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12. Doubtless to the care of some friend of the family at Rome the youth was entrusted. And there were many Transpadanes at Rome, - some of them making great names for themselves in the literary world. With some of these certainly a man of station prominent enough in Verona to be later, at least, the friend of Julius Caesar, might command interest. Under the charge of one of them he might have placed so promising a young man as his son doubtless was. To which one the trust fell cannot now be determined, but as Catullus later (c. 1) addresses Cornelius Nepos as the friend and foster-father of his earlier poems, it seems not unlikely that to his guardianship (Cf. § 63) Catullus owed his introduction into the society of Rome.

13. The purpose of his coming thither is nowhere stated, but may easily be divined. Rome was the school of Italy, at least to all who could pay for her tuition. And a youth with a poet's soul burning within him could hardly have been content with such schooling as a Transpadane town afforded, even to her wealthiest inhabitants. But whether Catullus did much studying of a serious sort may well be doubted. It cannot be quite true that his “'only books were woman's looks,'” for his poems show an ardent and sympathetic study of the Greek poets. But his attainments in rhetoric and philosophy, if he had any at all, were certainly not of a scholastic character, and he apparently never cared to follow the students of the day to Athens or to Rhodes.

14. Not books, but life, exercised over him the preeminent charm. And this life was not the life of the past, but of the present, - the busy, delirious whirl of life in the capital of the world. Into it he plunged with all the ardor of a lively and passionate nature. Rome was from that first moment his home, the centre of all his beloved activities. Verona, his Sabine villa, and even Sirmio, became to him but hospitals or vacation haunts. Once only did he leave Italy, and even his joy at reaching Sirmio again on his return (c. 31) could not long detain him from Rome. And at Rome death met him.

15. In life at Rome, then, Catullus found his full development as a poet. Already from the donning of the toga virilis, so he tells us (c. 68.15 ff.), he had been busied with love and love-verses. But whether this period antedated or followed his coming to Rome cannot be decided, since the date of publication of the Chronica of Nepos (c. 1.8) is unknown, and on this alone could a decision of the other point be based. Such poems as those that concern Aufilena (cc. 100, 110, 111) may possibly date from the Veronese period of the poet's life (though c. 82 cannot possibly do so), and yet it is just as possible that their scene was Rome (cf. introductory note to c. 100), and the same may be said of the poems concerning Ameana (cc. 41, 43). Much more likely is it, however, that of the other poems that show some connection with Veronese affairs cc. 17 and 67 date from his residence in his native city, while c. 35 was surely written during only a temporary visit there (cf. Commentary)

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