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A final answer to a proffer of reconciliation from Lesbia, and an offer of service from Furius and Aurelius; see Intr. 41. —Date, the end of 55, or beginning of 54 B.C. (cf. Catul. 11.11).—Meter, lesser Sapphic.

comites: the technical word for members of the cohors of a provincial governor; cf. Catul. 28.1; Catul. 46.9; as Catullus may now hope to be a comes of Caesar, Furius and Aurelius have offered to be his humble and useful friends, that they may profit by his good fortune, and Catullus ironically terms them his comites.

[2] With Catul. 10. 2ff. cf. Hor. Carm. 1.22.5ff.; Hor. 2.6.1ff.; Hor. Epod. 1.11ff.

[2] extremos Indos: cf. Hor. Ep. 1.1.45impiger extremos curris mercator ad Indos” ; Prop. 2.9.29quid si longinquos retinerer miles ad Indos” ; Stat. Silv. 3.2.91vel ad ignotos ibam comes impiger Indos.

[3] ut: the rare locative use; cf. Catul. 17.10; Pl. Bacch. 815in eopse astas lapide, ut praeco praedicat” ; Verg. A. 5.329labitur ut forte [sanguis] humum super madefecerat.

[3] longe resonante: far-echoing.

[3] Eoa unda: i.e. the all-encircling ocean-stream at the extreme East; cf. Ov. Fast. 6.474vigil Eois lucifer exit aquis” ; Tib. 4.2.20proximus Eois Indus aquis” ; Verg. G. 2.122quos Oceano propior gerit India lucos.

[5] Hyrcanos: a people dwelling by the southern end of the Caspian Sea (Mare Hyrcanum), joined by Vergil with the Arabians and Indians as distant enemies of Rome; cf. Verg. A. 7.605[sive bellum] Hircanis Arabisve parant seu tendere ad Indos.

[5] Arabas molles: so called from their proverbial riches and luxury; cf. Verg. G. 1.57molles sua tura Sabaci [mittunt]” ; Tib. 2.2.3urantur odores qusi tener mittit Arabs.

[6] Sacas: a nomadic people, called Scythians by the Greeks, dwelling far to the north-east of Parthia and Bactria; cf. Plin. NH 6.17.50celeberrimi eorum [Scytharum] Sacae” , etc.

[6] sagittiferos Parthos: with reference, as very often in Latin literature, to the traditional weapon and manner of fighting of these most dreaded enemies of Rome; cf. Hor. Carm. 2.13.17miles [timet] sagittas et celerem fugam Parthi” ; Ov. Rem. Am. 157vince Cupidineas pariter Parthasque sagittas” ; Stat. Theb. 6.575[credas] Parthorum fuga totidem exsilvisse sagittas.

[7] septemgeminus: as having seven mouths; cf. Verg. A. 6.800septemgemini ostia Nili” ; Ov. Met. 1.422ubi deseruit madidos septemfluus agros Nilus” ; Ov. Met. 5.187genitum septemplice Nilo.

[7] colorat aequora: by its muddy waters, which, in their overflow, still fertilize the fields of Egypt; cf. Verg. G. 4.291[Nilus] viridem Aegyptum nigra fecundat harena.

[10] In this and the two following verses is a trace of the reconciliation of Catullus to Caesar; cf. Intr. 38ff. The poet could not yet sing Caesar's praises unreservedly, though he might have done so had he lived longer; but he has already yielded from his earlier position ofunmixed censure.

[10] monimenta: the places mentioned are themselves the reminders of Caesar's greatness.

[11] Gallicum: the Rhine is so styled since it was the boundary of Caesar's great conquests, and not with reference to his passage of the river from Gaul into Germany (cf. Caes. B. G. 4.16 ff.)

[11] horribile aequor: the proverbially rough English channel.

[11] ultimos: cf. Catul. 29.4 Catul. 29.12; Hor. Carm. 1.35.29serves iturum Caesarem in ultimos orbis Britannos” ; Verg. Ecl. 1.66penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos.” The preliminary invasion of Britain took place in the late summer of 55 B.C.

[13-16] Apparently Furius and Aurelius, at the suggestion of Lesbia, tendered their services in bringing about a reconciliation with her; but Catullus thoroughly despises them for their actions in the past (cf. Intr. 37), and employs them as comites on only one, and that a final, errand, - to convey to Lesbia his decision against her appeal.

[15] meae puellae: in half-scornful, half-mournful reminiscence of such passages as Catul. 2.1 and Catul. 3.3; cf. the tone of Catul. 58.1 Possibly Lesbia in this appeal had called herself by the endearing name that her lover used to apply to her.

[16] non bona dicta: the clearly. worded and stinging, but controlled bitterness of his reply carries the expression of unalterable determination that is in marked contrast to the tone of Catul. 8.1.

[17] vivat valeatque: a decisive utterance of farewell; cf. Hor. Ep. 1.6.66vivas in amore iocisque; vive, vale.

[18] tenet: holds in thrall; cf. Catul. 55.1, Catul. 17.1; Verg. Ecl. 1.31me Galatea tenebat” ; Mart. 11.40.1formosam Glyceram Lupercus solus tenet.

[18] trecentos: colloquially used of indefinite multitude; cf. Catul. 9.2n.; Pl. Mil. Glor. 250trecentae possunt causae colligi” (but Pl. Trin. 791sescentae causae possunt colligi” ); Hor. S. 1.5.12trecentos inseris!” and often elsewhere.

[21] respectet: i.e. hope to win back; cf. Cic. Planc. 18.45ne par ab iis munus in sua petitione respectent.

[21] ut ante: i.e. at the time mentioned in Catul. 107.1 and Catul. 36.4, following upon the break that prompted Catul. 8.1

[22] velut: love then languished only, but is now dead and cannot be recalled to life; with the figure, cf. Verg. A. 9.433purpureus veluti cum flos succisus aratro languescit moriens” , though Catullus secures greater delicacy of expression by introducing ultimi prati, and by using tactus instead of succisus.

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  • Commentary references from this page (34):
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.16
    • Catullus, Poems, 10
    • Catullus, Poems, 107
    • Catullus, Poems, 11
    • Catullus, Poems, 17
    • Catullus, Poems, 2
    • Catullus, Poems, 28
    • Catullus, Poems, 29
    • Catullus, Poems, 3
    • Catullus, Poems, 36
    • Catullus, Poems, 46
    • Catullus, Poems, 55
    • Catullus, Poems, 58
    • Catullus, Poems, 8
    • Cicero, For Plancius, 18.45
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.422
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5.187
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 3.3
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 5.329
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 6.800
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 7.605
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 9.433
    • Vergil, Eclogues, 1
    • Vergil, Georgics, 1.57
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.122
    • Vergil, Georgics, 4.291
    • Horace, Satires, 1.5.12
    • Ovid, Remedia Amoris
    • Plautus, Bacchides, 4.7
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 2.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.17
    • Statius, Thebias, 6
    • Statius, Silvae, 3.2
    • Ovid, Fasti, 6
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