A report on Virgil and Catullus

Bust of Virgil at the entrance to his crypt in Naples
Modern bust of Catullus on the Piazza Carducci in Sirmione.
Bust of Virgil at the entrance to his crypt in Naples
Catullus at Lesbia's by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Page from the beginning of the Eclogues in the 5th-century Vergilius Romanus
Bithynia within the Roman Empire
Horace, Virgil and Varius at the house of Maecenas, by Charles Jalabert.
Catullus et in eum commentarius (1554)
Late 17th-century illustration of a passage from the Georgics, by Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter.
Lesbia, 1878 painting by John Reinhard Weguelin inspired by the poems of Catullus
A 1st-century terracotta expressing the pietas of Aeneas, who carries his aged father and leads his young son
Virgil Reading the Aeneid to Augustus, Octavia, and Livia by Jean-Baptiste Wicar, Art Institute of Chicago
A 3rd-century Roman mosaic of Virgil seated between Clio and Melpomene (from Hadrumetum [Sousse], Tunisia)
A 5th-century portrait of Virgil from the Vergilius Romanus
Virgil in His Basket, Lucas van Leyden, 1525
The verse inscription at Virgil's tomb was supposedly composed by the poet himself: Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces. ("Mantua gave me life, the Calabrians took it away, Naples holds me now; I sang of pastures, farms, and commanders" [transl. Bernard Knox])
Tomb of Virgil in Naples, Italy

Catullus's poems were widely appreciated by contemporary poets, significantly influencing Ovid and Virgil, among others.

- Catullus

From Virgil's admiring references to the neoteric writers Pollio and Cinna, it has been inferred that he was, for a time, associated with Catullus' neoteric circle.

- Virgil
Bust of Virgil at the entrance to his crypt in Naples

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Helvius Cinna

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Gaius Helvius Cinna (died 20 March 44 BC) was an influential neoteric poet of the late Roman Republic, a little older than the generation of Catullus and Calvus.

The chief objection to this view is based upon two lines in the 9th Eclogue of Virgil, supposed to have been written in 41 or 40 BC. Here reference is made to a certain Cinna, a poet of such importance that Virgil deprecates comparison with him; it is argued that the manner in which this Cinna, who could hardly have been anyone but Helvius Cinna, is spoken of implies that he was then alive; if so, he could not have been killed in 44.

Neoteric

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The Neoterikoi (Greek νεωτερικοί "new poets") or Neoterics were a series of avant-garde Latin poets who wrote in the 1st century BC. Neoteric poets deliberately turned away from classical Homeric epic poetry.

The Neoterikoi (Greek νεωτερικοί "new poets") or Neoterics were a series of avant-garde Latin poets who wrote in the 1st century BC. Neoteric poets deliberately turned away from classical Homeric epic poetry.

The most significant surviving Neoteric works are those of Catullus.

Latin poets normally classified as neoterics are Catullus and his fellow poets such as Helvius Cinna, Publius Valerius Cato, Marcus Furius Bibaculus, Quintus Cornificius, etc. Some neoteric stylistic features can also be seen in the works of Virgil, who was one generation younger than the poetae novi.

Ovid

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Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus.

Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus.

Statue of Ovid by Ettore Ferrari in the Piazza XX Settembre, Sulmona, Italy.
Ovid Banished from Rome (1838) by J.M.W. Turner.
Medea in a fresco from Herculaneum.
Engraved frontispiece of George Sandys’s 1632 London edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses Englished.
A 1484 figure from Ovide Moralisé, edition by Colard Mansion.
Delacroix, Ovid among the Scythians, 1859. National Gallery (London).
Ovid as imagined in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493.
Metamorphoses, 1618
Ovid by Anton von Werner.
Ovid by Luca Signorelli.
Scythians at the Tomb of Ovid (c.1640), by Johann Heinrich Schönfeld.
Bust of Ovid by anonymous sculptor, Uffizi gallery Florence

He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature.

They also play with generic conventions; most of the letters seem to refer to works in which these characters were significant, such as the Aeneid in the case of Dido and Catullus 64 for Ariadne, and transfer characters from the genres of epic and tragedy to the elegiac genre of the Heroides.

Memorial Stone of Quintius Sulpicius Maximus, Rome, Italy. First century AD; located at the Porta Salaria, Rome, commemorating an 11-year-old who won a poetry contest in 95 AD.

Latin poetry

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The history of Latin poetry can be understood as the adaptation of Greek models.

The history of Latin poetry can be understood as the adaptation of Greek models.

Memorial Stone of Quintius Sulpicius Maximus, Rome, Italy. First century AD; located at the Porta Salaria, Rome, commemorating an 11-year-old who won a poetry contest in 95 AD.

Ennius moulded a poetic diction and style suited to the imported hexameter, providing a model for "classical" poets such as Virgil and Ovid.

The late republic saw the emergence of Neoteric Poets, notably Catullusrich young men from the Italian provinces, conscious of metropolitan sophistication, and looking to the scholarly Alexandrian poet Callimachus for inspiration.

Map of Cisalpine Gaul, extending from Veneto on the Adriatic, to Pisa and Nice on the Mediterranean, to Lake Geneva in the west, and the Alps in the North, from Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the world. Antwerp, 1608.

Cisalpine Gaul

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The part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.

The part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.

Map of Cisalpine Gaul, extending from Veneto on the Adriatic, to Pisa and Nice on the Mediterranean, to Lake Geneva in the west, and the Alps in the North, from Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the world. Antwerp, 1608.
Peoples of Cisalpine Gaul during the 4th to 3rd centuries BC
Detail of the Tabula Peutingeriana showing northern Italy between Augusta Pretoria (Aosta) and Placentia (Piacenza); the Insubres are marked as inhabiting the Po Valley upstream of Ticeno (Pavia) and downstream of the Trumpli and Mesiates which occupy the upper reaches of the Sesia and Agogna rivers.
Gallic Phalerae (a type of military decoration) found in Lombardy; Santa Giulia Museum (Brescia)

Virgil, Catullus and Livy, three famous sons of the province, were born in Gallia Cisalpina.