Assistant Professor of Classics Jesse Weiner recently published an article in Eugesta, an international journal on women’s and gender studies in antiquity. Titled “Stripping the Bark / Fleecing the Sheep: Rethinking glubit in Catullus 58,” the essay focuses on first century BCE Roman poet Catullus’ use of glubere, a piece of obscure, obscene Latin sexual slang that delivers the punch line for an insult poem belonging to the Lesbia cycle.
Weiner argues that the verb’s agricultural origins import additional layers of meaning, which have important implications for constructions of gender and dynamics of power in the poem.
According to Weiner, scholarship on glubere in Catullus has tended to focus on its vulgarity and which, if any, specific sex act the word denotes. In his article, he revisits the word to interpret the implications of its agricultural origins, suggesting an additional layer of meaning for its usage.
Weiner offers “that the verb glubit introduces the specter of violence into the poem and serves to intensify and invert dynamics of power, portraying Lesbia as an overly active, dominant, and dangerous sexual being while compromising the masculinity of the Roman men she services.”