sinistra: as the right hand was given in token of friendship, the left was proverbially the one devoted to theft; cf. Pl. Pers. 227 “illa altera furtifica laeva” ; Ov. Met. 13.111 “[nec clipeus] conveniet natae ad furta sinistrae:” the word occurs in Catul. 47.1 in the figurative sense of ‘accomplices’ in thieving.
 lintea: no clear line seems to have been drawn between handkerchiefs, napkins, and even towels, for lintea, mantelia, mappae, and sudana are used indiscriminately of all these articles. Sometimes the mappae are mentioned as a part of the regular table-furnishing (cf. Varr. L. L. 9.47; Hor. S. 2.4.81), and sometimes each guest provides his own, as here, and in Mart. 12.29.11 “attulerat mappam nemo, dum furta timentur.”
 disertus: i.e. Pollio has the feelings and training of a gentleman; for disertus implying, as here, distinctness of mental vision rather than of speech, see Ter. Eun. 1009 “numquam pol hominem stultiorem vidi nec videbo; at etiam primo callidum et disertum credidi hominem.”
 puer: frequently used somewhat loosely of a young man, as puella is of a young woman; cf. Catul. 45. 11; Catul. 62.47; Catul. 78.4; Hor. Carm. 1.5.1 “quis te puer urget, Pyrrha?” Cic. Phil. 4.1.3 “nomen clarissimi adulescentis, vel pueri potius” (of Octavianus at the age of 19); Sil. Ital. 15.33 “non digne puer” (of Scipio at the age of 20); cf. also Catul. 63.63n. As Pollio was born in 75 B.C., he might have been called puer up to the end of Catullus's life; but the date of this poem is established within narrower limits by Catul. 12.14 ff.
 hendecasyllabos: iambics like those of Archilochus were the traditional weapons of satire; cf.Catul. 36.5; Catul. 40.2n.; Catul. 54.6; but Catullus used hendecasyllables for the same purpose, as in Catul. 42.1; yet cf. Plin. Min. Ep. 5.10.2.
 mei sodalis: the singular is used since the two friends, Veranius and Fabullus, are identified in the affections of Catullus; note also how in Catul. 12.15ff. all expression of preference is avoided by reversal of the order of two names, and by the reduction of Veranius to the diminutive form to correspond with Fabullus (cf. Intr. 68; Catul. 28.3n.).