Gaius Valerius Catullus
Complete List of Catullus' Poems
First Lines of Catullus' Poems
The Social Set of Catullus: His Friends, Lovers, Rivals
Catullus Links
Short Curriculum Vitae
Born in Verona (Gallia Cisalpina) around 82 B.C.
Father was a friend of Julius Caesar's.
Falls in love with Clodia, around 60 B.C.
Brother dies at Troy.
Joins the staff of Gaius Memmius, Governor of Bithynia, 57-56 B.C.
No poems datable after 54 B.C., so he may have died sometime around then.
Catullus the Roman

(From the image collection of Barbara McManus at VRoma)

Catullus was a member of the elite, and his family would naturally have cultivated a powerful man like Julius Caesar, who could have advanced their son's career. Catullus mocks the practive of "networking" in Poem 28: "i, pete nobiles amicos (So much for running after powerful friends!)" And he never treated Caesar with much respect.

Catullus did, however, humour his parent's ambitions by taking the standard first step towards a political career. He served for one year on a governor's staff. This satisfied the requirement that all politicians spend time in the army, it was a sort of "internship" in the administration of the empire, and it was a good way to make important connections. But after his year in Bithynia, Catullus pursued his career no further. His interests lay elsewhere.
Friendship of Julius Caesar.

Caesar did not hide the fact that a permanent blot had been put on his name by the verses that Valerius Catullus had made about Mamurra. But when Catullus apologised, Caesar invited him to dinner that very day. And Caesar kept up his old friendship with Catullus' father.
Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar,chapter 73.
Death of Brother.
Poem 68 (lines 89-100) Troia (nefas!) commune sepulcrum Asiae Europaeque
Poem 101 Multas per gentes et multa per aequora uectus
Year in Bithynia under Gaius Memmius.
Poem 10Varus me meus ad suos amores
Poem 28Pisonis comites, cohors inanis
Poem 31Paene insularum, Sirmio, insularumque
Poem 46Iam uer egelidos refert tepores
Catullus the Poet

(From the image collection of Paula Chabot at VRoma)

Simply by devoting himself entirely to poetry, Catullus was rebelling against what was expected of an upper-class Roman. He was one of the Poetae Novi or "Neoteric Poets," who used colloquial language in their work, but also delighted in learned allusion. As a poet, Catullus was revolutionary in ignoring the public audience, and writing intensely about his personal experience for an audience of fellow-poets alone. A large number of his poems analyse his feelings about the two great loves of his life, Clodia and Juventius.  
Poet Friends of Catullus: the "Neoteric" Poets.

Gaius Licinius Macer Calvus.
Helvius Cinna.
Quintus Cornificius.
Furius Bibaculus (he may be the Furius who appears in some poems of Catullus)
Catullus' affair with Clodia.
There are 26 poems about his mistress Clodia.
Click on her name to see them.
His affair with Juventius.
There are 6 poems about his boy-friend Juventius.
Click on his name to see them.