AP Latin : Context-Based Meaning of Words and Phrases in Vergil

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Vergil

Laocoon, ductus Neptuno sorte sacerdos,
sollemnis taurum ingentem mactabat ad aras.
Ecce autem gemini a Tenedo tranquilla per alta
(horresco referens) immensis orbibus angues
incumbunt pelago pariterque ad litora tendunt;            5   
pectora quorum inter fluctus arrecta iubaeque
sanguineae superant undas, pars cetera pontum
pone legit sinuatque immensa volumine terga.
Fit sonitus spumante salo; iamque arva tenebant
ardentisque oculos suffecti sanguine et igni                 10
sibila lambebant linguis vibrantibus ora.
Diffugimus visu exsangues. Illi agmine certo
Laocoonta petunt; et primum parva duorum
corpora natorum serpens amplexus uterque
implicat et miseros morsu depascitur artus.                15

How is the underlined word "alta" in line 3 translated?

Possible Answers:

High places

Sea

Mountains

Sky

Correct answer:

Sea

Explanation:

The word "alta" can, confusingly enough, refer to both high and low places. Its meaning all depends on the context of the sentence it is in. Here, Neptune is mentioned. Since one of the translations for "alta" (in context) is sea, this makes sense as the translation. Additionally, the word "alta" is being modified by the word "tranquilla" (peaceful or tranquil), a word that is commonly used to describe the ocean in Latin text.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 2.201-215)

Example Question #47 : Ap Latin Language

Urbs antiqua fuit, Tyrii tenuere coloni,
Karthago, Italiam contra Tiberinaque longe
ostia, dives opum studiisque asperrima belli;
quam Iuno fertur terris magis omnibus unam       
posthabita coluisse Samo

Translate "tenuere."

Possible Answers:

To hold

They hold

They are held

They held

Correct answer:

They held

Explanation:

The form "tenuere" is a shortened form of the word "tenuerunt." These shortened forms are recognizable by the use of the perfect stem ("teneo," "tenere," "tenui," "tentus"plus the "ere" ending. Therefore, the correct translation is they held.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 1.12-16)

Example Question #2 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Vergil

Corripuere viam interea, qua semita monstrat.
Iamque ascendebant collem, qui plurimus urbi
imminet, adversasque adspectat desuper arces.

"Corripuere" translates as __________.

Possible Answers:

They seize

To seize

They were seized

They seized

Correct answer:

They seized

Explanation:

The form "corripuere" is a shortened form of the word "corripuerunt." These shortened forms are recognizable by the use of the perfect stem ("corripio," "corripere," "corripui," "correptus"plus the "ere" ending. Therefore, the correct translation is they seized.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 1.418-420)

Example Question #3 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Vergil

Hinc via Tartarei quae fert Acherontis ad undas.              
turbidus hic caeno vastaque voragine gurges
aestuat atque omnem Cocyto eructat harenam.
Portitor has horrendus aquas et flumina servat
terribili squalore Charon, cui plurima mento                  5
canities inculta iacet, stant lumina flamma,              
sordidus ex umeris nodo dependet amictus.
Ipse ratem conto subigit velisque ministrat
et ferruginea subvectat corpora cumba,
iam senior, sed cruda deo viridisque senectus.              10
Huc omnis turba ad ripas effusa ruebat,               
matres atque viri defunctaque corpora vita
magnanimum heroum, pueri innuptaeque puellae,
impositique rogis iuvenes ante ora parentum . . .

How is "ora" (line 14) translated?

Possible Answers:

Expressions

Shores

Mouths

Faces

Correct answer:

Faces

Explanation:

The best translation for "ora" is faces. While "ora" comes from "os, oris," which means mouth, it is often used to refer to a person's face or expression. In context here, however, faces makes the most sense.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.295-308)

Example Question #4 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Vergil

Sic pater Anchises, atque haec mirantibus addit:
'aspice, ut insignis spoliis Marcellus opimis               
ingreditur victorque viros supereminet omnis.
hic rem Romanam magno turbante tumultu
sistet eques, sternet Poenos Gallumque rebellem,          5
tertiaque arma patri suspendet capta Quirino.'
atque hic Aeneas (una namque ire videbat               
egregium forma iuvenem et fulgentibus armis,
sed frons laeta parum et deiecto lumina vultu)
'quis, pater, ille, virum qui sic comitatur euntem?           10
filius, anne aliquis magna de stirpe nepotum?
qui strepitus circa comitum! quantum instar in ipso!  

"Hic" (line 4) translates as __________.

Possible Answers:

there

he

here

this

Correct answer:

here

Explanation:

"Hic" can also be used to indicate direction when not referring to any particular person. Vergil is using "hic" here to indicate a sequence of events.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.854-865)

Example Question #41 : Vergil

Sic pater Anchises, atque haec mirantibus addit:
'aspice, ut insignis spoliis Marcellus opimis               
ingreditur victorque viros supereminet omnis.
hic rem Romanam magno turbante tumultu
sistet eques, sternet Poenos Gallumque rebellem,          5
tertiaque arma patri suspendet capta Quirino.'
atque hic Aeneas (una namque ire videbat               
egregium forma iuvenem et fulgentibus armis,
sed frons laeta parum et deiecto lumina vultu)
'quis, pater, ille, virum qui sic comitatur euntem?           10
filius, anne aliquis magna de stirpe nepotum?
qui strepitus circa comitum! quantum instar in ipso!  

The word "eques" (line 5) translates as __________.

Possible Answers:

the horses

the knight

the horse

the centaur

Correct answer:

the knight

Explanation:

The word "eques" comes form "eques, equitis" and is the word for a knight or equestrian. This word can be used to both refer to cavalry or the Roman business class. The use of this word here is to probably denote one of the original founders of Rome (of the upper class).

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.854-865)

Example Question #42 : Vergil

Sic pater Anchises, atque haec mirantibus addit:
'aspice, ut insignis spoliis Marcellus opimis               
ingreditur victorque viros supereminet omnis.
hic rem Romanam magno turbante tumultu
sistet eques, sternet Poenos Gallumque rebellem,          5
tertiaque arma patri suspendet capta Quirino.'
atque hic Aeneas (una namque ire videbat               
egregium forma iuvenem et fulgentibus armis,
sed frons laeta parum et deiecto lumina vultu)
'quis, pater, ille, virum qui sic comitatur euntem?           10
filius, anne aliquis magna de stirpe nepotum?
qui strepitus circa comitum! quantum instar in ipso!  

The word "lumina" (line 9) is best translated as __________.

Possible Answers:

eyes

lights

reflections

shining

Correct answer:

eyes

Explanation:

"Lumina" is often used to refer to eyes, in addition to actual lights. We know that eyes is the best translation here because the author is talking about a facial expression: the eyes on the downturned face.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.854-865)

Example Question #7 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Vergil

Aeneas miratus enim motusque tumultu
'dic,' ait, 'o virgo, quid vult concursus ad amnem?
quidve petunt animae? vel quo discrimine ripas
hae linquunt, illae remis vada livida verrunt?'              
olli sic breviter fata est longaeva sacerdos:                      5
'Anchisa generate, deum certissima proles,
Cocyti stagna alta vides Stygiamque paludem,
di cuius iurare timent et fallere numen.
haec omnis, quam cernis, inops inhumataque turba est . . .

What is the translation of "olli" (line 5)?

Possible Answers:

For that one

The bones

So

Those

Correct answer:

For that one

Explanation:

"Olli" is an old form of "ille, illa, illud." He is using Old Latin like a modern writer using a word like "hence" or "thy." "Olli" declines in the same fashion as "ille, illa, illud." "Olli" here is most likely in the dative case since it does not make sense for it to be nominative (the verb is not plural). So, it is making a statement that refers to a particular person.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.317-325)

Example Question #43 : Vergil

Aeneas miratus enim motusque tumultu
'dic,' ait, 'o virgo, quid vult concursus ad amnem?
quidve petunt animae? vel quo discrimine ripas
hae linquunt, illae remis vada livida verrunt?'              
olli sic breviter fata est longaeva sacerdos:                      5
'Anchisa generate, deum certissima proles,
Cocyti stagna alta vides Stygiamque paludem,
di cuius iurare timent et fallere numen.
haec omnis, quam cernis, inops inhumataque turba est . . .

"Di" (line 8) translates as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The gods

For her

He gave

Give

Correct answer:

The gods

Explanation:

The word "di" is a shortened form of "dei," from the word "deus, dei." This form is always the nominative or vocative plural and translates as gods.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.317-325)

Example Question #44 : Syllabus Passages

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.  

"Ut" (line 3) translates as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

That

As

So that

Why

Correct answer:

As

Explanation:

"Ut" in this line is not accompanied by a subjunctive verb. Therefore, that rules out that and so that as translations. The most appropriate translation is as because the word is being used to indicate a sequence of events. "Ut" does not translate as why.

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

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