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On the enduring fame of the Zmyrna of C. Helvius Cinna, who was mentioned in Catul. 10.29f.; see also Intr. 63.

nonam: etc. so also Quint. 10.4.4Cinnae Smyrnam novem annis accepimus scriptam;Serv. on Verg. Ecl. 9.35quem libellum [Smyrnam] decem annis elimavit;” cf. Hor. A. P. 388nonum prematur in annum, membranis intus positis” .

[2] edita: sc. est, suggested from the preceding est.

[3] cum interea: cf. Catul. 64.305.

[3] milia quingenta: cf. Catul. 9.2n.

[3] Hortensius: perhaps Q. Hortensius Ortalus, the poet and man of letters, to whom Catul. 65.1ff. is addressed; cf. Intr. 65. But the genuineness of the reading has often been doubted.

[3] uno: etc., sc. anno, or perhaps, as Haupt suggests, die (cf. Plut. Cic. 40). The simplest guess at the gist of the lost verse is that it contrasted the careless literary fecundity of Hortensius with Cinna's careful elaboration of merely a short poem. But others, troubled by the speedy introduction of Volusius, see in v. 4 a reference to him as the facile author of the myriads of verses, and to Hortensius only as his patron (cf. Crit. App.).

[5] cavas: deep; cf. Catul. 17.4cava in palude” .

[5] Satrachi: a river of Cyprus, a favorite haunt of Aphrodite and Adonis, the son of Myrrha, or Zmyrna. The idea is that the poem of Cinna will be read in the depths of the distant island where its scene was laid.

[5] penitus: i. e. far into the interior.

[6] cana saecula: the hoary ages; so Martial of the distant past in Mart. 8.80.2.

[6] pervoluent: with diaeresis; cf. Intr. 86b.

[7] Volusi annales: cf. Catul. 36.1ff. Why Catullus turns suddenly from Hortensius to Volusius it is impossible to say, in the lack of knowledge concerning the latter, between whom and Hortensius there may have been some definite connection.

[7] Paduam: with the river Satrachus is here contrasted the branch of the Po called by Polybius ( Polyb. 2.16Παδόα” ). Near this stream lay the birthplace of the Annals (as ipsam shows), and doubtless of Volusius himself.

[8] laxas: as both fish and wrapping-paper were cheap, the parcel was not wrapped as neatly as it might have been.

[8] scombris dabunt tunicas: cf. the reminiscence in Mart. 4.86.8nec scombris tunicas dabis [libelle] molestas” (also Mart. 3.2.3; Mart. 3.50.9); and on a similar fate for bad verses, Hor. Ep. 2.1.269, et al.

[8] saepe: for the Annals covered many pages, and would serve the fish-mongers a long time.

[9] parva: of the length of the Zmyrna.

[9] sodalis: cf. Catul. 10.29.

[10] populus: i. e. the οἱ πολλοί, who have no critical sense.

[10] Antimacho: an epic poet of Colophon, who flourished about 400 B.C. He was proverbial among the ancients for wordiness; for a famous story about him see Cic. Brut. 191. Quintilian (Quint. 10.1.53) remarks that he is generally accorded the second place among epic writers, but criticises his looseness and carelessness of style, which would be unpardonable sins in the eyes of an Alexandrian like Catullus. But the comparison of Volusius to him here is plainly in respect of his voluminousness.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Polybius, Histories, 2.16
    • Catullus, Poems, 10
    • Catullus, Poems, 17
    • Catullus, Poems, 36
    • Catullus, Poems, 64
    • Catullus, Poems, 65
    • Horace, Ars Poetica, 388
    • Servius, Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil, 9.35
    • Plutarch, Cicero, 40
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