Main Text

Editor’s Note44

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
Catullus gets an invitation from Sestius, who writes bad speeches but gives good dinners: he knows that he is expected to read Sestius' latest speech (of which the author has perhaps given him a copy), but he is tempted and takes the risk. The speech is so 'frigid' that it gave him a cold, he says, and he had to go to the country, missing the dinner, to nurse himself.*
  The piece is merely a vehicle for the pun on frigus. Frigidus and frigere are (like ψυχρός, ψυχρότης‎) technical terms of literary criticism for the bad taste which shows itself in bombast, affectation, or preciosity (see Arist. Rhet. iii. 1–3, with Cope's notes), and the joke in various forms has a long history—Aristoph. Ach. 140 (a play by Theognis at Athens is enough to account for the freezing of rivers in Thrace), Machon ap. Athen. 579E (some plays of Diphilus dropped in wine to cool it), Caelius ap. Cic. Fam. viii. 9. 5 ('Calidius … in accusatione satis frigidus'), Mart. iii. 25 (the rhetor Sabineius will cool the hottest bath), Plut. Alex. 3. 3. Catullus is here at his most unelaborate: the three dum-clauses within six lines, the quasi-expletive malus, the resumptive sed, are the informalities of conversation thrown into metrical form; the old-fashioned autumant and recepso may, like the formal grates, be pieces of mock-solemnity, but Ronconi (Studi Catulliani, 203), who attempts to analyse the language of the poem, underestimates the factor of metrical convenience.
  Sestius is certainly the P. Sestius who is known to us from Cicero. As quaestor in 63 he had helped Cicero against Catiline and Cicero defended him in 56 on a charge of uis, when as tribune in 57 he had fallen foul of Clodius, and again four years later on a charge of ambitus; he was one of Cicero's advisers at Rome during his exile (Q. Fr. i. 4. 2) and worked vigorously for his recall (Att. iii. 20. 3). Cicero was alive to the faults of his style. In 51 b.c. (Fam. vii. 32. 1) he is indignant at the news that other people's epigrams, 'even Sestius'' ('omnia omnium dicta, in his etiam Sestiana'), are being imputed to himself, though they are patently not up to his standard: in 49 b.c. he regrets that the writing of an important letter from Pompey to Caesar has been entrusted to Sestius (Att. vii. 17. 2 'accusaui mecum ipse Pompeium, qui cum scriptor luculentus esset, tantas res atque eas, quae in omnium manus uenturae essent, Sestio nostro scribendas dederit. itaque nihil unquam legi scriptum σηστιωδέστερον‎').
Editor’s Note
44. In form the piece is a parody of the prayer-style, like Horace's address to the wine-jar in Od. iii. 21: the solemn o, the alternative titles introduced by seu … seu (see on 34. 21 f.), the old-fashioned autumant and recepso and the formal grates all belong to that convention, though they are combined with such colloquial informalities as the resumptive sed and the threefold repetition of dum. But this mock solemnity is merely a vehicle for the pun on frigus.
Editor’s Note
1. funde : the jurist Florentinus (Digest l. 16. 211) defines the word: ager cum aedificio fundus dicitur; hence tua uilla below.
Editor’s Note
seu Sabine seu Tiburs : an easy attraction from seu Sabinus (es) seu Tiburs: with the ellipse of the verb, seu is naturally felt as a particle and not a conjunction. The attraction from nominative into vocative in the predicate of which edd. cite examples here (e.g. Tib. l. 7. 53) is a more artificial construction.
Critical Apparatus
44. 2 cum quibus G1
Editor’s Note
2 ff. Catullus' country house, like Horace's (Suet. uit. Hor. p. 298 R. 'uixit plurimum in secessu ruris sui Sabini aut Tiburtini'), was beyond Tibur in the direction of the ager Sabinus, on the fringe of which the old Latin town of Tibur lay. The fertility of the district and its proverbial salubrity (Hor. Od. i. 18. 2 'mite solum Tiburis', ii. 6. 5–20) made Tibur and its neighbourhood a resort where many Romans of wealth and position had country-houses (for a description of one of them see Statius, Silu. i. 3). Catullus can take advantage of his proximity to Tibur to give himself a 'fashionable address' but this pretension can be pricked: 'a place in the Sabine country' has no aristocratic associations, and suggests farming and simple, even primitive, ways of life.
Editor’s Note
2. autumant : 'assert': the verb is not uncommon in early Latin (Plautus has 30 examples, Pacuuius 6) but had passed out of regular use by this time: here and in Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 45 its effect seems to be mock-solemnity. For Quintilian (viii. 3. 24) it is tragicum and one of the words to which 'dignitatem dat antiquitas'. Like some other archaisms it was revived in post-classical prose; for its later history see A. Ernout in Latomus, i (1937), 75–79.
Critical Apparatus
4 pignoris V: corr. δ‎
Editor’s Note
4. quouis … pignore … contendunt : 'are ready to maintain with any stake': Phaedrus has the phrase in a similar antithesis (iv. 21. 3) 'quicquid putabit esse dignum memoria, / Aesopi dicet; si quid minus adriserit, / a me contendet fictum quouis pignore': cf. Gell. v. 4. 2 'librarius in quoduis pignus uocabat si in una uspiam littera delictum esset', Cic. Fam. vii. 32. 2 'ut sacramento [a solemnly deposited stake] contendas mea non esse'.
Editor’s Note
5. sed : resumptive after the parenthesis, as often in Cicero: see Kühn.–Steg. ii. 2. 76.
Editor’s Note
6. fui libenter : the same colloquial idiom occurs in similar contexts in Cicero's letters: Att. xii. 3. 1 'Tusculanum, ubi ceteroquin sum libenter', xvi. 6. 1 'Veliae … ubi quidem fui sane libenter apud Talnam nostrum', xvi. 7. 1 'erat uilla Valeri nostri ut familiariter essem et libenter', xvi. 14. 2 '(in Tusculano) ero libentius'. Similarly Att. xiii. 52. 1 (Caesar as a guest) 'fuit periucunde', 'he thoroughly enjoyed himself', pro Rege Deiot. 19 'cum in conuiuio comiter et iucunde fuisses'.
Editor’s Note
suburbana : it may not be genuine Tibur, but it is not in the wilds.
Critical Apparatus
7 malamque p. expuli tussim cod. Edinensis anni mccccxcv (expui Scaliger): aliamque p. expulsus sim V
Editor’s Note
7. malam … expuli tussim : 'I got rid of a nasty cough': cf. Hor. Ep. ii. 2. 137 'expulit elleboro morbum bilemque meraco'.
Critical Apparatus
8 meus uenter Faernus: mens uertur V
Editor’s Note
8 f. dedit : the principal verb is inserted into the middle of the subordinate clause. The similar involution at 66. 18 'non, ita me diui, uera gemunt, iuerint' occurs in a highly artificial poem and Catullus had Hellenistic precedent for it (see note on that line). Such a violent dislocation is more surprising in this informal poem, which otherwise closely follows the idiom of prose, and the very similar hyperbaton in Horace's informal writing, Sat. ii. 3. 211 'Aiax dum immeritos occidit desipit agnos' (cf. i. 5. 72 paene macros arsit dum turdos uersat in igni', ii. 1. 60 'quisquis erit uitae scribam color'), suggests that both Catullus and Horace may have had in mind an effect which eludes us.
Critical Apparatus
10 festianus O
Critical Apparatus
conuiuia X (corr. gr)
Editor’s Note
10. Sestianus : as in Cicero's dicta Sestiana (Fam. vii. 32. 1; see above), the adjective has no 'generic' meaning but merely takes the place of a genitive: so odio Vatiniano 14. 3. This use is already found with personal adjectives in early Latin (Plaut. Mil. 1413 Venerium nepotulum, Lucil. 606 M. uim Volcaniam; cf. such regular phrases as flamen Dialis) and the substitution of an adjective for a genitive is not uncommon in classical prose (see Kühn.–Steg. ii. 1. 209–13). Archaic Greek shows a similar idiom, which the tragedians adopted and the Hellenistic poets made a mannerism; in classical Latin verse imitation of Greek practice encourages the extension of what was a native idiom (cf. 61. 223, 64. 368). See Wackernagel, Vorlesungen, ii. 70 ff., Kleine Schriften ii. 1346 ff., Löfstedt, Syntactica, i2. 107 ff., Peregr. Aeth. 76 ff. R. S. Radford, 'The Suffixes -anus and -inus', Studies in Honor of B. L. Gildersleeve (Baltimore, 1912), pp. 95 ff., limits the use unduly: it is true that the possessive adjective is often used of commercial and legal relations, but that 'the genitive alone can represent the individual in voluntary personal and social relations' is clearly disproved.
Editor’s Note
dum uolo : 'in my desire to dine with S.' Here, and in dum appeto above, dum has its temporal meaning—dum appeto, dum uolo are equivalent to appetenti, uolens—but a causal connexion is implicit. This use, in which the subject (or the logical subject) of the main clause and of the dum-clause is the same, is common in classical prose, both with present and with perfect in the dum-clause (e.g. Cic. Cael. 17 'dum illi placere uultis, ad tempus eius mendacium uestrum accommodauistis', Fin. ii. 43 'dum in una uirtute sic omnia esse uoluerunt, uirtutem ipsam … sustulerunt', Off. ii. 29 'in has clades incidimus dum metui quam cari esse et diligi malumus'; similarly with cupio, studeo, uereor); from it developed the use of dum as a causal conjunction in later Latin.
Critical Apparatus
11 oratione (-nem X) minantium V: corr. Statius
Critical Apparatus
petitorum rmg
Editor’s Note
11. petitorem : probably 'as a candidate for office' as in Hor. Od. iii. 1. 11 'descendat in campum petitor': Cicero uses only candidatus in this sense, though he has competitor, but Macrobius iii. 14. 7 quotes petitor from a speech of Scipio Africanus Minor and it is so used in the de Petitione Consulatus ascribed to Quintus Cicero. In that case Sestius' speech was presumably designed to secure the disqualification of Antius on the ground of illegal practices; so in 64 b.c. Cicero delivered a speech against his fellow candidates Antonius and Catiline. The other technical meaning of petitor, 'plaintiff' (in a private suit), is possible but less likely: the words sound like the exact title of the speech.
Editor’s Note
Antium : Antius cannot be identified. One C. Antius Restio appears on coins of 49–45 b.c. and appears to have been the author of a short-lived sumptuary law mentioned by Macrobius iii. 17. 13 and Gellius ii. 24. 13.
Editor’s Note
12. ueneni might by itself refer to the virulence of Sestius' speech, as in Hor. Sat. i. 7. 1 'Rupili pus atque uenenum', Mart. vii. 72. 13 'atro carmina quae madent ueneno'. But the combination with pestilentia and the context suggest that it is his 'poisonous' style that is in Catullus' mind: cf. 14. 19 omnia uenena.
Critical Apparatus
grauido V: corr. δ‎
Editor’s Note
13. hic : 'thereupon': cf. 10. 24.
Editor’s Note
grauedo is our 'cold'. Celsus describes the all too familiar symptoms: iv. 5. 2 'nares claudit, uocem obtundit, tussim siccam mouet … haec autem et breuia et, si neglecta sunt, longa esse consuerunt'.
Editor’s Note
frequens and quassare are medical terms: cf. Celsus iv. 11. 2 'frequens tussis sanguinem quoque extundit'; Suet. Aug. 81 '(temptabatur) austrinis tempestatibus grauedine, quare quassato corpore neque frigora neque aestus tolerabat': Macrob. vii. 15.9 'tussim nimis asperam et alias quassationes'.
Editor’s Note
15. recuraui : in this sense again in Apul. Met. vi. 25 'plagas recurantibus', viii. 18 'corpora laniata recurare'.
Editor’s Note
otio et urtica : Celsus so prescribes: iv. 5. 8 'in grauedine primo die quiescere'; iv. 10. 4 'utilis in omni tussi est … cibus interdum mollis, ut malua et urtica'.
Editor’s Note
16 f. grates ago : the archaic and formal grates, associated with thanksgiving to the gods, has a humorous solemnity.
Editor’s Note
17. es ulta : he is now addressing the uilla; the transition is natural enough in a piece as informal as this and Muretus's ultu', i.e. ultus, with the ecthlipsis of final s which Catullus has only once elsewhere (see on 116. 8), is unnecessary.
Editor’s Note
18 f. nec deprecor … quin : 'I offer no plea to prevent….'
Editor’s Note
nefaria scripta : on the short syllable lengthened before scr- see on 17. 24.
Critical Apparatus
19 sexti recepso ed. Rom.: sestire cepso V
Critical Apparatus
quin ζ‎: qui V
Editor’s Note
19. recepso : the archaic future in -so is in origin the conjunctive of an s-aorist; like the corresponding optative form in -sim it is already obsolescent in Plautus. The -so-future, which emphasized the result of an action, tended to be equated with the future perfect (as here) and the two are used as alternatives by Plautus (fr. 74 L. 'peribo si non fecero; si faxo, uapulabo'). recepso is found only here: capso and occepso occur in Plautus and accepso in Pacuvius. For other archaic s-aorist forms see 66. 18, 91.
Critical Apparatus
20 mi] mihi V
Critical Apparatus
sectio V (al. sestio R)
Editor’s Note
20. non mi sed ipsi Sestio : a παρὰ προσδοκίαν‎ of a type common in comedy.
Critical Apparatus
21 legi Lachmann: legit V
Editor’s Note
21. tunc uocat me, cum : 'who invites me only when I have read his nasty book' for the emphatic tunc cf. Cic. de Or. ii. 260 'aut frigida sunt aut tum salsa cum aliud est exspectatum', Mart. ii. 79. 1 (a reminiscence of this passage) 'inuitas tunc me cum scis, Nasica, uocatum', vii. 67. 11 'fas sibi tunc putat reuerti / cum coloephia sedecim comedit'.
Editor’s Note
legi : Lachmann's correction is necessary. The earlier editors followed Auantius in reading legit for legi in l. 12, supposing that Sestius invited only those who had submitted to a recitation of his speech: but (1) the change of subject in dum volo … legit is doubtful latinity and (2) recepso is most naturally taken as implying that Catullus had had the speech in his hands.
logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out