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RING-COMPOSITIONIN CATULLUS 64
It is apparentto even the casual readerof Catullus64 that a basic patternof
ring-compositionarticulatesthe poem: prologue-guests-coverlet-Ariadne
and Theseus-coverlet-guests-epilogue.1
However, if the reader,encouraged by the elaborate example of Catullus 68, goes on to look for ringcompositionin greaterdetail, he is soon confrontedwith awkwardquestions.
Whatis thereat the beginningto matchthe lengthysong of theFates atthe end?
What correspondsto Ariadne's lament, nearly one-fifth of the whole? These
andsimilardifficultieshave discouragedscholarsfromlooking for an elaborate
scheme of ring-composition.2Nevertheless, after a careful study of what I
considerto be the naturaldivisions of the poem, I have come to the conclusion
thatin 64 Catullusis experimentingwith a form of ring-compositionin which
the related sections correspond in form and content, but may vary quite
markedlyin length. The structureis set out in diagrammaticform in Table 1,
and the verbal echoes which strengthen the links between corresponding
sections are listed in Table 2. I shall first attemptto show how the related
sections correspondto one anotherand then addressthe question of how the
discovery of ring-compositionaffects our understandingof the poem.
Since the correspondencesare most distinctin the innerstory, we will begin
with the two coverlet sections D (43-51) and d (265f). Here the links are selfevident in subject matter and striking in language (see Table 2). In D the
description of the actual coverlet is preceded by lines which dwell on the
luxuriousnessof its setting, but since several sections contain some kind of
prefatory material, I shall discuss this aspect of Catullus' compositional
techniquelater.
The correspondencebetween sections E (52-70) and e (249-264) also is
clear-cut. It is in these sections, and these sections only, that the scenes
11 would like to express my indebtednessto W. S. Andersonof the University of California,
Berkeley, and to the anonymousreaderof CJ for helpful criticismof earlierdraftsof this article.
The following commentarieshave proved most useful: W. Kroll (Leipzig 1929), C. J. Fordyce
(Oxford 1961), and K. Quinn(London 1970). Subsequentreferenceto these commentariesandto
the following article will be by author's name only: F. Klingner, "Catulls Peleus-Epos,"
SBBayerAkWiss(1956) Heft 6, pp. 1-92, which is reprintedin his Studien(Ziirich1964) 156-224.
2Klingner(supran. 1) notes that the arrivaland departureof the guests surroundsthe AriadneTheseus inset in the form of ring-composition(p. 30f) and that the account of the wedding is
interrupted"von der langen, in sich wieder vielfach durchbrochenenund in der Form der
Ringcompositionschliesslich zuriickgebogenenEinlage" (p. 80). Notable among the attemptsto
see more detailed ring-compositionare C. W. Mendell, "The Influence of the Epyllion on the
Aeneid," YCS 12 (1951) 205-226 (he sees Ariadne's lament as the center and omits 1-49 and
267-408 from his scheme) and D. Thomson, "Aspects of Unity in Catullus64," CJ 57 (1961)
49-57 (he also makesAriadne'slamentthe center, andtreatsthe song of the Fatesas a kindof coda).
A furtherscheme is proposedby C. Murley, "The Structureand Proportionof CatullusLXIV,"
TAPA68 (1937) 305-317. None of these schemes has won much acceptance. For furtherbibliographyon the poem see the useful lists by H. J. Leon in CW53 (1960) 174f, D. Thompsonin CW65
(1971) 121f and J. Granarolain Lustrum 17 / 1973-74 (1976) 27-70.

232

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Table 1
STRUCTURE OF CATULLUS 64
A 1-21 (21) Prologue: launching of Argo; Peleus sees Thetis; Jupiterdecides that they mu
B 22-30 (10) Makarismos of heroic age in general and of Peleus in particular.
C 31-42 (12) Arrival of mortal guests bearing gifts; abandonmentof country for to
D 43-51 (9) Luxuriousness of palace; coverlet on Thetis' couch.
E 52-70 (19) Ariadne on beach of Dia, staring after departedTheseus in "B
F 71-123 (53) Flashback: Theseus' expedition to Crete and abandonmen
G 124-201 (78) Set speech addressed to Theseus. Ariadne's querella
H 202-211 (10) Jupiterintervenes. Curse fulfilled; Theseus forge
g 212-37 (26) Set speech addressed to Theseus. Aegeus' querellae a
f 238-248 (11) Flashforward:Theseus returnsto Athens mente immemo
e 249-264 (16) Ariadne on beach. Approach of Dionysus and Bacchae.
d 265-266 (2) Coverlet.
c 267-302 (36) Departureof mortal guests. Arrival of immortalguests bearing rust
b 303-381 (79) Makarismos of Peleus sung by the Fates.
a 382-408 (27) Epilogue: formerly the gods mingled with mortals, but man's sinfulness ha

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1
5
11
16f
25f

34
35

Table 2

242
246f
244
243
239f
248

g Ae
querellas2
respergas1s
languida no
nostros . . .

prospectans
bacchantes'
f Th
in assiduos2
ingressus .
praecipitem
cum primum
wind / mou
mente imme

2wor

223
230
219f
226

249
255

266

c De
279 portans silve
286f Tempel ...
d Co
pulvinar1 2
e Ar

a Ep
382 quondam
406 avertere'
397 est imbuta2
408 nec se conti
b M
323f o decus exim
Emathiae tu

VERBAL ECHOES IN CORRESPONDINGSECTIONS OF


A Prologue
quondam
avertere1
imbuit2
(haud)alia videruntluce marinas/ . . . Nymphas
B Makarismos
teque adeo eximie2 taedis felicibus aucte,
Thessaliae columen Peleu, cui luppiter ipse . . .
C Arrival of Guests
dona2ferunt prae se
linquuntPhthioticaTempe1
D Coverlet

47
pulvinarl 50 vestis . . . variata figuris
E Ariadne on Beach
52f prospectans1... cedentem2
61
ut effigies bacchantis'
F Theseus
71
assiduis2 . . . luctibus
73f ferox2 . . . Theseus . . . egressus
81f corpus . . . proicere
simul ac . . . conspexit
86
105ff wind / mountain-topsimile; flamine
123 immemori . . . pectore
G Ariadne's Speech
195 querellis,2 querellas2
respersum . . . caede
non . . . languescent lumina morte
nostrum . . . luctum
1wordnot found elsewhere in Catullus
130,
181
188
199

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IN CATULLUS64
RING-COMPOSITION

235

embroideredon the coverlet are described. The abandonedAriadnewith the


departingTheseus and/orthe approachingDionysus was a favoritesubjectfor
Hellenistic and Roman artists, but whether we are to think of a tripartite
composition, as T. B. L. Webstersuggests, with Ariadnein the centerflanked
on eitherside by Theseus' departingship andDionysus andhis entourage,or of
two discrete pictures is perhaps insoluble.3 The two sections are also very
similar in structure.In E after describingbriefly the incredulousAriadneand
the hastily departingTheseus Catullusconcentrateson the detailsof Ariadne's
"Bacchic" disarray. In e after a brief referenceto Ariadnegazing out to sea4
and to Iacchusquickly advancingtowardsher he concentrateson the activities
of the Bacchic thiasos. Anaphoraof the firstwordin threesuccessive lines (non
63-65 and pars 257-259) is used to catalogue the Bacchic features of each
section and to heightenthe emotionaltone. Both sections climax andclose five
lines after the end of the catalogue. The closing lines are unusually highlywrought, brilliantlyevoking in E the impassioned desperationof Ariadne:
illa vicem curans toto ex te pectore, Theseu,
toto animo, tota pendebatperditamente. (69-70)
and in e the ominous cacophony of the approachingthiasos:5
multis raucisonosefflabant cornua bombos
barbaraquehorribili stridebattibia cantu. (263-264)
Sections F (71-123) and f (238-248) seem at first sight a disparatepair. F is
53 lines long andf a mere 11. However, both arenarrativesectionsrelatingthe
expedition of Theseus, and both are removed in time from the beach scene on
Dia, F being a flashback and f a flashforward. In both sections the central
incident is the fateful sighting of Theseus, Ariadne's first (simul ac . . .
conspexit 86), andAegeus' last (cumprimum. .. conspexit243), andthetragic
effect this has on their lives-hopeless infatuationfor Ariadneand suicide for
Aegeus. These sections are also particularlyrich in verbalechoes. In Fferox
.... Theseus (73) sets out from Athens(egressus 74); in fferox Theseus(247)
returns (ingressus 246). Both end with a reference to Theseus' immemor
mens. In F he leaves Dia immemoripectore (123), andin f he returnsto Athens
mente immemori (248). Finally, the striking use of proicere in the phrase
Catulluschooses to describe Theseus' willingness to sacrifice himself for his
city, ipse suum pro caris corpus Athenis / proicere optavit (81f), seems
intended to foreshadow Aegeus' suicide: praecipitem sese scopulorum e
vertice iecit (244).
Sections G (124-201) and g (212-237) have the obvious formal connection
thatthey areboth set speeches. Moreover, they are both addressedto Theseus
as he departsby ship by speakerswho arelinkedby theirovermasteringlove for
him. In structure,both speeches are essentially bipartite,Ariadne'sconsisting
3Webster, "The Myth of Ariadne from Homer to Catullus," G&R 13 (1966) 22-31. For
reproductionsof these scenes see the plates appendedto Webster'sarticleandthe useful collection
of drawingsin S. Reinach, Repertoirede Peintures Grecqueset Romaines (Paris 1922) 111-113.
4The repetitionhere of prospectans cedentem from lines 52f is a particularlystriking verbal
echo.
5Forthe threateningnatureof these lines see Curran(infran. 14) 180. For Ariadne'sterrorat the
approachof the thiasos cf. Ovid AA 1.539f: excidit illa meturupitquenovissimaverba; / nullus in
exanimi corpore sanguis erat.

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236

DAVIDA. TRAILL

of querellae (132-187) and an exsecratio (188-201), Aegeus' of querellae


(215-227) and mandata(228-237). The exsecratio and mandataare crucialto
the developmentof the plot. Their mutualincompatibilityis resolved at the
centerof thepoem by the interventionof Jupiter.These similaritiesin formand
structureare strengthenedby several verbal echoes. First, both speakers
specificallyuse the wordquerellae of theircomplaints(195 and223);6Catullus
also uses the wordin the narrativeintroducingAriadne'sspeech(130). Second,
the phrasethat Aegeus chooses to refer, in anticipation,to Theseus' victory
over the Minotaur,ut taurirespergassanguinedextram(230), seems intended
to recall Ariadne's respersum iuvenemfraterna caede (181). Finally, key
elements of the two sections, Ariadne's call for vengeance and Aegeus'
decision to hoist black sails on Theseus' ship, are prompted by the same
motive, namely,thatthe speaker'sgrief shouldnot go unnoticed:vos nolitepati
nostrumvanescere luctum (199) and nostros ut luctus nostraeque incendia
mentis / carbasus obscurata dicet ferrugine Hibera (226f).
The central section H (202-211) describes the interventionof Jupiter in
responseto Ariadne'sprayerfor vengeance and the effect of this intervention
on Theseus. Kinseyobserves: "Jupiter'sassentto Ariadne'sprayeris described
(204-206) with great pomp:
annuitinvicto caelestem numine rector
quo motu tellus atque horridacontremuerunt
aequoraconcussitquemicantia sidera mundus.
The idea of these lines is not originalbutit does not appearto occurelsewhereat
such lengthnorin such exaggeratedform.'"7Kinsey goes on to suggest thatthe
grandiloquenttone maybe ironic, butthis is to underestimatethe pivotalnature
of these lines. Jupiter'snod of assentin line 204 marksthe turning-pointin the
story of Theseus and Ariadne. Theseus' immemormens, which has caused
Ariadneso much anguish, is now turnedagainsthimself and his family. It is
perhapsnot a coincidence that line 204 is the exact midpoint of the poem.8
Jupiter'sinterventionis flankedby referencesto Ariadne'scall for vengeance
(203) andAegeus' mandata, which link the centerto the adjacentspeeches. In
much the same way in poem 68 the short sections on the Greek expeditionto
Troy which flank the centralsection, Catullus'lamentfor his brother,link the
center to the Laodamiasections.'
If we now returnto the coverletsections andmove towardsthe beginningand
end of the poem, we first encountertwo sections on the weddingguests, C (3142) and c (267-302), then two sections addressedto Peleus, B (22-30) and b
(303-381), and finally the prologue, A (1-21), and epilogue, a (382-408).
There is a certainimbalancebetween section C (31-42) and section c (267302), for while C describesmerelythe arrivalof the mortalguests, c describes
boththe departureof the mortalsandthe arrivalof the immortals.However, the
similarityin subject matterbetween the two sections makes their correspondence self-evident. Moreover, lines 38-42 in C describing the abandoned
6Note also the use ot conquerar (164) and nostris questibus (170).
7T. E. Kinsev. "Irony and Structurein Catullus 64," Latomus 24 (1965) 921f.
"I include lines 23b and 378 in the reckoning.
"See Kroll's scheme (p. 219).

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RING-COMPOSITION
IN CATULLUS64

237

countrysidecreatean expectationthatthe mortalswill returnto the countryand


hence can be regarded as anticipating, and to that extent balancing, the
departureof the mortalguests. The refreshingsimile thatoccupies most of the
space devoted to the departureof the mortalsin c provides a welcome contrast
to the jarringpictureof the revelling bacchanals(254-264) and this must be at
least partof the reasonfor the inclusion of this passage. Both C and c mention
where the different guests have come from and refer to the gifts they bring.
Both sections use the rhetoricaldevice of the list. In C the lists areof the places
and activitieswhichthe mortalguests have left behind. In c the gifts broughtby
the immortalsare listed.
The disparity in length between sections B (22-30) and b (303-381) is
enormous,but the links in subjectmatter,form, and languageare compelling.
In both sections Peleus himself is addressedand his felicity extolled. Quinn
rightlyuses the term makarismosof both sections.10The first two lines of the
two addressesto Peleus are remarkablysimilar in vocabularyand phrasing:
teque adeo eximie taedis felicibus aucte,
and

Thessaliae columen Peleu, cui luppiter ipse . . . (25f)

o decus eximium magnis virtutibusaugens,

Emathiae tutamen, Opis carissime nato .

. (323f)

The conclusion that the second address is intended to recall the first seems
inevitable. However, in view of the fact thatthe second makarismosis so much
moreimportantthanthe first, it wouldperhapsbe nearerthe markto say thatthe
first, which in any case presentsa somewhattruncatedappearance,is intended
to anticipatethe second.
Sections A (1-21) and a (382-408) form the poem's prologueand epilogue.
In both sections Catullusdwells on divine participationin humanaffairs. He
emphasisesthe personalnatureof thatparticipationby what Kinsey refersto as
"the awed ipsa in 9 and ipse in 21"1' andby praesentes in 384 andpraesens in
396. There is an antithesisin both sections between the past (quondam I and
382), when the gods mingled with mortals, and the present, when they shun
their company and sight:
quare nec talis dignanturvisere coetus
nec se contingi patiunturlumine claro. (407f)
This antithesisis the dominanttheme of the epilogue, butis less conspicuousin
the prologue. Nevertheless,the antithesisis felt theretoo, for quondampointsas
muchto the culturalas to the temporalgap betweenthe events describedandthe
present. In much the same way as our "once upon a time," it seems both
wistful and slightly condescending. It preparesthe reader for an ethos far
removedfrom thatof his own day. Dicuntur (2) is a furtherrecognitionof the
distance between the world of Greek mythology and the stark realities of
contemporaryRome. Also, the total withdrawalof the gods in the epilogue
(407f) is presaged in the prologue, where the Nereids emerge to gaze in
1oQuinncalls only lines 334-336 a makarismos,but the term can be appliedto the whole song,
as the impendingbirthof Achilles is to be seen as the culminationof Peleus' felicitas. Catullus
practicallylabels the song a makarismosin line 382: talia praefantes quondamfelicia Pelei.
"Kinsey (supra n. 7) 915.

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238

DAVIDA. TRAILL

astonishmentat the monstrum(15) intrudingon theirdomain and are seen by


mortal eyes for the first and last time: illa atque (haud) alia die (16).
The verbs avertere (5 and 406) and imbuere (11 and 397) are found in the
prologueandepilogue andnowhereelse in the poem. In fact, averteredoes not
occurelsewherein Catullus,and imbuereonly once.12Moreover,the verbsare
used each time in a significant context. They describe the quest of the
Argonauts,the launchingof the Argo, the onset of man's sinfulness, and his
alienationof the gods. In the prologue both verbs are used with a touch of
flamboyance.Avertere (5) with the meaning and, essentially, the tone of "to
steal" is a strangelyhostile wordto use of the Argonauts'quest.'3Imbuit(11),
as Currannotes,14is an example of Alexandrianwit. The ship "initiates" the
sea with her passage, but, in the literalsense of the word, it is the ship, not the
sea, thatbecomes imbuta. The recurrenceof these verbsin the epilogue may be
sheercoincidence, butprobabilityandCatullus'practiceelsewherein the poem
argue against such an assumption. By repeating imbuere in the epilogue
Catullusis perhapssuggestingthatthe launchingof the Argo markedthe onset
of man's sinfulness. Certainly, in the fourth eclogue, which bears
unmistakable traces of indebtedness to Catullus 64, Virgil refers to the
launchingof the Argo in just those terms:
pauca tamen suberuntpriscae vestigia fraudis
quae temptareThetin ratibus, quae cingere muris
oppida, quae iubeant telluri infindere sulcos.
alter erit tum Tiphys et altera quae vehat Argo
delectos heroas.
(31-35)
Similarly,the repetitionof averterein the epilogue may be intendedto indicate
thatthe quest of the Argonautsshould be classed among those sinful acts that
have alienatedthe gods from participationin human affairs.
To concludethis examinationof the correspondencesbetweenthe sections, I
would like to comment on certain passages which appear to have no real
parallelsin theirrelatedsections. These passages are: the addressto the heroic
age in general(22-24); the descriptionof the palace (43-46); the descriptionof
12At4.17 it is also used of a ship's launching.
13Inthe overwhelmingmajorityof the passages cited in TLL(s.v. II) the tone is disparaging.In
militarycontexts, however, wherethe partyrobbedis the enemy, the verb can be used withoutany
apparentimputationof wrongdoing. After all, stealing from the enemy is morally acceptable.
However, at the outset of the Argonauticexpeditionthe Colchiansare not regardedas the enemy.
Nor do the Argonautsintend to resortto the surreptitioustactics that the verb avertere seems to
imply. The verbdescribeswithreasonableaccuracythe mannerin whichthe Argonautsfinally won
the fleece, but when appliedto theirmotives at the outset, it casts theirexpeditionin an unfavorable
light. In a poem celebratingthe marriageof one of the Argonautsone mighthave expecteda neutral
verb, such as recipere, repetereor the like. Therecan be little doubtthatCatulluschose avertereto
translateEnnius' per dolum:
vecti petebantpellem inauratamarietis
Colchis imperio regis Peliae per dolum. (213f Jocelyn)
The Medea, however, is a tragedy,not an epic, andthe summaryaccountof the Argonauts'voyage
is given by Medea's very partial nurse. That Catullus chose to reproducein the traditionally
objective context of epic narrativethe bias inherentin per dolum seems to indicate a similarly
hostile attitudeto the Argonauticexpedition on the part of the narrator.
14L.C. Curran,"Catullus 64 and the Heroic Age," YCS 21 (1969) 176.

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IN CATULLUS64
RING-COMPOSITION

239

Ariadnethatprecedesher speech (124-131); the Fates at theirwork(303-322).


I have dealt with the departureof the mortalguests in the discussion of C and c
above. The remaining passages are all clearly prefatory in function. The
addressto the heroes and the descriptionof the palace presentthe largerwhole
from which the item on which the poet wishes to concentrateis selected. In the
terminologymade famous by Bundy's work on Pindar,15they are foil for the
climactic topic. That is to say, they are not topics in themselves, but rather
means of introducingtopics. They also serve to set the selected topics in a
suitablecontext. The addressto the heroes enhancesthe dignity of Peleus, and
the description of its setting adds to the beauty and luxuriousness of the
coverlet. The prefatory passages on Ariadne and the Fates are somewhat
different in that they do not present the larger whole from which a topic is
selected. Their functionis to introducethe extendedpassages of directspeech
which constitute the two showpieces of the poem, Ariadne's lament and the
song of the Fates. Both speeches deserve and indeed requiresome form of
introductionto set them off. Besides fulfilling the function of prefaces,
however, the two descriptivepassages are linked organicallyto the speeches.
Afterthe digressionon the expeditionof Theseus Catulluscould hardlylaunch
into Ariadne'sspeech withoutattemptingto recreatethe emotionalatmosphere
of lines 60-70. The baroquedescriptionof Ariadne's grief in lines 124-131
effectively createsthe mood which the highly-chargedspeech requires. In the
case of the Fates, the descriptionof their work gives life to the refrainthat
punctuatestheir song, curriteducentes subtegmina, curritefusi, and reminds
us of theirpreeminentqualificationsfor giving Peleus an accurateaccountof
his future.
How does recognitionof the ringed structureaffect ourunderstandingof the
poem? It brings us no nearerto a definitive answerto such difficult questions
as: What is the significance of the inner story to the wedding of Peleus and
Thetis? What is Catullus' attitudeto the heroic age? How did he expect his
audienceto react to the Fates' pictureof Achilles? It does, however, resolve
some puzzles. For instance, the convoluted chronology of the inner story is
clearly the resultof Catullus'rearrangingof the elements of the story to fit his
ringed structure. Moreover, certain of the details and emphases in Catullus'
telling of the story are due to his attempts to create similarities between
correspondingsections. Thus in E we see Ariadne'syoung (iuvenis 58) mortal
lover rapidlydeparting(fugiens 58) cumclasse (53) andin e heryoung (florens
251) immortal lover rapidly approaching(volitabat 251) cum thiaso (252).
Again, as Ariadnein E yearnsfor one who has no thoughtsfor her, so Bacchus
in e yearns for Ariadne, who has no thoughts for him. In both passages
anaphoraand apostropheare used to heighten the emotion: toto ex te pectore,
Theseu, / toto animo, totapendebatperdita mente (69f); te quaerens,Ariadna,
tuoqueincensusamore (253). Finally, when CatulluscomparesAriadneto the
statue of a Bacchanal, he is clearly foreshadowingthe Dionysiac thiasos in e
and her imminentdestiny to become the bride of Bacchus.
The same tendencies, thoughless conspicuous, arediscerniblein Ff andGg.
For instance, in F the disproportionateemphasis placed on Ariadne's first
15E. Bundy, "Studia PindaricaI," UnivCalPubCIPhil18 (1962) no. 1, p. 5 et passim.

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240

DAVIDA. TRAILL

sighting of Theseus, to which everything preceding and following in that


is explainedby Catullus'desire to make the episode
section is subordinated,16
at Knossos as similar as possible to the tragedy at Athens. Thus just as
Ariadne'ssightingof Theseusensured(throughher sacrificeson his behalf)his
victory over the Minotaur,17so Aegeus' sighting of Theseus' ship broughton
the old man's suicide. Theseus' slaying of the Minotaurand his forgettingof
his father'sinstructionsare the most glorious and ignominiousepisodes in his
career. Catullus invites us to connect them by comparingthem both to the
actionof wind on a mountain-top-a violent wind in F, a gentle one in f. In G
andg Catullushas contrivedto emphasizethe correspondencebetweenthe two
sectionsby castingboth speeches in the formof propemptica.18In G Ariadne's
querellae, a traditionalfeatureof the genre,19arenaturallybasedon herlover's
violation of fides, as is usual in propemptica.20To correspondto this Catullus
has Aegeus indulgein querellae basedon his sorrowat being forced to send his
newly-found son off on a dangerous mission.21 Like Dido's speeches to
Aeneas, which Cairnsdiscusses,22Ariadne's propempticonis, of course, an
example of the inverse type. Hence a curse takes the place of the usual good
wishes. Aegeus' propempticonis that of a superiorto an inferior. Hence the
inclusionof the mandatawhich the storyrequiresis genericallyappropriate.23
It is Ariadne's curse and Aegeus' mandata that connect the fates of Ariadne
andAegeus throughTheseus' immemormens. The final link in the symmetryis
forged by the interventionof Jupiterat the center of the poem. The effect of
Theseus' immemor mens on Ariadne is seen in F (122f) and on Aegeus
(241-245).
Whilemuchof the materialof the outerstorylends itself readilyto a structure
of ring-composition,this is not true of the epithalamium.Catullusappearsto
have regardedthe epithalamiumas almost the raison d' tre for the poem and,
logically, has placed it in the climactic position just before the epilogue.
Understandablyhe did not want to weaken its impactby splittingit over two
widely separatedsegments. Besides, it would makeno sense to placepartof the
epithalamiumbefore the arrivalof the guests. Catullushas solved this problem
by casting the epithalamiumin the form of a makarismos of Peleus and
16Thepreceding lines explain how the fateful meeting came about. Theseus' victory over the
Minotauris seen as dependenton Ariadne's vows on his behalf (103-111).
"7Nam(105) clearly introducesthe slaying of the Minotauras proof of the efficacy of Ariadne's
prayers.
18Seethe usefuldescriptionof the propempticonin F. Cairns,GenericCompositionin Greekand
Roman Poetry (Edinburgh1971) 6: ". .. the primaryelements of the propemptikonare . . .
someone departing,anotherpersonbiddinghim farewell, and a relationshipof affection between
the two, plus an appropriatesetting."
19Cairns(supran. 18) believes thatquerellae is the Latinrenderingof the Greekschetliasmos(p.

12).

20SeeCairns(supra n. 18) 12.


21Thesequerellae are partly expressed in such phrases as "eripit invito mihi te" (219) and
"nondum/ luminasuntgnaticarasaturatafigura" (219f) andpartlyhintedat in "multasexpromam
mente querellas" (223).
22Cairns(supra n. 18) 131-135.
23Asuperiorbiddingfarewell to an inferiormight normallyinclude advice in his propempticon.
See Cairns (supra n. 18) 9

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RING-COMPOSITION IN CATULLUS 64

241

incorporatinga brief, anticipatorymakarismosof Peleus afterthe prologue. In


this earlier makarismos he draws his praise of Peleus from topics of the
betrothal. In this way Catullus provides a corresponding section for the
epithalamiumthat is consistent with the orderlydevelopmentof the wedding
ceremonies.
In a forthcomingarticleit will be shown thatthe centerof Catullus63, whose
ringed structurehas already been pointed out by E. Schiifer,24is the short
passage on Sun and Sleep (38-42).25 When poems 63 and 64 are compared,
they are found to have remarkably similar centers. In both poems a
meteorologicalchange of the megacosmosbringsabouta sympatheticreaction
in the microcosmosot the hero's mens. Thusjust as in 64 Jupiter'sthundrous
nod thatshakesthe universe (204-206) clouds Theseus' mens (207f), so in 63
the Sun's beamsthatbringlight to the universe(40) clearAttis' mens, enabling
him to see wherehe is andwhathe has lost (46). This changeof mens is pivotal
to both the Attis and the Ariadne-Theseusstories. The use of ring-composition
in these two poems and the similarityof theircentersraises a host of questions
about Catullus' religious and philosophical views, narrativetechnique, and
indebtednessto Hellenistic antecedents, which lie beyond the scope of this
paper.
DAVID A. TRAILL
Universityof California, Davis

24E.Schgfer, "Das Verhdiltnisvom Erlebnisund Kunstgestaltbei Catull," Hermes Einzelschr.


18 (Wiesbaden 1966) 101.
25Myarticle, "Catullus63: Rings aroundthe Sun," will appearin a forthcomingissue of CP.

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