Abstract

This article offers a reading of Catullus 4 that positions its protagonist—a talking ship—within the networks of travel, plunder, and intellectual exchange that attended Rome's annexation of Bithynia. This ship's reported account of his travels embeds, I argue, an anxious discourse on Roman authors' dependence upon books and scholars hailing from the Greek east to deepen their understanding of Hellenistic literature. Through its ambiguous presentation of a Bithynian ship as both a subject and an object, a master and a slave, poem 4 stages a defining first-century concern about the Roman poet's ability to control a poetic tradition drawn from a captive Greece and mediated by a newly conquered region of Asia Minor.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6504
Print ISSN
0004-0975
Pages
pp. 69-88
Launched on MUSE
2011-02-06
Open Access
No
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