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An expression of thanks to M. Tullius Cicero on some unknown occasion. It is, however, mistakenly (see notes below) understood by many critics to be ironical in tone.—Meter, Phalaecean.

disertissime: Cicero himself often uses this epithet, and always as one of high praise.

Romuli nepotum: cf. Catul. 28.15; Catul. 34.22; Catul. 58.5. In none of these passages do the words themselves convey any tone of disparagement (see Catul. 58.5n.); cf. also Hor. CS 47Romulae genti date decus omne” ; Hor. Carm. 4.5.1Romulae custos gentis” ; Hor. Epod. 7.19Remi sacer nepotibus cruor.

[2] quot sunt: etc. cf. Catul. 21.2ff.; Catul. 24.2ff.; in the latter instance the expression is connected with high praise.

[2] Marce Tulli: the formal address suits the formal expression of thanks to a patronus; cf. Cic. Att. 7.7.7 ad summam ‘dic, M. Tulli’: adsentior Cn. Pompeio, id est T. Pomponio; Cic. Catil. 1.11.27se res publica loquaturM. Tulli, quid agis?’

[4] gratias: apparently, from v. 1 disertissime and v. 7 patronus, for some legal assistance or oratorical effort, though it is impossible to say what.

[5] pessimus omnium poeta: the self-depreciation heightens the praise of v. 7; Catullus also speaks of himself with excessive modesty in addressing his patron Nepos in Catul. 1.1ff.

[6] With the epanalepsis cf. that in Catul. 3.3ff.

[7] optimus omnium patronus: The construction of omnium with pessimus in v. 5 makes it impossible to suppose a double meaning here by construing omnium with both optimus and patronus.

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  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 7.7.7
    • Catullus, Poems, 1
    • Catullus, Poems, 21
    • Catullus, Poems, 24
    • Catullus, Poems, 28
    • Catullus, Poems, 3
    • Catullus, Poems, 34
    • Catullus, Poems, 58
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 1.11.27
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