The Ancient Library

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On this page: Catullus – Caupona – Causia – Cavea – Cebes – Cecrops



into the sea by her husband on account of her adultery with Thyestes. (See atkeus ) Catullus (Gains Valerius Catullus). Perhaps the greatest of Roman lyric poets. He was born at Verona b.c. 87, and died about 54. He came to Rome while still young, and found himself in very good society there, being admitted to the circle of such men as Cicero, Hortensius, and Corne­lius Nepos, and the poets Cinna and Calvus. He had an estate on the Lacus Larius (Lake of Como), and another at Tibur (Tivoli); but, if we may believe what he says about his debts and poverty, his pecuniary affairs must have been in bad order. In consequence of this he attached himself to the propraetor Gaius Memmius, on his going to Bithynia in the year 57. He gained nothing by doing so, and in the following spring re­turned home alone, visiting on the way the tomb of his brother, who was buried near Troy. Some of his most beautiful poems are inspired by his love for a lady whom he addresses as Lesbia, a passion which seems to have been the ruin of his life. She has been, with great probability, iden­tified with the beautiful and gifted, but unprincipled sister of the notorious Clodius, and wife of Metellus Celer. Catullus was, in his eighteenth year, so overmastered by his passion for her, that he was unable, even after he had broken off all relations with her, and come to despise her, to dis­entangle himself.

In his intercourse with bis numerous friends Catullus was bright and amiable, but unsparing in the ridicule he poured upon his enemies. He held aloof from public life, and from any active participa­tion in politics, but none the less bitterly did he hate those whom he thought respon­sible for the internal decline of the Re­public—themselves and all their creatures. On Caesar, though his own father's guest, and on his dissolute favourite Mamurra, he makes violent attacks. But he is said to have apologized to Caesar, who magnani­mously forgave him.

Catullus' poems have not all survived. We still possess 116, which, with the ex­ception of three, are included in a collection dedicated to Cornelius Nepos. The first ; half is taken up with minor pieces of various contents, and written in different lyric metres, especially the iambic. Then follows a series of longer poems, amongst them the wonderful lament of Attis, wonderful in spite of the repulsiveness of its subject; the epic narrative of the marriage of Peleus

; and Thetis, and a paraphrase of Callima-chus' best elegy, " The Lock of Berenice." These are all in the Alexandrian manner. The remaining poems are short, and of dif­ferent contents, but all written in elegiacs.

Catullus takes his place in the history of literature as the earliest classical metrist among the Romans. He is a complete master of all varieties of verse. More than this, he has the art of expressing every phase of feeling in the most natural and beautiful style; love, fortunate and unfor­tunate, sorrow for a departed brother, wanton sensuality, the tenderest friendship, the bitterest contempt, and the most burning hatred. Even his imitations of the Greek are not without an original stamp of their own.

Caupona. See inns.

Causia (Gr. Kausia). A flat, broad-brim­med felt hat, worn in Macedonia and by the Macedonian soldiers. When worn by per­sons high in society it was coloured purple ; the kings of Macedon surrounded it with the royal diadem, and thus the purple causia with the diadem continued to be the emblem of sovereignty in the kingdoms which arose from the empire of Alexander. The Macedonian hat was in later times adopted by fishermen and sailors at Rome, and in the imperial period was worn by the higher classes in the theatre as a protection against the sun.

Cavea. See theatre.

C6bes (Gr. Kebes). A Greek philosopher, the author of a school-book called Pinax or "The Picture," which was very popular, and was translated into Arabic. It is a dialogue upon an allegorical picture, representing the condition of the soul before its union with the body, and the nature of human life in general. The purport of the conversation is to prove that the foundations of happi­ness are development of the mind and the conscious practice of virtue. It is doubtful to which Cebes the book is to be referred, for there were two philosophers of the name. One was Cebes of Thebes, the dis­ciple of Socrates, who wrote three philoso­phical dialogues, one of which bore the title Pinax ; the other was a Stoic of Cyzi-cus, who flourished in the 2nd century a.d.

CScrops (Gr. Kekrops). One of the abori­gines of Attica, and as such represented with a human body ending in a serpent (see cut). In the later story he was erroneously repre­sented as having come to Attica from Sa'is in Egypt. He was said to have been the first king of Attica, which was called after

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