A Theory of Romanized Subjectivity: Alienation as Traverse
The aim of here is to take survey of the trope servitium amoris, a slave of love, as it appears in three poems of the Roman Love Poets. And to do so such that it reveals both something of the internal dynamics of its function as a trope in poetic form, but also so that the figure itself can be shown to reflect a subjective change in the way that experience qualifies authentic Roman expression, as an objective limit. It is my thought that within the rise of the servitium amoris trope, one can see an internalization of experience, psychologizing the needs and desires of the lover via a hypothetical servitude, drawn from a real social hierarchy, and also a simultaneous segregation of those affects, a personalization of love, setting the lover apart from all other social forms such that as a privatized experience it can be reintegrated into social contexts, via that form. In brief, by borrowing from the form of institutional slavery itself, and expressing its normalized cruelties and humiliations as a private subjectivity, the poet can claim both a freedom from social norms (through this subversion), and also a re-inscription upon those norms (through homology). Through this trope of servitude, the poet explores a new locus of experience, setting forth its grounds, and circumscribing its limits, and it is through this trope that the poet seeks to contextualize his experience within sociability, giving it a language and authenticity.
The adventure begins with Catullus 63, a poem that even in meter, the Galliambic of traditional Attis worship, seems to break radically from the forms of Latin love contemplation; from the start, by invoking the heavy, drum-like repetitions of a formal ceremony, the poet is both calling towards an ancient past, but also a modern break, fusing a primordial and a metropolitan self. In this spirit, I would like to trace the nature of other breaks and reversals that Catullus is enacting, in order to set the grounds for how slavery, a real and determined slavery, can be viewed both as kinds of severance and kinds of binding. There is of course the bold, in fact startling, physical severance of Attis’ stones in the first lines: “…stimulatus ibi furenti rabie, vagus animi,/devolsit ili acuto sibi pondera silice (lines 4-5),” an act that is characterized as being done by one who is driven (stimulatus), and wandering (vagus). And even more to the skin, this is followed by the grammatical inversion of his gender in the next line, that “he” becomes a “she” for the remainder of the poem. In only two short lines this exiled man has entered a domain willingly, been exposed to a kind of madness, and actively been transformed into another kind of creature, a castrato, nearly indeterminate in gender, or whose gender is indicated by performance and grammar (as she takes up the timbrel in the next lines). Here we have a genetic image that pervades the poem, a goaded act of the will, a severance that establishes a binding or commitment, a wandering that indicates or prompts obedience.
But more than just a psychological record of a personal experience of confusion that gains context only through a subservient commitment, that is through Attis becoming a handmaid and minstrel, “ego nunc deum ministra et Cybeles famula ferar ” (line 68), what is subtly put forth by Catullus is a sociological fact, the failure, or at least the difficulty the poet had locating himself within society. That is, Cattullus’ protest to Cybele exposes a fundamental exclusion and alienation indicative of Roman life for a person of his kind. The inversion of gender and the severance/servitude ambiguity is actually a germinal form of a larger inversion, the overall contrast between wilderness and freedom which the poem will exemplify at length. Attis’ servitude to Cybele is expressed as a kind of embodied wilderness, an involute internalization of freedom, that both constrains the poet’s subjectivity and alienates it. Just as Catullus has experienced a severance from the Veronian country sensibility of his childhood, thrust into an urban milieu of imposed desires and ironic social forms, only to fall in love, so too does Attis experience his freedom as a kind of intensive, if once-willed, slavery which permanently alienates him from his home:
cupit ipsa pupula ad te sibi derigere aciem,
rabie fera careens dum breve tempus animus est.
egone a mea remota haec ferar in nemora doma?
patria, bonis, amicis, genitoribus abero? (56-59)
[Mine eyeballs unbidden long to turn their gaze to thee, while for a short space (breve tempus) my mind is free from wild frenzy. I, shall I from my own home be borne far away into these forests? from my country, my possessions, my friends, my parents, shall I be absent?” (translation, Francis Warre Cornish).]
In a kind of Empedoclean transformation  of the forms of the soul, in a brief section of sane time (breve tempus), he traces the development of who he has been, and who or what he was become, an attempt to recapture the severance point in a line of natural transfigurations:
quo denim genus figurast, ego non quod obierim?
ego mulier, ego adolescens, ego ephebus, ego puer,
ego gymnasi fui flos, ego eram decus olei:
mihi ianuae frequentes, mhi limina tepida,
mihi floridis corollas redimita domus erat,
liquendum ubi esset orto mihi sole cubiculum (lines 62-67)
[“For what human figure is there which I have not filled? I, now a woman, have been a stripling, a youth, a boy; I was the flower of the playground, I was the glory of the palaestra: mine were the crowded doorways, mind the warm thresholds, mine the flowery garlands to deck my house when I was to leave my chamber at sunrise.”]
Here the internal reflection of an alienated subjectivity projects itself across a past, reading itself as a nearly protean transmigration of forms. Yet, it ends as it begins with the experience of humiliation, and the questionable status of being a woman and a “handmaid.” It is here that Attis realizes himself as barren (sterilis), but also as part of a fecund if maddening process. His very subjectivity and reflection though, is read as a rebellion against his domina. His perspective in breve tempo draws eternity down upon himself.
More specific to this condition of consciousness in servitude to the Goddess herself, is the resultant language and imagery of slavery that can be found in Cybele’s reaction to Attis’ introspection. Attis becomes in text, a runaway slave. K. M. W. Shipton in his essay “The ‘Attis’ of Catullus,” draws this out juxtaposing his thoughts to the more familiar readings which focus on the feralization of Attis and his followers (that is the noted use of the imagery of cows, wolves, etc.). Shipton calls our attention away from the pastoral to the civic realm of institutional social order, making us aware that this is not just a flight into fancy, but an active poetic attempt to controvert the social realm that the poet finds himself in. Catullus draws on the language of a genuine and pervasive societal fact of hierarchical power, something all Roman’s would fear to enter into, so to demonstrate the experience of alienation he has encountered having come to Rome, fallen powerfully in love, and been taken up into an urban wilderness of emotions and transgressive mores. And it is the paradoxical figure of the lion that Cybele calls on to recapture her slave that brings together both these forms, the naturalistic and the civic. Shipton, comparing this lion to those figures in the Greek Moschus’ Idyll 1 and Alcaeus 21, finds the lion to be depicted as a fugitivarius, a slave-catcher here. Like Cypris in Moschus’ idyll, the fugitivarius is instructed to act without pity: “‘agedum’ inquit ‘age ferox I, fac ut hunc furor agitet,/ac uti furoris ictu reditum in nemora ferat,/mea libere nimis qui fugere imperia cupit…'” (79-80) [“Come now,’ she says, ‘come, and go fiercely, let madness hunt him hence, bid him hence by stroke of madness hie him to the forests again, him who would be too free…'”]. He is called even to endure lashing himself with his own tail, a lashing that summons up much of how a captured slave might be beaten: “age caede terga cauda, tua verbera patere,/fac cuncta mugienti fremitu loca retonent,/rutilam ferox torosa cervice quate iubam…” (80-82) [“Come, lash back with tail, endure thy own scourgings, make all around resound with bellowing road, shake fiercely on brawny neck they ruddy mane…'”]. As Shipton explains: “In real-life situations slave-catchers were expected to be harsh. The slave might be beaten. He would certainly be bound and brought back to his master” (447). This account though is even more fierce, (“strike him with fury”, furoris ictu), and certainly more terrifying than the usual reclamation, and far exceeds the classical examples of recapture and lion from Mosclus and Alcaeus, which surely Catullus had in mind. Shipton finds explanation in the only description Cybele offers her lion by which to recognize her slave, “mea libere nimis qui fugere imperia culpit,” as one who would be too free. Shipton explains the particularities of the Roman position on runaway slaves:
In stipulating the punishment for runaways Roman law distinguished those runaway slaves who pretended to be free from those who did not. The former were punished more severely when caught. Dig. 11.4.2 declares: ‘si pro liberis se (sc. fugitivi) gessurint, gravius coerceri solent’ Seen against this legal background, ‘libere nimis’ thus suggests that Attis, regarded by Cybele as her slave, affects to be a free man as he seeks to escape. This attempt at deception justifies, in Roman law, the emphasis on harsh treatment of Attis in Cybele’s commands to her slave-catching lion (448)
Here we have the conundrum of the alienated, urbanized poet. His severance from the lifestyle of his youth, his exile into an urban wilderness which is ultimately in the love of Lesbia, experienced as a kind of slavery. He marks his devotion by acts of humiliation and submission (in this case symbolized by a permanent castration), which give rise to a reflective and interiorized subjectivity, and the capacity to see himself as an object under continual transformation. Yet, it is the very awareness of the poet, the awareness of his condition, that is libere nimis. It is too-free, paradoxically making Attis a runaway from his very exiled and enslaved state. Reduced to an animal-like existence, wandering vagus animi (4), part of a vaga cohors (25), one of a herd, he will be driven back from his introspection to a cattle-state by a lion, the very animal that is most un-shepparding of beasts. He is condemned to an exile which produces the acute subjective states, yet alienates to a highest degree, giving an intimacy to exclusion. By making the most sophisticated of centers, Rome, read as the most feral, yet also a place of access to a primordial goddess of love, and then drawing on the most real figure of Roman power, the institution of slavery as the trope for his own subjective condition, the poet places himself both inside and outside of Rome. He is both libere nimis and completely bound as an exile.
To explore further this subjective condition of the poet-slave, I turn to Tibullus’ second poem to Delia (I.ii). Here we encounter more particulars to the expression of a servile love. Here is the same internalization that Catullus momentarily assumes in Attis’ reflection upon his states, but given in a stream-of-consciousness, serial imagination. At poem’s start, the poet is localized in one moment in time, calling for more wine at a tavern, yet the occasion and the metaphorical drunkenness of his love give way to imaginative dialogue with her, and an episodic telling of his world. As wine and love transport the poet from his excluded state – he has been locked out from his lover’s house – the reader is transported through an imagination of Venus’ powers, expressed in little vignettes. We are told of how the goddess works furtively: we see a girl lifting a latch, two lovers exchanging verba notis in the presence of husband; a lover creeping through darkened streets unseen, the undergoing of rites and spells; and even at poem’s close, an old man possessed by love, standing in the forum, making soft speeches and being spat on by youths. The poem indeed is a subjective serialization of love, the free association of events and arguments that occur to the love-drunk poet as he sits in a real-life situation. It is this tension between outside and inside, once again the paradox of interiorization such that the lover is both removed from and conjoined to reality, which typifies the servititum amoris trope. It draws forth an interior mind, here serializing time, severing the poet from reality. Yet this subjective experience also works to bind the poet to reality in an exterior form; just as the humiliation of the slave became in poetry a near existential state, here the interior is reified and projected forwards for the poet as an objective condition. Tibullus symbolizes this is several ways. The most particular example is that of the love spell. The magic objectively acts as if a science, an incontrovertible power in things (herbs, charms), externally observed and reported, which can actively cloak lovers discovered in a bed, or hide men in shadows. Yet the spell also is an internal experience of helpless emotion, the animate tide of an affective binding which cannot be fought. Thus the power of the goddess braids through the poem, veering out from practical abetting effects (immunity from eyes and cold, [29, 34]), to spectacular transformations of the world (stars being drawn down , the bringing of snow in summer ), yet it always condenses into real events. The poet is actually cleansed by a torch-rite (61); he is physically drunk at a tavern (1). It is this subjective and projective travel of experience, leveraged on real event that makes the slavery of love a realm that is neither fantastical, nor resolved, but serially necessary. The poet as lover becomes nearly the enaction of a mathematical algorithm thrown forward in time, a continuous unfolding of narratological forms, image-scene upon image-scene, which in Tibullus’ case begin from localizations and swing out broadly, fantastically, only to localize again. The fundamental tensions of slavery and freedom, recollective-consciousness and goading, wilderness and urbanization found in Catullus 63, in this poem is broadcast across a different axis, between the real and virtual, the local and the supernatural, an event and an episodic continuity, revealing again the germ-state of the servititum amoris condition: it is the paradoxical unit of a developed subjectivity bound to an external, objective, yet unbroachable condition.
Besides the love spell, there is another symbol of this contrastive and unresolvable state: Tibullus’ mention of the degradation he would willingly undergo, that of becoming a humble farmer for the sole pleasure of holding his love fast, something he contrasts to a supposed dignity of the soldier:
ille licet Cilicum victas agat ante catervas,
ponat et in capto Martia castra solo,
totus et argento contectus, totus et auro,
insideat celery conspiciendus equo;
ipse boves mea si tecum modo Delia possim
iungere et in solito pascere monte pecus,
et te dum liceat teneris retinere lacertis,
mollis et inculta sit mihi somnus humo (68-74).
[“Let him chase Cilicia’s routed troops before him, and pitch his martial camp upon captured ground; let folk gaze upon him as he sits his swift charger, armoured from head to foot in silver and gold, if only with thee, my Delia, I may put the oxen in the yoke and feed my flock on familiar hill; so my young arms my hold the fast, I shall find soft slumber even on the rugged earth” (translation, J. P. Postgate).]
Often this has been read as a poet’s fancy, the pastoral idealization based on the stiff and unreal Hellenic model. And as an idealization, it can be seen as a symbol of the kind of reduction the poet is willing to undergo, the becoming mollis before the inculta, a particular innovation upon the classical vision, the throwing off of the airs of dignity for the internal experiences of the harsh circumstances of love. But this reading lacks a certain grounding that no matter the theatricality of love always accompanies the expression of the Roman Elegists, a nearly indiscernible realism, the focusing on event and res, that makes of such flights conditions. R. O. A. M. Lyne points out that Tibullus’ return-to-the-land fantasies are not Roman fantasies of the farmer, that is, generalized, undetailed dreams towards a rustified escape, though these too did exist. Rather for Tibullus they represented real plans, real thoughts about leaving the Roman life behind, as he has his own land in mind. Speaking of a more extensive reference to the same in Delia 1.1, Lyne tells us:
The first and vital fact to note is that Tibullus’ wishes concern living life on his own, real country holding. He makes this clear in the lines I have quoted [1.1.1-14-19-44], giving information on its former and present fortunes. It was once grand but is now much diminished-comparatively poor-a familiar story at the time. Readers would recognize the story; they would probably assume the estate had been reduced in the notorious confiscations of 42 B.C. (152)
Yet even more to the point, at the time of the writing of the poem Tibullus is a knight under his patron Messalla (Lyne 154), so the contrast of the plundering and victorious soldier shining armor with a humble wish to work the plow is a comparison of actual lives the poet is weighing, in his own mythological life. As Lyne writes, “Tibullus contrasts rustic life with current notions of what were in practice respectable and good occupations for a Roman knight… Tibullus’ wish must have made a provocative and (initially) puzzling reading” (155).
It is this acuity of the real, its situation and alliance, coupled with the willfulness to experience that sets forth the state of servititum amoris. That is, the poet’s drawing on slavery as a language of love, is meant both as a trope for the internal experience of humiliation, the loss of will, a serialization of time, but also the objectification of conditions themselves, a realism of concerns and the limits of acting upon them. The poet is to be seen as a real slave.
In Tibullus 1.ii, the image of the slave appears fully in the final sequence, where the poet is said to be at an actual temple of Venus beseeching her forgiveness for an unnamed sin, prostrating himself and even beating his head against the door-posts there (lines 79-86). His most tortured internal state, which up to this point has not been expressed, as torture, suddenly comes through in a violent and desperate picture, at a threshold. It is a sudden manifestation of the kernel state that drives the poem. Like Catullus’ Attis, the slavery is to the goddess, and not to the woman. And as Catullus’ Attis is figured as a subjectivity confined to an exile from home, to be goaded into a wilderness of wanderings and timbrel playing, Tibullus’ poet is locked outside of the house of his lover, and the temple of Venus’s forgiveness, (and the return to his own ancestral argricola). It is the condition of an enunciated, and thus henceforth created, Self, confined by the urban demand that has brought it forth. The internal state of the poet proclaims an inescapable commitment to experience, cut off from the very possibility that has given rise to it: at mihi parce, Venus: simper tibi dedita servit/mens mea: quid messes uris acreba tuas (97-98) [“Be gentle with me, Venus: my soul is ever they loyal slave. Why burn thine own corn in thy passion?”]. Rome becomes goddess and labyrinth.
Ovid, in his Amores II xix, attempts a reconciliation of these diverse forms, at the level at which they are created, that is, the social form. Through irony and distance he tries to make an intentional slavery between men, acknowledging the conditions that drive them. He does this by taking up the figure of warfare that Tibullus longs to leave behind. As if commenting upon Tibullus’ 1.2, he poeticizes the same situation, a lover locked out of the house of his beloved, but he does not address goddess, and does not address the woman. He addresses the husband. And whereas Tibullus calls Delia’s husband ferreus and stultus, in possibly forsaking her for the spoils and fame of mercenary war, ferreus ille fuit qui, te cum posset habere,/maluerit praedas stultus et arma sequi (1.2.65-66)[That man was iron who, when you might have been his, would rather choose to follow war and plunder.”], Ovid, nearly quoting Tibullus, makes the same claim, in the same vocabulary of service, to a husband who has lost the desire to guard his wife at all:
Si tibi non opus est servata, stulte, puella
at mihi fac serves, quo magis ipse velim!
quod licet, ingratum est; quod non licet acrius urit.
ferreus est, siquis, quod sinit alter amat (lines 1-4)
[“If you feel no need of guarding your love for yourself, O fool, see that you guard her for me, that I may desire her more! What one may do freely has no charm; what one may not do pricks more keenly on” (translation, Grant Showerman).]
Ovid has laid hold of the paradox of servititum amoris, at the social level of desire itself. No longer is it the goddess or beloved that is focus, but the actual social milieu in which desire is produced. The contrast between mollis and ferreus, soft and harsh, that is the fundamental contrast between the poet’s burgeoning subjectivity, his serialization of time, this experience of torment and willful self-humiliation, set against objective conditions which alienate him from his ends, are now by Ovid brought together in a remarkable and perceptive reversal. What is ferreus is not the man who has hardened his heart against loving, or the goading fugitivarius as lion, but the man who will not turn his iron against another man, under the conditions that generate desire. Ovid calls for the husband to construct with him the paradox of servititum amoris, a taking of vows between fellow desiring subjects, a promise between subjects that creates a locus in which desire may exist: “speremus partier, partier metuamus amantes,/et faciat voto rara repulse locum“ (5-6) [“Let us hope while we fear and fear while we hope, we lovers, and let repulse sometimes be ours to make a place for vows.”]. (Notably, these few lines are quoted by Spinoza, apparently from memory, in his Ethics, crystalizing the logic of imaginary bonds, here). For Ovid, hopes and fears become spatialized and de-temporalized, through negotiation and conflict. The slave/freedom paradox of infinite becoming, the goaded humiliation of permanent exile and delay, becomes a program between lovers, as lovers. Ovid, in the wilderness that is Rome, calls out for a fellow amantes to be hard in his softness, establishing an equality in their hopes and fears. This is still an affective journey, for it is the very wounding that composes his desire, compelling him on, “nil ego, quod nullo tempore laedat, amo!” (8) [“May nothing be mine that never wounds!”], but it is one established as a form of love. He points outs that even his lover, the wife, already understands this, as she inflicts wounds and delays upon him to embolden his passion:
Viderat hoc in me vitium versuta Corinna,
quaque capi possem, callida norat opem.
a quotiens sani capitis mentita dolores
cunctantem tardo iussit abire pede! (9-12)
[“Corinna the artful had marked this weakness in me, and shrewdly recognized the means by which to snare me. Ah, how often he has feigned an aching head when wholly well, and bid me go away when my tardy feet delayed.”]
In fact, this is a servitium of compelled design: “mordeat ista tuas aliquiando cura medullas,/deque locum nostris materiamque dolis” (43-44) [“Let cares like that gnaw sometimes into your marrows, and give me place (locum) and matter for my wiles.”], a joint venture of affective suffering participated in through a differential of two amantes, through the proxy of a third. The great temporal swings of Catullus’ Attis, the transfiguration of stages in a recollective development, and the maddening servitude to a future exile, Tibullus’ serial inflations of events, marked through and condensed upon the signs of the goddess (secret nods, numbness to the cold, torch-rites, spitting youths), here oscillate between a Real of woundedness (closed doors, the tardy foot, secret tablets, dogs baying), and an irony which perhaps humorously conjoins the suffering, attempting to circumscribe it. As a lover, the husband is enduring what cannot be endured, “lentus es et pateris nulli patienda marito” (51)[“You are slow, and endure things unendurable for any husband.”]; he possesses not the requisite mollis nor celer to repulse the advance of another. He is a soldier of love who will not or cannot fight. He is iron. In involutive fashion, the ferreus of the husband stands in symbolic relation to the ferreus of the poet’s condition. The hardening of his heart prevents the possibility of the poet’s own slavery to love. Only by being able to feel would the husband then prove capable of the repulse between men. At the center of the poem Ovid places the very heart of cruelty which the other poets place at the external limit of their desire. Instead of an unreachable goddess or beloved, a female presence that indicates a domination which excludes and alienates the poet-consciousness from his own world, Ovid shows the servitium amoris to be an internal limit, a product of consciousness itself, the will to experience, but one composed of relations to others. The conditions of Rome which Catullus metaphorizes as a wilderness in a foreign land, a perpetual wooded glade ruled by an emasculating Cybele, cutting one off from boyhood and natural repose, a Rome which Tibullus sees as episodal events and powers, scenes and fancies played out before the mind, born of the tavern and the call for wine, a locked door, and unable to be resolved in the willful degradation of a return to the family argricola, a slavery to his Delia, Venus and the land, for Ovid is composed by the lovers themselves. The slavery to love is an affect-limit, an iron core that is made between lovers, a wounding that one takes on, between others. What for Tibullus is the urere of the goddess (1.2.98), brought on by a willful devotion, and for Catullus is the rabies of the supplicant, conditioned by an inescapable, humiliating servitude, for Ovid becomes patientia and laedere binding lovers, founded on repulsa and vota, the creation of a space.
In this way servitium amoris exposes the rise of an interiorized consciousness, the poet as a will-to-experience, signified in particular by the kinds of humiliations that can be invoked by slavery itself. It composes a specific kind of recursivity, that of a Möbius construction, wherein the more internal and subjective the awareness, the more objective the limit which it indicates. It is for this reason that Catullus’ Attis is most constrained when made aware of the figurae he has traversed (obeo, 63.62). His protean awareness which manifests his freedom and attunement is the very thing that forecloses his escape and brings the Goddess to release her fugitivarius, a savage and endlessly goading Lion. And it is for this reason that Tibullus, in the very idyllic vision of returning to the humility of the land, with his beloved Delia, a real economic condition and choice, is then serially compelled before the door-posts of Venus’ temple, to rap his head in abjection, because the poet-consciousness, its mollis of affect, brings about its own suturing over, making desire external to its object. When Ovid proposes vows to be taken in the space of repulse, he is only circumnavigating the objective limits which compose this new desiring consciousness, this desire to experience for the sake of experience, the development of an internal mollis. What Ovid draws out in this final metaphor is the mutual and society production of this mollis, between men and women, as a project. The “space” of Catullus’ Phrygian nemus, and Tibullus’ family argicula, is a locus internal to men at the time of Rome. That space, and the subjectivity that it produced, is nothing other than Rome itself, an equality disequal: speremus pariter, pariter metuamus amantes.
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Empedocles. Empedocles: The Extant Fragments. Paperback edition. Edited by M. R. Wright. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995.
Lyne, R. O. A. M.. The Latin Love Poets: From Catullus to Horace. Oxford: Clarendon Press,1980.
Ovid. Ovid: Heroides ∙ Amores. The Loeb Classical Library. Revised by G. P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977.
Sandy, N. Gerald. “The Imagery of Catullus 63”. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 99, 1968.
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Tibullus, A.. Catullus, Tibullus, Pervigilium Veneris. The Loeb Classical Library. Second edition. Revised by G. P. Goold. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962.
 “…he wanders from the blessed ones for three times countless years, being born throughout the time as all kinds of mortal forms, exchanging one hard way of life for another. For the force of the air pursues him into the sea, and the sea spits him out onto the earth’s surface, the earth casts him into the rays of the blazing sun, and the sun into the eddies of air; one takes him from another, and all abhor him. I too am now one of these, an exile from the gods and a wanderer, having put my trust in raving strife.
While an empedoclean wandering is due to a separation from love (Aphordite), Attis has committed himself, in love, to a servitude to the Primeval goddess. In looking back to a nostalgia of human forms that Attis has been, he is incorporating his latest transformation into an élan imagined to flow from the nature of the goddess herself. Attis’ severance from his past, representing Catullus’ departure from a rustic, or at least less sophisticated lifestyle, is subsumed into an ardor and commitment to love itself (in the figure Lesbia in other poems, and the actual woman of devotion in social circles to which his poems were devoted), yet this commitment is a paradoxical submission, binding yet severing. The exiled transmigrations of Empedocles’ daimon, in strife, are achieved by Attis’ soul, now in exile, through a conscious reflection upon his past, put in the service of the goddess herself. Ardor and its humiliations read as a kind of life force that produces alienation.
 See Sandy, Gerald N.