Of the few facts known about the life of Gaius Valerius Catullus even the dates of birth and death are uncertain, but he was probably born in 84 BC. The son of a wealthy citizen of Verona, either he or his family owned a villa on Lake Garda, but in Poem 68 he describes Rome as his home and says that his life was passed there.
He writes as a friend of Cicero and other leading figures and appears as a leader of the new movement in poetry and a lover of the notorious Clodia Metelli, who was probably the Lesbia of the poems. In 57 he travelled as one of C. Memmius Gemellus's suite to Bithynia, where he visited his brother's grave. He started writing in 69 or 68 but, after his death in about 54 BC his work was all but lost for a thousand years.