AP Latin : Chiasmus

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Chiasmus

inter quas Phoenissa recens a vulnere Dido               
errabat silva in magna; quam Troius heros
ut primum iuxta stetit agnovitque per umbras
obscuram, qualem primo qui surgere mense
aut videt aut vidisse putat per nubila lunam,                   5
demisit lacrimas dulcique adfatus amore est:               
'infelix Dido, verus mihi nuntius ergo
venerat exstinctam ferroque extrema secutam?
funeris heu tibi causa fui? per sidera iuro,
per superos et si qua fides tellure sub ima est,               10
inuitus, regina, tuo de litore cessi.  

In line 8, there is an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Chiasmus

Synchesis

Simile

Litotes

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

In line 8, the phrase "exstinctam ferroque extrema secutam" is an example of chiasmus. In these words, the A-B-B-A pattern (in this case, accusative-ablative-ablative-accusative) that is characteristic of a chiasmus is present.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.450-460)

Example Question #2 : Chiasmus

Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,                    5
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,                        10
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

What literary device is present in the underlined selection?

Possible Answers:

Pleonasm

Prolepsis

Chiasmus

Tmesis

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

In the phrase "rumoresque senum severiorum omnes," we see that the cases of the words are in the order accusative plural, genitive plura, genitive plural, accusative plural. This A-B-B-A structure is typical of chiasmus.

Passage adapted from "Catullus 5" by Catullus.

Example Question #3 : Chiasmus

vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'                  5
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.               10
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,
Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!                      15

The underlined portion contains an example of __________________.

Possible Answers:

Metonymy

Alliteration

Chiasmus

Onomatopeia

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

The words versu...primo are an example of chiasmus. These words are arranged in an ABBA order (ablative sing - nominative sing - nominative sing - ablative sing). Alliteration is a repitition of a sound in the beginning of a word, metonymy is using one word as a substitute for another, and onomatopeia is the use of a word that represents a sound.

Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I. 1-15

Example Question #4 : Chiasmus

vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'                  5
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.               10
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,
Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!                      15

The underlined portion contains an example of ___________________.

Possible Answers:

Simile

Hyperbole

Apostrophe

Chiasmus

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

The words longas...comas is an example of chiasmus. It is arranged in an ABBA structure (accusative pl - nominative sing - nominative sing - accusative pl). "Apostrophe" is when the speaker speaks to someone who is not present, "hyperbole" is an overstatement of something for emphasis (exaggeration), and a "simile" is a comparison using like or as (ut)

Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I. 16-30

Example Question #5 : Chiasmus

Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.
par erat inferior versus—risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
'Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?
Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?
crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?

The underlined portion is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

Enjambment

Tmesis

Synchesis

Chiasmus

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

The underlined portion ("arma . . . violentaque") is an example of chiasmus. It has the ABBA structure of a chiamus (accusative pl - dative sing - dative sing - accusative pl). Note that sychesis has a ABAB structure, enjambment is the continuation of a sentence/phrase onto another line, and tmesis is the separation of a compound word into two parts. 

The correct choice is "chiasmus."

(Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I.1–15)

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