Catullus 4


Catullus 4

Catullus 4 is a poem by the ancient Roman writer Catullus. The poem concerns the retirement of a well-traveled ship; Catullus draws a strong analogy with human aging, rendering the boat as a person that flies and speaks, with palms (the oars) and purpose.

The poem is complex, with numerous geographic references and elaborate litotic double negatives in a list-like manner. It borrows heavily from Ancient Greek vocabulary, and also uses Greek grammar in several sections. The meter of the poem is unusual — iambic trimeter, which was perhaps chosen to convey a sense of speed over the waves.

Catullus 4 has also been interpreted as a parody of epic poetry, or the boat as a metaphor for the Ship of State.

Latin text and translation

Notes

# "Propontis" ("in front of Pontus") was the ancient name for the Sea of Marmora, and "Ponticum sinum" ("Pontic sea") was the name for the Black Sea.
# Mt. Cytorus was a mountain on the southern coast of the Black Sea, between the port cities of Amastris and Cytorus. Cytorus was famous as a source of boxwood.
# The "gemelle Castoris" ("twin of Castor") refers to Pollux, the other twin in the Castor and Pollux pair, who were also known as the Gemini ("twins"). The two twins were often referred to by only a single name, most commonly Castor, as though they were one, hence the "tibi" in line 26.

Bibliography

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External links

* [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text.jsp?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0003%3Apoem%3D4 Catullus 4: Text, translations and notes, at the Perseus Collection.]
* [http://www.negenborn.net/catullus/text2/e4.htm Catullus 4 in English and several other languages.]


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