Sabine

Poem 39. The Sabini, a people who lived between the Nar and the Anio and were subdued by and merged with the Romans. The region near Tibur preserved their name but was not as fashionable as Tibur.

Poem 44. The less fashionable area for a country villa.

 

Sacia

                    Poem11. A Scythian country bordering the Caspian Sea.

 

Sappho

Poem 35. The seventh century Greek lyric poetess of Lesbos. The archetype of the learned girl. Sapphic therefore denotes a literary woman, and/or a Lesbian follower of Sappho’s, from Sappho’s own love for and relationships with other women. Poem 51 is a direct translation of one of her poems, and a first use of the Sapphic metre in Latin.

 

Satrachus

                    Poem 95. A city and river in Cyprus.

 

Saturnalia

Poem 14. The midwinter feast of Saturn (December) when the shops closed, presents were exchanged, and there was an air of licence and good-humour.

 

Satyrs

Poem 64. Demi-gods with the legs, hooves and horns of goats, attendant on Bacchus.

 

Scamander

Poem 64. The River Xanthus, and its god. With the Simois one of the two principal rivers of Troy.

 

Scylla

Poem 64. The daughter of Phorcys and the nymph Crataeis, remarkable for her beauty. Circe or Amphitrite, jealous of Neptune’s love for her changed her into a dog-like sea monster, ‘the Render’, with six heads and twelve feet. Each head had three rows of close-set teeth. Her cry was a muted yelping. She seized sailors and cracked their bones before slowly swallowing them.

 

Serap

Poem10. The Egyptian god, with a suburban Roman temple. Identified by Apollodorus with Apis, the bull-headed god. Women displayed themselves in front of the god as a cure for sterility, and had intercourse with the priests for similar purposes. The cult was ratified by Antoninus Pius in 146AD but subsequently suppressed.

 

Sestius

Poem 44. Publius Sestius, quaestor in 63BC, a close friend and colleague of Cicero.        

 

Silenes

Poem 64. Silenus was a demi-god, a follower of Bacchus. The Silenes are Satyrs and Fauns, attendant on him.

 

Silo

                    Poem 103. Unknown.

 

Simonides

                    Poem 38. The Greek lyric poet (556-467BC).

 

Sirmio

Poem 31. The promontory on Lake Garda where Catullus or his father owned a villa.

 

Socration

                    Poem47. An unidentified follower of Piso.

 

Stymphalia

Poem 68. Stymphalus was a town, lake and mountain in Arcadia. Hercules slew the man-eating Stymphalides, the monstrous birds, in his sixth labour.

 

Suffenus

                    Poem 14. An unidentifed traditional poet.

                    Poem 22. His verse mocked.

 

Sufficio

                    Poem 54. An unidentified associate of Caesar.

 

Sulla

                    Poem 14. An unidentified grammarian.

 

Syrtes, Syrtis

Poem 64. Quicksands and shoal water off the coast of North Africa.

 

Talasius

                    Poem 61. The Latin name for Hymen.

 

Talos

Poem 55. The bronze giant who guarded Europa on Crete, after she was carried off by Jupiter in the form a bull.

 

Tappo

                    Poem 104. Unknown.

 

Taurus

                    Poem 64. A mountain in Asia Minor.

 

Telemachus

Poem 61. The son of Ulysses and Penelope. See Homer’s Odyssey.

 

Tethys

                    The Sea-goddess and wife of her brother Oceanus.

Poem 64. Thetis is her grand-daughter.

Poem 66.  Poem 88. An ancient term for the sea.

 

Teucer

Poem 64. A mythical ancestor of the Trojans, originating in Crete or Athens.

 

Thallus

                    Poem 25. An unknown acquaintance of Catullus.

 

Themis

Poem 68. A Titaness, co- ruler of the planet Jupiter, daughter of heaven and earth. She is the Triple-Goddess with prophetic powers. The mother of the Seasons and the Parcae, the Fates. The Goddess of Justice.

 

Thermopylae

Poem 68.  Thermopylae (The Hot Gates), famous for its hot springs, ‘The Cauldrons.’ In Malis in Thessaly, near Trachis and the mountain chain of Oeta. See Herodotus VII 176, and 201.

 

Theseus

Poem 64. King of Athens, son of Aegeus, hence Aegides. His mother was Aethra, daughter of Pittheus king of Troezen. Aegeus had lain with her in the temple. His father had hidden a sword, and a pair of sandals, under a stone (The Rock of Theseus) as a trial, which he lifted, and he made his way to Athens, cleansing the Isthmus of robbers along the way.

Medea attempted to poison Theseus but Aegeus recognised his sword, and his son, and prevented her. He killed the Minotaur in the Cretan labyrinth, and abandoned Ariadne on Dia (Naxos). (See Canova’s sculpture – Theseus and the Dead Minotaur – Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

 

Thespia

                    Poem 61. A town in Boeotia near Mount Helicon.

 

Thetis

Poem 64. A sea-goddess, wife of Peleus, and mother of Achilles. The daughter of Nereus and Doris, and therefore a Nereid.

 

Thia

Poem 66. A name for Macedonia, the source of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.

 

Thynia

                    Poem 31. A town in Bithynia.

 

Tibur

Poem 39. Modern Tivoli, on the Anio near Rome provided a fashionable country address.

                    Poem 44. The more fashionable address for a villa.

 

Torquatus

Lucius Manlius Torquatus, the orator and friend of Cicero. He was a supporter of Pompey, was quaestor in 49BC, and died in the Civil War in North Africa in 47BC. Lavinia was his wife.

Poem 61. His marriage.

Poem 68. Addressed to him as Catullus’s friend.

 

Trinacria

                    Poem 68. Sicily. Catullus refers to Mount Etna.

 

Troy, Ilium

Poem 64. Poem 68. The city of the Troad, in Phrygia, which was besieged by the Greeks in the Trojan War.

 

Tyrian

Poem 61. The city in Phoenicia, now the Lebanon, famous for its purple dyes, made from murex.

 

Urania

                    Poem 61. One of the nine Muses, the Muse of Astronomy.

 

Varus

Publius Alfenus Varus, a Cremonese, mentioned by Horace in his first satire. He gave up his cobbler’s business for a career in law. He was the first Cisalpine to become consul.

Poem10. Poem 22. Poem 30. Addressed to him.

 

Vatinius

Publius Vatinius, quaestor in 63BC, tribune in 59, praetor in 55 and consul in 47. A supporter of Caesar and friend of Cicero. He was a frequent litigant often with Licinius Calvus as prosecutor. On an occasion when the case was going against him Clodius and his henchmen broke up the proceedings.

Poem 14. A by-word for his dislikes.

Poem 52. Accused of perjury.

Poem 53. Involved in a court case.

 

Venus

The Goddess of Love. The daughter of Jupiter and Dione. She is Aphrodite, born from the waves, an incarnation of Astarte, Goddess of the Phoenicians. The mother of Cupid by Mars. Doves were sacred to her.

(See Botticelli’s painting – Venus and Mars – National Gallery, London)

                    Poem 36. Her sacred places in Cyprus and elsewhere.

                    Poem 55. Poem 68. The Love Goddess.

                    Poem 56. Referred to as Dione.

                    Poem 61. Poem 66. She presides over love and marriage.

Poem 64. Called Erycina from her shrine on Mount Eryx in Sicily. Worshipped in Golgos and Idalia.

 

Veranius

                    Poem 9. An unknown friend of Catullus. Veraniolus.

                    Poem12. Poem47 He is mentioned.

                    Poem 28. He is addressed.

 

Vesper, Hesperus

Poem 62. Poem 64. The planet Venus as evening star, also termed Lucifer as the morning star, and believed to rise behind Mount Oeta in Thessaly.

 

Vibennius

                    Poem 33. An unknown acquaintance.

 

Victius

                    Poem 98. Unknown.

 

Victor

                    Poem 80. Unknown.

 

Vinia

                    Poem 61. Lavinia the wife of Lucius Manlius Torquatus.

 

Virgo

Poem 66.  Erigone was set in the sky as the constellation Virgo, after her suicide, by hanging, in despair at finding her father Icarius’s body. Icarius is identified with the constellation Boötes. The zodiacal constellation borders on Coma Berenices.

 

Volusius

                    Poem 36. An unknown poet, contemporary with Catullus.

                    Poem 95. Resident near Padua at this time.

 

Zephyrus

Poem46. The West Wind, brother of Memnon, one of the sons of Aurora, the dawn.

Poem 64. A morning wind.

Poem 66. Brother of Memnon.

 

Zerithon, Pheneus

                    Poem 68. A town in Arcadia with a lake of the same name.