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Farewell to Bithynia! An unmatched expression of pure joy at the prospect of home-coming. Written in the spring of 56 B.C., when Catullus was concluding his year of absence in Bithynia with Memmius (see Intr. 29ff.). The other poems of this little cycle are Catul. 31.1ff. and Catul. 4.1ff.—Meter, Phalaecean.

egelidos: the prefix here has the privative meaning, as in Colum. 10.282nunc ver egelidum, nunc est mollissimus annus” ; but the prefix is intensive in Verg. A. 8.610procul egelido secretum flumine vidit.

[2] furor aequinoctialis: the ancients had long noted that the period of the autumnal and vernal equinoxes were accompanied by storms; cf. Plin. NH 18.221.

[3] Zephyri: the spring-wind of the Romans; cf. Hor. Carm. 1.4.1solvitur acris hiems grata vice veris et Favoni” ; Verg. G. 2.330(vere) zephyri tepentibus auris laxant arva sinus.

[4] Phrygii campi: cf. Catul. 31.5Bithynos campos” .

[5] Nicaeae: Strabo (12.564) says of Nicaea, the capital of Bithynia, Strabo XII. 564περικεῖται δὲ κύκλῳ πεδίον μέγα cf. Phrigii campi᾿ καὶ σφόδρα εὔδαιμον, ῾ξφ.ager uber᾿ οὐ πάνυ δὲ ὑγιεινὸν τοῦ θέρους” (cf. aestuosae). Homer mentions the fertility of the region in Hom. Il. 13.793ἐξ Ἀσκανίης ἐριβώλακος” .

[5] aestuosae: cf. Catul. 7.5n. The unhealthy character of the region as summer came on rendered departure even more agreeable.

[6] claras Asiae urbes: i.e. the famous Greek cities on the Aegean coast of Asia proper.

[6] volemus: the figure of flying for sailing is prompted by the eagerness of the desire to be gone; cf. Catul. 4.5 of the same voyage.

[7] praetrepidans: tremulous with eager anticipation; cf. Catul. 63.43trepidante sinu.

[8] pedes: not that Catullus was contemplating, as some have thought, a land journey, but the passionate eagerness for departure is most unaffectedly pictured by its influence upon the physical feelings.

[9] dulces: the social intercourse among the comites had been pleasant, but far outweighing the pain of separation was the delight of homecoming.

[9] comitum: i.e. the other members of the governor's cohors; cf. Catul. 11.1; Catul. 28.1.

[10] longe: modifying profectos; the companionship had been endeared by their very distance from home.

[11] diversae: contrasted with simul profectos.

[11] variae: the homeward paths were not only pursued separately, but were varied in character, Catullus, for instance, making a detour to visit the clarae Asiae urbes.

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hide References (10 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (10):
    • Homer, Iliad, 13.793
    • Strabo, Geography, 12.4.5
    • Catullus, Poems, 11
    • Catullus, Poems, 28
    • Catullus, Poems, 31
    • Catullus, Poems, 4
    • Catullus, Poems, 63
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 8.610
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.330
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 18.59
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