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Heiko Ullrich Independent Scholar, Germany

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Abstract

Catullusʼ Carm. 10 seems to present the speaker as a miles gloriosus duped by the girlfriend of Varus, presumably a friend of the poet and fellow Neoteric. While it has been claimed that Plautusʼ Miles Gloriosus is the most influential role model for Carm. 10, the present article shows that the speaker employs a variety of scenes both from Plautusʼ and Terenceʼs comedies to adopt and maintain the mask of the parasitus who suffers from his financial failure and personal humiliation during the time spent with the praetor Memmius in Bithynia. But Varus and his girlfriend want to hear other stories from the famous province of the infamous encounter between King Nikomedes and young Julius Caesar – and the speaker seems to perform according to this expectations when he calls Memmius an irrumator and (one of) his hosts a cinaedior. But in the end he is not willing to write pornography on demand even if some of his friends (including Aurelius and Furius of Carm. 16 as well as Varus of Carm. 10) consider the poet not just up to the task but currently the best choice for such delicate matters.

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