Friday, February 23, 2007

Weeks 8-9: Patterns of Writing

We will keep this topic open for two weeks. I ask that you each attempt to respond to my question below, AND, in the second week, that you make a response to one other student's post. You will receive two different grades, based on your own response, and on your response to another student. By doing this, we are extending our conversation with each other about Catullus' works beyond the classroom. Make your first post without reading others' posts. Then, of course, read all of the posts before making your second. Your second may focus on one person's comments, or on those of several.

We have read several of Catullus' poems now, all about his relationship with Lesbia. What have you begun to notice about Catullus' writing style that seems to be "Catullan"? In other words, are there things that Catullus seems to like to do with words and patterns of words that, if you were to see the same in an unidentified poem, would make you think: Hmmm, this could be a poem of Catullus.

Identify any such patterns you see. Give the Latin and the poem number, and then talk about the effect these patterns seem to have on the message of the poem.

Magister Patricius

82 comments:

jimi said...

Below i posted the Latin as well as a literal translation to Catullus' carmen 3 which i chose to use in order to discuss the unique styles Catullus uses in his writing.

"Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque,
et quantum est hominum venustiorum:
passer mortuus est meae puellae,
passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quem plus illa oculis suis amabat."
This can be translated as...
Mourn, oh Cupids and Venuses,
and whatever there is of rather pleasing men:
the sparrow of my girlfriend has died,
the sparrow, delight of my girl,
whom she loved more than her own eyes.

This is probably one of the most influential styles Catullus uses to express his feelings to Lesbia throughout his poems and that is by constantly using the literary device known as anaphora. Anaphora is essentually the repetition of a word to drive home a meaning and to reiterate a point. The specific point Catullus is making in this poem is that he is overemphasizing his feelings about Lesbia by referring to her as his girl over and over again in the opening lines. This i believe is a very unique approach Catullus uses to show his feelings via his writing. You dont see this everyday in modern or classic writers and tat is one reason Catullus is unique by the use of this style.

Jesx said...

Catullus refers to Lesbia as "meae puellae/my girl" many times in his first poems 2 and 3. He specifically makes his feelings known that he loves this girl and wants her as his own. Catullus also tends to express the things about other women and say how they lack in comparison to his Lesbia like in poem 43 like "Tecum Lesbia nostra comparatur? O saeclum insapiens et infacetum!/ Is our Lesbia compared with you? O tasteless and crude age!"

Not everytime he talks "good" of Lesbia. Even though he talked about how much he would give "multi basiare/ many kisses" to her in poem 5, he asks in poem
8 "Quem basiabis?/ Whom will you kiss?" He goes from loving or "lusting" over the women of his dreams to her lying to him and meaning less, like in poem 70.

Gretzky said...

Catullus uses a few unique styles. One of his favorite phrases to use seems to be "meae puella," (Catullus poems 2 and 3) which means 'my girl,' to refer to his lover Lesbia. When he talks about what they will do in their future in poem 5:
"Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!"
which translated means:
'Let us live, my Lesbia, let us love, and let us judge the rumors of old men to the worth less than a penny.'
The way that Catullus phrases this is a pattern unto his own. If i were to see this format, 'Let us ___, let us ____, and let us _____' i would begin to think that this must be Catullus's work. His feelings are expressed, and through the meeter you can feel how much he wants Lesbia to be with him. It is truly 'Catuluian'

Minerva said...

Catullus uses some techniques which are characteristic merely of poetry, not particularly his poetry, yet others are clearly marked with the Catullan style.

Catullus has a habit of using certain words and phrases frequently throughout his work, his "favorite" vocabulary. While many words are used multiple times, some of the most prominent examples are "formosa", "pulchra", and "Venustas", all referring to feminine beauty or charm. They are very prevalent in Carmen 86, which describes his special attraction to Lesbia above other women. Ex: "Lesbia formosa est, quae cum pulcherrima tota est, tum omnibus una omnis surripuit Veneres." "Lesbia is beautiful with all of the beauty, then also overcomes all charming women in every way." The words are used in ways that give them subtle meanings within the context of Catullan work. He almost defines his vocabulary for himself, so that the words' shades of meaning apply differently. For example, he creates differences between three words that could be translated to mean the same thing.

Catullus is also prone to describe things by location, such as his reference to the African mountain lioness in Carmen 60 "leana montibus Libystinis", the sands of Libya in Carmen 7 "harenae Libyssae", and the contraceptives of Cyrene also in Carmen 7 "lasarpiciferis Cyrenis". Description by place seems to be a relatively common convention of his, especially ones that refer to Africa.

Catullus is also a very self-aware poet. He often refers to himself or reminds the reader of his position in all of these events, such as when he warns himself against something, whether it is the folly of too much leisure in 51 or the pain of a lost relationship in 8, "Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire...". He never lets us forget where he stands and who gets to tell his story.

cullenforhire said...

Catullus, in the poem-groups we have read, seems to have one very recurring theme: Lesbia. She is the focus of these poems, and through them we are allowed to see his feelings for her grow, peak, and begin to dwindle. In the "Catullus Lesbiam amat" series, he repeatedly uses the word 'basia' (kisses). We see this in Carmen's 5 and 7. But things are abruptly different in the "Catullusne Lesbiam amat?" series. In Carmen 3 Catullus makes reference to the sparrow of Carmen 2, only now it is a "mortuus passer." I would imagine that this idea is uniquely Catullan, and that these clues (Lesbia, basia, and passer) would lead the reader to see that their poem was by Catullus.

shocka said...

Throughout most of Catullus' work, he seems to exploit the use of the literary device, litotes: the use of a negative to express a strong positive. For example, in Catullus 43, the poet writes:
"Salve, nec minimo puella naso
nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis
nec longis digitis nec ore sicco nec sane nimis elegante lingua,"
This passage literally translated reads, "Hello, girl with the not little nose with the not beautiful foot and not with black eyes with not long fingers and the not dry mouth and with a tounge that is not elegane and sane enough."
Again, in Carmen 8, line 7, Catullus writes "quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat," meaning "which you were wishing for and the girl was not not wishing for."

The application of the word "nec" seems to be a common word for Catullus to take advantage of when using litotes in order to express his point. This pattern repeats itself over and over, suggesting a "Catullan" writing style.

hahaha psyche said...

Salve, nec minimo puella naso
nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis
nec longis digitis nec ore sicco
nec sane nimis elegante lingua.
Decoctoris amica Formiani,
ten provincia narrat esse bellam?
Tecum Lesbia nostra comparatur?
O saeclum insapiens et infacetum!

Hello, girl, neither with the smallest nose,
Nor with pretty feet nor with black little eyes
Nor with long fingers nor with dry lips
Nor clearly with a very refined tongue.
Girl of the spendthrift from Formiae,
Does he report that in the province you are beautiful?
Is our Lesbia compared with you?
O tasteless and crude age!

Catullus uses litotes, or, proving something by negating it's opposite, ie: "'not bad at all'" or "'This is no small problem'", many times in this poem,. By using this device and pointing out all of the apparent flaws about this other girl he is showing us that she does not even begin to compare with everything Lesbia has to offer.

Frank said...

In every poem by Catullus, there always seems to be something referring to love, whether it be "basia" or "amo". In Carmen 8, Catullus even goes as far as to say "fulsere quondam dandidi tibi soles," which can be translated into "once the sun shone bright for you." This verse describes all the good time that he and Lesbia had shared together.
Catullus is also fond of using apostrophes, which is when you are addressing a person who is not present. Some good examples of this is Carmen 2, where he is addressing the sparrow, and Carmen 3, where he is addressing the gods.
One additional thing Catullus is known for is calling Lesbia "mean puellae," which means "my girl." He does this in Carmen 5, 2, and 3.

said...

In Catullus' writings he is always talking about Lesbia. He often speaks of giving her or sharing with her kisses, or "basia". For example, in Carmen 7 and 5 Catullus says things like, "Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque"(Carmen 7) and in Carmen 5, "da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum.." Both of these poems talks about kisses that Catullus gives or shares with Lesbia. "Basia", or kisses, is a word that Catullus uses often in his poems, therefore seeing basia and Lesbia in any poem will immediately give you a hint that the poem is "Catullan."

Wolf Angel said...

Some patterns that I see in Catullus’s writing are extreme over-exaggerations. In Carmen 5, lines 7-9, “da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum,” Catullus asks for a massive amount of kisses to be given to him, but of course he doesn’t mean for the kisses to be counted, he’s just trying to get the point across that he wants a lot. Catullus also over-exaggerates in Carmen 7, lines 3-4, “quam magnus numerus Libyssae haranae lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis,” (“as great a number as the African grains of sand that lie in silphium producing Cyrene”), referring to how many kisses are enough for him; he exaggerates the number here as he did in Carmen 5. Then in lines 7-8, “aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox, furtivos hominum vident amores,” (“Or as many stars that, when the night is silent, see the secret love affairs of men”), Catullus uses the number of stars in the sky to exaggerate the number of kisses desired. Catullus exaggerates in a negative way in Carmen 60, where, due to rage, he compares Lesbia to monsters. “Num te leaena montibus Libystinis aut Scylla latrans infima inguinum parte tam mente dura procreavit ac taetra ut supplicis vocem in novissimo casu contemptam haberes, a nimis fero corde?” (Surely not a lioness from the African mountains or barking Scylla begot you from the lowest part of her loins, you of such harsh, foul spirit that you hold in contempt the voice of a supplicant in his last and final despair, with a too cruel heart?). Catullus is clearly bitter and outraged, so he has described Lesbia in an equally bitter voice, basically saying that she is more heartless and cruel and monsters.

Will Ravon said...

In Carmen 8 Catullus mentions himself in third person about his relationship with Lesbia and then talks directly to Lesbia.

Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,
et quod vides perisse perditum ducas.
Fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles,
cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat
amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla.
Ibi illa multa cum iocosa fiebant,
quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat,
fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.
Nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque impotens noli,
nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,
sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.
Vale puella, iam Catullus obdurat,
nec te requiret nec rogabit invitam.
At tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla.
Scelesta, uae te, quae tibi manet uita?
Quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?
Quem nunc amabis? Cuius esse diceris?
Quem basiabis? Cui labella mordebis?
At tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.

You can see that Catullus reminds himself of all the good times he had with her. Then he goes on to talk directly to Lesbia and tell her how much she'll be missing. I have only seen Catullus use a technique like this.

XRoSeSrReD317X said...

There are several aspects to the writing style of Catullus. He seems to enjoy using phrases that makes readers feel that he is sometimes strange. When he talks about Lesbia, he uses words such as "venustas", charm, in order to describe her. However, this all really depends on how he feels towards Lesbia. If she rejects him, he feels hurt and talks about how much she is going to miss out with him. Most and/or all of Catullus' poems express his love for her, regardless of whether she loves him back. His poems are used to show the love he has for her, and to try to even get her to love him.

swmslw said...

Catullus, like every other person who has written something of note, has his own little quirks or patterns that distinguish him from other poets. As we’ve read his works there are some similarities from one poem to the next. For instance, Catullus continually invokes a person, thing, or god and goddess that is not present in the poem, like in Carmen 3 when he says, “Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque” or “Mourn, O Venuses and Cupids. Also, in Carmen 8 Catullus says, “Vale, puella, iam Catullus obdurat, nec te requiret nec rogabit invitam” or “Goodbye, girl, for Catullus endures, and he will not chase after nor will he ask out an unwilling you”. This general invocation of an absent person gives the poem, or at least that section of the poem, a lofty, high-minded air that otherwise would not have been included had he actually been addressing someone. Another technique specific to Catullus is that he tends to use abstract images to get his point across, like the shadows of Orcus devouring the sparrow in Carmen 3 or the insulting remark to Lesbia about her having been born from Scylla’s loins. If I was to encounter an unidentified poem, I would certainly look for abstract imagery to complement a particular statement and I would also look for statements that invoke a person who is not actually present in the poem.

In_other_words said...

In Catullan poems, Catullus uses such literary techniques as alliteration, anaphora, and metaphors. In any given Catullan poem, one might see the frequent use of metaphors, in which one object is compared to another. In Carmen 51, in the line "tenuis sub artus flamma demanat", Catullus claims that fire is metaphorically running through his limbs, with one simply gaze upon his fair Lesbia. If someone were to, as you said, stumble onto an unidentified poem, the use of "scrambled" word order, from what seemed to be typical, and the use of fairly uncommon words, such as "venustas" would help you recognize certain Catullan elements.

hannah-is-cool said...

Throughout the series of poems we have scrutinized in the last weeks, we have found a can't eat, can't sleep, reach for the stars over the fence, world series kind of love poet in Catullus. On numerous occassions he has referred to his Lesbia has meae puella (my girl). Such was the case in Carmen 3, when the poet actually refers to "his girl" three different times. CAtullus also has a habit of comparing Lesbia, or his love for Lesbia. When answering the question of how many of Lesbia's kisses would suffice him Catullus responds romantically, saying
"quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae
lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis
oraclum Iovis inter aestuosi
et Batti veteris sacrum sepulcrum;
aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,
furtivos hominum vident amores:
tam te basia multa basiare."
(As big a number as the Libyan grains of sand
that lie at silphium producing Cyrene
between the oracle of Sultry Jupiter
and the sacred tomb of old Battus;
Or as many stars that see the secret love affairs of men,
when the night is silent. So many kisses are enough.)
Catullus seemingly had passionate love pulsing through his veins. That was until the latest poems we have studied. In the lengthy Carmen 8, the emotional poet used apostrophe and addressed himself directly, in a slightly off-beat tone. Instructing himself to "not chase her who flees, nor live in unhappiness,
but harden your heart, endure and stand fast."
(nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,
sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.)
Catullus uses his mood-oriented language to draw in the reader. He hangs his poems on the very basis of his being. His passionate feelings, or recently lack of, towards Lesbia focus his writing.

Kirro said...

Without having studied other Roman authors, it's hard to say what is unique about Catullus, but there are many defining features. There are the specific phrases, such as "meae puellae." One example of the typical Catullan use of this is in carmen 3 line 4: "passer, deliciae meae puellae," or "sparrow, of my sweet girl," in English. Mulier is also commonly used, but only in his later, bitter poems. Another similarity in his poems is his use of double entendre. The use of the word passer, sparrow, is a prime example of this, used in carmen 2 and 3. In addition, many of his poems use metaphors rather than directly saying something. Carmen 3 is a good example, where Catullus uses indirect methods to say that he and Lesbia have broken-up. In lines 13-14, he writes,"at vobis male sit, malae tenebrae
Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis," or in English: "But may it be badly for you, evil shadows of Orcus, which devour all beautiful things." Of course the meter is also a hint. Although not all of his poems are hendecasyllabic, the majority are, and so the meter could be the very first clue. So all of this combined, the commonly used words, double entendre, metaphors, and meter, could lead me to wonder if Catullus wrote the poem. Overall, however, the effect of these things on the poems is the biggest clue. The double entendres and metaphors tend to make the poems more dramatic, or some might say more vague. Rarely does Catullus say anything outright. Even in Carmen 43, where Catullus describes a woman as downright ugly, the hidden message is that Lesbia is infinitely better. These kinds of effects, I would have to say, are even more defining than the vocabulary and meter. These make up style of Catullus, but do not necessarily make the poem Catullan.

youknowdis said...

oIf there was a certain poem that brought out the negatives of other people to show the postivies of others, I would think of Catullus. Examples of this are in poem 43 when he says "nec bello pede nec ore sicco nec sane nimis elegante lingua" ((nor with pretty feet, nor with dark eyes, nor with long fingers, nor with a dry mouth, nor with clear elegant tongue)). Catullus is using the negatives of a ramdom girl to show that this girl is in no comparision to Lesbia. I think its a very rude technique to use to put others down, but it also shows how crazy Catullus is about Lesbia.
In poem 86 she says "Quintia formosa est multis. mihi candida, longa, recta est: haec ego sic singula confiteor. totum illud formosa nego: nam nulla venustas, nulla in tam magno est corpore mica salis. Lesbia formosa est, quae cum pulcherrima tota est, tum omnibus una omnis surripuit Veneres" ((Qunitia is beautiful to many. For me she is white, tall, well built. I admitt the attributes singly. But deny the notion of beauty: because no grace, in such a large body is not a grain of humor. Lesbia is beautiful, who is totally with beauty, but also has stolen all the attractions of all other women)). In this poem he talks how Lesbia takes the beauty from all other women. But, he first says the qualities Lesbia has that most men would think are perfect, but then throws in all the negatives compared to Lesbia. Catullus uses this stradegy to show everyone how beautiful Lesbia really is and how no one can even compare.

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

Throughout these poems by Catullus I have picked up on what I believe as insecurities in Catullus. I often find he is trying to cover them up. For example he makes sure that everyone knows he has “possession” of “his” Lesbia when he says: meae Lesbia (My Lesbia) in 5 and 7 and another rendition of that when he refers to Lesbia as: my girl / my women (meae puellae and mea nubere) found in Carmen 2, 3, and 70. He really always over emphasizes the “My” in all of his poems.

The second example of Catullus’ insecurities come out in Carmen 43 and 86 when he feels that he has to put down two women in order to show off “his” Lesbia’s beauty. Carmen 43, after he calls the girl ugly in numerous ways he says:

ten provincia narrat esse bellam? Tecum Lesbia nostra comparatur? O saeclum insapiens et infacetum! Which in latin is:

Does he [the boyfriend] report that in the province you [the girl] are beautiful? Is our Lesbia compared with you? O tasteless and crude age! If you notice again even in this poem he was showing his possession of Lesbia by saying our Lesbia.

The final examples of Catullus’ insecurities are found in Carmen 8, 87, and 60 during what appears to be the break up. He, in proper Catullus fashion, is trying to hide his insecurities with the whole situation by trying to put act like he is tuff and tries to save face. He acts the part of the victim in Carmen 8 when he starts out the poem saying Miser Cutulle (miserable Catullus). I really do not believe that Catullus was the good guy in the relationship and Lesbia was the fiery lion loined witch (sorry, I took the liberty to add the words fiery and witch for emphasis. Here is the real latin and translation…) “Scylla latrans infima inguinum parte” barking Scylla didn't beget you from the lowest part of her loins.

Strictly hypothetically speaking, Catullus’ anger that he is displaying in Carmen 8, 87, and 60 might be a cover up for Catullus being dumped by Lesbia for cheating or something along the lines of that, because Catullus seems like the guy that would do that. I really would not trust Catullus as far as I could throw him. He seems like a insecure (Carmen 5,7,2,3, and 70), egotistical (Carmen 5 and 8), and mean (Carmen 43 and 86) kind of guy.

Orz said...

Below I have posted a copy of Catullus 43 and translation of Catullus 43.

Salve, nec minimo puella naso
nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis
nec longis digitis nec ore sicco
nec sane nimis elegante lingua,

decoctoris amica Formiani.
ten provincia narrat esse bellam?
tecum Lesbia nostra comparatur?
o saeclum insapiens et infacetum!

hello, girl neither with smallest nose
nor with pretty feet nor with black little eyes
nor with long fingers nor with dry lips
nor clearly with a very refined tongue.
girl of the spendthrift from Formiae,
does he report that in the province you are beautiful?
is our Lesbia compared with you?
o tasteless and crude age!

In this poem, Catullus presents a long line of litotes (lines 1-4). Litotes is the use of negative to express a strong positive. Catullus is saying that this ugly girl cannot be compared to his lover, Lesbia who possesses all the Venustas. Also the repetition of nec is an example of anaphora, repetition of a word for emphasis. Catullus is saying that this girl possesses unwanted characteristics and emphasizes each of them by using the word, nec. These literary devices make Catullus poems unique from others.

tram192 said...

It seems to me that what seems "Catullan" is the repetition of words. In certain poems Catullus repeate a word to put more meaning into it. For example in Carmen 5 Catullus repeats the word diende over and over agian:da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus. THis translates to Give me a thousand kisses, then another hundred,
then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet another thousand more, then another hundred.
Then, when we have made many thousands,
we will mix them all up so that we don't know, which is telling us the readers that he wants to recieve an infinite amount of kisses from the one he loves. Another writing technique that can also be said " Catullan" is expressing things indirectly. For example inn carmen 86 Catullus instead of saying that Quintia is ugly he goes around it and describes her to be ugly the he directly says it but not at first. He says: Mihi candida, longa, recta est: haec ego sic singula confiteor. totum illud formosa nego: nam nulla venustas, nulla in tam magno est corpore mica salis. Which translates to For me she (Quintia) is white, tall, well- built: I admit these things one by one. But deny the notion of the idea of beauty: because no grace, not a grain of humor in such a large body.This tactic that Catulluses use lets us the reader know what Catullus thinks of Quintia and what he sees in her.

5ABIblood said...

The central idea that we have learned in Catullus’s writing is “Catullus Lesbia Amat.”
In Carmen 5, he shows his affection by repeatedly using the words “centum” (hundred) and “mille” (thousand) to describe the number of kisses he wants to give. In Carmen 86, Catullus repeatedly uses the words “venustas” and “formosa” to describe the difference between Quintia and Lesbia. In Catullus’s eyes no woman can match up or compare to Lesbia; Lesbia is the perfect woman to Catullus. In Carmen 51, Catullus repeatedly uses the word “ille” to show the theme of jealously. “Ille” (that man) shows the reader how Catullus get jealous when that man sits across from Lesbia and sees and hears what she is doing. In Catullus 3, Catullus repeatedly uses the phrase “meae puellae” (my girl) to show the affection he has towards Lesbia, and that she is his and no one elses. No matter the tone or mood that Catullus talks in it is evident that he has passion in what he writes. For example, in Carmen 8, it shows that Catullus and Lesbia are no longer together. Catullus asks a series of questions relating to what Lesbia will do and who will do such things without him. “Quis nunc te adibit? Cui videberis bella? Quem nunc amabis? Cuius esse diceris? Quem basiabis? Cui labella mordebis?” (Who will come to you now? Who will think you pretty? Whom will you love now? Who will people say you are? Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?). Throughout these examples and much of Catullus’ poems, it is evident that Catullus over exaggerates his affection towards Lesbia whether he loves her or when he dislikes her.

5ABIblood said...

The central idea that we have learned in Catullus’s writing is “Catullus Lesbia Amat.”
In Carmen 5, he shows his affection by repeatedly using the words “centum” (hundred) and “mille” (thousand) to describe the number of kisses he wants to give. In Carmen 86, Catullus repeatedly uses the words “venustas” and “formosa” to describe the difference between Quintia and Lesbia. In Catullus’s eyes no woman can match up or compare to Lesbia; Lesbia is the perfect woman to Catullus. In Carmen 51, Catullus repeatedly uses the word “ille” to show the theme of jealously. “Ille” (that man) shows the reader how Catullus get jealous when that man sits across from Lesbia and sees and hears what she is doing. In Catullus 3, Catullus repeatedly uses the phrase “meae puellae” (my girl) to show the affection he has towards Lesbia, and that she is his and no one elses. No matter the tone or mood that Catullus talks in it is evident that he has passion in what he writes. For example, in Carmen 8, it shows that Catullus and Lesbia are no longer together. Catullus asks a series of questions relating to what Lesbia will do and who will do such things without him. “Quis nunc te adibit? Cui videberis bella? Quem nunc amabis? Cuius esse diceris? Quem basiabis? Cui labella mordebis?” (Who will come to you now? Who will think you pretty? Whom will you love now? Who will people say you are? Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?). Throughout these examples and much of Catullus’ poems, it is evident that Catullus over exaggerates his affection towards Lesbia whether he loves her or when he dislikes her.

chmathew said...

Catullus uses many styles in which a reader can easily identify his writing.Probably one of the most influential styles Catullus uses to express his feelings to Lesbia throughout his poems and that is by constantly using anaphora.Anaphora is the repetition of a word to to make a point. The main point Catullus makes in all the poems we have read so far is his "love" for Lesbia. Catullus refers to Lesbia as "meae puellae/my girl"

srivatsanenator said...

If I had to describe the pattern of Catullus and how one would identify it I would say that one must look for 2 thing, the expression of passion and love through metaphors and word choice. An example of the expression of passion through metaphors would be found in Carmina 2 and 3 where the Passer is used as an object describing his love and his sexula desire. Another example of this is found in Carmen 86, where in line 6 Catullus uses the word Veneres to describe Lesbia thus implying she is as beautiful or more beatiful than the godess of love and beauty herself, Venus. This use of the metphor is also used in a negative light, in Carmen 60 line 2 Catullus in anger compares her to something begot from the loins of Scylla. Once again the use of a metaphor. It seems that at all times Catullus is very inense about how he feels and none of it is lost in translation. Another way to recognize a Catullan piece is by some of the word choice. Catullus loves to use thought and emotion evoking words like basia and venustas. These words are characteristic of the Catulan works we have read so far.

latin blogger said...

Catullus has several writing techniques that he uses throughout these poems. Repetition is used throughout many of his poems. In Carmen 51 the words “ille” and inflected ways of “otium” are used. He uses ille to describe that man who watched Lesbia and the repetition creates the extent of the jealousy that he feels. Otium is described as troublesome and the repletion further describes danger of this idleness. In Carmen 5 and and 7, catullus uses the words “mille,” “centum,” and “basia.” Repeating these words shows the love that Catullus has for Lesbia. In Carmen 2, 3, and 8 Catullus refers to Lesbia as “meae puellae” and once again shows the attachment he has for Lesbia. Repetition is the major stylistic element of Catullus that I found that could be used to distinguish his work from other writers. I think that his thematic elements connecting to his patterns are more specific and distinguishable to him. His poems repeat the same idea of his love for Lesbia and later his desperation when she doesn’t seem to return that same love.

welchie said...

First of all, Catullus uses sarcasm, exaggeration, and humor frequently in his poems, especially the ones in the "Catullusne Lesbiam Amat?" section. In Carmen 3, Catullus begins by commanding "Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque, et quantum est hominum venustiorum: passer mortuus est meae puellae..." meaning "Mourn, O Venuses and Cupid, and whatever there is of beautiful people: the sparrow of my girl is dead." This passage could be taken literally, but if one were to follow the tone set by the other poems in this unit, it becomes obvious that Catullus does not want everyone to mourn for his girl's sparrow, he is just making fun of the sparrow. Then, in Carmen 70 Catullus mocks his girl by saying "sed mulier cupido quod dicit amanti, in vento et rapido scribere oportet aqua." meaning " But what a woman says to a desirous lover, he ought to write in the wind and rapid water." He is mocking Lesbia by saying that what she says does not really mean anything to him, although her words must mean something to him, or else he would not have to write a poem mocking her. Then, throughout the entire Carmen 43, Catullus is showing how beautiful Lesbia is by pointing how another girl is not. His sense of humor comes out through Carmen 43.

The second style Catullus uses is the repeated use of "meae puellae" or "my girl" in referring to Lesbia. He uses this phrase in Carmen 2, Carmen 3, and Carmen 5.

82 said...

After reading Catullus' poems, I have noticed his writing styles and word patterns. Catullus has used "meae puellae" "my girl" many times. It helps contribute to the idea of the way Catullus feels about her. He feels as though she is his. As far as writing styles, we have seen Catullus use apostrophes often. Catullus refers to Lesbias sparrow in Carmen 2 and 3. In Carmen 8, Catullus addresses Lesbia. This helps to increase his meaning. Also, even though Catullus has only written in litotes in a few poems, I would consider it Catullan because he did it so well.

unbuma said...

In reading Catullus's poems, he has different patterns that he like to use throughout his writing. One of the things he likes to do is use anaphoras (the repitition of a word or phrase for emphasis.)For example, in Carmen 43, he says
"nec minimo puella naso
nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis
nec longis digitis nec ore sicco
nec sane nimis elegante lingua."
Within these lines he uses the word "nec" (nor) multiple times for emphasis. Another example of Catullus using an anaphora in in Carmen 5. "deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus." In these lines he uses the words diende over and over again. In a good bit of poems we have read by Catullus, his style has been using anaphoras.
Another thing Catullus does in his poems is that he is always talking about a girl, in his case the girl is Lesbia. Whether it was giving her many kisses, and saying how much he loved her, or how silly he was for liking her so much, he mentions Lesbia in a good amount of his poems.

Jeep3 said...

“passer mea puellae/sparrow of my favorite girl” repeated in Carmen 2, 3 acknowledges Catullus’ desire to let everyone know that regardless of how much the sparrow means to Lesbia, she still belongs to him, she is all for his love. Carmen 5 has an example of tricolon crescens “vivamus, amemus, aestimemus/ let us live, let us love, let us consider” to exemplify growing importance in his desire, similar to “deinde/then” in Carmen 5 is repeated to emphasize Catullus’ desire for Lesbia’s kisses, the increase in repetition of the word, anaphora, signifies the increase in his burning desire. The use of anaphora is also apparent in Carmen 43, where “nec/neither, nor” is used not to describe a growing desire like Catullus had for more “basia/kissifications” but to say with affirmation that he believes this other girl to be uglier than his Lesbia. “otio/leisure, idleness” in Carmen 51 shows that the use of polyptoten, same word used multiple times with inflective form, can also help emphasize a thought or idea that Catullus really wants readers to understand about the character in the poem: Catullus is extremely tired of being idle and wants to make something of his idleness—the use of this literary device shows his growing restlessness to the situation he is in. Carmen 8 uses the various forms of “quis/who” in an accusatory way so that Lesbia would feel the anger she has inflicted upon him. His tone is similar to that of couples today (at least in movies), where one lover accuses the other lover by rapidly using a conglomeration of spiteful sentences all at once.

However, I believe that the most distinctive characteristic of Catullus’ writing is the way he uses the third and first person interchangeably throughout his poems. Throughout all of Catullus’ poems, he has described his constant stares at Lesbia, uglier women, the significance of the sparrow, the hurt of his sorrow, the cruelness of Lesbia’s love-turned-not feelings, etc. He has described each of these descriptions using the first-person narrative view. However, Catullus likes to bring himself in with the use of the third-person, like in Carmen 8, when he sympathizes with “Catullus” but then realizes that he is being delusional and changes to first-person voice to end his argument/breakup. Catullus’ style of writing his poems in this way magnifies the severity of his realizations in that they are life and heart-changing realizations—the most pertinent yet difficult kinds of realizations people come to accept in a lifetime.

baseball0808 said...

I'm going to reiterate what I said back in class a few weeks ago. In Carmen 3, Catullus uses the words, "meae puellae" numerous times, meaning "my girl". This really leaves me thinking that this is a Catullan poem. Catullus uses the words "meae puellae" to say that this girl is "his girl". He's basically claiming her. It is obvious that Catullus is crazy about Lesbia and so when he uses the words, meae puellae, you know that it is a Catullan poem because a poet would not use such powerful words, if he did not mean them. These influential words are characteristic of Catullus' poems. If I were to read an unidentified poem with these such powerful words of claiming this woman as his own, then it must be a Catullan poem.

TiPViking said...

Catullus' style is fairly consistent throughout, though the manifestation of the style may change. In the vast majority of the Lesbia poems studied so far, Catullus seems to take on a very self-centered, arrogant air. When Catullus want to say "she" he uses not ea but illa- "that girl," which has in its tone a distance. He refers to Lesbia as "mea puella" and as a "mulier," both of which put down Lesbia in some way- they are both affectionate and distancing. Looking at Carmen 3, it's noticable that Catullus makes the death of Lesbia's beloved sparrow almost a joke. Catullus is definitely saddened by the loss- but only because the death makes Lesbia sad, which will probably result in fewer trysts. In general Catullus is a disillusioned sort of guy. He spares no reverence for any of the people in authority, whether they are the "old men" that may gossip about Lesbia and Catullus, the Formian merchant, or even Quintia, who many consider beautiful. Catullus only considers worthy his own desires, his own thoughts, and his style reflects such throughout his works.

whereisyourboytonight said...

I believe it is difficult to identify the author of any poem simply by reading the poem itself. We have read English poetry for years, and although some poets may be easy to identify, it may still prove difficult to discern who wrote any given poem. However, the ability to classify a poem according to its author arises from the familiarity with a plethora of different poets. In Latin and at our level, this is next to impossible. Catullus is the only author we have studied, and thus deciding whether a poem is Catullan or not could possibly prove to be extremely difficult.

However, there may be a few signs that a poem is Catullan. In essentially every poem we have read, Catullus discusses his love or his relationship with Lesbia. The mention of Lesbia in all of the poems gives the poems there meaning and their direction. He is writing these poems to discuss Lesbia, his love, or lack thereof, of her. The mention of the sparrow is another Catullan theme. For example, in Carmen 3, Catullus discusses at length the death of Lesbia’s sparrow. This is a possible symbol for the end of their relationship, or at least a sign that all is not well in the relationship between Catullus and Lesbia. The sparrow allows Catullus to discuss events and their relationship on another level, as well as offer an amusing double entendre. Thus the appearance of a sparrow, or passer, could indicate a Catullun poem. Finally, and obviously, Catullus discusses the importance and significance of love on life. The most striking example occurs in Carmen 5. Catullus writes, “Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus…da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum,” which means, “Let us live, Lesbia, and let us love…give me a thousand kisses, then another hundred, then another thousand, then a second hundred, then yet another thousand more, then another hundred.” Love is an important theme, and whether his relationship is thriving or is on the rocks, he still seems to have faith in its significance.

ARP Rocker said...

From what we have read of Catullus, i think that "meae puellae" and the use of "basia" would pull me to think the poem is Catullan.

For example:
I counted "meae puellae" in his poems about 9 times. He refers to Lesbia as his girl, his girlfriend, his lover, his Lesbia. I think that reading meae puellae or something of the sort would pull me to Catullus

For the word "basia" and just the extent of its use in poems5,7,8 shows how kissing can be positive or negative. In 5 we read kisses as great things to be done a lot, yet in 8 we read kissing as something that she will miss now that he is gone.

LOL said...

Catullus uses many literary devices that distinguish his writing from that of other writers. In lines 9-12 of Carmen 51, Catullus writes, "Lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus flamma demanat, sonitu suopte tintinant aures, gemina teguntur lumina nocte." In these lines, Catullus uses asyndeton, or omission of conjunctions, to bring out the effect of the intense physical symptoms, such as a thin flame running under his limb, that he gets by merely looking at Lesbia. In Carmen 43, Catullus writes, "Salve, nec minimo puella naso nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis nec longis digitis nec ore sicco nec sane nimis elegante lingua, decoctoris amica Formiani. Ten provincia narrat esse bellam? Tecum Lesbia nostra comparatur? O saeclum insapiens et infacetum!" Catullus uses litotes throughout the entire poem in order to state that no one can compare in beauty to Lesbia. The litotes helps the readers see how much Catullus loves Lesbia. In line 10 of Carmen 8, Catullus writes, "sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura." In this line, Catullus uses pleonasm, or use of superfluous words, to emphasize to himself the importance of enduring life without Lesbia. The pleonasm also helps the readers feel how Catullus feels after breaking up with Lesbia. Along with the literary devices, Catullus also seems to repeat certain words and phrases. In Carmens 5 and 7, he repeats the word "basia." In Carmen 86, he repeats the words "formosa" and "venustas." In Carmens 2 and 3, he repeats the phrase "deliciae meae puellae." In Carmens 70 and 87, he repeats the words "mea mulier." By using these words, Catullus shows how much he loves and cares about Lesbia.

Dr. Gregory House said...

One of the ways you can tell a poem is 'Catulluan' is if the speaker refers to himself or objects representing himself as wretched. In Carmen 3 Catullus mentions the "miselle passer" or wretched little sparrow. In Carmen 51 Catullus describes how Lesbia's sweet laughing rips all of the senses from a wretched him. "Dulce ridenttem, misero quod omnis eripit sensus mihi." In Carmen 8 Catullus again describes himself as wretched "Miser Catulle." Miser is apparently one of Catullus' favorite words. Another sign that the poem is Catullan is if the poem talks about Lesbia. Since Lesbia is the name given to Catullus' mistress, it is safe to assume other poets won't mention her with as much passion and drama as Catullus. Catullus talks about his dear Lesbia by name in carmina 87, 86, and 43. In carmina 5, 51, and 7 Catullus addresses "mea Lesbia" directly. Also, if there is an over-dramatic element the poem could definitely be Catullan. In Carmen 3 Catullus tells all of the Venuses and Cupids to mourn a dead sparrow. "Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque... passer mortuus est meae puellae. Such a strong reaction is a little over-dramatic. In Carmen 60 Catullus obviously feels very intense feelings towards her when he compares her to a barking Scylla and a lioness "laena...aut Scylla latrans." Catullan poems often have elypsis in order for him to stay true to the meter. In carmen 51 Catullus uses the syncopated form of mihi, "mi" to use less syllables. Catullan poetry seems to have subtle signs that show his unique writing style. Although we cannot be entirely sure considering we have not done any in-depth studies on any other Latin poets.

Ian said...

No particular poet has a style completely his or her own - in the manner of writing, influences are adopted and emulated, blending previous styles. Catullus was one of the neoterics and a follower of Callimachus, copying his style of eschewing epic battles and instead writing about matters of personal importance.

Of course, some things are generally seen to be Catullan. If the poem is about loving a woman named Lesbia, it is Catullus. If it happens to be a poem calling Lesbia scelesta! (bitch!)as he does in Carmen 8... it could still be Catullus. If it sounds obsessive and like he's overreacting, it could be Catullus. If the world is falling apart at the sound of his grief, it's definitely Catullus.

Most importantly, all of it has to do with him. Catullus's poetry about Lesbia and his descriptions of her beauty and the trials and tribulations are all in relation to him. Catullus' extensive use of litotes in Carmen 43 (Salve, nec minimo puella naso...) and anaphora in many of the carmina, particularly 2 and 3, all add to the reader's conception of the puella, the beautiful puella with all the things that the poor girl of Carmen 43 lacked, as his. Ownership, in a sense, is reiterated throughout the poetry. All this boasting over his girl is an ego-booster for himself. Not even Jupiter would she consent to marry, if not me! he says. What better ego trip could there be but to be superior to the supreme god?

Vance224 said...

The main thing that I have noticed in Catullus’ poems is his use of repetition, especially with the phrase “meae puellae/mulier.” This phrase is used in Carmina 2, 3, 70, and many others. To me this phrase seems to be a staple of Catullan poems.

Pinky said...

Catullus has used "Mea puella" or "my girl" many times in the poem to express his love for her. He also has used a combination of formal poetic writing and informal speech in many of his poems. I would say that the mix of informal speech and formal writing is distinctively catullus.

gabaseballer7 said...

Catulus's poems contain clues that make you think that they are his. Pretty much every poem he writes is about Lesbia. He always says,"meae puellae." That's a dead giveaway that it is a Catullus poem. He wears this phrase out so much that you know you are reading one of his poems when you see it. I'm not gonna put whole poems up here, like a few of these other jokers did. It's plain and simple..if you see basia, amo, or meae puellae, its Catullus's work. It's that easy..

hahaha psyche said...

I agree with Lauren and whomever "orz" when they talk about Catullus' use of litotes and that it is used quite a bit in Catullus' poems that we have been studying. Also, he does use many lovey words such as "basia", "amo", and "meae puellae". These are both very characteristic of his works in a general sense. Another literary device he uses quite often is the apostrophe. He uses this when he addresses the sparrow in Carmen 2, and the gods in Carmen 3.

82 said...

After reading over the posts, I have also seen that Catullus uses basia and Lesbia multiple times in his poems. But also that after only reading Catullus' poems, it is somewhat difficult to express his own style because we have nothing to compare it to. After only seeing Catullus, we may not know if all other poets talk about basia and meae peullae "kisses" and "my girl" just like Catullus.

Postransky said...

Catullus uses words such as "basia" and "meae puellae" repeatedly throughtout poems we have read. He also likes to compare things in weird manners. In carmen 60, he uses a barking Scylla to describe where Lesbia came from(Scylla latrans infima inguinum parte). In carmen 7, he uses the amount of sand on silphium producing Cyrene to describe the amount of kisses he wants from Lesbia (quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae
lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis). So if I saw a repitition of certain words or weird metaphors and comparisions, I would think the poem to be Catullun

chmathew said...

I chose to respond to Dr. Gregory House's comment. I agree that one can tell if a poem is Catullan if the speaker refers to himself or objects representing himself as wretched. Catullus often says in his poems, "Miser me" (miserable/wretched me). He talks about the miserable little sparrow and how her laughing sweetly rips all the senses out of a miserable me. Like Dr. House said, miser seems to be one of Catullus's favorite words. Also one can tell if the poem is written by Catullus if Lesbia is mentioned. We all know that Catullus was infatuated with Lesbia until the break-up and so he wrote much about her. Even after their affair was over, he still wrote about her--although not as pleasantly.

Wolf Angel said...

I both agree and disagree with what gabaseballer7 and arp rocker said. Catullus’s poems contain the words “basia”, “amo”, and “mea puella” frequently, which is certainly a part of his style, but I don’t think that it necessarily means that another poem with those words was written by Catullus. Considering the popularity of Catullus, I think there had to be some poets that tried to copy bits of Catullus’s style, in which case, using some of his frequent words/phrases is expected. Basically, I’m saying that it is likely other poets copied his word choice.

Jeep3 said...

gabaseballer7:
I agree that Catullus' use of the "meae puellae/of my girlfriend" is a bit redundant, along with the "basia/kissifications" and the use of the root "amo/I love." However, the reptition of these words does not give sufficient evidence to deem the poem one of Catullus'. Take for instance the poems of Transcendentalists such as Emerson or Thoreau. These two poets have poems using descriptive language/words to define their beliefs in self-reliance, words that sometimes are exactly the same but most of the time are not. As one analyzes each poet's work deeper, one can see the imagery and tone of the poem, defining a more distinct characteristic in that poet's work. The same is with Catullus' poems. He might have the same urge to write passionately about someone as the next poet of his time, he may use the same words every now-and-then but his use of tone-change is what really distinguishes his poetry from that of other poets. Every poet has his/her own voice and with that voice comes his/her own unique tone. We just have to read into their work enough to where we can see the distinction.

welchie said...

I agree with gretzky's comment on Catullus' use of the hortatory subjunctive in writing. I had not thought of this before. I also agree with shocka's comment of Catullus' use of "nec" or "and not" in his writing. In poetry, nec is a good word to use when there are not enough syllables left in a line for "et non" and since Catullus uses it so often, the word "nec" is a word that, when found in a poem, would cause me to wonder if that poem was written by Catullus.

latin blogger said...

Response to wolf angel:
This person brings up a good point because Catullus often over exaggerates in his poems. He is not being literal when he talks about how many kisses he wants and will satisfy him. He uses these to express his love for Lesbia. When the theme changes to “Catullus Lesbia amat?” he uses this exaggeration by asking Lesbia if she was born from a monster. These figurative expressions are one technique that I would be able to define as “Catullan”.

In_other_words said...

Responding to Frank:

Although most of Catullus' poems consist of references to love, not all of them do. Catullus, as we read further on chronologically, begins to write of his relationship with Lesbia as if it were deteriorating. Catullus begins writing about Lesbia, comparing her to Scylla, a barking monster. Although he writes of her in this tone, there is somewhat of a hint that he still does, in fact, care for her, but probably is more hurt than angry.

Dr. Gregory House said...

Along with the reasons I originally gave that a poem is Catullan. (if it mentions Catullus, is over dramatic, mentions Lesbia, uses elypsis, or over uses the word wretched) While 'wretched' is obviously a favorite word of Catullus', I agree with MINERVA that another signal a poem is Catullan is the word choice for the word beautiful. 'Formosa', 'Pulchra', and 'Venustas' are all ways that Catullus indicates the inner and outer beauty of Lesbia.

I also agree with SWMSLW that Catullus does tend to invoke some figure in his poetry, whether it is a sparrow, Lesbia, or Venuses and Cupids. Allusions to gods such as Venus and Iuppiter are a common theme. Catullus also references certain places, like Africa, as mentioned by MINERVA.

Love is a common theme throughout the poems we have read from Catullus so far. I think WHEREISYOURBOYTONIGHT was right on point when she said that Catullus obviously believes in love. While some poets would choose to say that love someone but not back up their feelings, Catullus constantly delves into what Lesbia brings out in him. In Carmen 51 Catullus specifically mentions the physical response Lesbia invokes “lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus/flamma demanat,, sonitu suopte/tintinant aures, gemina et teguntur/lumina nocte” “My tongue does not move, a thin flame runs under my limbs, my ears ring with their own sound, my eyes are covered with a twin night”

I found IAN’s comment about how Catullus seems to stroke his own ego by “owning” Lesbia both funny and true. Catullus does often refer to her as “mea puella” or “my girl.” And Carmen 70 is a perfect example “nulli se dicit mulier mea nubere malle quam mihi, non si se Iuppiter ipse petat” “My woman says that she prefers to marry no one other than me, not even if Jupiter should seek her.” Catullus is obviously proud of the self-proclaimed devotion to him by Lesbia.

I think all of the blog posts show aspects that Catullan poems seem to share so far as we know. Further study and more poems will show how the poetry really is unique to Catullus.

tram192 said...

I believe that Frank is right in his or her comment. Like I said in my last post Catullus does seem to use repetition of words to express how he feels. This is called anaphora. Like the repetion of deinde shows how many time he would want to kiss her. Frank is also right when he or she says that catullus uses apostrophes. He uses it in Carmen 5, 51, 2, and many of his other poems. Catullus also uses asyndeton, omission of conjunctions, like in poem 5 where he says vivamus mea Lesbia, at amemus..... this means let's live my lesbia, and lets love.... I also agree with Jesx. Catullus does seem to compare othr girls to Lesbia and saying how Lesbia is better than all the others, even Venus. This is shown in Carmen 86 where Catullus makes fun of Quintia saying "mihi canida, longa, recta est..." This is translated to "to me she is fair, tall, and is weel built" then he goes on to say he denys that she is beautiful as a whole concept.

awavehello said...

I agree with many of the posts on this blog. Catullus uses the litotes an extraordinary amount, and that, paired with extended repitition, makes his writing identifiable. He finds a word, or comparison, he likes and he runs with it; he uses it over and over.

baseball0808 said...

gabaseballer07 is a genius. I completely agree with this person. When Catullus uses the words "meae puellae" then it is definitely a Catullus poem. He uses those words to claim the girl as his own. Catullus cleary has an emotional attachment to Lesbia, and when he uses "meae puellae", meaning "my girl", he is exercising his emotional attachment towards Lesbia. MEAE PUELLAE = CATULLUS

Frank said...

Originally I had stated that Catullus' use words relating to love and apostrophes makes him stand out. I forgot, however, about his use of litotes. I agree with shocka, hahaha psyche, and many others who mentioned this. Catullus uses this literary device to show all the flaws in other woman compared to Lesbia. His use of litotes is definitley a writing style that he tends to use a lot.

jimi said...

Alot of people posted and talked about how Catullus uses litotes to expand on the theme "Catullus Lesbiam Amat." I think is interesting because it seems to me that Catullus would be a good lawyer. He is able to show his feelings for Lesbia in several different ways. And litotes is especially interesting. He goes through a whole poem where he compares Lesbia to all other women in terms of beauty and he is able to deliver a clear message. And that is that he believes Lesbia's beauty surpasses all others. What this poet accomplishes by expanding his argument to different methods is classic as well as timeless.It almost as if he is trying to prove to Lesbia his is being sincere. And in that he is selling himself to her in his poems. And personally i believe he is doing a good job to cover all the angles that seemingly make up love.

unbuma said...

I agree with the comment left by youknowdis. In his/her response, they say Catullus likes to show other peoples negatives to show Lesbia positives. In many poems written by Catullus, he talks crap about other women while talking about how perfect Lesbia is. In youknowdis's comment, they give an example in carmen 43 where Catullus brings out the bad in a different woman to show how great Lesbia is. So when reading a poem today, and the author brings out negatives to show ones positives, I would think of Catullus so therefore I agree with youknowdis.

youknowdis said...

When reading all of the post i agree with hahahaha psyche when talking about how Catullus uses litotes to get his point across on how beautiful Lesbia really is. He does it in like 3 poems using negatvies of other beautiful women like Quintia.

I also agree with minerva when she talks about how Catullus has specialty words he uses like "formosa", "pulchra", and "Venustas". Waht makes these words so special are not only that he uses them frequently but how he makes these three words all have different meanings when someone would see them as the same before that.

Also something i agree with is how Catullus says "meae pulla" ((My girl)) many times within his poems to signifiy that Lesbia is his and he has ownership over her. Pretty much everyone mentioned this in there post so its hard to narrow that down to one. Also a play on this is what I can't beleive magister is a Flordia gator said that this could be seen as insecurities by Catullus thinking he has to have a claim on things. I have never thought of it like that. I also think its approapit when I can't beleive magister is a florida gator says that even during the breakup saying things like how Lesbia will never find anyone like himself (Catullus) was just a way of hiding behind his emotions.

I also really like the ideas of jeep3 when he mentions how Catullus switched back from third to first person often in his poems and I think thats something Catullus does well.

ARP Rocker said...

In response to cullenforhire. Yes, Lesbia is a central theme to the poems, which is why we call them Catullus Lesbiam amat. I do agree that the use of passer and basiationes(maybe not just basia) would give me a hint that it is Catullan, and obviously Lesbia would be a dead give away. However, i dont think that these obvious clues are what would give it away if we were in another carmen, one without the passer or Lesbia. I think his tone when talking to another girl, like the one he insults also, gives us a Catullan read.

Minerva said...

I agree with kirro - use of certain styles of metaphors is a key clue that a particular poem is Catullan. Many poets use literary devices; this is not unique to Catullus alone, and metaphors are an especially common example. But Catullus uses them to imply other meanings even beyond the representation of the metaphor itself, typically focusing on his feelings for Lesbia. His double entendres serve a similar purpose, adding an extra element of mystery and layer of meaning, and also making his poetry possibly more risque, depending on how it is read.
Other poets may use the same conventions, format (hendecasyllabic), and certainly there is no copyright on words such as "formosa" and "basia", so separately these things cannot define a Catullan work, but combined and infused with the poet's voice, a recognizable identity is created.

Jesx said...

I agree with XRoSeSrReD317X. Catullus does tend to change his moods based on how Lesbia is feeling towards him. I didn't really notice that pattern till we started reading poem 72, where he rejects her for seeing someone new, so he finds someone else too. His writings are very unique and easy to tell that it is his when he is jealous or lusting over Lesbia.

5ABIblood said...

I agree with 82 because we both see how Catullus has used "meae puellae" (my girl) many times to help contribute to the idea of the way Catullus feels about her. Catullus feels as though she is his. I also agree with LOL because we both have the same insight as about Carmen 86 which essentially are the repeated words "formosa" and "venustas." Catullus uses these words to describe the difference between Quintia and Lesbia. In Catullus’s eyes no woman can match up or compare to Lesbia. I also agree with Wolf Angel about the exaggeration Catullus uses in his poems. Both of us picked out the word “centum” and “mille” (hundred and thousand) to show how Catullus over exaggerates the number of kisses he wants to give to Lesbia.

Pinky said...

I think Wolf Angel did point out an miss conception that some of use are having and that is the use of specific word in identifying if the work is Catullus or not. However, I believe that the poets that do imitate Catullus would not imitate his word choice. So that might be a little flaw in your argument Wolf Angel.

Personally I think, with the knowledge I have at this time, that Catullus' poem might be very similar to others of his time mainly because his one of many Neoteric poets of the Neoteric period (a literary period). What makes the Neoteric poem different from previous poems is that this poems are about personally things (especially love).

I guess one of the best ways that we can use to tell if its Catullus poem would be if certain names are present like Catullus or Lesbia.However, this will only apply to a few poems.

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

When we are talking about style I completely agree with Ian. Nobody has ever had a style completely their own. Fore instance, Catullus shows his respects to Sappho when he emulates the style of her in Carmen 11 and 51. He also writes Hendecasyllabic in forty three poems out of the first sixty poems. Hendecasyllabic was originally started by Phalaecus in the 4th century B.C. Catullus uses styles that where very classical even in his time. He uses styles to show his recognition to the previous greats in poetry like Sappho and Phalaecus while also tying the meter and style into the overall meaning. Catullus surrounded himself with people that shared his same ideas by following Callimachus who knew the importance of historical style in poetry.

Both Ian's post and my post show that we picked up on Catullus often being over the top, but I believe Catullus being over the top is due to insecurities in Catullus, while Ian’s post seems to reflect that Catullus may just be an exuberant person.

The last idea brought forth by Ian is almost exactly the same proposed by me. Catullus is egotistical so he must always show ownership. Catullus finds it necessary in almost all his poems to constantly boost his ego.

I must say this Ian guy (whoever it could be) knows what he is talking about.

inthecake said...

Catullus uses an endless amount of love and passion in his poems. In Carmen 5, Catullus states, “Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus, rumoresque senum severiorum omnes unius aestimemus assis!” This is translated as “Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love, and let us judge all the rumors of the old men to be worth just one penny!” Like in many of his other poems, Catullus is describing his immense love for Lesbia. In the same poem, Catullus is asking Lesbia to give him a thousand kisses and more, “da mi basia mille.” In Carmen 51, Catullus uses a strong sense of passion when stating his feelings about Lesbia. In line 9 of Carmen 51, Catullus says, “lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus flamma demanat,” which is translated into, “But the tongue is paralyzed, as a fine fire spreads down through my limbs.” This is just one of the man instances where Catullus demonstrates passion to portray his feelings. If Catullus’ poems do not contain his love for Lesbia, they contain love for something else such as in Carmen 3. Carmen 3 describes not the love Catullus has for Lesbia, but the love Lesbia has for her sparrow. In lines 3-5, Catullus says, “passer mortuus est meae puellae, passer, deliciae meae puellae, quem plus illa oculis suis amabat” which is translated as, “sparrow of my girlfriend has died, the sparrow, delight of my girl m whom she loved more than her own eyes.” In these lines Catullus is still talking about some type of love. When I think of “Catullan” poems, I think of poems that contain a vast amount of love and passion for someone or something.

bri720hco said...

In all the poems we have read so far, Catullus speaks about him dire love for lesbia. He confesses how he feels for her both physically and mentally. Like in carmen 51 he says "dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te, Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi
vocis in ore" and also "lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures, gemina et teguntur
lumina nocte". explaining the feeling he gets when he is around her. How he can hardly speak when he looks at her or how a fine fire runs through his limbs. Catullus refers to her (Lesbia) as "meae puellae" or my girl in several of his poems. letting it be known that he sees her as his girl and wants her to be so in reality.

LOL said...

I both agree and disagree with what minerva said. I agree that Catullus repeats certain words and phrases such as "formosa," "pulchra," and "venustas" to complement the central theme for many of his poems, which is the love he has for Lesbia. I also agree with her about the self-awareness of Catullus and how he expresses his emotions by referring to himself or reminding the reader of his position in all events. However, I disagree with her comment about Catullus being prone to describe things by location. I think she is very observant for noticing Catullus's reference to location especially to that of Africa in carmina 7 and 60, but I do not think that Catullus makes use of referencing location enough times to call it a "Catullan" writing style. Out of the many poems we have studied, only two of the poems reference location. Also, referencing location is a style which other writers frequently may have used, so we cannot say that it is characteristically "Catullan."

inthecake said...

In determining the writing style that seems to be "Catullan," I agree with whereisyourboytonight when they stated that you cannot identify the author of a poem by simply just reading the poem, but there are many things Catullus uses repetitively in his works that help to decipher that he is the author. Still agreeing with whereisyourboytonight and myself, all of Catullus' poems, he talks about some sort of love, usually being his love for the beautiful Lesbia. By reading everyone elses blogs, it has made me notice other things that are considered "Catullan" and are definite factors to his writing style. I agree with many people about the use of litotes Catullus has portrayed. Catullus uses strong negatives in many of his poems to express a strong positive. Litotes is most prominent in Carmen 43 where Catullus uses the word "nec" in many of his phrases like ian stated. I agree with vance224 when he said Catullus uses a lot of repetition. Throughout all of the poems we have read about Catullus, we have seen quite a lot of repetition for words, phrases, feelings, and even literary devices.

Orz said...

It seems to me that many people recognize Catullus' works for extensive use of literary devices such as litotes and anaphora.
There are several people who have mentioned about "meae puellae //my girl". This phrase has been seen on several times on Carmen 2 and 3. When he refers to Lesbia, he calls her My Girl. It shows that Catullus has a lust for Lesbia. On the other hand, it shows how Roman society works. It shows that women are properties of men. Catullus stated that Lesbia is his property by saying "my girl".

swmslw said...

I am in complete agreement with ian, in that nothing is strictly Catullan in the sense that there is one device, structure or phrase that completely belongs to Catullus but rather that each poet combines the styles of previous poets into a trait that may be attributed to him. For Catullus, anything that has to do with focusing on self versus the glory of something higher than self can be identified as Catullan because he was notorious for identifying and elaborating on his own thoughts and emotions rather than the glory of Rome. This is particularly pertinent because he is focusing on himself and his thoughts, which had previously been ignored for the sake of the state. Also, if the unidentified poem in question talks about how bad or good he feels about a particular girl, especially if her name is Lesbia, then this is most definitely Catullus and something that can truly be dubbed Catullan because it shows up in so many of his works (70,51,7,8 etc.). I especially agree with the statement about how all of these poems glorify Catullus’ ego because they all show ownership of the beautiful qualities in his girlfriend, which they do and which he continually brags about through the poems and inflating his ego to enormous proportions.

Ian said...

I would agree with myself, but I'm almost certain that that wouldn't count. I disagree with Bubb, or rather, I Can't Believe Magister is a Florida Gator! That's Whack!, when he speaks of Catullus' uncertainty and philandering.
Bubb says "Catullus’ anger that he is displaying in Carmen 8, 87, and 60 might be a cover up for Catullus being dumped by Lesbia for cheating or something along the lines of that, because Catullus seems like the guy that would do that." How can this be when he is so obviously smitten with this woman who,if historical interpretations are believed, was herself an adulterous fornicator. The obvious conclusion is that he was not enough for the power-hungry, nymphomaniacal Clodia. Catullus was the faithful partner in this relationship, and although it is told from his perspective, it can be trusted given the historical precedent.
Catullus is not mean in his descriptions of other women in Carmina 43 and 86 - he simply states that they cannot compare with his beloved Lesbia.

Lesbia formosa est, quae cum pulcerrima tota est,tum omnibus una omnis surripuit Veneres. When Catullus says this, it is not a putdown, it is a reaffirmation of Lesbia's appeal and the control it has over Catullus' desires.

His later vehement criticisms of Lesbia stem from the pain of the loss of his main squeeze. There is no greater hate than that born of love.

cullenforhire said...

So maybe Ian is right in his analysis of Catullan patterns and the fact that no poet has his/her "own" style. But don't tell him that. And as he said, certain things would immediately give poems away as those of Catullus (ie. mentioning Lesbia, loving Lesbia, cursing Lesbia, or moaning "woe is me"). These details and themes identify their respective poems as being those of Catullus, and Ian was on the money pretty well.

Gretzky said...

I agree with what cullenforhier said. The main topic in all of Catullus poems is Lesiba. Everything is about how much Catullus likes Lesibia or something along those lines. In Carmen 7:
"Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque?" (Line 1-2, Carmen 7)
Translates:
'You ask, my Lesiba, how many of your kisses are enough and more tan enough for me.'
This is one of the times that Catullus and Lesbia happy. It seems to be the start of the peak of their relationship and for the most part goes down hill after this.
In Carmen 8 he says:
"Vale puella. Iam Catullus obdurat. nec te requiret nec rogabit inuitam."
Translates to:
"Good bye girl. Now Catullus endure. and do not look for her, nor ask her out against her will."
This is the start of the break up and seems to be the end of when Catullus and Lesbia are happy. Catullus however still uses Lesbia in his poems through both units, Catullus lesiba amat, and Catullusne lesiba amat.

Vance224 said...

I agree with jesx that one device that Catullus uses a lot in his poetry is the phrase "mea puella." And, in agreement with Cullen, I also think that the main aspect of Catullus' works is a theme of Lesbia.

whereisyourboytonight said...

Many students have valid points in examining what exactly makes a poem Catullun, and many of these views I had not thought of before. MINERVA discussed Catullus’s use of the words “formosa,” “pulchra,” and “Venustas,” all of which Catullus uses but I had not thought of as Catullun before. SWMSLW also interpreted the poems of Catullus differently than I did. SWMSLW pointed out the fact that Catullus often invokes a figure that is not there. In Carmen 3, he calls for Venuses and Cupids to mourn for the death of his girl’s sparrow, while in Carmen 8 he speaks directly to the girl, who is not there. He does this several other times to other figures which he is not speaking to directly. A common theme that many students mentioned was Catullus’s repetition of “meae puellae” meaning “my girl,” which he uses in Carmens 2 and 3. Finally, many students touched on the theme of love throughout the poems of Catullus. I mean, it’s obvious; all of the poems we’ve read mentioned love, if not more specifically the love between Catullus and Lesbia.

said...

I agree with what arp rocker said. If i saw the words "meae puellae" and/or "basia" in a poem used extensively i would come to the conclusion that it was Catullan. I think that arp rocker's responce was precise and straight the the point. I thought he used very good examples of why the words "meae puellae" and "basia" would make a poem Catullan. Many other people also said that "meae puellae" is an example of a Catullus poem, so therefore i am in agreement with mostly everyone.

TiPViking said...

To Ian:

You are quite right about stylistic similarities. The vast majority of authors find their style through reading others' works, so an author's writing style is often based off of his/her favorite predecessors. Their tone reflects their personality, while their verbiage reflects their exposure to others. What I personally find interesting about studying Catullus is the knowledge that Catullan works have been around for millenia, so there are likely multitudes of authors that have used Catullus as a literary example.

Of course, we both said quite similar bits about the ego trip, so I have to agree there. Catullus really is disgustingly full of himself. I love the way he plays with his words to convey meaning, I just think the meaning behind his words is (often) repulsive. Of course, Roman society had a quite different viewpoint from our modern ideology, so I must say that while I completely disagree with him, I can't really judge him. Far too many guys are like that today to be able to really judge a male who had that attitude back when such was accepted.

Eureka! said...

One particular trait of Catullus's poems that strikes me is how he expresses his feelings in very unconventional ways. In most of his poems, he does not come right out and state his feelings. His feelings are conveyed by infrences that the reader has to make.
One of the best examples of his unconventional style is Carmen 2. The entire poem is addressed to a sparrow, yet oddly enough, it speaks of the love that he has for his girl. The reader knows that Catullus is in love with his girl because he writes in the first line, "Passer, deliciae meae puellae," "Sparrow, of my sweet girl." The reader also knows that Catullus is speaking of his love for his girl when he says in lines 9-10, "tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem et tristis animi levare curas!" "How I wish that I were able to play with you just as she herself does and to lighten the cares of my soul!"
Another great example of Catullus's unconventional method of conveying emotion is Carmen 43 in which he uses extended litotes. In lines 1-2, Catullus writes, "Salve, nec minimo puella naso nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis" "Hello, girl with a not little nose and with a not beautiful foot and with not black eyes." He uses a negative description of some "puella" "girl" in order to speak of Lesbia's beauty.

Eureka! said...

I aggree with Welchie's response. Catullus often uses exaggeration and sarcasm in his poems. When I was writting my porginal post, I did not thisk about the humor that Catullus used in his poems as a particular Catullen trait, but as I look back on the poems, I see taht most of them are laced with humor, sarcasm, and exaggeration. His use of humor, sarcasm, and exaggeration help, in a way, to solidify my earlier post when I said that Catullus expresses emotion and feeling in unconventional ways.
When I was writting, I also did not think about Catullus's use of "mea puella" "my girl" in his poems. As I look back at the poems we have worked with, I see that he uses this phrase over and over, just like welchie said he did.

srivatsanenator said...

In response to lol and ian,
I think that both of these bloggers hit on the real meat of Catullus. Lol is correct in that the use of certain literary devices like anaphora and litotes and the certain phrases that are repeated and negated seem to be virtually constant throughout his poems. Ian contends that the conent makes a Catullus Carmen, a Catullus Carmen. This is very true and is probably the best way to pick out a Catullus from other poems.

Postransky said...

I agree with cullenforhire, in the sense that Catullus does like mentioning Lesbia a lot as well and getting "basia" (kisses.) The "passer" comes up pretty often too, and I haven't seen any other poetry that uses "passers" quite like Catullus does.

XRoSeSrReD317X said...

Catullus has a recurring theme in his writings that he is divided between loving Lesbia and hating her. In one part of a poem, he talks about how much he loves Lesbia, yet in other parts of a poem, he would talk about hating her. When he talks about not loving her anymore, he talks about how much she is going to miss out. srivastonator is right because he notices how the other bloggers hit on the actual theme of Catullus. According to lol, he uses literary devices to show forth his meaning. He uses not only literary devices, but also new words that he puts together to shorten syllables. This creates a powerful effect on the reader.

gabaseballer7 said...

Like I said before, "meae puellae" says it all. That is a huge clue that it is Catullus's work. Im going to have to agree with baseball0808..he/she sounds like an extremely smart person. He uses those words to claim Lesbia as his own. If the poem says anything about loving a girl (lesbia) then it is Catullus. Need I say more? It's that easy...

Will Ravon said...

I agree with <3 17 that a Catullan poem will involve love, love affairs, aspects of love, or Lesbia. Time and agian he uses kisses, love, and love affairs to describe relationships. So anything that involves any combination of these things is definitely Catullan.