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Family and circumstances.

9. The only relative mentioned by Catullus is his brother, whose death was the occasion to him of such intense and lasting grief (cc. 65, 68, 101). But Suetonius (l.c.) speaks of the father as a host of Julius Caesar even so late, apparently, as the close of the poet's life. Why he (to say nothing of the mother) is never mentioned by the poet, we cannot tell. Not improbably, however, he did not have the same active sympathy with the tastes and inclinations of Catullus as the father of Horace had with those of his son. Catullus, moreover, was not the only son, and was probably younger than the one whose untimely death in the Troad he records.

10. Yet there was apparently wealth enough in the family to enable even the younger brother to enjoy the advantages that wealth brought to the young Italian of that day. He was able early in his young manhood to go to Rome, and to make that city thenceforth his abiding-place (c. 68.34 ff.). He owned a villa at Sirmio (c. 31), and another on the edge of the Sabine hills (c. 44). And there is no indication that while at Rome he was busy with any pursuit that could fill his purse, although, like many another young Roman, he later obtained a provincial appointment, and went to Bithynia on the staff of the governor Memmius in the hope of wealth (cf. § 29 ff.). The hope, he tells us (cc. 10, 28), proved abortive, but Catullus had yet money enough -- perhaps even to purchase a yacht for his homeward journey like any millionaire (cf. § 35 and introductory note to c. 4) - at any rate to continue his merry life at Rome, apparently without great pecuniary embarrassment. All these indications point to no financial inability or niggardliness on the part of his father. Possibly the villas, and an increase of income, came to him upon the death of his brother.

11. Whether Catullus, like Horace, was accompanied to Rome by his father is doubtful. On the whole, it seems hardly probable that he was. To say nothing of the considerations possibly connected with the interests of the elder son, the father was apparently resident in Verona at the time when Julius Caesar was governor of Gaul (Suet. Iul. 73), and this fact may indicate that at no time was the family home at Verona broken up in favor of a new one at Rome.

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    • Catullus, Poems, 10
    • Catullus, Poems, 101
    • Catullus, Poems, 28
    • Catullus, Poems, 31
    • Catullus, Poems, 44
    • Catullus, Poems, 65
    • Catullus, Poems, 68
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 73
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