Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Love and Hate in Ancient Rome

Here's a special guest post from my fabulous year 10 class

Catullus was a well-known Roman poet who composed influential poems of life, love and sarcasm. Little wonder our year 10 Latin class had never heard of him before. But we were soon to discover that the themes and ideas he wrote about in the 1st century B.C. are still prominent in today’s popular culture.

But what are these themes you might ask? Well, there’s a wide range, from utter love and devotion to depression heartbreak and tears. At many times it seemed like the latter outweighed the former, as in this line:

nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque impotens noli…

“Now she doesn’t want you anymore, and you, powerless, don’t want her either…”
(Catullus, Carmen 8)

It was lines like these which inspired year 10 Latin’s presentations, and the overuse of the word ‘emo’. By the end of our presentations all of us were slightly more enlightened, and we realised that the themes and emotions expressed by Catullus were also present in many of our favourite songs, books TV shows, and movies. Everything from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, to the films Titanic, Sweet Home Alabama and The Princess Diaries, to the songs You’re beautiful by James Blunt and Addicted by Kelly Clarkson- Catullus did it all.

We’ll leave you now with a poem which we all think sums Catullus up; Odi et amo (I hate and I love):

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requires?
nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior.

“I hate and I love. Why do I do this perhaps you ask?
I don’t know, but I feel it happening and am tortured.”

(Catullus, Carmen 85)

By Jade, Rebecca and Milunka, year 10 Latin.

[For more on Catullus see these previous posts]


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think you'll find it's textbook 1.

And isn't it a safety risk to post your students last names?

They could get tracked down and attacked!

... Then we'll see who's devious.

Anonymous said...

You spelt "Wikipedia" wrong on your links li--

Oh wait! It's meant to be "Latin-y"

Hah! I get it!

:D And here I was, convinced I was failing the class...

Anonymous said...

Pride and Prejudice!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.

"Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? To congratulate myself on the hope of relations whose condition in life is so decidedly below my own?"

Anonymous said...

in rply to teenage wasteland:
why would they get attacked ?? and who would track them down in the first place?...

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the correct ending for congratulating girls be "brava"?

Or am I displaying ignorance?

Anonymous said...


"Fabulous Year 10 class"?

That's a laugh.

We're a rotten bunch of kids. But hurrah for the mention anyway.

Anonymous said...

rply to ruth-
ha whatever floats your boat dude.

Anonymous said...

Murphy, I think you're being mocked by a junior.