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Dirty Latin Poetry

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Catullus 58

Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
plus quam se atque suos amauit omnes,
nunc in quadriuiis et angiportis
glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

Translation 1:

Caelius, our Lesbia, that Lesbia
that Lesbia, whom Catullus loved
more than himself and all his own,
now at the crossroads and in the alleys
is jacking-off the decendants of brave Remus

Translation 2:

Caelius, my Lesbia, that Lesbia.
That Lesbia, who Catullus loved alone more,
than himself and all of his own,
now on streetcorners and alleyways
she milks the cocks of the goodhearted scum of Rome.

Translation 3:

My Claudia, that Claudia, that same Claudia
whom I love more than myself
or anything I have — I have
met her in corners
and plazas, sucking off
those sweet sons of Rome.

Adaptation, 2009:

Johnny! It’s our Lesbia, the Lesbia,
That Lesbia, herself, the girl Stanley loved,
More than self and all he calls his own,
Now at the Great Hall, Chicago, Union Station,
Up and down the polished marble floors,
In high-heeled, black boots,
Corn, she husks corn,
For any of them, Lincoln’s favored sons!


Catullus’ affair with Clodia (whom he refers to as "Lesbia" in all his poems) ended when she began to cheat on him with a friend of his named Marcus Caelius Rufus. Clodia was, in the words of Cicero, a shameless whore, and it seems like Catullus wrote this for revenge and to tell Caelius and the rest of Rome how easy she was.

Catullus uses the term "the decendents of brave Remus" to refer to Clodia’s patrons. The great men of Rome are usually called the sons of Romulus, Remus’ stronger and smarter brother. To compare these men to Remus is to imply what losers they are. (via (Everything 2)

About Clodia (Lesbia):

Clodia was married to Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, her first cousin. The marriage was not a happy one. Clodia engaged in several affairs with married men and slaves, becoming at the same time a notorious gambler and drinker. Arguments with Metellus Celer were constant, often in public situations. When Metellus Celer died in strange circumstances in 59 BC, Clodia was suspected of poisoning her husband.

As a widow, Clodia became known as a merry one, taking several lovers, including possibly the poet Catullus (see below). Clodia maintained several other lovers, including Marcus Caelius Rufus, Catullus’ friend. This particular affair would cause an immense scandal. After the relationship with Caelius was over in 56 BC, Clodia publicly accused him of attempted poisoning. The accusation led to a murder charge and trial. Caelius’ defence lawyer was Cicero, who took a harsh approach against her, recorded in his speech Pro Caelio. Cicero had a personal interest in the case, as her brother Publius Clodius was Cicero’s most bitter political enemy.

Among other things, Clodia was accused of being a seducer and a drunkard in Rome and in Baiae. Cicero insinuated that he "would [attack Caelius’ accusers] still more vigorously, if I had not a quarrel with that woman’s [Clodia’s] husband – brother, I meant to say; I am always making this mistake. At present I will proceed with moderation… for I have never thought it my duty to engage in quarrels with any woman, especially with one whom all men have always considered everybody’s friend rather than any one’s enemy."[1] He declared her a disgrace to her family and nicknamed Clodia the Medea of the Palatine. (Cicero’s marriage to Terentia suffered from Terentia’s persistent suspicions that Cicero was conducting an illicit affair with Clodia.)

After the trial of Caelius, in which Caelius was found not guilty, little or possibly nothing is heard of Clodia, and the date of her death is unknown. There is some difficulty in identifying Roman women due to the lack of female personal names. Either this Clodia or a sister was still alive in 44 BC. (via Wikipedia)


The enmity of Publius Clodius Pulcher for Cicero stemmed from an incident that had occurred almost twenty years before, in 62 BC, when Clodius, who was enamored of Caesar’s wife, Pompeia, had disguised himself as a woman in an attempt to see her at Caesar’s residence, where the mysteries of Bona Dea were being celebrated.

He was discovered there and a scandal ensued. As pontifex maximus, Caesar divorce Pompeia, who had to be above even the suspicion of adultery. Clodius was charged with sacrilege but insisted that he was not in Rome at the time, an alibi that Cicero contradicted when he testified that he, himself, had spoken with the intruder that day. Intriguingly, it was thought that the testimony had been at the insistence of Terentia, Cicero’s wife, to allay her suspicious that Clodius’ sister Clodia wanted to marry her husband (Plutarch, Life of Cicero, XXVIII-XXIX; also Life of Caesar, IX-X).

As to the beautiful Clodia, she was supposed to have slept with her own brother, poisoned her husband and was a lover, as well, of Catullus, who famously wrote of her as the "Lesbia" of his poems. Replaced in her affections by Marcus Caelius Rufus, the scorned lover lashed out in a poem to him. (READ MORE)

Wikipedia on Catullus: CLICK HERE

***Adaptation 2009 by Stanley Pacion at his BLOG, where you can watch a video of his reading.


So, apparently, even way, way  back in BC (for Chrizt’s Sake) Latin men could be as ridiculous and petty as men can be today.  Particularly when an uber bitch, Femdom Fatale like Clodia/Lesbia pussy-whipped them into shape, destroyed their manhood and used them up.  I like her a lot.

What Catullus didn’t get is that while Claudia might have been jerking off guys in the back alleys of Rome, it went more or less like this …

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