Catullus Index: A-C
Poem 64. Another name for Hellas, a synonym for Greece. hence the Achaians.
Poem 29. The son of Myrrha, by her father Cinyras, born after her transformation into a myrrh-tree. (As such he was a vegetation god born from the heart of the wood.) See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book X:503-559. Venus fell in love with his beauty. She warned him to avoid savage creatures but he ignored her warning and was killed by a wild boar that gashed his thigh. His blood became the windflower, the anemone.
The Argonauts reached his court, and requested the return of the Golden Fleece. This fleece was that of the divine ram on which Phrixus had fled from Orchemonos, to avoid being sacrificed. Iolcus could never prosper until it was brought back to Thessaly. King Aeetes was reluctant and set Jason demanding tasks as a pre-condition for its return.
Poem 97. Unknown.
Poem 68b. An unknown friend.
Poem 36. A province of, and alternative name for Cyprus.
Poem 95. The sixth century BC Greek poet author of an epic poem on the Trojan War. In his own day rated second only to Homer.
Poem 44. An unknown litigant.
Poem 64. Son of Jupiter and Latona (Leto), brother of Diana (Artemis), born on Delos. Also appears as the sun-god Phoebus. God of the arts, dance, song, poetry etc. The lyre an attribute. (See the Apollo Belvedere, sculpted by Leochares? Vatican: the Piombino Apollo, Paris Louvre: the Tiber Apollo, Rome, National Museum of the Terme: the fountain sculpture by Tuby at Versailles – The Chariot of Apollo: and the sculpture by Girardon and Regnaudin at Versailles – Apollo Tended by the Nymphs – derived from the Apollo Belvedere, and once part of the now demolished Grotto of Thetis.)
She fled to Dia with Theseus and was abandoned there, but was rescued by Bacchus, and her crown is set among the stars as the Corona Borealis. (See Titian’s painting – Bacchus and Ariadne – National Gallery, London: and Annibale Carracci’s fresco – The triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne – Farnese Palace, Rome)). The Northern Crown, the Corona Borealis, is a constellation between Hercules and Serpens Caput, consisting of an arc of seven stars, its central jewel being the blue-white star Gemma.
Poem 66. Her constellation. The Corona Borealis.
Poem 84. Traditionally Quintus Arrius, praetor, and self-made man, who supported Marcus Crassus and may have accompanied him to Parthia.
Poem 64. Daughter of Jupiter and Latona (hence her epithet Latonia) and twin sister of Apollo. She was born on the island of Ortygia which is Delos (hence her epithet Ortygia). Goddess of the moon and the hunt. She carries a bow, quiver and arrows. She and her followers are virgins. She is worshipped as the triple goddess, as Hecate in the underworld, Luna the moon, in the heavens, and Diana the huntress on earth. (Skelton’s ‘Diana in the leaves green, Luna who so bright doth sheen, Persephone in hell’) Callisto is one of her followers (See Luca Penni’s – Diana Huntress – Louvre, Paris, and Jean Goujon’s sculpture (attributed) – Diana of Anet – Louvre, Paris.)
Poem 2b. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book X. Atalanta, the daughter of King Schoeneus of Boeotia, was famous for her swift running. Warned against marriage, by the oracle, her suitors were forced to race against her on penalty of death for losing. She fell in love with Hippomenes. He raced with her, and by use of the golden apples, won the race and her. She, and Hippomenes, desecrated Cybele’s sacred cave and were turned into lions.
(See Guido Reni’s painting – Atalanta and Hippomenes – Naples, Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte)
The Roman Minerva. The goddess Palla Athene, patron goddess of Athens. She is a representation of the Phoenician triple Goddess Astarte of Asia Minor. She was born beside lake Tritonis in Lybia and nurtured by the nymphs. She killed her playmate Pallas (‘youth’) when young and her name is a memorial to him. She carries the aegis, a magical goatskin bag containing a snake and covered by a Gorgon mask. She is the goddess of the Mind and of women’s arts. The daughter of Jupiter.
Poem 64. Athene fitted an oracular beam into the prow of the Argo, the Argonauts’s ship, cut from her father Zeus’s (Jupiter’s) oracular oak grove at Dodona.
Poem 66. The Mountain at the end of the Acte peninsula in Macedonia, facing the Aegean Sea.
Poem 100. An unknown brother and sister.
Poem 11. An unknown friend of Catullus.
Poem 15. Given a warning.
Poem 64. Goddess of the Dawn.
Poem 27. (Thyoneus) The god Dionysus, the ‘twice-born’, the god of the vine. The son of Jupiter and Semele. His worship was celebrated with orgiastic rites borrowed from Phrygia. His female followers are the Maenades or Bacchantes. He carries the thyrsus, a wand tipped with a pine-cone, the Maenads and Satyrs following him carrying ivy-twined fir branches as thyrsi. (See Caravaggio’s painting –Bacchus – Uffizi, Florence)
Poem 67. An unknown Veronese.
Poem 66. The wife of Ptolemy III (246-22 BC) of Egypt (The Ptolemaic dynasty was of Macedonian origin). Her mother Apáme was wife of Magas, King of Cyrene. On her husband’s death she cancelled her daughter’s engagement to Ptolemy III and arranged for her to marry her cousin Demetrius, who however devoted himself to Apáme rather than Berenice. Under Berenice’s direction he was killed in Apáme’s bedroom. Berenice then married Ptolemy III. Her mother-in-law Arsínoe wife of Ptolemy II (283-246 BC) was deified and worshipped as a manifestation of Venus-Aphrodite. When Berenice’s husband left for war in Assyria, she placed a lock of her hair in her mother-in-law’s shrine at Zephyrium, against his safe return. The lock vanished and Conon the Royal Astronomer claimed to have discovered it as the new constellation Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair). Callimachus wrote a poem to celebrate the event, which Catullus translates. Coma Berenices touches Virgo, Leo, and Ursa Major and is near Bootes. Arsinoe is called Zephyritis from her shrine, which Catullus associates with Zephyr the west wind.
The Roman province on the shores of the Black Sea.
Poem 10. Catullus had visited.
Poem 25. Possessions he acquired there.
Poem 31. He returns home to Sirmio from there.
Boötes / Bootës
Poem 66. The constellation of the Waggoner, or Herdsman, or Bear Herd. The nearby constellation of Ursa Major is the Waggon, or Plough, or Great Bear. He holds the leash of the constellation of the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici. He is sometimes identified with Arcas son of Jupiter and Callisto. Arcas may alternatively be the Little Bear. The constellation is near Coma Berenices.
An unidentified poet, and friend of Catullus.
Poem 35. His poem.
Poem 67. Possibly the same man.
Gaius Julius Caesar the dictator. Catullus ridicules his homosexuality and his patronage of Mamurra.
Poem 11. His campaigns in Gaul and Britain.
Poem 54. His relationships ridiculed.
Poem 93. Catullus’s assumed indifference to him.
Poem 14. An unidentified traditional poet.
Pregnant by Jupiter she was expelled from the band of Diana’s virgin followers by Diana, as Cynthia in her Moon goddess mode. She gave birth to a son Arcas. She was turned into a bear by Juno, and then a constellation in the sky, Ursa Major, the Great Bear, by Jupiter. Lycaon, her father, the son of Pelasgus was a king of primitive Arcadia who presided over barbarous cannibalistic practises. He was transformed into a wolf by Zeus, angered by human sacrifice. His sons offered Zeus, disguised as a traveller, a banquet containing human remains. They were also changed into wolves and Zeus then precipitated a great flood to cleanse the world. The constellation of Ursa Major represents Callisto turned into a bear by Jupiter, or the plough or waggon or cart of Bootës. The two stars of the ‘bowl’ furthest from the ‘handle’, Merak and Dubhe, point to Polaris the pole star. The ‘handle’ points to the star Arcturus in the constellation Bootës, who is the Waggoner or Herdsman or Bear Herd (Arcturus means the Bearkeeper) or Ploughman. The constellation borders on Coma Berenices.
Poem 53. His size mocked.
Poem 55. An unknown acquaintance of Catullus.
Poem 66. From the town in Egypt, twelve miles from Alexandria, a capital city of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
The son of Tyndareus of Sparta and Leda, and twin brother of Pollux. Noted for his horses and horsemanship. In the Homeric Hymn to the Dioscuri (the Gemini, the Twins) the Twins descend through the air to help distressed sailors, and on Etruscan mirrors are shown as winged.
Poem 4. The boat dedicates herself to these Gods of sailors.
Poem 37. The Twins are mentioned. Their temple on the Clivus Victoriae.
Poem 68. Prayed to by sailors.
Poem 56. Publius Valerius Cato, a freedman of Verona, born c100 BC, poet and man of letters, perhaps the original source of the new movement in poetry.
Caius Valerius Catullus (c84-c54BC), of Verona. One of the key figures of the ‘modern’ school of poetry in Rome, who applied Alexandrian criticism and technique to Latin poetry. He visited Asia Minor and lost a brother in the Troad. He was a member of Clodia’s circle and one of her lovers.
Poem 68. Mourning for his brother, in Verona.
The mythical founder of Athens. He was a son of mother Earth like Erechthonius (who some think was his father). He was part man and part serpent. His three daughters were Aglauros, Herse and Pandrosus who were goddesses of the Acropolis in Athens.
Poem 64. Athenian.
Poem 64. The whirlpool between Italy and Sicily in the Messenian straits. Charybdis was the voracious daughter of Mother Earth and Neptune, hurled into the sea, and thrice, daily, drawing in and spewing out a huge volume of water.
Poem 64. One of the Centaurs, half-man and half-horse. He was the son of Philyra and Saturn. Phoebus Apollo took his newborn son Aesculapius to his cave for protection. He is represented in the sky by the constellation Centaurus, which contains the nearest star to the sun, Alpha Centauri. Begot by Saturn disguised as a horse. His home is on Mount Pelion. He was Peleus’s grandfather and the future tutor of Achilles.
Poem 49. Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, author. Consul in the year of the Cataline conspiracy. Incurring the enmity of Caesar’s faction he was driven into exile by Publius Clodius Pulcher. His speech Pro Caelio, defending Marcus Caelius Rufus is the only full-length portrait of Clodia/Lesbia. He was an intimate of many of Catullus’s friends.
Poem 64. A town in Thessaly.
Gaius Helvius Cinna, a Cisalpine and friend of Catullus, one of the new poets. Probably accompanied Catullus under Memmius’s patronage to Bithynia. He was murdered in the confusion after Julius Caesar’s assassination mistaken for Cinna the conspirator. See Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Poem 10 He is mentioned.
Poem 95. His poem Smyrna, possibly a miniature epic.
Poem 113. Addressed.
Poem 64. A region at the eastern end of the Black Sea, reached by the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece.
Poem 17. A small town near to Verona. There used to be a bridge there called Il Ponte di Catullo.
Poem 108. Unknown.
Poem 64. A town in central Thessaly.
Poem 115. The King of Lydia, legendary for his wealth.
Poem 36. Invoked.
Poem 64. The stirrer up of passion.
Poem 68. Dressed in a saffron robe.
Poem 35. The Phrygian great goddess, personifying the earth in its savage state, worshipped in caves and on mountaintops. Merged with Rhea, the mother of the gods. Her consort was Attis, slain by a wild boar like Adonis. His festival was celebrated by the followers of Cybele, the Galli, or Corybantes, who were noted for convulsive dances to the music of flutes, drums and cymbals, and self-mutilation in an orgiastic fury.
Poem 63. Attis becomes her follower.
Poem 4. Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
Poem 67. An old fortress overlooking Brescia.
Poem 68. A mountain in Arcadia and the town at its foot.
Poem 7. The town and province of North Africa.
Poem 4. A port in Paphlagonia on the borders of Bithynia beneath the mountain of the same name, famous for boxwood.