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Eros at DuskAncient Wedding and Love Poetry$
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Katherine Wasdin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190869090

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190869090.001.0001

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Catullan Women on the Threshold

Catullan Women on the Threshold

(p.29) 1 Catullan Women on the Threshold
Eros at Dusk

Katherine Wasdin

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstates that Catullus 61, a wedding poem, and Catullus 68, an account of an extramarital rendezvous, are best read in tandem. Both revolve around a woman who crosses over a threshold. In Catullus 61, the woman is a bride, but in Catullus 68, she is the speaker’s mistress. Other points of overlap include the presiding deities Cupid and Hymenaeus, specific lexical choices, terminology of licit and illicit laps, and the women’s spatial and internal transitions. Both poems are composed for male friends and display heterosexual encounters in order to cement homosocial relationships. I show how each poem draws on the occasional discourse of the other in order to seduce the bride and elevate the mistress.

Keywords:   Catullus, doors, threshold, wedding procession, Hymenaeus

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