Catullus thought that Suffenus was a dud as a poet but – against form – was prepared to make allowances for the inability that we all have, as humans, to see ourselves as we are. The illustration shows that even real talent may get carried away by its own publicity …

Hear the Latin and follow in English here. The photograph of Oscar Wilde is by Sarony.

As Hercules sets sail in the bowl of Helios, enjoy this selection of Latin (and Greek) poems about travel, starting with the voyage and later retirement of

Catullus’s brave little yacht.

A pioneering flight comes to a sad end for

Icarus and his father Daedalus.

At the end of another sad journey,

Catullus says farewell to his brother.

At the beginning of the greatest classical epic of travel,

Homer introduces Odysseus.

As he prepares reluctantly to part from Dido, preparations are in hand for

Aeneas’s departure from Carthage.

Ovid describes an unexpected journey for


Aeneas embarks on his most challenging trip, his

journey to Hades.

Catullus is self-deprecating about his new little book of poems – but he wants it to last nevertheless.

The poet holding a Roman book in the illustration is Virgil, from a fifth-century manuscript. The text below him is unpunctuated and written in continuous capitals, suggesting that reading poetry to yourself was not as easy then as it is now. The round bin on the left is a bookcase.

Hear the Latin and follow in English here.