In this poem, Catullus mourns his brother who has died in Asia Minor near Troy. This likely would have been the only time which Catullus could have visited the burial spot of his brother.
Note in this poem the carrying out the traditions of their parents, though there is some indication that he does not believe them to be much use (“silent ashes”).
Multās per gentēs et multa per aequora rectus
advenio hās miserās, frāter, ad inferiās,
ut te postrēmō dōnārem mūnere mortis
et mūtam nēwuīquam alloquerer cinerem.
Quandoquidem fortūna mihī tētē abstulit ipsum,
heu miser indignē frāter adēmpte mihi,
nunc tamen intereā haec, prīscō quae mōre parentum
trādita sunt trīstī mūnere ad īnferiās,
accipe frāternō multum mānantia flētū,
atque in perpetuum, frāter avē atque valē.
Through many strange lands and having been carried by many seas
I come here, brother, to these wretched rites,
that I might give you the final gift of the dead
and that I might speak in vain to silent ashes.
Since fortune took your very self away from me,
oh wretched brother undeservedly taken from me,
now nevertheless for the moment, that which has been handed down
by the ancient customs of our parents in order to make an offering to the dead by this sad gift,
abundantly accept this, wet by your brother’s tears,
and in eternity, brother, hello and farewell.
Text from Catullus and Horace edited and written by Aronson and Boughner