O filth, O beastliness

Elspeth Barker

  • Catullus by Charles Martin
    Yale, 197 pp, £22.50, July 1992, ISBN 0 300 05199 9

With characteristic perversity, Gaius Valerius Catullus has left us a grand profusion of vivid glimpses into his life, but no overall account. The known facts are few. He was born in 84 BC to a wealthy family in Verona. At the age of fourteen or so he moved to Rome to further his education; there he remained. Although he made regular visits to his family’s properties in the north, the city was his element:

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