56. It is a temptation to identify the Alfenus to whom the remonstrance of c. 30 is addressed with P. Alfenus Varus, consul suffectus 39 B.C., especially if he, in turn, can be identified with the Alfenus Varus who protected Vergil's property at Mantua (Ecl. 1, 6, 9), who was perhaps a native of Cremona (though falsely identified by the scholiasts on Horace with Alfenus vafer of Sat. 1.3.130). For if Varus was at Cremona during the winter and spring of 55-54 B.C., while Catullus was at Verona (cf. § 40), we perhaps have a key to the difference in tone between c. 30 and c. 38. From Cornificius at Rome the poet could expect in his growing illness only written comfort, and that is all he asks. Alfenus Varus at Cremona was within easy reaching distance of Verona by a direct highway, the Via Postumia, and might have visited Catullus in person, but did not. Hence the deeper feeling of slight with which Catullus addresses him.
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Friends and foes.
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