previous next

Sestius, following the custom of interchange of literary productions among friends (cf. Catul. 14.1ff.) had sent Catullus a copy of his newly-composed oration, and had accompanied it with an invitation to a dinner, from which the poet was unexpectedly detained by a sudden attack of influenza. After his recovery he sends Sestius these verses in excuse for his absence, humorously attributing his illness to the frigid quality of the oration, which he had felt forced to read in expectation of being called upon for his opinion concerning it.—Meter, choliambic.

[3] cordi: cf. Catul. 64.158; Catul. 81.5; Catul. 95.9

[3] laedere: for Tibur was a fashionable place of summer abode, while Sabinum was noted only as the country of frugal peasant life.

[4] pignore contendunt: cf. Verg. Ecl. 3.31tu dic, mecum quo pignore certes.

[6] tua: since the villa was a part of the fundus.

[6] suburbana: Tibur (now Tivoli) was but 18 miles from Rome, and indeed, being placed on the abrupt edge of the Sabine hills as they descend to the plain, was visible from the city itself.

[7] malam: wretched, cf. Hor. AP 453mala scabies.

[7] expuli: cf. Hor. Ep. 2.2.137expulit elIeboro morbum” .

[8] venter: the stomach inflicted a penalty for contemplated gluttony, instead of lending itself to the expected gratification.

[10] Sestianus: referring probably to P. Sestius, a man especially helpful to Cicero at the time of his exile, and defended by him in a speech still extant when prosecuted in 56 B.C. on a charge of vis. He was apparently a man of irritable temper and vigorous tongue; with v. 12 cf. Cic. Quint. Fr. 2.4.1, etc.

[10] dum volo: etc. i.e. I joyfully planned to accept the invitation, and under the circumstances dared not postpone the reading of the oration sent by my prospective host.

[11] Antium: otherwise unknown.

[11] petitorem: probably (as in Hor. Carm. 3.1.10hic generosior descendat in campum petitor” ) of a candidate for public office; but the occasion of the attack cannot be determined.

[12] plenam: etc. with a jesting double meaning; the speech was full of venenum and pestilentia for the reader as well as for the unfortunate Antius; cf. Catul. 14.19 (where venena is used of wretched verses), and the collocation of venenum and pestis in Catul. 77.5ff.

[15] urtica: nettles were a light article of vegetarian diet (cf. Hor. Ep. 1.12.7 abstemius herbis vivis et urtica), and thus well fitted for a patient with influenza; cf. concerning them Plin. NH 22.35utilissimam cibis coctam conditamve arteriae tussi cum tisana pectus purgare.

[16] tibi: i.e. the villa (cf. v. 17 ulta), to which the address turns from the fundus.

[17] ulta: sc. by refusing to grant me relief from the punishment which the venter had inflicted.

[18] nefaria scripta: on the lengthening of the final short syllable in thesis see Intr. 86g.

[19] recepso: a sigmatic aorist form, which came to be used like the ordinary future-perfect, which was itself of similar origin. Cf. Catul. 34.8n.

[20] non mi, sed ipsi Sestio: a παρὰ προσδοκίαν.

[20] frigus: of a cold also in Hor. S. 1.1.80tentatum frigore corpus” .

[21] vocat: sc. ad cenam; cf. Catul. 47.7vocationes” ; Pl. Capt. 76quos nunquam quisquam vocat.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tibur (Italy) (2)
Tivoli (Italy) (1)
Sabine (United States) (1)
Rome (Italy) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (12 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (12):
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 2.4.1
    • Catullus, Poems, 14
    • Catullus, Poems, 47
    • Catullus, Poems, 64
    • Catullus, Poems, 77
    • Catullus, Poems, 81
    • Catullus, Poems, 95
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 3
    • Horace, Satires, 1.1.80
    • Horace, Ars Poetica, 453
    • Plautus, Captivi, 1.1
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 22.15
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: