “Venustas” is also a specialty word because the Carmen 86 seems to focus around it. Even though both girls are beautiful, the fact that Lesbia has sex-appeal makes her greater than Quintia in Catullus’ mind. Without the word venustas, the poem would suggest that a girl like Quintia is equal to Lesbia, which Catullus doesn’t think is possible.

The specialty word in Carmen 5 is “basia.” Catullus repeats how many times he wants to kiss Lesbia and how he loves her so much that he doesn’t want to stop kissing her because life is so short. “Amemus” is also a specialty word because the poem focuses on how Catullus wants to live. Without the word “amemus” the you know that Catullus wants to live, but you don’t really know how he wants to live. He wants to kiss Lesbia because he loves her.

Carmen 51 seems to focus around the word “aspexi.” Catullus sees Lesbia, and all of a sudden he can’t speak, he can’t see, and he can’t hear. If he didn’t see her, then he wouldn’t have all of the effects on him. Just the sight of her drives him crazy with love.

Frank said...

Specialty words in the 6 poems that we have studied in the "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" theme include "amemus," "basia," "formosa," "venustas," and "Veneres." All of these words help Catullus describe his love and passion for Lesbia. He repeatedly describes her beauty by acknowledging her "basia," "venustas," and "Veneres." He describes what he wants to do with Lesbia by saying "amemus," which means let's live, and reffering to "basia," which means kisses. If these specialty words were deleted from the poem then Catullus wouldn't be able to express his feelings toward Lesbia with such passionate words.

baseball0808 said...

Catullus' use of the word "nec" was a major specialty word in Carmen 43 because without it, it would be extremely hard to describe all of the things that this lady is not, compared to Lesbia. Another one of the specialty words would be "dein" in Carmen 5. This is a specialty word because it is describing how many kisses Lesbia and Catullus have shared and will share in the future. The final of the specialty words would have to be "basia" which means kisses. How would Catullus describe how many kisses they have shared together without actually using the word "kiss"? With any of these words not present, the poem would have a lighter meaning and the passion that Catullus put into them would be diluted.

unbuma said...

"Catullus Lesbiam Amat" is the main theme in all of the poems we have studied so far. There are a couple of different specialty words he uses in his poems. The first one is basia or kiss. He uses this word a lot in Catullus 5 and 7. By using the word kiss so many times, he shows his desire for her and how much he loves her. If he wouldn't have used basia in these poems, it wouldn't have shown that he likes her as much as he does. You could also consider Lesbia as a specialty word. Without her, he wouldn't have written all these poems about a girl who takes his breathe away.

cullenforhire said...

Catullus uses specialty words in the "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" series such as venustas, omnis, and basia. Although 'venustas' only appears in one poem (7), its theme is carried throughout the series. Catullus repeatedly uses 'omnis' to declare his belief that Lesbia is the only Venus in his life, and that she is completely unrivaled by other women. And of course all those 'basia's. They alone are the theme of Carminas 5 and 7. The word is used repeatedly as Catullus's effort to express just how much he loves/longs for Lesbia. If these specialty words were deleted from this series of poems, they would not convey just how deep and felt his love for Lesbia is; how she has him completely enraptured. These specialty words "make" the poems.

said...

I think that the specialty words Catullus uses are "venustas," "basia," and "formosa." In Poems 5 and 7, the specialty word seems to be "basia" because he says in these poems that no amount of kisses are enough for him, which shows his never ending love for Lesbia. Catullus also compares Lesbia to a woman named Quintia in poem 86 by saying that this woman is known to be beautiful (formosa) but is nothing compared to Lesbia. Since love is about showing that no one can even compare to how beautiful your significant other is, this specialty word, "formosa" used throughout his poems, shows he does not want to look at any other woman even if she is beautiful to society because she does not compare to his Lesbia. Catullus uses the specialty word "venustas" when he says that Lesbia steals all of the attractions of other women, which shows that he must be pretty inlove with her if Lesbia has stolen their attractiveness away from them. If these specialty words were taken out of his poems, then the poems would no longer have meaning. For example, if "formosa" was taken out of his poems we would wonder why he was going on and on about Lesbia and why he was comparing her to other women. If "venustas" was taken out it would change how much we thought he felt for her because saying that she steals all of the attractiveness from other women shows that he must really be inlove with her. Finally, if "basia" was taken out of poems 5 and 7 it would change the whole mood because no one could envy how many kisses they thought Catullus and Lesbia shared nor would his poems have that romantic mood that they have so much of now.

unbuma said...

"Catullus Lesbiam Amat" is the main theme in all of the poems we have studied so far. There are a couple of different specialty words he uses in his poems. The first one is basia or kiss. He uses this word a lot in Catullus 5 and 7. By using the word kiss so many times, he shows his desire for her and how much he loves her. If he wouldn't have used basia in these poems, it wouldn't have shown that he likes her as much as he does. You could also consider Lesbia as a specialty word. Without her, he wouldn't have written all these poems about a girl who takes his breathe away.

tram192 said...

In Catullus 43 and 86 the specialty words that stands out to me the most is "nulla" and "nec". As Catullus is describing Quitia he shows that the one for him is Lesbia, by saying Quintia "is not" this and that compared to Lesbia. He's basically is saying that Lesbia is perfect compared to Quitia who many like/love. In Catullus 7 and 5 I believe that the specialty word is " basiationes" and "basia" because in poem 7 he, Catullus, talks about how Lesbia is "interested" to know how many kisses he would give to her and in Catullus 5 he epresses how many kisses he would give to her if he had the chance. Also in Catullus 5 another specialty word would be "deinde and "dein" because this word tells us, the reader, how many kisses Catullus would actually give to Lesbia and it shows us how much he really loves her and how much he wishes to be with her. In Catullus 51 the specialty word would be "otium" This word is repeated many times in this poem and it points out Catullus' jealousy toward the man in which Lesbia is having a conversation with. Finally in Catullus 2 the specialty word is "ludere". By using this word Catullus is saying he wishes to play with Lesbia like she is playing with the bird. It expresses how much he wants her.

Youknowdis said...

After finishing the six poems with the theme of love and jealousy. In Catullus's poem 43 Catullus uses the specialty word "nec" as a way to use negatives about someone else to show how beautiful Lesbia is. The word is used six times throughout the 8 lines poem. Also in comparison to the word "nec" in poem 86 the word "nulla", which is used twice uses the same effect. In 86 he talks about what Qunitia doesn't have compared to Lesbia, which is she doesn't have gracefulness. If these words did not exist in the poems it would take away from the writing strategy Catullus has in mind to use the bad qualities in other people to portray what Lesbia is to him.

In poem 5 Catullus repeats the word "basia" which compliments how many kisses he would give Lesbia and how much he adores her. This poem almost seems like a daydream of what would happen if Lesbia were were actually his and how he would treat her. If this word were taken out the whole point of the poem would go to waste to because it’s all based on the kisses and how many he would give her.

In poem 51 the word "ille" works into the theme of jealously when talking about that man who sits across from Lesbia. I think the word helps emphasize how Catullus thinks he is so lucky and how he wishes he were he. If the word were taken out it would ruin the way he talks about the man compared to Lesbia instead of directly talking about Lesbia.

Lastly, in poem 2 you can take what Catullus is saying in two different ways. So I think the word "passer" gives the particular poem focus. It can no longer be about a bird but actually a sexual interpretation of what Catullus feels for Lesbia. The word having double meaning is something Catullus is very aware of so having the word in the poem brings the poem to a completely different meaning then if the word was changed.

Ian said...

In the Catullus Lesbiam Amat series of poems, the specialty words seem to be ille, malus (and all that that entails), basia, and venustas. The first two speak of Catullus' jealousy and paranoia - jealousy over Clodia's other man and paranoia over all other men, particularly the old men who keep count of his social infractions. Basia and venustas certainly speak of love and sexiness - what has hooked the poet and leaves him entranced by this woman. A message in many of the carmina is a carpe diem message - men have short lives and how better to spend it than in love?

whereisyourboytonight said...

Because the theme of these six poems is indeed “Catullus Lesbiam Amat,” the specialty words that Catullus uses are, amazingly, love words. The word Lesbia itself may be a specialty word; it is not his mistress’s true name, but is instead a pseudonym so that no one knows her true identity. This may add an element of secrecy to their relationship, and whenever she hears one of his poems, she knows that he is talking about her when no one else does. Removing her name, or identifying her clearly, removes the air of mystery and intrigue from the poems. However, each poem also has its own unique specialty word. Carmen 51 might be said to revolve around the word ille, in the sense of this man. Catullus is jealous that the man is able to enjoy her sweet laughter openly. She has such an effect on him, but that man is the only one who is able to be upfront about it. Without the contrast gained from that man, we would not be able to feel the full affect the sight and sounds of Lesbia has on Catullus. Carmen 5 clearly resolves around the word basia. He asks her repeatedly for hundreds and thousands of kisses. A kiss is an intimate act between two people; it is personal and is a sign of true affection. If the word kiss were replaced with a word such as hug, the poem would lose its feeling of love and affection and would be reduced to something much less. The other poems have similar love words that show his affection and prove that Catullus truly loves Lesbia.

I can't beleive magister is a Florida Gator!!! said...

Catullus uses these “specialty words” to try to bring the reader into what feelings he is trying to conveyof the love he has for Lesbia. Many of Catullus’ “specialty words” are easily found because they are often a major part of each poem. Without these words (and sequences of words) I still believe that the poetry would be good, but it would not convey nearly as strong a message to the Latin reader.

In Catullus 51, the “specialty words” are ille vir (that man), which ille vir was never named by Catullus to us. This repetition of ille vir shows the anger Catullus bears for “that man”, he does not feel it is important enough to disclose of his name. This could either be out of fear of his affair being leaked, or Catullus thinking that ille vir is not worthy of a name. Also in the final stanza Catullus uses otio (idleness) three times at the beginning of his last three lines. He repetitiously curses himself saying that “Idleness, Catullus, is your trouble”. He really makes a point that “otio” (Idleness) is causing all his trouble with love.

In Catullus 5, Catullus refers to himself to be a pair He and Lesbia. He stresses this when he says “let us live my Lesbia, and let us love, and let us judge…” He goes on further and says “when that brief light has fallen for us, we must sleep a never ending night”. The next set of “specialty words” is when Catullus uses a very extended exaggeration of how many times Lesbia and he will basia (kiss) when he goes on and on saying “deinde centum, dein mille altera”. Catullus uses dien and diende six times in Catullus 5.

Catullus continues with the lighthearted theme in Catullus 5 of he and Lesbia sharing many thousand kisses. In Catullus 7, Catullus basically says that an infinite number of “basiationes” will never be enough. He says that not even as many grains of sand on Cyrene are enough kisses for him. As if Catullus 5 did not illustrate how madly in love Catullus is with Lesbia this continuation just adds more illustration of Catullus’ love for Lesbia.

Like I said before without these “specialty words” the poetry would still be good, but without them Catullus would not have conveyed as strong a message as he did, of his love for Lesbia.

hannah-is-cool said...

In the series of poems "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" the poet uses many specialty words to emphasize his heated passion for Lesbia. Catullus' aching need for Lesbia is clear through the choice of words in which he makes his desires clear. His repition of the cartain words such as, "basia", "omnis", "nox", and "venustas". In multiple poems Catullus sets a romantic mood with his request of endless kisses from Lesbia. While in another work he flatters her with a comparison to another woman, who is beautiful yet is nothing in Catullus' eyes compared to the awe-inspiring Lesbia. He serendes her by epressing Lesbia to be the most beautiful and most wonderful compared to all others. In all of the love poems we have read thus far by Catullus, he flatters his lover with the sweetest and loving phrases. His word choices illuminate his passion and engage the reader.

Kirro said...

Catullus has a broad vocabulary, especially when he is trying to paint a specific picture. However, it's important to look at the words that appear in multiple poems. For example, Catullus always uses basia for kisses, as seen in Catullus 5 and 7. When describing beauty, he refers to venustas to mean true beauty (Catullus 86 line 3), rather than beauty as perceived by the masses. Catullus also uses formosa to mean beauty (Catullus 86 line 5), a trend which is followed by other Roman authors. These words are used very specifically as well. Formosa and venustas are synonyms meaning beauty, but venustas is used specifically to mean true beauty. Without these specific words, Quintia and Lesbia would be the same. Also, the word basia and ludere are used in a light-hearted way. If basia and ludere were taken out, poems 2 and 5 would seem very out of place with the rest of the poems.

Minerva said...

"Basia" is certainly one of Catullus' favorites, not only because he uses it fairly frequently, but even writes about it in quantity (hundreds and thousands of kisses), and also goes so far as to make up his own unusual versions of the word, such as "basiationes", or roughly, "kissifications". This example in odd word formation is a bit of insight into the playful little affections Catullus delights in giving Lesbia.
Catullus is also fond of physical descriptions of female beauty and charm, most particularly "formosa" et "Venustas", and even compares the two to give the audience a better sense of the manner in which he intends the words to be understood, to give us his unique take on the definition/meaning, that which applies to his Lesbia.
"Lingua" is another word that appears fairly often in this set of poems. In 51, he writes of his inability to speak when he looks at Lesbia (lingua sed torpet...), in 7 he mentions curses by the tongues of others, and in 43 he speaks poorly of the girl (who among other things) does not have an elegant command of the language. Catullus' purpose in life as a poet is constantly at the forefront of his work, and his ability to express himself in this way is of the utmost importance. He pities and scorns those who cannot make art of the language as he can, secretly fears the rumors and curses of others, and perhaps worries about his own gifts. Without his talents, the expression of love for Lesbia would go unfulfilled.
The words that Catullus adopts and modifies to his own uses take on a new sort of character, which provides a special coherence to both his individual works and his collection as a whole. Without them, the poems would perhaps still work, but it would certainly reduce the voice and impact of Catullus' writing.

thomas said...

This blog post is very interesting given my day today. I had a long discussion with my colleague Ms. Huie over whether Frost was speaking about anger and stoicism or alcohol and illicit drug use in his poem, "Fire and Ice." Later, in Stat, a newly discovered Shakespearean poem was hotly debated for its authenticity. Statisticians looked for a common word augmentation in the assumed piece and then compared the trends with his other credited poems. This common word style is also evident in Catullus' series, "Catullus Lesbiam Amat." A few common words are basia (although used only in select poems, it repeated many times), ominis, and venustas. Even when these words aren't used explicitly, they’re themes are used as segues into future poems. Without these common words, "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" would not be so eloquently intertwined, and the study of Catullus' work would be much more difficult.

srivatsanenator said...

Authors often use the same words over and over again because they feel that these words best quantify the way they feel about a certain idea or subject or in this a person. Lesbia is obviously someone who was either close to Catullus or close to his heart. In his poetry Catullus uses words repeatedly like basia . Basia seems to have this type of mysterious quality to it and I think that Catullus acknowledges it. In Carmen 5 the basia or kiss is the central idea and is repeated over and over again. In Carmen 7 he again uses it as a verb and a noun giving that piece a mysterious quality. This use of the same basic word in different forms is called polyptoton. Another example or theme that reoccurs in the Carmina Catulli is the idea of malus. Those men that are jealous of Catullus and Lesbia and those who always wish to quantify the love that they have for each other. This phrase occurs again in 5 and 7 along with the theme of kissing. The final example is the idea of venustas. Its that sexy quality that Catullus see's in Lesbia that draws him toward her. He mentions this in poem 86 and is touched upon in poem 43. This idea that the form or build of a woman is not the only thing that matters to Catullus seems to be something very important about Lesbia. Something about Lesbia is so beautiful that he can only compare her with a word derived from Venus', the god of beauty, name herself.

Jeep3 said...

When comparing all six of these poems, there is not a particular word or words that string all the poems together. However, there are references to certain feelings that Catullus feels given from the mood, and (loving, fearing, hortatory) verbs. For example, in Catullus 2, the pattern with “quicum, quem, cui” or “with whom, whom, for whom” accentuate the meaning that the ‘sparrow’ is all Lesbia’s and it is what she holds dear to her when things in her life do not go quite right. The first half of the poem is light and jovial, giving the sense that the ‘sparrow’ is a blissful thing for Lesbia to have to play with. For the second half of the poem, Catullus explains how he wishes to make her life better, utilizing the sad cares that she has as his reason to hope that he may be of pleasure to her.

In Carmen 51 several measure words are used to compare such an astute-looking man to God. Words such as “par, superare” or “equal, greater than” show comparison and also tell that Catullus is somewhat insecure by what he sees in this man, whether it be the he that Catullus wishes he would be, or someone else. Catlullus glorifies the radiance of Lesbia’s presence in the first half, however, like Carmen 2, he goes into the feeling of self-doubt and self-pity—believing that a change is called to order to make himself a bolder man, or else he will never have the girl he desires. He drills this thought into his head as the readers can tell by the repetition of the word “otio” or “idleness.” With this repetition, there is also a suggestion that Catullus pretty determined to overcome his idleness.

Carmen 86 has Catullus describing the beauty of Quintia in comparison to the lack thereof in Lesbia. The word “formosa” or “beautiful” is repeated throughout the poem, accenting the theme that this poem is about the beauty of a woman that is not the central woman of Catullus’ poems. However, after glorifying the physical beauty of Quintia, he, once again, in the second half of the poem, refers back to reality. This time, the reality is that though Lesbia has not the complete physical beauty of Quintia, she has something that he sees in no other woman: grace. Lesbia holds whatever little beauty she possesses with the utmost grace, a grace so beautiful that it encompass all her physical flaws and makes her flawless to Catullus’ eyes.

“Basia” or “kiss” is the central theme of Carmen 7. Catullus tells how sacred her kisses are to him and the worth of each kiss—not enough to be counted, as he uses the comparison to stars. In this poem, there is also another negative “nec,” which introduces the “evil” in all these six poems. So far, all his poems have had some kind of conjoining word that separates yet brings together his positive views and cautious or negative views. In this poem, the negative would be one who tries to count the number of kisses and the “mala lingua” or “evil tongue” that tries to bewitch.

In Carmen 5 Catullus uses the hortatory subjunctive in order to create the air of suggestion, let. He wishes to dismiss all the rumors of the old men and hopes that Lesbia will do the same in order to “let” the both of them love. The word “basia” is repeated again in this poem, accenting the indication of Catullus’ deep desire for her kisses. Other words such as “dein, centum” or “then, hundred” are repeated many times over in the last several lines to indicate his growing desire for more kisses the more she gives them. Again, the negative is brought in “ne” or “no” so end his daydream and bring him back to reality. The reality is that people will be jealous if they should know how many kisses the two lovers have shared, thus, the suggests that they have so many kisses that no one would be able to be jealous because there is no concrete number.

Catullus 43 utilizes the word “nec” or “neither/nor” to carve his belief that this girl he sees is not beautiful. He, again, fortes the fact that Lesbia is much more beautiful than the girl he describes. This and poem 86 flips the structure of the other poems, in which Catullus describes his beautiful Lesbia and their love for each other.

In Carmen 86 and Carmen 43, Catullus describes the beauty of other women in comparison to Lesbia’s and that Lesbia’s beauty is unmatched. In the other poems, Catullus uses these “specialty” words to describe his desire for their love to grow before he uses a word with a negative connotation to bring his daydreaming mind back to reality, the reality that secrets are made at night and that people do gossip (are just a couple examples). Without these specialty words, Catullus would not have the personification and metaphor he so meticulously wove into the poems. Metaphors such as “sparrow-passer” that give Catullus 2 a double-entante and in Catullus 51 “tenuis sub artus flamma demanat, sonitu suopte tintinant aures, gemina teguntur” all personify fire, ears and eyes, respectively—Catullus 7, the stars are personified to being able to see the secret affairs of men at night—Catullus 5, the sun and night are used as descriptive devices in order to suggest that the sun does rise, which stands for the time in which they must hide their affair, and the night, when the two can be together in secret. All of these can be considered “specialty words” as well, even though they are not the same repetition of a single word, they are the repetition of a group of words that give scenery to Catullus’ poems. Take away the scenery and you leave Catullus with a mere blank, “idle” mindset, the mindset that he wished to rid of to begin with.

Jeep3 said...

When comparing all six of these poems, there is not a particular word or words that string all the poems together. However, there are references to certain feelings that Catullus feels given from the mood, and (loving, fearing, hortatory) verbs. For example, in Catullus 2, the pattern with “quicum, quem, cui” or “with whom, whom, for whom” accentuate the meaning that the ‘sparrow’ is all Lesbia’s and it is what she holds dear to her when things in her life do not go quite right. The first half of the poem is light and jovial, giving the sense that the ‘sparrow’ is a blissful thing for Lesbia to have to play with. For the second half of the poem, Catullus explains how he wishes to make her life better, utilizing the sad cares that she has as his reason to hope that he may be of pleasure to her.

In Carmen 51 several measure words are used to compare such an astute-looking man to God. Words such as “par, superare” or “equal, greater than” show comparison and also tell that Catullus is somewhat insecure by what he sees in this man, whether it be the he that Catullus wishes he would be, or someone else. Catlullus glorifies the radiance of Lesbia’s presence in the first half, however, like Carmen 2, he goes into the feeling of self-doubt and self-pity—believing that a change is called to order to make himself a bolder man, or else he will never have the girl he desires. He drills this thought into his head as the readers can tell by the repetition of the word “otio” or “idleness.” With this repetition, there is also a suggestion that Catullus pretty determined to overcome his idleness.

Carmen 86 has Catullus describing the beauty of Quintia in comparison to the lack thereof in Lesbia. The word “formosa” or “beautiful” is repeated throughout the poem, accenting the theme that this poem is about the beauty of a woman that is not the central woman of Catullus’ poems. However, after glorifying the physical beauty of Quintia, he, once again, in the second half of the poem, refers back to reality. This time, the reality is that though Lesbia has not the complete physical beauty of Quintia, she has something that he sees in no other woman: grace. Lesbia holds whatever little beauty she possesses with the utmost grace, a grace so beautiful that it encompass all her physical flaws and makes her flawless to Catullus’ eyes.

“Basia” or “kiss” is the central theme of Carmen 7. Catullus tells how sacred her kisses are to him and the worth of each kiss—not enough to be counted, as he uses the comparison to stars. In this poem, there is also another negative “nec,” which introduces the “evil” in all these six poems. So far, all his poems have had some kind of conjoining word that separates yet brings together his positive views and cautious or negative views. In this poem, the negative would be one who tries to count the number of kisses and the “mala lingua” or “evil tongue” that tries to bewitch.

In Carmen 5 Catullus uses the hortatory subjunctive in order to create the air of suggestion, let. He wishes to dismiss all the rumors of the old men and hopes that Lesbia will do the same in order to “let” the both of them love. The word “basia” is repeated again in this poem, accenting the indication of Catullus’ deep desire for her kisses. Other words such as “dein, centum” or “then, hundred” are repeated many times over in the last several lines to indicate his growing desire for more kisses the more she gives them. Again, the negative is brought in “ne” or “no” so end his daydream and bring him back to reality. The reality is that people will be jealous if they should know how many kisses the two lovers have shared, thus, the suggests that they have so many kisses that no one would be able to be jealous because there is no concrete number.

Catullus 43 utilizes the word “nec” or “neither/nor” to carve his belief that this girl he sees is not beautiful. He, again, fortes the fact that Lesbia is much more beautiful than the girl he describes. This and poem 86 flips the structure of the other poems, in which Catullus describes his beautiful Lesbia and their love for each other.

In Carmen 86 and Carmen 43, Catullus describes the beauty of other women in comparison to Lesbia’s and that Lesbia’s beauty is unmatched. In the other poems, Catullus uses these “specialty” words to describe his desire for their love to grow before he uses a word with a negative connotation to bring his daydreaming mind back to reality, the reality that secrets are made at night and that people do gossip (are just a couple examples). Without these specialty words, Catullus would not have the personification and metaphor he so meticulously wove into the poems. Metaphors such as “sparrow-passer” that give Catullus 2 a double-entante and in Catullus 51 “tenuis sub artus flamma demanat, sonitu suopte tintinant aures, gemina teguntur” all personify fire, ears and eyes, respectively—Catullus 7, the stars are personified to being able to see the secret affairs of men at night—Catullus 5, the sun and night are used as descriptive devices in order to suggest that the sun does rise, which stands for the time in which they must hide their affair, and the night, when the two can be together in secret. All of these can be considered “specialty words” as well, even though they are not the same repetition of a single word, they are the repetition of a group of words that give scenery to Catullus’ poems. Take away the scenery and you leave Catullus with a mere blank, “idle” mindset, the mindset that he wished to rid of to begin with.

TiPViking said...

The specialty words play a major role in Catullus' work. Some, such as "basia," play a role in several poems, but most are unique to their own. Unique to Carmen 51 we have the central figure of "ille." "That man" is the object of Catullus' envy in multiple ways. Catullus wishes to be in the man's position so that he could be the object of Lesbia's affection- the very thought of her affection sends Catullus into a downright fit of passion. On a deeper level, Catullus acknowledges that he wishes he had the ability of "that man" to truly "go for" Lesbia; Catullus curses his own love of leisure that prevents him from pursuing his love fully.

In Carmen 5, the big two words are "basia" and "dein(de)," the former illuminating the passion that Catullus desires in the relationship, and the latter moving along the text in a hurried manner, one which implies being caught up by passion.

Carmen 7 repeates the basia theme, including alternate "basia's" such as basiatones (kissifications) and basiare (to kiss). These more varied uses of the same idea give Catullus a way to express a wider range of passion; indeed, Carmen 5 seems much more emotional, but consequently much less intellectual than Carmen 7.

The other poems continue in this manner; Carmen 2 uses ludere, the verb for to play, multiple times, and the entire poem is a more jocular, humorous sort. Carmen 43 uses nec to show everything that this girl is not and, consequently, everything that Catullus esteems Lesbia to be. Finally, Carmen 86 features the term "formosa," and the entire poem is an analysis of the "form," or shapeliness, of both Quintia and, more importantly, Lesbia.

Orz said...

Catullus is known as the master of words. In his poems, he uses literary devices to express his thoughts. In Catullus 5, he uses anaphora. He repeats "dein" to emphasize the number of kisses. In Catullus 51, he uses polyptoton which is using same word multiple times in different forms (otium, otio, otium). in Catullus 86, he uses the word, venustas. He says that Quintia may be beautiful to others, but she is not beautiful as his Lesbia. He says Quintia is ugly and doesn't possess the Venustas, characteristics of Venus. he also says that it is stupid to compare Lesbia to her.

5ABIblood said...

The main theme that we have learned in Catullus’s writing is “Catullus Lesbia Amat.” He shows this affection by repeatedly using the words “centum” (hundred) and “mille” to describe the number of kisses he wants to give Lesbia in Catullus 5. Without these words the poem wouldn’t show as much meaning as it does, and with these words it shows how much Catullus is in love with Lesbia. In Carmen 86, Catullus uses the words “venustas” and “formosa” to describe the difference between Quintia and Lesbia. Without these words Catullus can’t show the major difference between the two. In Catullus 2, the specialty word is “ludere”. By using this word Catullus is saying he wishes to play with Lesbia like she is playing with the bird. It expresses how much he wants her. In Catullus 51 the specialty word is “ille” because it works as a theme of jealously. Catullus talks about a man who sits across from Lesbia. I my opinion, the word helps emphasize how Catullus thinks he is so fortunate, and how he wishes he were that stranger.

Eureka! said...

In Catullus 51, the specialty words are "ille", used twice in the first 2 lines, and otium, which is a polyptoton used in the last three lines. Catullus uses the these specialty words to emphasize the jealousy he feels towards the man (ille) who gets to spend time with Lesbia when he doesn't and to express how he is tormented by his love for Lesbia when he devotes to much time to leisure (otium).
In Catullus 5, Catullus uses the specialty words "mille" and "centum". These words are repeated numerous times in lines 7-10 to emphasize how much Catullus' relationship with Lesbia means to him. He wants so many kisses because he doesn't want anyone to put the evil eye on him and Lesbia.
One very noticable word in Catullus 7 is the word "basiationes," a word that Catullus invented. A rough translation of this word is kissifications. This word gives Catullus' love of Lesbia a playful aspect in a way that only a made up word can.
The specialty word in Catullus 86 is "Quintia." Catullus uses the traits that Quintia does not have to emphasize the qualities that Lesbia posesses.
In Catullus 43, Catullus uses extended litotes. The word he uses to accomplish this literary device is "nec". He uses this word 6 times in 4 lines. His use of this word expresses the qualities that Lesbia has through the negative. It tells the reader/listener some of the traits that have drawn him to Lesbia.
In Catullus 2, a specialty word Catullus uses is "passer," which is a double entendre. The reader can see one of two meanings depending on the way he interprets "passer." Catullus also uses "ludere" to emphasize mening. He uses "ludere" twice in the poem; each time he uses it it has a different meaning. The first time it is refering to the "sparrow" and how Lesbia plays with it. The second time "ludere" is used, it is what Catullus would like to do. The contrasting uses of this word depict how heavy his soul is with his love for Lesbia.

hannaH said...

Catullus uses many choice words to reveal to us his passion for Lesbia and to set the romantic mood his "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" poems entice. Words like basia, dien and diende, omnis, and nec.
Basia, meaning kiss or kisses, is used many times in 51 and 7, showing us that he obviously likes Lesbia's kisses, and he likes a lot of them. We see just how many he wants when he mentions words like dien and diende (six times!) in Carmen 5! Catullus obviously cannot get enough of this woman. Catullus compares Lesbia to other women, but only in a way to make her seem all surpassing. He says things like "She is not..." fill in the blank. She does not have dark eyes. She does not have stumpy fingers. She is not ugly.
Without words like these, his poems would seem bland and uninteresting. While reading his poems, he seems excessive, but thinking about it in retrospect, these Carmens would not be the same if he said "Kiss me a lot", rather than "Dein et diende et dien et dien"...This makes it seem like he would like her kisses to go on endlessly. As for his comparisons, if we did not understand just how bad and ugly and stumpy these other girls were, we would not fully understand how stunning and glowing and perfect Lesbia is.

In_other_words said...

Catullus centers his poems around the whole concept of passion and love. These themes are underlined by using certain words that highlight just how much Catullus cares for Lesbia and life itself. To express his adoration for Lesbia, Catullus describes her as "venustas." Nowadays, to call a girl "beautiful" is extremely meaningful and sincere, as was "venustas" back then. Not every woman has true beauty that amounts to "venustas." To demonstrate his undying passion for Lesbia, Catullus uses "basia" in a hyperbolic way to show just how many kisses will satisfy his burning passion for her. Catullus used these words to show much praise Lesbia deserves, and how just seeing her makes Catullus feel. He becomes speechless, motionless, and has a burning sensation. By using just "ordinary" words for her beauty such as tall and pale, Lesbia could not be compared to other women as easily.

ARP Rocker said...

From my analysis of the poems i think that "venustas" and "formosa" are two important specialty words. These two words help describe Catullus' love by saying what others are ( formosa) and what Lesbia has (venustas). The others just being beautiful, to many, while Lesbia has sex appeal.

82 said...

In Catullus' poems that we have read under the theme "Catullus Lesbiam Amat" we have seen many "speciality words". These words are those that he repeats often that helps give a poem a certain focus. In Carmen 51, Catullus uses the last lines to focus on "otium" or "leisure". He repeats it so that you can see how his time troubles him, as he continues to always be thinking about Lesbia. In Carmen 5 and 7, Catullus focuses on the number of kisses he would like to recieve from Lesbia. Carmen 86 and 43 Catullus uses a style in which he points out all the flaws with other women, and how they do not compare to Lesbia. He uses speciality words such as nec to turn positives into negatives. If any of these words were deleted his poems would not be as strong and effective as they are now.

Postransky said...

Catullus uses words such as "nox", "basia", words describing beauty (pulcherrima, bella) a lot during his poems. If these words were deleted, the poems would make little sense, unless replaced with other words similar in meaning. The words enable him to talk about his love for Lesbia, because they describe her (pulcherrima) / things he would like to give to Lesbia (basia).

He also uses words such as "et" and "est" a lot too, but if those were deleted, the poem would still be fine.

Will Ravon said...

Catullus obviously uses Lesbia very much. He also uses basia a half-dozen times in one poem. He also uses words that relate to nighttime. This might be because he could only meet her at night. In every poem he uses a word that relates to love for the obvious reason that he loves Lesbia.

swmslw said...

Catullus uses many "specialty words" throughout his poems, but they may not necessarily continue from one poem to the next; so one poem may use one word over and over but that same word may not be repeated or even exist at all in another poem. Some of Catullus' specialty words include formosa and basia (in carmen 86), otio (in carmen 51), and deinde/ multa (in carmen 5). Each of these words has a very special purpose within their respective poems. For instance, when Catullus repeats deinde and multa throughout carmen 5, it shows how much he wants Lesbia and the many kisses she can provide for him; so, by repeating the same word he clearly emphasizes his love for Lesbia over and over again. Also, when he repeats formosa continually he emphasizes Lesbia's extraordinary beauty as compared to the other girls who pale in comparison. These poems would be very different if the words were not repeated or simply left out because by emphasis Catullus can clearly convey his love for Lesbia and the reader can understand the depths of his passion because he repeats the same word over and over again.

swmslw said...

Catullus uses many "specialty words" throughout his poems, but they may not necessarily continue from one poem to the next; so one poem may use one word over and over but that same word may not be repeated or even exist at all in another poem. Some of Catullus' specialty words include formosa and basia (in carmen 86), otio (in carmen 51), and deinde/ multa (in carmen 5). Each of these words has a very special purpose within their respective poems. For instance, when Catullus repeats deinde and multa throughout carmen 5, it shows how much he wants Lesbia and the many kisses she can provide for him; so, by repeating the same word he clearly emphasizes his love for Lesbia over and over again. Also, when he repeats formosa continually he emphasizes Lesbia's extraordinary beauty as compared to the other girls who pale in comparison. These poems would be very different if the words were not repeated or simply left out because by emphasis Catullus can clearly convey his love for Lesbia and the reader can understand the depths of his passion because he repeats the same word over and over again.

swmslw said...

Catullus uses many "specialty words" throughout his poems, but they may not necessarily continue from one poem to the next; so one poem may use one word over and over but that same word may not be repeated or even exist at all in another poem. Some of Catullus' specialty words include formosa and basia (in carmen 86), otio (in carmen 51), and deinde/ multa (in carmen 5). Each of these words has a very special purpose within their respective poems. For instance, when Catullus repeats deinde and multa throughout carmen 5, it shows how much he wants Lesbia and the many kisses she can provide for him; so, by repeating the same word he clearly emphasizes his love for Lesbia over and over again. Also, when he repeats formosa continually he emphasizes Lesbia's extraordinary beauty as compared to the other girls who pale in comparison. These poems would be very different if the words were not repeated or simply left out because by emphasis Catullus can clearly convey his love for Lesbia and the reader can understand the depths of his passion because he repeats the same word over and over again.

jimi said...

Throughout this selection of poems Catullus does indeed use specialty words."Basia" (kisses) is a word he continously uses throughtout poems 5 & 7. He uses this to emphasize the frequency of his feelings towards her. Some may call this exaggeration but i believe its a method he commonly uses to show his feelings for her, in this case by asking for countless kisses. Other words he uses are "Lesbia" which is the name of the girl these poems talk about. You ask yourself so what if her name is in the poems they are about her, but if you examine how Catullus changes the meaning of her name to envoke a feeling of love and possesion you see his emotions toward her. He commonly refers to her as (my lesbia) (my girl) (that girl) (lesbia) all which specific meanings and all done intentionally to make a point in his work.