7. The poems of Catullus himself furnish us, however, with some good negative evidence concerning the date of his death. It probably occurred in the year 54 B.C. In the first place, there are no poems that clearly must have been written later than the close of the year 55 B.C., or the earlier months of the year 54, nor any that are even capable of more ready explanation, if a later date for their composition be supposed. The remark about the consulship of Vatinius (c. 52), which did not take place till the end of the year 47 B.C., forms no exception to this statement (cf. Commentary), and the prosecution of Vatinius by Calvus, mentioned in c. 53, may well have taken place in 56 B.C., instead of in the fall of 54. Furthermore, c. 11, which was surely written toward the close of 55 B.C., shows a decided change in the feeling of Catullus toward Caesar, and accords well with the statement of Suetonius (Iul. 73), that after Catullus had angered Caesar by his epigrams concerning him and Mamurra, a reconciliation with the poet took place, apparently at his father's house at Verona. It is hardly credible that if Catullus lived during the exciting years that followed 55 B.C., the only indication of his new feeling toward Caesar should be the reference in c. 11, and that this was followed by silence. Such neutrality was not the fashion among the young friends whom Caesar was constantly winning to himself from the ranks of his political opponents. There seems, indeed, to be an indication in c. 11 that Catullus might be expecting some post under the great commander. But the most satisfactory conclusion is that death came within a short time after the close of 55 B.C., and anticipated all hoped-for activities (cf., however, § 50).
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Friends and foes.
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