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Reading Catullus$
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John Godwin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675631

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675631.001.0001

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Doctus Poeta – The Uses of Learning

Doctus Poeta – The Uses of Learning

(p.77) Chapter 4 Doctus Poeta – The Uses of Learning
Reading Catullus

John Godwin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Catullus' poems 63 and 64 in order to see the learned allusions used in the poem. Catullus is known for not relying on learned allusions, making him famous in several Latin courses, but he makes a definite exception in his poems 63 and 64. In poem 64, he uses several allusions that mislead readers, such as when he appears to make allusions about Jason and the Golden Fleece, while in fact actually alluding to Thesseus – one of the members of the Argonauts. In the same poem, Catullus wrote about the plight of Ariadne, who is abandoned by her lover Thesseus but is saved by the god Bacchus in the end passage – showing his inversion of what seems to be a tragedy but a happy ending instead.

Keywords:   allusions, Catullus, poem 63, poem 64, Ariadne, Thesseus, Jason, Golden Fleece, Argonauts, Bacchus

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