Carmen 11 –

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Carmen 11

Furius en Arelius gezellen van Catullus, of hij nu zal doordringen tot de verste grens van Indië, waar de kust beukt op de luid bruisende Eolische Zee/waar d ekust gebeukt wordt door de luid weerklinkende Eolische Zee, of hij nu zal gaan naar de Hyrcani of verwijfde Arabieren of naar de Siten of de pijlendragende Parten of naar de zee die gekleurd wordt door de Nijl met zeven mondingen of hij nu zal gaan over de hoge Alpen om de grote gedenktekens van Cearsar te bezoeken, de Gallische Rijn of de huiveringwekkende en verste(=aan de uiteinde van het rijk) Britten, al deze dingen/dit alles zijn ze bereid tegelijk te beproeven en wat de wil van de goden hen ook zal brengen/brengt, meldt een korte boodschap aan mijn meisje. Moge ze leven en het gelukkig/goed stellen met haar minnaars, die ze met 3000 tegelijk vasthoudt in een omarming/omhelzing, van niemand houdt ze echt, maar van allen put ze op dezelfde wijze de schaamdelen uit; ze moet niet meer rekenen op mijn liefde zoal vroeger/tevoren, die door haar schuld gevallen is zoals een bloem die aan de grens/rand van een weide geraakt is door een voorbijkomende ploegschaar.

1   salve gegroet


Catullus 11 is an untitled poem by Catullus, typically believed to be the last of the Lesbia poems. The meter is Sapphic strophe. Catullus 11 also touches on the historical events occurring at the time it was written. The various geographical references in the poem can easily be interpreted as the known borders of the Roman Empire during Catullus's lifespan.

Meter - Sapphic Strophe

Line Latin text English translation
1 Furi et Aureli comites Catulli Furius and Aurelius, companions of Catullus,
2 sive in extremos penetrabit Indos Whether he will enter among the distant Indians,
3 litus ut longe resonante Eoa Where the shore far and wide by a resounding eastern
4 tunditur unda Wave is struck,
5 sive in Hyrcanos Arabesve molles Or among the Hyrcanians or the soft Arabians
6 seu Sagas sagittiferosve Parthos Or among the Sacae or the arrow-bearing Parthians
7 sive quae septemgeminus colorat Or among the waters which
8 aequora Nilus The seven-fold Nile colors,
9 sive trans altas gradietur Alpes Or whether he walks across the high Alps,
10 Caesaris visens monimenta magni Seeing the monuments of great Caesar,
11 Gallicum Rhenum horribile aequor ulti The rough Gallic Rhine water and the dis-
12 mosque Britannos -tant British,
13 omnia haec quaecumque feret voluntas All these things, whatever the will
14 caelitum temptare simul parati Of the heaven-dwellers should bear, prepared to try together,
15 pauca nuntiate meae puellae Announce to my girl a few
16 non bona dicta Not-good words.
17 cum suis vivat valeatque moechis May she live and fare well with her adulterers,
18 quos simul complexa tenet trecentos Three hundred of whom she holds in an embrace at the same time,
19 nullum amans vere sed identidem omnium Truly loving none, but again and again all of their
20 ilia rumpens Groins bursting.
21 nec meum respectet ut ante amorem Let her not await, as before, my love,
22 qui illius culpa cecidit velut prati Which has fallen due to her infidelity, just like
23 ultimi flos praetereunte postquam A flower of the furthest end of the meadow, after
24 tactus aratro est It has been touched by a passing plow.

11 Perhaps the bitterest of the late Lesbia poems: contrast with the violent delineation
of Lesbia's nostalgie de la boue the sad image of Catullus's love as a crushed flower,
with its echo of Sappho (fr. I05.4-6 L-P, cf. Forsyth I99oir, 457ff.). Note that
Catullus now will not even address Lesbia personally, but sends a message (Macleod
1973a, 303) via Furius and Aurelius, well described by Skinner (2003, 83) as "the
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern types" who later recur in the Juventius sequence
(15- 26). However, the variety of interpretations it has evoked (for a representative
sample see Greene 1998, lI8 n. 14) is itself significant. Putnam (1982) and
Greene (I998, 26-32) deal best with Lesbia's alleged emasculation of the speaker,
and "the conflict between the utilitarian civilizing forces of men and the innocenceof the natural world" (Greene 34). For a resolutely commonsensical overview, see
Fredericksmeyer (1993). It cannot be a coincidence that this final repudiation of
his faithless lover by Catullus returns to the metre (the Sapphic stanza, cf. introd.
p. 37) in which what was clearly his first poem to her, 51 , was written, and which
he employs nowhere else. The poem's reference to Caesar's crossing of the Rhine
and invasion of Britain, as well as to Egypt and Parthia (the restoration by
Gabinius of Ptolemy XII Auletes to the throne of Egypt, the ill-fated expedition
under Crassus), all events in )), suggest a date either then or early in 54-which
makes it, intriguingly, contemporary with that very differentjeu d 'esprit, 45. Also,
its very specific references to Catullus's own possible upcoming ventures abroad
(Quinn 1972, 173-75) strongly suggest that he was then contemplating another
staff attachment, either with Caesar (as Cicero's brother Quintus and his protege
Trebatius were to do), or with Crassus in the East.