The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/53

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Text & Translation[edit]

Meter - Hendecasyllables

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Risi nescioquem modo e corona, I laughed at someone from the crowd I did not know
2 qui, cum mirifice Vatiniana who, when my friend Calvus
3 meus crimina Calvus explicasset, had magnificently explained the crimes of Vatinius
4 admirans ait haec manusque tollens: admiring and lifting his hands, said this:
5 "di magni, salaputium disertum!" "Good Heavens, what an eloquent little man!"

Connotations of The Text[edit]

Line 2[edit]

  • Vatiniana - Vatinius

Vatinius was a henchman of Caesar's. During a speech of Calvus's, he is said to have stood up and shouted "rogo vos, iudices, num, si iste est disertus, ideo me damnari oportet?" which means "I ask you, jury, if because that man is eloquent, It is right for me to be found guilty?"

Line 3[edit]

  • Calvus - a.k.a. Licinius Calvus

Licinius Calvus was a friend and possibly fellow poet of Catullus's (see Poem 50)

  • explicasset - he had explained

read "explicavisset", this was a common shortening in Latin.

Line 5[edit]

  • di magni - lit. great gods

lit. Great Gods! but in a contempory context "Good Heavens" or something similar is probably more appropriate.

Vocabulary[edit]

Line 1[edit]

Line 4[edit]

  • ait - he said

Line 5[edit]

External Links[edit]