27. As part of the history of Catullus after the break with Lesbia has thus been anticipated in order to indicate the course of his struggle with himself, it may be well to pause here a few moments longer to ask who this Lesbia was. That we have in the poems of Catullus a real and not an imaginative sketch of a love-episode cannot be once doubted by him who reads. Lesbia is not a lay figure, a mere peg on which to hang fancies, like the shadowy heroines of Horace. That she was no libertina, but a woman of education and of social position, is equially clear from the passages already cited. The name Lesbia, therefore, is immediately suggestive of a pseudonym; and not only the fashions of poetry, but the position of the lady herself, appear at once to justify this expedient on the part of her poet-lover. To this antecedent probability is added the direct testimony of Ovid, who says (Trist. II.427), “sic sua lascivo cantata est saepe Catullo femina cui falsum Lesbia nomen erat” . Apuleius carries us a step further, saying (Apol. 10), “eadem igitur opera accusent C. Catullum quod Lesbiam pro Clodia nominarit” . The name Lesbia is the proper metrical equivalent for Clodia, as the pseudonym of a mistress should be on the lips of a Roman lover (cf. Bentley on Hor. Carm. II.12.13; Acro on Hor. Sat. I.2.64). <--! Cicero's letters, passim? - what's the n for that? -->
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Friends and foes.
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