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Editor’s Note29

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Editor’s Note
This attack on Mamurra and on his patrons Caesar and Pompey, an iambic lampoon in the tradition of Archilochus (see on l. 1), is dated approximately by the reference to Caesar's invasion of Britain: it was probably written soon after the first reconnaissance in the autumn of 55 b.c., when talk of fortunes to be made from British plunder was in the air and a second expedition was in prospect.
  Mamurra came of a well-to-do equestrian family from Formiae in South Latium, the place which Horace (who knew this poem: see on 6–7) calls urbs Mamurrarum (Sat. i. 5. 37). After serving with Pompey in the Mithridatic War he attached himself to Caesar; he was with Caesar in Spain in 61 b.c. and he served as praefectus fabrum (though Caesar himself does not mention him) in the Gallic campaigns. He appears again in 41, 43, and 57 and under a nickname in 94, 105, 114, and 115. For Catullus he is a pretentious upstart who has made a fortune with the connivance of Pompey and Caesar and has run through it. We know from Cicero's more sober evidence (Att. vii. 7. 6) that the wealth he had acquired was something of a scandal, and the appointments of his town house on the Caelian set a new standard in luxury which gave colour to such charges: Pliny (N.H. xxxvi. 48) quotes Cornelius Nepos' contemporary account of it and adds 'quem (sc. Mamurram), ut res est, domus ipsius clarius quam Catullus dixit habere quicquid habuisset comata Gallia'. But the position which he occupied as chief engineer to Caesar, who chose his officers carefully, in operations on the scale of the Gallic campaigns shows that there was more to him than that, and the accusations of feathering his own nest would come better from one who did not abuse other provincial commanders, as Catullus does (10. 9–10, 28. 1), for denying their subordinates opportunities of doing the same thing. One may suspect that the reasons for Catullus' vendetta are personal and that Mamurra offended not so much by his morals or his politics as by cutting a figure in society in Rome and in Cisalpine Gaul, where Caesar had his winter quarters; in poems 41 and 43 a provincial belle who is his amica serves for an indirect attack on him as his indulgent superiors do here. We know from Suetonius that this poem and the even more scurrilous and impudent 57 got under Caesar's skin, though he later accepted an apology: Jul. 73 'Catullum, a quo sibi uersiculis de Mamurra perpetua stigmata imposita non dissimulauerat, satis facientem eadem die adhibuit cenae'. That the poem was well known is shown both by Horace's reminiscences of it and by the quotation of the last line in a scurrilous epigram which has survived in the Catalepton ascribed to Virgil (6. 5 'ut ille uersus usque-quaque pertinet, / "gener socerque perdidistis omnia" '); Quintilian quotes it (ix. 4. 141) to illustrate the use of iambics for aspera et maledica.
  The metre is pure iambic trimeter, as in poem 4, without substitution, but see on lines 3, 20, 23.
Editor’s Note
29. 1–2 citat Quintilianus, inst. orat. ix. 4. 141; cf. Suetonium, diu. Iul. 73.
Editor’s Note
1. uidere : the editors compare Theog. 58 τίς κεν ταῦτ‎ʼ ἀνέχοιτ‎ʼ ἐσορῶν‎; and the line may well be a 'motto' borrowed from a Greek original (perhaps Archilochus himself), serving to place the poem in the tradition of the iambographers. (On this literary device see Fraenkel, Horace, p. 1592.)
Editor’s Note
quis potest pati : for the formula of indignation cf. Laberius fr. 108 R. 'hominem me denegare quis posset pati?', Caes. B.G. i. 43. 8 'quod ad amicitiam populi Romani attulissent id eis eripi quis pati posset?' Similarly 42. 5 'si pati potestis'.
Editor’s Note
2. aleo : a vulgar synonym of aleator, one of a series of popular forms in -o denoting immoderate proclivities: others are gulo, ganeo, helluo, lustro, edo, bibo, popino.
Critical Apparatus
29. 3 mamurram θ‎: nam murram V
Editor’s Note
3 Plinius, hist. nat. xxxvi. 48 hic namque est Mamurra Catulli Veronensis carminibus proscissus, quem … domus ipsius clarius quam Catullus dixit habere quidquid habuisset Comata Gallia.
Editor’s Note
3. Mamurram : the first vowel is properly long, and is so treated by Horace (Sat. i. 5. 37) and Martial (ix. 59. 1, x. 4. 11): Catullus either arbitrarily shortens it (such liberties with proper names are sometimes taken even in serious verse: so Horace has both Prǒserpina and Prōserpina, Ŏrion and Ōrion, Dĭana and Dīana) or regards an intractable proper name as excusing a break in the series of iambi.
Editor’s Note
comata was used as an unofficial term for the Transalpine province of Gaul, where the natives wore their hair long, as togata was used for the Cisalpine province, where Roman dress had established itself; Caesar does not use it but Cicero puts it into the mouth of Antony, Phil. viii. 27 'Galliam, inquit, togatam remitto, comatam postulo'.
Critical Apparatus
4 uncti Faernus, ante Statius: cum te V
Editor’s Note
4. uncti : 'rich', used first of food and then more generally, as in 22 below. But Faernus's correction is far from certain and Statius's ante is possible.
Editor’s Note
ultima Britannia : for the lengthening of the final syllable see on 4. 9. For ultimus as a stock epithet of Britain (cf. 12 below) see on 11. 12. If rumour had represented the island as an Eldorado, reports from Caesar's second expedition in 54 disproved it: in July 54 Cicero writes to Trebatius, who was then with Caesar in Britain (Fam. vii. 7. 1) 'in Britannia nihil esse audio neque auri neque argenti' and to Atticus (Att. iv. 17. 6) 'etiam illud iam cognitum est nec argenti scrupulum esse ullum in illa insula neque ullam spem praedae nisi ex mancipiis'.
Editor’s Note
5. Romule : i.e. Caesar: with similar irony Cicero is called Romulus Arpinas in the pseudo-Sallustian Invective against Cicero (4. 7) and Sulla scaeuus iste Romulus in a fragment of Sallust's Histories (i. 4. 45 M.).
Editor’s Note
6. superbus et superfluens : 'overbearing and over-flush'.
Critical Apparatus
7 perambulauit V: corr. ζ‎
Editor’s Note
7. perambulabit : 'strolls', nonchalant and assured. Horace has three reminiscences of these lines in the Epodes: 4. 5 'licet superbus ambules pecunia', 17. 41 'perambulabis astra', 5. 69 'indormit unctis omnium cubilibus'.
Critical Apparatus
8 adoneus Statius: ydoneus V (idon- R)
Editor’s Note
8. columbus aut Adoneus : the white dove and Adonis are both Venus' pets: cf. Alexis, fr. 214 K. λευκὸς Ἀφροδίτης εἰμὶ γὰρ περιστερός‎. Plautus has the archaic latinization Adoneus, Men. 144.
Editor’s Note
10. The triad of abusive epithets repeated from line 2 and here applied to Caesar is a commonplace of conventional vituperation: Cicero, when he speaks of Antony, has the same catalogue, Phil. iii. 35 'libidinosis, petulantibus, impuris, impudicis, aleatoribus, ebriis seruire', xiii. 24 'in lustris popinis alea uino tempus aetatis omne consumpsisses'. Caesar may have deserved the first and third: he did not deserve the second, for in eating and drinking he was notoriously moderate.
Editor’s Note
11. eone nomine … ut : 'was it on this account …?', equivalent to ideo or ob eam causam.
Editor’s Note
imperator unice : the ironical address to Caesar is repeated in the corrupt and fragmentary poem 54.
Critical Apparatus
13 uestra ζ‎: nostra V
Critical Apparatus
diffututa η‎: diffutura V
Editor’s Note
13. uestra : the plural, as in fouetis (21), refers to Caesar and Pompey, though Pompey is not explicitly addressed until l. 24.
Critical Apparatus
14 comesset r: comerset O, comeset X
Editor’s Note
14. ducenties : stands, with the regular ellipse, for ducenties centena milia sestertium, 'twenty million sesterces'.
Editor’s Note
comesset : comedere is often colloquially used of the spendthrift: e.g. Plaut. Pseud. 1107 'cpmedunt quod habent', Cic. Phil. xi. 37 'beneficia Caesaris comederunt', Hor. Ep. i. 15. 40 'non hercule miror … si qui comedunt bona', Mart. v. 70. 5 'quanta est gula centies comesse'. See on 22 deuorare.
Critical Apparatus
15 alid Statius: alit V
Editor’s Note
15. quid est alid sinistra liberalitas? : 'what is perverse generosity but this?': English idiom reverses the comparison, 'what is this but perverse generosity?'. So e.g. Cic. Phil. x. 5 'quid est aliud librarium Bruti laudare, non Brutum?', 'what is this but paying a compliment to B.'s secretary, not to B.?', i. 22 'quid est aliud hortari adulescentes ut turbulenti, ut seditiosi, ut perniciosi ciues uelint esse?'
Editor’s Note
sinistra liberalitas : cf. Pliny, vii. 28. 3 sinistra diligentia, 'perverse precision'. Catullus turns to Caesar's discredit what was spoken of as one of his virtues: at this very same time Cicero, writing to Trebatius, who is going to serve with Caesar, tells him that he will have imperatorem liberalissimum (Fam. vii. 7. 2) and says 'cum … hominis liberalitatem in-credibilem et singularem fidem nossem, sic ei te commendaui et tradidi ut grauissime diligentissimeque potui' (Fam. vii. 17. 2).
Editor’s Note
alid : the by-forms alis (66. 28), alid for alius, aliud (perhaps formed on the analogy of is, quis) seem to have had a short literary life. Lucretius uses alid several times and the dative ali once; alis is cited only from Sallust.
Critical Apparatus
16 parum () X, partum O
Editor’s Note
16. expatrauit : 'hasn't he finished off enough?' The verb occurs only here.
Critical Apparatus
17 prima Auantius3 et, teste Statio, Hadrianus: primum V
Editor’s Note
17. lancinata : the rare verb does not appear again till Sen. Ep. 32. 2 'diducimus illam (sc. uitam) in particulas et lancinamus': but Sallust has lacero in the same sense, Cat. 14. 2 'quicumque impudicus … bona patria lacerauerat'.
Editor’s Note
18. praeda Pontica : the loot acquired by Pompey and his army in the campaign against Mithridates of Pontus in 64–63 b.c.
Critical Apparatus
scit O, sit X
Critical Apparatus
amnis δ‎: amni V
Editor’s Note
19. Hibera : the mention of the Tagus (the modern Tejo) makes it clear that the reference is to the campaign which Caesar conducted in Lusitania as propraetor of Hispania Ulterior in 61 b.c.: for the wealth which it brought to him and his troops cf. Plut. Caes. 12 ἀπηλλάγη τῆς ἐπαρχίας αὐτός τε πλούσιος γεγονώς καὶ τοὺς στρατιώτας ὠφεληκὼς ἀπὸ τῶν στρατειῶν‎. The gold deposits in the Tagus (cf. Ov. Am. i. 15. 34 'cedat et auriferi ripa benigna Tagi') were a spectacular side-line in the mineral wealth of the Iberian peninsula; the mines there were the main source of Rome's gold supply for centuries.
Editor’s Note
quam scit : i.e. of which the Tagus could tell a story: similarly in a solemn context Virgil has (Aen. xi. 259) 'scit triste Mineruae / sidus et Euboicae cautes' (the rocky coast of Euboea could give an eye-witness account of the shipwreck of the Greek fleet); the same type of personification is not uncommon with conscius (e.g. Prop. i. 12. 2, ii. 13. 42), and with testis (see note on 64. 357).
Critical Apparatus
20 nunc γ‎ (repugnantibus tamen numeris): hunc V
Critical Apparatus
timetur Froehlich: timet V
Editor’s Note
20. nunc Galliae timetur et Britanniae : so corrected the line gives good sense, 'now fears are felt for G. and B.', but nunc, an early correction for V's hunc, making the one certain spondee in the poem, can hardly stand. No plausible alternative has been offered.
Critical Apparatus
21 hic α‎: hinc V
Editor’s Note
21. malum : 'why the devil do you coddle him?': the expletive interjection malum strengthens an indignant question or exclamation in comedy and in Cicero's less formal style; e.g. Phil. i. 15 'quae malum est ista uoluntaria seruitus?' Verr. ii. 2. 43 'quae malum ista fuit amentia?', Off. ii. 53 'quae te malum ratio in istam spem induxit?'
Editor’s Note
22. deuorare : a stronger equivalent of comedere (l. 14): cf. Cic. Phil. ii. 67 'non modo patrimonium … sed urbes et regna celeriter tanta nequitia deuorare potuisset', Ps.-Cic. Inu. in Sall. 20 'patrimonio non comeso sed deuorato'.
Critical Apparatus
23 urbis o piissime Lachmann, orbis, o piissimei Haupt
Editor’s Note
23. eone nomine : see on 11.
Editor’s Note
opulentissime is the meaningless reading of the manuscripts; the easy change to opulentissimi, 'wealthiest men in Rome', would give good sense but would break the series of iambi, o piissimei (Haupt: his orbis, to be taken with omnia. is indefensible) introduces a not very relevant point and a doubtful form: if Cicero in 43 b.c. could make fun of Antony for using the superlative, 'quod uerbum nullum in lingua latina est' (Phil. xiii. 43), it is at any rate doubtful whether Catullus used it. o potissimei (Müller), 'most important men in Rome' is more attractive: cf. Plaut. Men. 359 'hinc ultro fit, ut meret, potissumus nostrae domi ut sit' ('counts for most in our house').
Editor’s Note
29. 24 Cf. librum Vergilianum Catalepton 6. 6 gener socerque perdidistis omnia.
Editor’s Note
24. socer generque : to secure his hold on Pompey Caesar had married his daughter Julia to him as his fourth wife, breaking an existing betrothal, in 59 b.c. The relationship between the rivals clearly was a byword and becomes a cliché in later literature: so Virg. Aen. vi. 830–1 'aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Monoeci / descendens, gener aduersis instructus eois', Lucan i. 290 'socerum depellere regno / decretum genero est', iv. 802 'gener atque socer bello contendere iussi', x. 417 'non in soceri generique fauorem / discedunt populi', Mart. ix. 70. 3 'cum gener atque socer diris concurreret armis'.
Editor’s Note
perdidistis omnia : Catullus is echoing, perhaps, a phrase of the opposition: cf. Cic. Att. ii. 21. 1 'iracundiam atque intemperantiam illorum [Caesar and Pompey] sumus experti qui Catoni irati omnia perdiderunt', i. 16. 5 'ita fortes tamen fuerunt ut summo proposito periculo uel perire maluerint quam perdere omnia', xiv. 1. 1 'quid quaeris? perisse omnia aiebat'.
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