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With 61 begins the group of longer poems of Catullus which extends through Catul. 68.1ff. Of these 61, Catul. 62.1ff., and (after the interposition, as commonly, of a poem on a different subject) Catul. 64.1ff. are on marriage themes, and in certain MSS. as well as by earlier editors are called Epithalamia. 61 is written in honor of the marriage of Manlius Torquatus and Vinia Aurunculeia (cf. v. 16 n.), but is in no sense a true epithalamium, sung by a chorus outside the marriage chamber. The poet himself, on the contrary, speaks throughout, acting as a sort of choragus, and, yielding fully to the joyous enthusiasm of the occasion, in a tone of purest inspiration joins in each part of the ceremonial. The poem is, then, a graceful combination of lyric reminiscences of the ceremonies attending a Roman marriage, rather than a precise dramatic representation of any of them. Hence the poet allows himself certain liberties with the rites, omitting all reference to some, altering others, and introducing a Greek flavor, especially by the invocation to Hymen, and by the singing of a true epithalamium at the end.—For a description of Roman marriage-rites see Becker, Gallus, English translation (5), p. 160ff.; Marquardt, Privatleben der Römer (2), p.42ff.—Date uncertain, though it hardly seems possible that Catullus could have sung another's love with so clear a note after his love for Lesbia had ended in such bitter disappointment. Meter, Glyconic (Intr. 82b).

[1-35] Invocation to Hymen. The poet speaks as if standing before the bride's home, awaiting her coming forth for the procession to the house of the bridegroom.

collis Heliconii: Mt. Helicon in Boeotia was from most ancient times known as the seat of the Muses (cf. Hes. Theog. 1Μουσάων Ἑλικωνιάδων” ), of one of whom Hymen was the son.

[2] cultor: for incola; cf. Catul. 64.300cultricem montibus Idri” ; Catul. 63.72silvicultrix” .

[2] Uraniae: by other writers Hymen is called the son of Calliope, or of Terpsichore, or even of Bacchus and Venus (cf. Serv. on Verg. A. 4.127).

[2] genus: for filius; cf. Catul. 64.23.

[3] rapis: cf. the same traditional sentiment in Catul. 62.20ff. And though perhaps not directly referred to here, the prehistoric marriage by capture is traceable in the Roman custom of taking the bride from her mother's arms with a show of force, and of carrying her over the threshold of her new home (cf. vv. 166-167).

[3] teneram: in contrast with the idea of violence in rapis.

[3] virum virginem: with the favorite alliterative contrast; cf. Verg. A. 1.493audet viris concurrere virgo” .

[4] Hymen: the Greek god of marriage addressed under the double name Ἡψμὴν Ὑμέναιε (or in reverse order); cf. Eur. Tro. 311; Aristoph. Peace 1335; Theocr. 18.58; Pl. Cas. 752io Hymen Hymenaee” ; Ov. Her. 14.27Hymen Hymenaee” ; and also Catul. 62.5, etc.

[6-10] The attributes of Hymen are those of marriage; here, the wreath, veil, and slippers of the bride; in v. 15, the torch.

[6] floribus: cf. Paul. Fest. p. 63corollam nova nupta de floribus, verbenis, herbisque a se lectis sub amiculo ferebat” ; Ov. Her. 6.43pronuba Iuno adfuit et sertis tempora vinctus Hymen” .

[7] suave olentis amaraci: sweet marjoram (σάμψυχον); cf. Verg. A. 1.693mollis amaracus illum floribus et dulci adspirans complectitur umbra.

[8] flammeum: the long mantle (= palla?) drawn up to serve as a head-covering; in the case of brides and of the wife of the flamen it was of a brownish-yellow color (luteum); cf. Luc. Phar. 2.361lutea demissos velarunt flammea vultus.

[8] cape: don; cf. v. 9 gerens.

[8] huc, huc: cf. Catul. 64.195.

[9] niveo: to contrast with v. 10 luteum.

[10] soccum: unlaced slippers, used commonly for house-wear, and so especially by women. In the apparel of the bride in the Aldobrandini marriage scene they are yellow in color.

[12] concinens: of a single voice also in Catul. 65.13; but v. 123 concinite in modum.

[13] tinnula: of a clear, high. pitched tone like the ring of a resounding bar of metal; cf. Catul. 64.262; Pomponius ap. Macrob. 6.4.13vocem reddam tenuem et tinnulam.

[14] pelle humum pedibus: of dancing, as in Lucr. 5.1402duro terram pede pellere” ; Hor. Carm. 1.37.1pede libero pulsanda tellus” ; Hor. Carm. 3.18.15pepulisse ter pede terram” .

[15] pineam quate taedam: on torches in the marriage procession cf. Verg. A. 7.397ipsa flagrantem fervida pinum sustinet ac canit hymenaeos” ; Verg. Ciris 439pronuba nec castos accendet pinus honores” ; Ov. Fast. 2.561conde tuas, Hymenaee, facis” .

[16] Vinia Manlio: the bride is called Aurunculeia in v. 86, a fact which Scaliger rightly explained as due to an adoption, Vinia being the present legal name corresponding to the formal nomen gentile of the bridegroom, in immediate connection with which it stands, while Aurunculeia was the name before adoption. Both names are common enough, hut the personality of the bride can be no further determined. On Manlius Torquatus (cf. vv. 216 and 222) see Intr. 67.

[17] qualis: the comparison extends only to the all-conquering beauty of the bride.

[17] Idalium colens: cf. Catul. 36.12n.

[18] Phrygium iudicem: i.e. Paris, whose decision in giving the golden apple as the prize of beauty to Aphrodite rather than to Hera or Pallas brought in its train all the woes of the Trojan War; cf. Hom. Il. 24.28ff.; Hor. Carm. 3.3.18Ilion, Ilion fatalis incestusque index et mulier peregrina vertit in pulverem.

[19] bona virgo: the thought turns from beauty to character; cf. v. 186 bonae feminae; v. 226 a bona matre.

[19] cum bona alite: of the ominous flight of birds; cf. Hor. Carm. 1.15.5mala ducis avi domum” ; Cic. Divin. 1.16.28nam ut nunc extis, sic tum avibus, magnae res impetriri solent” .

[22] myrtus Asia: the myrtle flourished in damp places, and the thought here is probably of the famous fertile region about the Cayster in Lydia; cf.

Ἀσίῳ ἐν λειμῶνι Καϋστρίου ἀμφὶ ῥέεθρα;

Verg. G. 1.383volucres quae Asia circum dulcibus in stagnis rimantur prata Caystri” . The myrtle bore white blossoms (Aristoph. Birds. 1099 ἠρινά τε βοσκόμεθα παρθένια
λευκότροφα μύρτα
”, and was sacred to Venus ( Phaedr. 3.17.3myrtus Veneri placuit” ); similarly Ariadne is compared to a myrtle-branch in Catul. 64.89, and Vinia herself in v. 91ff. to the hyacinth, and in v. 193ff. to the white parthenice and the flame-red poppy.

[23] hamadryades deae: i.e. tree-nymphs; cf. Serv. on Verg. Ecl. 10.62quae una cum arboribus nascuntur et pereunt” ; Apol. Rhod. 2.479ff.

[24] rosido: for the later rorido (Prop. 3.30.26) or roscido ( Plin. NH 9.10.38roscido umore” ).

[25] The place of the cyclic dactyl is in this verse taken by an irrational spondee (Intr. 82b); cf. the similar substitutions in the experimental meter of Catul. 55.1 and Catul. 58.b.1ff.

[26] quare age: cf. v.38; Catul. 64.372.

[26] aditum ferens: cf. v. 43; Catul. 63.47reditum tetulit” ; Catul. 63.79reditum ferat” .

[27] Thespiae rupis: the town of Thespiae lay at the foot of Helicon.

[28] Aonios specus: Aonia was the name of the district about Helicon, whence the Muses were called Aonides (Ov. Met. 5.333; Juv. 7.59). On caves as quiet retreats of the Muses cf. Hor. Carm. 3.4.40; Juv. l.c.

[29] nympha Aganippe: her fountain is described by Paus. 9.29.3

[29] super: for desuper; cf. Verg. A. 9.168haec super e vallo prospectant Troes” ; Tib. 3.2.10ossa super nigra favilla teget” .

[31] dominam: for the Roman wife was domina wherever her husband was dominus, according to the marriage formula ubi tu Gaius ego Gaia.

[32] coniugis cupidam novi: the bride displays proper maidenly reluctance (cf. vv. 83-85), yet feels the drawings of love (cf. vv.176-178).

[34] hedera: etc. cf. the similar familiar figure in v. 106ff.

[34] huc et huc: cf. Hor. Epod. 4.9huc et huc euntium” .

[36-45] Exhortation of the choragus to the waiting maidens to join in singing the praises of Hymen.

[36] integrae: cf. Catul. 34.2n.

[37] advenit: is close at hand, while the future would mean ‘will sometime come.’

[38] par dies: i.e. their own wedding day

[38] agite: expletive as in v. 26 age; v. 123 ite; cf. Catul. 63.12; Catul. 64.372

[38] in modum: i.e. in the unison of prescribed rhythm; cf v. 123; Hor. Carm. 4.6.43docilis moderum vatis Horati” .

[42] citarier: with this earlier infinitive form cf. v. 65, etc. compararier; v. 68 nitier; Catul. 68.141componier” , and see Catul. 34.8n.

[42] suum munus: explained by vv. 44-45.

[43] aditum ferat: cf. v. 26 n.

[44] dux: as the presiding deity of marriage.

[44] bonae Veneris: honorable love; cf. vv. 61-63; v. 202 bona Venus.

[45] coniugator: ἅπαξ λεγόμενον; with the figure cf. Catul. 68.118n.

[46-75] The choragus leads the maidens in singing the praises of Hymen.

[46] anxiis: i.e. fretting with eager passion; cf. Stat. Silv. 1.2.81quantos iuvenis premat anxius ignes” .

[51] te parens invocat: the aged parent desires to see his daughters established under the protection of husbands before his death; cf. Catul. 62.58; Catul. 66.15ff.

[51] tremulus: sc. with the palsy of age; cf. Catul. 17.13ff.

[53] zonula: etc. i.e. maidens willingly submit to thy sway; with the figure cf. Catul. 2.13n.

[53] solvunt: on the diaeresis see Intr. 86b.

[54] timens: contrasted with the following word, cupida; the bridegroom's eagerness is so great as to be somewhat allied to fear, almost like that of the traditional bride; so he trembles even while he listens anxiously to catch the music of the bridal procession.

[55] captat aure: cf. Verg. A. 3.514auribus aera captat” .

[56] in manus: perhaps with a reminiscence of the legal conventio in manum.

[57] floridam: cf. Catul. 17.14n.; the idea is of the bride's tender, youthful bloom, and contrasts with that in v. 56 fero.

[58] a gremio suae matris: of the guarded peacefulness of the bride's former life; cf. v. 3 n. rapis; 62.21ff.; 64.87ff.

[61] nil commodi capere: cf. Ter. Eun. 971hoc capio commodi” .

[65] compararier: on the form see v. 42 n. citarier.

[67] liberos: by the formula that embodied the strict Roman reverence for the family, a wife was taken liberorum quaerendorum gratia, and Gaius remarks (Gaius 1.64),si quis nefarias atque incestas nuptias contraxerit, neque uxorem habere videtur, neque liberos” .

[68] stirpe nitier: with the figure cf. Plin. Ep. 4.21.3unus ex tribus liberis superest domumque pluribus adminiculis paulo ante fundatam desolatus fulcit ac sustinet” .

[71] careat: the change with this stanza from direct to hypothetical statement corresponds to the absence of probability that an entire land would be without marriage-rites.

[72] dare praesides: in the older days only Roman citizens could serve in the legions, and no man could be born a Roman citizen save within the strictly guarded marriage-laws.

[76-120] The hymn to Hymen finished, the bride is now urged to come forth and take her place in the procession to the bridegroom's house, and to dry her tears (v. 85) by thoughts of her own conquering beauty (vv. 86-100), which the poet skilfully extols by prophesying her entire and lasting influence over her husband (vv. 101ff.).

[77] viden ut: etc. addressed to the bride, who may look out through the now opened doors and see the procession ready to escort her on her way to her new home. The phrase is used in Catullus, as regularly in early Latin, in the sense of quo modo, without affecting the mood of the verb (cf. v. 98; Catul. 62.8), the ut being more exclamatory than interrogative. In 62.8 it is addressed to more than one person. In later writers the subjunctive becomes the rule; cf. also v. 171ff. aspice ut immineat.

[79-82] The two concluding verses of the first defective stanza doubtless contained an exhortation to the bride to come forth, vv. 79-80 perhaps being ne moreris, abit dies: prodeas nova nupta (cf. v. 94 and the urgent repetitions in vv. 95, 96, 100, 110, I20), while vv. 81-82 referred to her evident reluctance, for which vv. 83-85 assign the reason.

[83] ingenuus pudor: i.e. the natural modesty of a maiden gently-bred; cf. Plin. NH Praef. 21est plenum ingenui pudoris fateri per quos profeceris” ; Prop. 1.4.13ingenuus calor et multis decus artibus” ; Plin. Ep. 1.14.8ingenua totius corporis pulchritudo et quidam senatorius decor.

[84] tamen: referring to ingenuus; it is a becoming modesty, but is indulged too far.

[84] magis: sc. quam nostra verba.

[84] audiens: minding; cf. Verg. G. 1.514neque audit currus habenas” ; Hor. Carm. 1.13.13si me satis audias” .

[85] flet: on the genuineness of the bride's tears cf. Catul. 66.15ff.

[89] diem: i.e. the morrow's day.

[93] flos hyacinthinus: cf. Verg. A. 11.69florem languentis hyacinthi” ; not our hyacinth, but the blue iris or the larkspur. On the comparison with a flower cf. v. 22 n.

[98] vide: perhaps with more impatience than v. 77 viden.

[99] aureas: of fire also in Lucr. 6.205liquidi color aureus ignis” ; cf. Pind. O. 1.1 δὲ χρυσὸς αἰθόμενον πῦρ” .

[103] probra turpia: cf. Catul. 91.4a turpi probro” .

[106] quin: nay rather.

[106] velut: etc. with the comparison cf. Hor. Carm. 1.36.20lascivis hederis ambitiosior” ; Hor. Epod. 15.5artius atque hedera procera adstringitur ilex, lentis adhaerens bracchiis” ; Gall. Epithal. 3 (Anth. Lat. 232 Mey.)bracchia nec hederae vincant” .

[108] implicabitur: as of the middle voice.

[111] cubile: etc. the Epithalamium of Ticidas evidently contained a similar address of congratulation to the lectus genialis; cf. the quotation by Priscian 1.189felix lectule” .

[112-114] These verses perhaps stood in the archetype at the bottom or top of a page, with vv. 79f. standing in a corresponding position on the other side of the leaf, and were lost by the same mutilation that destroyed vv. 79-82.

[115] candido pede lecti: the feet of the bed were frequently of ivory; cf. Catul. 64.45, Catul. 64.48; Hor. S. 2.6.103tincta super lectos canderet vestis eburnos” ; Plat. Com.κλίνη ἐλεφαντόπους” .

[117] gaudia gaudeat: with the figura etymologica cf. Catul. 7.9n.

[117] vaga: fleeting (Ellis) of the elusiveness of the constant onward movement of time; cf. Catul. 64.271n. vagi solis.

[118] medio die: of the mid-day siesta; cf. Catul. 32.3; Catul. 80.3.

[121-125] The bride yields to the persuasion and comes forth, and the procession begins to move.

[121] tollite faces: in preparation for departure.

[122] flammeum: the bright-tinted mantle catches the eye first as the bride comes forth.

[123] ite: expletive; cf. v. 38 n.; Prop. 4.4.7ite agite, date lintea

[123] concinite: cf. v. 12 n.;

the boys run up and down the street,
Crying aloud with strong confused noise,
As if it were one voice, Hymen! io Hymen! Hymen! they do shout.

Spenser, Epithal.

[123] in modum: cf. v. 38 n.

[124] io: as in the familiar cry io Triumphe.

[126-155] The versus Fescennini, sung on the way to the bridegroom's house, which are addressed successively to the (perhaps imaginary) former slave-favorite of the bridegroom, to the bridegroom himself, and to the bride. Antiquarian accuracy is not observed, for the bridegroom (according to v. 171ff.) is with his friends awaiting at his own home the arrival of the bride, and therefore not present to hear the verses addressed to him; while in place of the bridegroom (v. 128 n.) the concubinus is present and scatters the nuts.

[127] Fescennina iocatio: cf. Paul. Fest. 85Fescennini versus, qui canebantur in nuptiis, ex urbe Fescennina dicuntur allati, sive ideo dicti quia fascinum putabantur arcere” (cf. Catul. 5.12n.); Hor. Ep. 2.1.145Fescennina licentia versibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit” ; Sen. Rh. p. 223 B. inter nuptiales Fescenninos in crucem generi nostri iocabantur. Similar licentious catches directed against the general were sung by his soldiers in the triumphal procession (cf. Suet. Iul. 49 and Suet. Iul. 51).

[128] nuces pueris: as a part of the marriage ceremonies the bride-groom scattered nuts among the crowd of bystanders; cf. Verg. Ecl. 8.29tibi ducitur uxor; sparge, marite, nuces,” and the comments thereupon by Servius, who gives several explanations of the custom.

[129] desertum: etc. i.e. perceiving that his love for his master is now slighted.

[130] concubinus: the puer delicatus to whom the (traditionally libellous) fescennines represent the bridegroom as having been devoted.

[131] iners: the favorite has thus far enjoyed a life of idleness; cf. Cic. ND 1.36.102Epicurus quasi pueri delicati nihil cessatione melius existimat” .

[132] satis diu: i.e. you have long enough by favor of your master enjoyed a child's free life (cf. Servius l.c.); now scatter nuts to show that the life of irresponsibility is over for you.

[134] servire: contrasted with lusisti; you have thus far played; now your master chooses the service of Talasius, and sport is over.

[134] Talasio: for the traditional origin of this distinctively Roman marriage cry that corresponded to the Greek cry of Hymen see Liv. 1.9.12.

[136] sordebant: etc. i.e. at your master's country seat even the wives of the bailiffs, so much above common slaves like yourself, were but mean in your eyes.

[137] hodie atque heri: but yesterday; cf. Gr. χθὲς καὶ πρώην and ἐχθε και σήμερον (Ep. Heb. 13.8).

[138] cinerarius: the slave who acted as hair-dresser; cf. Varr. LL 5.129calamistrum quod his calefactis in cinere capillus ornatur. Qui ea ministrabat a cinere cinerarius est appellatus” .

[139] tondet os: i.e. the days of your childhood, and with them the charm of your young beauty, and your life of idle luxury are past; cf.

flammea texuntur sponsae, iam virgo paratur;
tondebit pueros iam nova nupta tuos


[139] miser ah miser: cf. Catul. 63.61.

[141] The verses are now directed to the bridegroom.

[141] male: modifying abstinere, with the meaning of aegre, as in Verg. G. 1.360iam sibi tum curvis male temperat unda carinis” .

[141] te abstinere: with the verb in this reflexive construction cf. Ter. Hec. 139sese illa abstinere ut potuerit?

[142] unguentate: as frequently, with an idea of excessive and effeminate luxury.

[142] glabris: i.e. pueris delicatis, plural as though, in fact, the bridegroom had kept many concubinos.

[146] licent: etc. the sentiment intimated concerning the license allowed by society to an unmarried man is true to ancient life.

[151] The chorus now turns to the bride with equally, though less brutally, plain words.

[156-235] The procession reaches the bridegroom's house (-165), the bride is assisted over the threshold without stumbling (-170), and finds the bridegroom awaiting her (-180). She is then duly conducted to the lectus genialis (-190), the bride-groom allowed to enter the apartment (-205), and outside the door the chorus sings its congratulations and prophecies of present and future happiness (-235). Many small details of the usual marriage ceremonies are untouched by the poet.

[156] ut: modifying potens (sc. est).

[156] potens: cf. Hor. Carm. 1.35.23potentis domos” .

[157] beata: cf. Catul. 51.15beatas urbes” .

[158] sine serviat: for you come to be domina, and the house offers its lasting allegiance for your acceptance.

[161] tremulum: cf. v. 51 n.

[162] cana anilitas: cf. Catul. 108.1cana senectus” .

[162] tempus: for caput, as in Prop. 4.9.15iacuit pulsus tria tempora ramo Cacus” . The singular rarely occurs in the sense of ‘one of the temples’ except when so modified as to distinguish between them; but cf. Auct. ad Herenn. 4.55dubitanti Graccho percutit tempus” .

[163] omnia omnibus adnuit: i.e. by the constant palsied motion of the head.

[166] transfer: apparently addressed to the bride, who here steps over (not upon) the threshold, instead of being lifted across it; cf.

i, sensim superattolle limen pedes, nova nupta;
sospes iter incipe hoc ut viro tuo
semper sis superstes,
ut potior sis pollentia, victrixque sis,
superetque tuum imperium.

[166] omine cum bono: the custom of lifting the bride across the threshold is doubtless traceable to the original marriage by capture, as certain even of the ancients suggested, but its origin had been almost lost sight of, and the Romans explained it generally as due to fear that the bride might stumble, and so offend Vesta, to whom the threshold was sacred (Varro ap. Serv. on Verg. Ecl. 8.29), or begin her new life under an evil omen (Plaut. Cas. l.c.; Ov. Met. 10.452ter pedis offensi signo est revocata” ).

[167] aureolos: perhaps only of the color of the shoes (cf. v. 10 luteum soccum with Catul. 2.12aureolum malum” ); but cf. ἀργυρόπεζα of Thetis (Hom.) and Aphrodite (Pind.), χρυσοπέδιλος of Hera (Hom.), χρυσέη Ἀφροδίτη (Hom.), etc.

[168] rasilem forem: the polished doorway.

[171] adspice: the bride now stands within the dwelling at the entrance to the atrium, where the bridegroom has been celebrating with his friends the cena nuptialis; cf. Pl. Curc. 728tu, miles, apud me cenabis; hodie fient nuptiae” ; Cic. Quint. Fr. 2.3.7eo die apud Pomponium in eius nuptiis eram cenaturus.

[171] unus: the bridegroom is the one object upon which her eyes rest, while he in turn has eyes for her alone (v. 173).

[171] accubans: sc. in lecto tricliniari, in connection with which accubare is especially used.

[172] Tyrio in toro: i.e. a couch with crimson draperies; cf. Catul. 64.49, Catul. 64.163; Hor. S. 2.6.103 (cf. v. 115 n.); Tib. 1.2.75Tyrio recubare toro” .

[173] totus, with his whole being; cf. Catul. 64.93.

[173] immineat: is intent upon; cf. Ov. Met. 1.146imminet exitio vir coniugis” .

[177] uritur: rare, if not unique, in the passive with such a subject as flamma; but cf. the not infrequent use in Greek of δαίεσθαι in similar constructions.

[178] penite: secretly; he shows no sign of his passion to curious eyes; cf. Tib. 4.5.17optat idem iuvenis quod nos, sed tectius optat” , but for the contrary view Ov. AA 1.276vir male dissimulat; tectius illa cupit” . The adverb is ἅπαξ λεγόμενον from the adjective penitus of Plautus and late Latin.

[182] praetextate: the poet speaks unprecisely of but one boy leading the bride to the door of the thalamus, and giving her into the hands of the pronubae; but cf. Fest. 24apatrimi et matrimi pueri tres nubentem deducunt, unus qui facem praefert ex spina alba, quia noctu nubebant, duo qui tenent nubentem.

[186] bonae feminae: cf. v. 19 bona virgo; Aug. Nupt. 1.9progrediente autem genere humano iunctae sunt quibusdam bonis viris bonae feminae.

[186] senibus viris: the pronubae were wives of one husband, and of the dignity of character that comes with honored age; cf. Serv. on Verg. A. 4.166Varro