The play was first published in quarto in 1611 by the stationer Walter Burre, prefaced with commendatory verses by Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, and Nathaniel Field. It was reprinted the 1616 folio of Jonson's works. The folio text states that Catiline was first performed in 1611 by the King's Men, and lists the cast as: Richard Burbage, John Heminges, Alexander Cooke, Henry Condell, John Lowin, John Underwood, William Ostler, Nicholas Tooley, Richard Robinson, and William Ecclestone.
As its title indicates, the play recounts the story of Lucius Sergius Catilina, anglicized to Catiline, the Roman politician and conspirator of the first century B.C.
Jonson was not the first playwright of his era to dramatize the story of Catiline. Stephen Gosson wrote a version called Catiline's Conspiracies, which was acted by Leicester's Men at The Theatre in 1579. A Catiline (either Gosson's or another play, author unknown) was acted at the home of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley on Jan. 16, 1588. In 1598 or 1599, the Diary of Philip Henslowe records an advance payment of 5 shillings to Henry Chettle, for a play titled Catiline's Conspiracy—though Chettle appears never to have completed writing it.
That the play was not a popular success is indicated by Jonson's reproachful preface to the published edition. Thomas Rymer praised the play's subject matter but condemned Jonson's violations of decorum.
John Fletcher in 1600-1601: Two Early Poems, an Involvement in the "Poets' War," and a Network of Literary Connections
Jan 01, 2002; "We know nothing" of John Fletcher the playwright, "through the crucial years from eighteen to twenty-eight." So G. R. Proudfoot...