Catullus: Rome's Most Erotic Poet

If you're looking for a raunchy Roman poet, look no further than Catullus. Born into one of the most exciting periods in Roman history, in the early 1st century BC as the Roman Republic started to sing its swansong, Catullus was an aristocrat who moved in powerful circles. He was known to Cicero; he dined with Julius Caesar even after he’d mocked the great leader in verse. Catullus was well-connected, but it was his abiding love for a woman he called Lesbia (probably Clodia Metelli, a powerful woman herself) that inspired much of his poetry, which survived in a single manuscript of 116 verses.

Catullus was revolutionary, bringing a new type of poetry to the fore in ancient Rome. Often his poems were deeply personal, filled to the brim with emotion. Rarely did the young man hold back when pouring his heart out into his verses. Friends and enemies were targeted in sexy and scurrilous poems that continue to shock readers to this day. Nevertheless Catullus' legacy was far-reaching. From Ovid to Byron, Catullus has inspired many of those famous romantic poets that followed him.

To talk through the life of Ancient Rome's 'bad boy poet' (to quote our current Prime Minister Boris Johnson), it was an honour to interview Daisy Dunn, a leading classicist and Catullus' 21st century biographer. In this podcast Daisy brilliantly talks through the life of Catullus and his remarkable legacy. This was a brilliant chat and I hope you enjoy as much as Daisy and I did recording it.

Daisy is the author of Catullus: Rome's Most Erotic Poet.