cui dono lepidum novum libellum
arida modo pumice expolitum?
Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas
meas esse aliquid putare nugas
iam tum, cum ausus es unus Italorum
omne aevum tribus explicare cartis
doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis.
quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli,
qualecumque quod, <o> patrona virgo,
plus uno maneat perenne saeclo.


Discussion Questions


  • What is the relationship between Catullus and Cornelius Nepos? Briefly discuss who these characters were. Why does Catullus choose Nepos as the addressee of his very first poem?
  • How does Catullus characterise his work in this poem? What specific words does he use about his work? How does this suit the concerns of the neoteric poets? What contrast is drawn with  the work of Nepos?
  • Discuss the references to Iuppiter and patrona virgo. How do they add to the themes of the poem?
  • Discuss the issue of 'time' and 'number' in this poem with careful reference to the specific words that are used.
  • Discuss the nature of gift giving in this poem. What is being given to whom? Compare this with poem 13 and 101 where variations on the theme are revisited.






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