You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.


2. Catullus and Lesbia

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the figure of ‘Lesbia’, Catullus erstwhile lover who features in a large number of his poems, focusing in particular on: (i) the idea of Sappho (c. 630-570 BC) as the original ‘Lesbia’, i.e. woman from the island of Lesbos; (ii) the evidence that connects ‘Lesbia’ with a real Roman woman: Clodia Metelli; and (iii) the nature of Catullus’ relationship with ‘Lesbia’, and the extent to which this is reflected in the ordering of the poems in which she appears. Poems discussed in this section include (in order of appearance) 79, 58, 5, 7, 70, 8 and 11.


In this course, Dr Gail Trimble (University of Oxford) explores the poetry of Catullus (c. 84-54 BC). In the first module, we think Catullus’ first poem and what it might tell us about what he hopes to achieve with his poetry – which he describes as a ‘charming little book’ (lepidum … libellum) filled with ‘trivialities’ (nugae). After that, we think about the figure of ‘Lesbia’, the women with whom Catullus has a tempestuous relationship – and who may or may not be based on a real Roman woman. In the third module, we think about Catullus’ presentation of myth, looking in particular at his longest poem (64), before turning in the fourth module to consider Catullus’ invective poems. In the fifth module, we read through some of Catullus’ shorter poems – in particular poems 85 and 70 – before turning in the final module to think about the generic variety of Catullus’ collection.


Dr Gail Trimble is Associate Professor in Classical Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford. She works primarily on Latin poetry, with particular interests in Catullus, Ovid, Virgil and Horace. She is currently completing a commentary on Catullus 64, with newly edited text, to appear in the Cambridge University Press series Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Trimble, G. (2022, July 14). Catullus - Catullus and Lesbia [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Trimble, G. "Catullus – Catullus and Lesbia." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Jul 2022,

Get instant access to over 7,100 lectures