. But silva of a single
tree, as apparentiy here, is a rare use.
loquente coma: cf. the
simpler and better figure in
Verg. Ecl. 8.22
Maenalus pinos loquentes semper
Amastri: the city of
so named from its founder, the wife of Dionysius, tyrant of
the Pontic Heraclea, was situated on the Paphiagonian coast
of the Euxine Sea,
not far from Mt. Cytorus, and on the site of the Homeric
city of Sesamus (Hom. Il.
2.853). The younger Pliny praises its beauty
(Plin. Trai. 98).
Cytore buxifer: cf.
Verg. G. 2.437
iuvat undantem buxo spectare
The adjective is a(/pax
tibi: Catullus combines
and Cytorus in a single idea, perhaps thinking of the city
hoc enim quis homo sit ostendere est,
non, quid homo sit dicere.
iam: not that the
questioners had any precise knowledge of, or interest in,
the past history of Bithynia, but only that the news at hand
is from a freshly returned traveler.
Bithynia: the country
was bequeathed to the Romans by Nicomedes III. in 74 B.C.,
and organized as a province. Western Pontus was added to it in
65 B.C., on the overthrow of Mithradates by Pompey. The
united province was governed by propraetors till 27 B.C.,
when it was placed in the list of senatorial provinces,
where it remained till the time of Trajan. Under the
republic it could in no wise compare in importance with the
neighboring province of Asia, being but thinly settled in the
interior, and having only a scanty fringe of Greek culture
etc. The question in this verse touches upon the
fitness of giving such gifts; that in the next verse upon
Mamurra's fitness to receive them.
cf. Catul. 41.4; Catul. 43.5..
probably not that brought back by Pompey in 62 B.C. from the
conquest of Mithradates, but that from the capture of
Mitylene in 79
B.C., when Caesar was an officer in the army of the governor
of Pontus and
early was the patrimony of Mamurra already squandered, and
thus early, when gains were but small, did Caesar begin to
lavish wealth upon him.
Hibera: sc. praeda; when Caesar, in 61-60 B.C.,
governed Further Spain as propraetor.
scit: is witness
Verg. A. 11.258
scelerum poenas expendimus omnes;
… scit triste Minervae sidus
Verg. A. 5.859
liquidas proiecit in undas
Nemes. Buc. 2.76
nec tremulum liquidis lumen splenderet
iuventus per medium navit
Phasidos: the chief
river of Colchis,
rising in the Caucasus and flowing into the Euxine Sea at its eastern
Aceteos: Gr. *ai)htei/ous: Aeetes was king of
father of Medea.
lecti iuuenes: so the
Argonauts are called by
Ennius Med. Exsul 209 R.
Argivi delecti viri
Verg. Ecl. 4.34
altera quae vehat Argo delectos
); cf. also
pasa=n e)k poli/wn
(of the A
quid domini faciant, audent cum talia
Chalybon: etc. cf.
Callim. Frag. 35e
*xalu/bwn w(s a)po/loito ge/nos,
geio/qen a)nte/llonta kako\n futo\n oi(/ min
Hor. S. 2.1.42
o pater et rex Iuppiter, ut pereat
positum robigine telum
. The Chalybes here referred to are undoubtedly not
those of Spain, but
the tribe of iron-workers in Pontus; cf. Xen. Anab. 5.5.1
a)fiknou=ntai ei)s *xa/lubas. ou(=toi
o)li/goi te h)=san kai\ o( bio/s h)=n toi=s plei/stois
au)tw=n a)po\ sidhrei/as.
fingere: the verb,
usually applied to easily worked substances (such as wax and
clay), is strongly contrasted with duritiem; the Chalybes worked against nature
in learning to dig iron from the concealing earth, and to
mould its hardness so wonderfully into form.