Catullus in Roman Biography

Ca-tul'lus, [Fr. C atuli.e, kt'tiil',] (Catus Valerius,) an eminent Latin poet, born at or near Verona about 77 B.C., (some authorities say 87 B.C.) He went to Rome at an early age, and by bis literary merit obtained admission into the society of Cicero, Caesar, Pollio, and others. His indulgence in vicious and expensive pleasures soon reduced him to poverty, which, however, did not subdue his hilarity. His superior genius as a poet is generally admitted by ancient and modern critics. He wrote numerous poems, which are still extant, including odes and epigrams of great beauty and pathos. He also excelled in heroic verse, and was the first Roman that cultivated lyric poetry with success. His longest poem is "The Nuptials of Peleus and Thetis," in hexameter verse. Some critics estimate the "Atys" as the greatest of his works. "His ' Atys,' " says Professor William Ramsay, " is one of the most remarkable poems in the whole range of Latin literature. Rolling impetuously along in a flood of wild passion, bodied forth in the grandest imagery and the noblest diction, it breathes in every line the fiery vehemence cf the Greek ditnyramb. . . . We admire by turns, in the lighter efforts/ of his muse, his unaffected ease, playful grace, vigorous simplicity, pungent wit, and slashing invective." He imitated Greek models, and seemed like a Greek poet writing in Latin. He is supposed to have died about 45 B.C. ; though Scaliger maintains that he lived about thirty years after that date. See Sellar, "Roman Poets of the Republic," chap. xii. ; FarRicius, " Bibliotheca Latina ;" " Nouvelle Biographie Generate ;" 'Foreign Quarterly Review" for July, 1842; " Fraser's Magazine" for March, 1849.

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