Graecia Capta: Sappho and Catullus

By Mati Davis
Sappho 31 and Catullus 51

These two poets focus on the same theme as the previous part of this series: love’s pains. Catullus’ poem 51 hovers somewhere between allusion and direct quotation of Sappho’s poem 31. These two are as interesting for their similarities as for their differences. Even though they follow nearly the same formula, Catullus deftly contrasts Sappho’s romantic euphoria with his own frenzied agony…

Damnatio Memoriae: On Facing, Not Forgetting, Our Past

Damnatio Memoriae: On Facing, Not Forgetting, Our Past
By Mati Davis and Sara Chopra

On a rainy July 1st day several weeks ago, a crowd gathered along Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia to cheer on construction crews as they lifted and lowered a statue of the Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from its pedestal. For many onlookers, the toppling of Jackson’s figure in their city —formerly the capital of the Confederacy—symbolized a step toward reshaping its racially oppressive past…