chapter  1
Catullus
ByPeter Anderson
Pages 35

We know little for certain about either the life of Catullus or the publication of his poetry. He was born in Verona, probably between 87 and 84 b.c.e., and probably died at about the age of 30 during or shortly after 54 b.c.e. In his poetry, he refers exclusively to events between 56 and 54 b.c.e., which would suggest an extremely short creative life for the young poet, but he himself tells us that he took up poetry and sex at about 15. We do not know when he came to Rome from Verona, but there he knew some of the most prominent men in politics and literature; some he befriended, others he hated and attacked in his poetry. We learn from his poetry that he went to Bithynia as a member of the staff of C. Memmius; this was probably from the spring of 57 b.c.e. to the spring of 56 b.c.e., and some time before that his brother had died while away from home in the Troad which borders the Aegean in Asia Minor just south of the entrance to the Black Sea.