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Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

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Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby Scribo » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:54 pm

..Does he actually have one? does he seem to have a concrete idea of the rights and wrongs of it? the advantages and disadvantages?

Am I wrong in thinking it's mainly a physical thing for him?

I ask seriously, not having read ALL the poems, I was hoping for some insights from more experianced Classicists.
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Re: Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby benissimus » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:36 am

I would say most of his love poems (the ones directed at Lesbia, at least) are more idealistic than physical. I'm curious what led you to believe that he is focused on the physical, since he rarely mentions anything raunchier than kissing in his love poems... unless you take passer to be a metaphor for mentula.
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Re: Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby Rhodopeius » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:45 pm

And even in his raunchy poems, I think it's more about the social implications of the physical acts.
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Re: Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby rDeckard » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:32 pm

I am no expert on Catullus, ideas, romance or love, but I took a class taught by David Wray last quarter (on Lucretius) and I have flipped through his book: "Catullus and the Poetics of Roman Manhood". I don't know if it would help, but it may have what you're looking for:

http://www.amazon.com/Catullus-Poetics- ... 262&sr=1-2
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Re: Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby paulusnb » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:31 am

Catullus' relationship with Lesbia is not just physical. That would be to love like the herd, something Catullus says his own love is not like. Catullus says time and time again that his is a purer love. On occasion, he mentions a sacred contract that Lesbia has violated.


As far as the Physical in Catullus, he does not get truly vulgar or directly mention sex with Lesbia until she dumps him. When she does, he calls her a "scortilla" (if memory serves. I may be confusing this with the whore he meets in the Forum)* and mentions her bursting the loins of three hundred men. Benissimus is right that he never mentions the hot and heavy, explicitly anyway, in his "love poems." I never noticed this. Interesting.


Are there prominent latin "love poems" that explicitly mention physical sexual acts? By love poems, I do not mean conquests. I can think of many Martial/Catullus/Horace poems that mention sex, but I cannot think of one that is between two socially equal lovers.



*I have checked. The scortilla is the friend's girl in the Forum. The sleeping with 300 men is Catullus 11, and the mention of "moecha" (a synonym for scorta) in this poem refers to the lovers of Lesbia. My memory is going.
Last edited by paulusnb on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby Lex » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:00 am

paulusnb wrote:...When she does, he calls her a "scortilla" (if memory serves. I may be confusing this with the whore he meets in the Forum) and mentions her bursting the loins of three hundred men. ....


OK, I gotta ask... What is a "scortilla"? Is that a fancy way of saying "d*** tease"? Or "b*** buster"?
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Re: Catullus' idea of Romantic Love?

Postby paulusnb » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:04 am

"Scortilla" is the diminutive form of scorta. It means "little slut." I checked it and he does not call Lesbia this. This is the friend's girl in the forum.
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