Though Roman poetry is largely an imitation of that of the Greeks, the best of the Roman poets are all strikingly original--not so much in the forms they employ, but in their insights into the human condition.  Comment.



   I.  Catullus
   A. Background
   B. Greek influence
   C. Insights
  1.  Marriage
  2.  Brother's Death
      3.  Love/jealousy
  4.  Religion
  5.  Friendship
  6.  Embarrassment (!)
  7.  Natural beauty

  II.  Virgil
   A.  Influence of Homer
   1.  Main character taken from Iliad
   2.  Funeral games
   3.  Journey hindered by Juno/Poseidon
   4.  Aid of a goddess (Venus/Athena)
   5.  Journey to realm of the dead
   6.  Depiction of war
   7.  Aeneas vs. Turnus=Achilles vs. Hector
   8.  Vulcan-forged armor
   9.  Disbelieved prophets
   B.  Insights
   1.  "Destiny"
   2.  Relationship with gods
   3.  War and it's impact
   4.  Friendship
   5.  Duty
   6.  Death
   7.  Love
   8.  Male/female relationships
 III.  Horace and Ovid (Greek influence/insights)


Catullus VIII (Miser Catullus)

 1. What is the basic theme of this poem?
 2. What is Catullus advice to himself?
 3. Is he going to succeed?  Why, or why not?
 4. How does he console himself?

Catullus IX (To Veranus)

 1. What is the occasion for this poem?
 2. What does this tell you about male/male friendship in Rome?
 3. How does Catullus reinforce his theme?
 4. Any particularly striking images here?

Catullus X (Varus me meus)

 1. What is the situation here?
 2. Why does Catullus make the boast he does?
 3. Have you ever been caught in this way?  How did you feel?
 4. Why would Catullus share such a feeling in a poem?


1.  What is the theme of the Aenead?

2.  Why does Virgil start his story where he does?

3.  What is Virgil's attitude toward Carthage?  Toward Dido?

4.  How does Virgil explain the hostility between Carthage and Rome?

5.  Why does Virgil spend so long on the sack of Troy?

6.  How does Virgil get across the emotional impact of war?

7.  How important are women to Virgil (or to Aeneas)?  Note his reaction to each of the major women in his life: Creusa, Dido, Lavinia, Venus (!), Juno (!!).

8.  What makes Dido admirable?  What are her weaknesses?  Why does Dido love Aeneas?  Why do women love warriors in general?  Does Dido's  suicide make sense?  Would a woman behave like this?  Why, or why not?

9.  Is Aeneas right in his treatment of Dido?

10.  What does Virgil think about destiny/fate?  Is he right?

11.  How does Virgil deal with death?  What does he believe about life after death?