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Catullus on Rebellion – QOTD

“Rebellion does not start with an army. It starts with a whisper.”

Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 – 54 BC) in a letter to his friend Quintus Hortalus (c. 114 BC – 50 BC)


  1. single acts of tyranny says:

    You are the only other person I know, who has referenced Catullus.

    Top quality posting and why I read and post here.

  2. John Galt says:

    One of the things that is interesting and amusing about Catullus is his wonderful use of language to describe the mundane, such as the death of his lovers sparrow or a warning to his rival Marcus Furius Bibaculus on the real danger of owning a villa.

    The Mortgage: to Furius

    Furius, your little villa’s not exposed
    to the southerlies, or the westerlies,
    the savage north-wind, or the easterly breeze,
    but truly to fifteen thousand two hundred cash.
    O terrifying and destructive wind!

    Actually, I can’t quote much of Catullus here as the language is a bit…earthy… for Cats taste. For those interested, I heartily recommend “Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry” by Arthur Leslie Wheeler (University of California Press, 1934)

  3. CountingCats says:

    the language is a bit…earthy… for Cats taste


  4. John Galt says:

    Google “A Rebuke: to Aurelius and Furius” and you will see what I mean. He was a master of invective, with no limit to the vulgarity he was prepared to cast upon his rivals and enemies.

    In fact, this very poem was entered as evidence in a high-profile wrongful dismissal case in 2009.

    Mark Lowe is right: The Romans said it better

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