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Catullus 16 (wikipedia.org)
22 points by erwan on Oct 25, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments



I studied Latin in school, and we studied Catullus 85 and 5 (which is mentioned in 16).

We discovered there was a book of English translations of Catullus in the library, which we used to "help" with our homework. I'm pretty sure it didn't contain 16, because we would definitely have noticed. :p


I have always loved that the man who wrote the absolutely shattering elegy that gave us the phrase "hail brother and farewell" (Catullus 101) also gave us this.

It's good for poets to have breadth of expression.


And just to prove I did study Latin, I actually remember the end of that poem:

"atque in perpetuam, frater, ave atque vale"


This deserves some warning: the intense explicit language is pretty shocking even if it is 2000+ years old from a famous classical poet.


True. I do find artistic obscenities fascinating, in particular when they look anachronistic. It's impressive than such an old artwork has survived time long enough despite featuring such sulfurous content.

And speaking for myself, it's not that I did not think of them as incapable of moral wrong doings - Antiquity was clearly a brutal period - or producing provocative work. But, I would have expected them to be more prude and limited in their ability to deliver artistic "shock value".

Well, I was wrong! They were very well capable of crude depiction and unsettling vulgarity - even for our contemporary standards!




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