Sunday, April 29, 2007

Week 15: Greek and Latin Love Poetry

The BBC has put out an interesting show on classical love poetry. Because of the nature of this blog, I am extending the deadline until Wednesday at 10:30 PM because it requires listening to this internet broadcast. Go here and listen:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime.shtml

Then, respond with THREE connections you can make from this broadcast to Catullus' poetry.

22 comments:

82 said...

This broadcast has many connections with Catullus' poetry. They start off talking about how poetry takes a shift from epics to more personal emotion which is exactly what Catullus uses. He also like the broadcast states uses many metaphors of slavery and war to show the love and commitment to his lovers. Catullus also relates to the broadcast because Catullus also writes about the intimates of love by incorporating it into poetry. In these ways he connects to what they are talking about in the broadcast.

Frank said...

One connection from this broadcast that I can make with Catullus' work is the fact that poems can be about personal things and matters of concern to the audiance. Often Catullus writes about his personal love or sorrow and sometimes his poems have an underlying meaning about politics. Another connection that I made is the fact that his poetry is never about marriage, it's always about love affairs. One last connection that I made was the fact that many of his poems are about the pursuit of beauty. Many times he talks about Lesbia's beauty.

chmathew said...

Well, this broadcast is all about love poems. One connection i can make to Catullus's poems is that the epics described in the broadcast talk about journeys and adventures. Catullus's personal life itself seems like an adventure in that he has problems with women and finding true love. Catullus talks about slavery and way in his poems to show love and commitment to his lovers, just as the broadcast. Finally, just as the broadcast is about love poems, a lot of Catullus's poems are about love--about falling in and out of love.

Minerva said...

Firstly, they discuss the tremendous changes in style in poetry, away from epic and toward lyric, if not originally begun by Catullus but Sappho, then certainly developed considerably by him. Also, they make note of the sexual nature of this poetry, which is hardly ever focused on a marital kind of love. Catullus may hint at the idea of marriage during the time when Lesbia is supposedly single after her husband's death, but by far the poems give the impression of a passionate affair rather than a deep love that is destined to last. The vast majority of ancient love poetry exists in the realms outside of marriage, but within those of passion, feeling, and sexual desire. Last, the discussion of the Roman man's identity in love relates to Catullus. They say that by being in love, one loses one's status as a man, and by being a lover one is feminized and softened. Certainly Catullus himself would admit to the pain and force with which his emotions were laid bare by Lesbia's cruel treatment. By being in love he exposes all kinds of weaknesses considered "feminine", and is captured by Lesbia as if in a war, because she holds such tremendous power over him. The Roman man is not subjugated by anyone, therefore the negative influence placed on being the receiving partner in homosexual liasions, and even on submitting oneself in love for a woman.

Jesx said...

While I was listening to the broadcast, I heard all the deep connections it had to Catullus's poetry. It explained how love poetry of the time was expressed through a pursuit? Plato had similar ideas, using all that he can to impress her and praise her. Also, one of the speakers said that women bring down men in love. Catullus does waver back and forth between her and being a "man." Also, they talk about how love poets hint at "sex acts" in their writings which Catullus does in one poem using the bird in the girls lap.

Wolf Angel said...

One of the things that the broadcast mentioned that applies to Catullus is about how lyric poems were more interesting than epics because of their melodic appeal and shift from praising the past to expressing emotions in the present. Second, they mentioned that Callimacus said, “small is beautiful,” and relates to Catullus’s Carmen 85, which is only 2 lines. Third, it was pointed out that it was common for Roman love poets to use alternate names as masks for the true identities of their lovers, which is how Catullus uses the name Lesbia.

said...

In the broadcast, they make many connections to Catllus's poetry. One connection that they make is how poets in that century tend to write about sex and their passion for a person and not about marriage, which is what Catullus writes about in many of is poems about Lesbia. Another connection is that they said was about how poets fit so much in only a few lines. Catullus does this throughout his poems but compacting words to make the poem shorter but by doing this he gives the poem more meaning. The last connection was that they talk about a poem that has a woman and a man sitting across from her and how a man watching is unable to speak or move because he is so overwhelmed by the love and passion he has for this woman and wishes he was the man sitting in front of her. It seems to me that they are refering to Catullus 51 when they are saying this. These were just a few of the connections that the broadcast has with Catullus.

shocka said...

Melvyn Bragg and others discuss many connections between Catullus and his peers in Greek and Roman love poetry. Relating to Catullus' poetry, Bragg comments that powerful metaphors are used in order to refer to Catullus' love, because the poet has a hard time coming up with words that are powerful enough to describe his passion. Secondly, the scholars claim the meter elegiac couplet is commonly used because it can beutilized as a song or read as verse. It also used in expressing deep feeling, which is what Catullus is so often conveying. Lastly, Bragg and his peers propose that many ancient love poets construct a story across a range of poems. Catullus adopts this structure, forming a narrative of his love affair with Lesbia among relatively short poems.

Ian said...

In the BBC broadcast, Sappho is a central figure, as she deserves to be, as the tenth muse and one of the creators of personal love poetry. Catullus admired Sappho very much, using her style and even phrases directly form her work in his own carmina. In Carmen 51, Catullus pretty much just translates a Sapphic poem about a man hitting on her sweet thang.
He, of course, uses her themes as well. Sappho speaks of adulterous sexual love, something Catullus obviously knows about as Lesbia was married, if indeed she was Clodia.
Anacreon was another Greek poet who wrote about love, in his own manner, praising the decadent nature of love and the joys of excess. Catullus certainly appreciates these things, writing about parties and all the naughtiness that can come from them.
Catullus also writes about love in regards to slavery. Lesbia overpowers him, as is proper for a domina to do. A mistress, in the sense of a slaveholding woman, is what Lesbia is for Catullus, and he is tortured by their love.

5ABIblood said...

The first connection the broadcast has to Catullus’ poetry is about marriage. In Catullus’ poems he does not talk about marriage, and doesn’t want anything to do with marriage. In Catullus’ poems it’s all about sex, and married women are never mentioned in his poems. Secondly, the broadcast mentioned how lyric poems were more attractive than epic poems. In Catullus’ poems he writes about love and sorrow. He writes about his personal adventures, and the many conflicts he experienced and how he dealt with it. The last connection with the broadcast is how Catullus writes his poems. In Catullus’s poems, one can view a poem one way, while another interprets it in a completely different way.

youknowdis said...

This broadcast has many relations to what we talk abot in class about Catullus. He mentions how a poem is like a song and how the performance of the poem is just as important as the lyrics. Also says how Catullus would write about personal experiences like love and have a background dealing with polotics. Second, the broadcast says how being in love is "feminiszed" and the gender and polotics of love poetry is different then today. I also think its interesting how its mentioned that poems like this were all about love outside of marriage and that married women and men were normally not mentioned in these types of poems. Which makes since because Lesbia and Catullus were actually having an affair when they were together and never were married. Third, they mention how poems have hidden meanings like sexual hidden terms, which is something we talk about in class all the time. This refers back to the number one subject we talked about, the passer. This broadcast talked about a lot of things we mention in class which I thought was cool.

LOL said...

The broadcast begins with some words of Sappho: "Love, bitterweet and inescapable, creeps up on me and grabs me once again." I think this quote relates to Catullus' poetry because he shows bittersweetness towards love when he writes about the happy times he had with Lesbia as well as his sadness after breaking up with her. He shows that love inescapably creeps up to him in Carmen 51 when he talks about the physical symptoms he gets by just looking at Lesbia.
The broadcast mentions that poets express personal emotions through love poetry. Catullus expresses his emotions in many of his poems. He expresses his love for Lesbia in some poems and his sadness and despair after breaking up with her in others.
The broadcast mentions that a major theme in Catullus' poems is the experience of being overpowered by the lover. Catullus shows that he is overpowered by Lesbia in Carmen 85 when he says that he hates and he loves, and he is tortured by it without knowing why.

latin blogger said...

First of all, Catullus’s poetry, like poems from other men poets, relates to his power and machismo and how it is tested by a female. The male love poets created a sense of pride and might in their character. Also, the broadcast mentioned that Catullus creates the theme that love destroys your identity. The poems show the struggle Catullus goes through in his loss of masculinity. Catullus tells himself to stand strong but later goes back into his previous state of lust and despair. Lastly, the broadcast also mentioned how the idea of love was based more on sexual passion rather then this familial or marital love.

awavehello said...

Firstly, the broadcast talks about the shift towards the personal emotions and feelings in poetry, which can be clearly seen in Catullus' works. The broadcast also talks about how incredible Sappho's poetry is and why it is the way it is because she's a woman. It says that she expresses physical and emotional things about love than a male cannot express; however, Catullus touches on just about every emotion that could be associated with love. The broadcast also talked a lot about metaphors, it is undeniable that Catullus uses his fair share of metaphors in his poetry.

tram192 said...

They discuss that the ancient poetry is all about sex and not a bout marriage. I don't think we've read a poem that talks about marriage and commitment. All of it seems to be about physical love. They also discuss about how a greek poets also use first person just as Catullus does. They also compare how there are many love triangles in the greek poems, just like in Catullus' poems about Lesbia. They say that love poetry is like love and war. At first it's all peaceful in Catullu's poems and then as one goes on the love is diminishing and then turns to hate and seems like war. Another connection that is mentioned is the poems are about pursueing beauty. Catullus talks about how he doesn't like Quintia because she is fair and he says Lesbia is like Venus.

Dr. Gregory House said...

Love poetry in Catullus’ time took a dramatic turn in the way that poets expressed their art. What was once war-glorifying epics was replaced by self-reflective lyric and elegiac poems about love and emotions. One of the ways this broadcast connects to Catullus is the references to Sappho. Catullus was a Sappho admirer, as shown by his translation of her famous poem about a physical reaction to seeing one’s love. Catullus and Sappho both wrote about the difficulty of dealing with the acceptance of love and sexuality in the same context. Both poets wrote about the physical and emotional aspects of love. They also both use the new method of using stream of consciousness. Another connection to Catullus is the use of other new methods during the time period such as using a shorter length of the poem to make a point, involving sexual politics, and using war as a metaphor for love. The third connection to Catullus is the love/hate relationship that is associated with love in poetry. Love destroys a man’s identity as a roman citizen, his place in his family, and brings him despair and isolation. With all of this hurt the love also brings tremendous feelings of joy and pleasure. Catullus describes both sides of this in his poems about the relationship with Lesbia.

TIPviking8907 said...

One early item the show discusses is the transformation into lyric poetry, rather than epic. Lyric poetry is much more accessible, "present," personal. Catullan poetry fits this idea; it is not preoccupied with mythology or love as an indistinct idea. Rather, Catullus tends to be extremely personal; it deals with events in Catullus' life, which would all be much more "present" than a discussion of the past such as in an epic.

Another connection is the fact that Sappho was strognly tied into patronage. Her poetry was the heart of the party- she would have been extremely sought after. Similarly, Catullus references in several poems different parties, probably ones he has been invited to due to his status as a poet.

One final connection is the heavy connection in actual subject material between Catullus and his idol, Sappho. Sappho was known for writing about extremely personal and intimate topics; her love for other women, the symptoms that love inspires, etc. Catullus is also known for writing about objects of his affection, Clodia specifically. He translated a Sapphic poem- the one about watching the love object talk to a man, and the feelings and thoughts that follow- presumably with Clodia as his intended object of affection. The entire reason Catullus was essentially banned during Medieval times was due to the sexual/explicit nature of his poetry; according to the broadcast, that nature is not too far removed from Sapphic poetry.

Gretzky said...

So this radio thing is really long. What i got out of it however is that Sappho and Catullus are very similar. Sappho is the beggining of writing lyric poetry. Catullus cotinues and makes lyric poetry popular in roman times. Sappho sets the stage for Catullus and Catullus just takes the lyric form of poetry to a new level. His love lesbia and the non-marriage relationship that is based around lust and sex is a Sappho idea. Also the use of complex meatphors and double meanings is a contiuation of Sappic work. Sapho also starts the idea of writing about emotions and ideas rather than just history, Catullus also builds on this idea.

Jeep3 said...

Catullus developed powerful metaphors of war and slavery--deals with immediate world. The war in his poems is between him and those that he loves, be it Lesbia or his brother. The slavery is metaphorically represented through the speaker of Catullus' poems, who has become a slave to a love affair and to life's inevitable end.

"All creatures go through life looking for their other half--metaphysical pursuit." Catullus writes about going through his own life, looking for true love instead of just a sexual fulfillment. He uses the metaphor of a little ship to represent his everchanging self heading in an everychanging direction to find his haven--his other half of his short-lived journey through the waves.

Sappho, the founding poet of personal love. Ancient love has nothing to do with marriage, only sex. 8 symptons of love translated by Catullus--"he looks to me as being equal to God, etc." She writes about a woman, he writes about woman. Even though Sappho writes like a lesbian does about her lover, Catullus uses Sappho's words, translates them, and makes them the optimal description of his passion for Lesbia. All his earlier carmens have to deal with sexual references, nothing about true love, no question about true love--until Lesbia decides to leave Catullus for "her other men." Catullus created a love for Lesbia that was so tangible that it was unreal, for true love cannot be defined nor taken away. He built his love for Lesbia on her beauty and grace, two elements in which can be taken away, leaving the lover at lost for reason of loving the person.

jrog08 said...

Of the many connections between Catullan poetry and Greek poetry, which this broadcast focused on, three become obvious and most critical to us. First, both Sappho, from whom Catullus derived inspiration like the “thin flames under my limbs, ringing in my ears and stars in my eyes”, and Catullus were the first poets in their culture to focus strictly on emotion versus glorifying the state and its achievements and within the category of emotion, erotic love outside of marriage. Second, Catullus’ lyric style of writing poetry, or making poetry melodic, could possibly be taken from the Greeks, read Sappho here, who, as was theorized in this broadcast, may have been illiterate and only composed melodies then put words to them, nevertheless Catullus did take the lyric style of Sappho and apply it to his poetry. Third, both Sappho and Catullus were well connected, wealthy people who rode in the best of circles and therefore not only wrote poetry to complement the lifestyles of the “well to do”, like the sex and partying they continually practiced, but also but also to complement the political and social climate of the time, in which both poets lived in an age where the old stoicism and reason were falling apart which then gave rise to love and irrationality through emotion. This is shown when the old republicans like Cato and Cicero died and allowed Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire to rise which then bore the extravagance and love that Catullus writes about.

welchie said...

The BBC broadcast made many connections to Catullus' poetry.
The first was that the people on the broadcast discussed Sappho. For our article project, my article's topic was the ways in which Catullus copied Sappho's work, so this part of the broadcast was especially interesting to me.
Also, the broadcast discussed the emotional background to lyrical poetry. It said that lyrical poetry truly expresses the feelings of the writer. Through our class' work with Catullus, we have seen firsthand how passionate and honest Catullus can be in his poetry.
The broadcast also discussed Roman love relationships. In class, we have learned about the hierarchy of these relationships and also about Lesbia's background in a well-known family. These are the ways in which the broadcast connected with Catullus' poetry.

Will Ravon said...

Catullus is mentioned at one point as a thief of Sappho's lover, Lesbia (Clodia). They also mention Catullus's best poem to be his shortest, Carmen 85, where he says,
"Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior."

"I hate and I love. Why would I do it, perhaps you ask? I don't know, but I feel that it is done and I am tormented."

Another time they mention Catullus as getting much of his ideas from Sappho and that to be a Roman man you can't be a lover or you'll lose your masculinity.