poet of the First Century BC
, a contemporary of Julius Caesar
. Work include satires, elegies and love poems.
Born at Verona in northern Italy, he owned an estate at Sirmio on Lake Garda but preferred to live at Rome. According to Ovid, Catullus died at the age of 30 (c. 54 BC).
The poems of Catullus refer to two emotional crises in the poet's life: the death of his brother, and an unhappy love affair with a married woman whom he calls Lesbia.
It is clear that Catullus's poetry was influential in its time, and in the Aeneid Virgil not only imitates but even borrows whole lines from Catullus. Catullus's poems (some only fragments) survived antiquity thanks to a single manuscript that was discovered in the early 14th Century. This manuscript was lost, but fortunately not before two copies had been made, and thanks to this Catullus has proved greatly influential to generations of poets from the Renaissance era to the present day.
Catullus's better known lines include:
difficile est longum subito deponere amorem,
difficile est, uerum hoc qua lubet efficias
(It is hard to break with long love suddenly.
It is hard, but this you must somehow do.)