72. Prominent among the invective poems of Catullus is a group directed against a certain Gellius. This comprises cc. 74, 80, 88, 89, 90, 91, 116, but the poems are not arranged in chronological order. Apparently the earliest in composition is c. 16, and the second c. 91,-- the first indicating that Catullus had tried to avert the hostility of Gellius by sending him translations from Callimachus, but declaring from that time open war, while the second asserts that Gellius had broken the bond of friendship with Catullus by becoming a lover of Lesbia. In c. 80.1 the youth of Gellius is indicated, and in all the series except c. 116 he is charged with various abhorrent crimes. The most acceptable suggestion of his identity was originally made by Pantagathus († 1578), who judged him to be that son of L. Gellius Publicola (consul 72 B.C.) who is said by Valerius Maximus (V. 9.1) to have been accused before the senate of “in novercam” (cf. c. 88.1, etc.) “commissum stuprum et parricidium cogitatum”. This younger Gellius was himself consul in 36 B.C., and his age therefore also accords with the intimations of Catullus. The patruus of c. 74 is identified by some critics with the Gellius Publicola attacked by Cicero in Pro Sestio 51. 110, while yet others have supposed, but with no sufficient reason, that this Gellius, and not the one of Valerius Maximus, is the Gellius assailed by Catullus.
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Friends and foes.
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