AP Latin : Passage Comprehension in Prose Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

 In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora; di, coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas)
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen!
     Ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum               5
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles
nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum.
nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan,                         10
nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe,
nec circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus
ponderibus librata suis, nec bracchia longo
margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite;
utque erat et tellus illic et pontus et aer,                               15
sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda,
lucis egens aer; nulli sua forma manebat,
obstabatque aliis aliud, quia corpore in uno
frigida pugnabant calidis, umentia siccis,
mollia cum duris, sine pondere, habentia pondus.                  20

In lines 5-7 (ante . . . chaos), we learn that __________.

Possible Answers:

only Chaos existed in the beginning

Chaos is mad

Chaos created nature

the heavens created Chaos

Correct answer:

only Chaos existed in the beginning

Explanation:

These words translate as Before the sea and lands and that which covered the sky and everything, there was one face in the whole of nature—in the whole earth, whom they called Chaos.

These lines introduce Chaos to us and state that he was the only thing that existed in the beginning of the world.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, ln.1-20)

Example Question #2 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Primus amor Phoebi Daphne Peneia, quem non
fors ignara dedit, sed saeva Cupidinis ira,
Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus,
viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo              
'quid' que 'tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus armis?'               5
dixerat: 'ista decent umeros gestamina nostros,
qui dare certa ferae, dare vulnera possumus hosti,
qui modo pestifero tot iugera ventre prementem
stravimus innumeris tumidum Pythona sagittis.               
tu face nescio quos esto contentus amores                       10
inritare tua, nec laudes adsere nostras!'
filius huic Veneris 'figat tuus omnia, Phoebe,
te meus arcus' ait; 'quantoque animalia cedunt
cuncta deo, tanto minor est tua gloria nostra.'

In lines 1-2, we learn that __________.

Possible Answers:

Cupid is ignorant

Cupid also loves Daphne

Apollo did not fall in love naturally

Daphne is unlucky

Correct answer:

Apollo did not fall in love naturally

Explanation:

The first two lines translate as The first love of Phoebus (Apollo) was Daphne Peneia, whom senseless fortune did not give, but the savage anger of Cupid.

In other words, Apollo did not fall in love by chance, but because Cupid was angry with him.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.452-465)

Example Question #3 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Primus amor Phoebi Daphne Peneia, quem non
fors ignara dedit, sed saeva Cupidinis ira,
Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus,
viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo              
'quid' que 'tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus armis?'               5
dixerat: 'ista decent umeros gestamina nostros,
qui dare certa ferae, dare vulnera possumus hosti,
qui modo pestifero tot iugera ventre prementem
stravimus innumeris tumidum Pythona sagittis.               
tu face nescio quos esto contentus amores                       10
inritare tua, nec laudes adsere nostras!'
filius huic Veneris 'figat tuus omnia, Phoebe,
te meus arcus' ait; 'quantoque animalia cedunt
cuncta deo, tanto minor est tua gloria nostra.'

What has happened in lines 12-14?

Possible Answers:

Cupid has drawn his weapon on Apollo

Apollo is criticizing Cupid

Cupid is explaining to Apollo how to use a bow

Apollo is showing cupid how to use a bow

Correct answer:

Cupid has drawn his weapon on Apollo

Explanation:

With the words "your bow peirces all things, Phoebus, my bow peirces you," Cupid draws his weapon on Apollo and prepares to shoot.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.452-465)

Example Question #4 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

In lines 1-2, we learn that __________.

Possible Answers:

the father is urging the daughter to take care of her children

the father is taking care of his daughter's children

the daughter just gave birth to some children

the father wants grandchildren

Correct answer:

the father wants grandchildren

Explanation:

In lines 1 and 2, the father is urging his daughter to give him grandchildren. He makes use of the word "debes"—you ought to. The word "dare" is omitted, because the meaning can be implied without it due to the use of the dative case.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #5 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

In lines 3-7, we learn that __________.

Possible Answers:

The daughter wishes to go hunting

The daughter wants children

The daughter worships Diana

The daughter does not want children

Correct answer:

The daughter does not want children

Explanation:

In these lines, the author presents the daughter's reaction to her father's words. She blushes and asks that he allow her to follow the ways of Diana and stay a virgin.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #6 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

What is the father's reply to his daughter's reaction (line 8-9)?

Possible Answers:

He is sad

He is surprised

He refuses

He concedes

Correct answer:

He concedes

Explanation:

The father yields/concedes ("obsequitur") to his daughter's request.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #7 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

Why are the words "suaque illum oracula fallunt" (line 11) used in this passage?

Possible Answers:

To emphasize that this match was prophesized

To explain that Phoebus is not a powerful god

To show the reader that all love is due to fate

To emphasize the depth of Phoebus' love

Correct answer:

To emphasize the depth of Phoebus' love

Explanation:

The passage mentions oracles and prophecy because Apollo (Phoebus) is also the god of prophecy. Due to Cupid's actions, he is completely blinded by love and fails to see the events to come of this love. Even though he should be able to foresee the future failure, he cannot because of the depth of this love.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #8 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

saepe pater dixit: 'generum mihi, filia, debes,'
saepe pater dixit: 'debes mihi, nata, nepotes';
illa velut crimen taedas exosa iugales
pulchra verecundo suffuderat ora rubore
inque patris blandis haerens cervice lacertis                       5
'da mihi perpetua, genitor carissime,' dixit
'virginitate frui! dedit hoc pater ante Dianae.'
ille quidem obsequitur, sed te decor iste quod optas
esse vetat, votoque tuo tua forma repugnat:
Phoebus amat visaeque cupit conubia Daphnes,                 10
quodque cupit, sperat, suaque illum oracula fallunt,
utque leves stipulae demptis adolentur aristis,
ut facibus saepes ardent, quas forte viator
vel nimis admovit vel iam sub luce reliquit,
sic deus in flammas abiit, sic pectore toto                          15
uritur et sterilem sperando nutrit amorem.

Why is the word "flammas" in line 15?

Possible Answers:

The author is talking about the burning of stars

Apollo has been set on fire

A place is on fire

To emphasize Apollo's love

Correct answer:

To emphasize Apollo's love

Explanation:

The word "flammas" is being used to show the extent of Apollo's love. Similar to the English phrasing "to burn with passion," the Roman's used similar words to describe passion and love. The author describes the god as setting out in flames and with a heart on fire.

(Adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, 1.481-496)

Example Question #9 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Praebuerat dictis Tritonia talibus aures
carminaque Aonidum iustamque probaverat iram;
tum secum: 'laudare parum est, laudemur et ipsae
numina nec sperni sine poena nostra sinamus.'
Maeoniaeque animum fatis intendit Arachnes,             5
quam sibi lanificae non cedere laudibus artis
audierat. non illa loco nec origine gentis
clara, sed arte fuit: pater huic Colophonius Idmon
Phocaico bibulas tinguebat murice lanas;
occiderat mater, sed et haec de plebe suoque            10
aequa viro fuerat; Lydas tamen illa per urbes
quaesierat studio nomen memorabile, quamvis
orta domo parva parvis habitabat Hypaepis.
huius ut adspicerent opus admirabile, saepe
deseruere sui nymphae vineta Timoli,                       15
deseruere suas nymphae Pactolides undas.

From lines 1-4, we can tell that this story is about which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The songs of the fates

History of the Roman Empire

A god's retribution

Praises of heroes

Correct answer:

A god's retribution

Explanation:

The content of this story is revealed in lines 3-4 of this passage ("laudare . . . sinamus"). The sentence translates: it is insufficient to prase (us)—we are praised and we (those gods) are not accustomed to be spurned without our penalty. In short, someone has gotten on a god's bad side and will be punished.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.1-16)

Example Question #10 : Passage Comprehension In Prose Passages

Pallas anum simulat: falsosque in tempora canos
addit et infirmos, baculo quos sustinet, artus.
tum sic orsa loqui 'non omnia grandior aetas,
quae fugiamus, habet: seris venit usus ab annis.
consilium ne sperne meum: tibi fama petatur               5
inter mortales faciendae maxima lanae;
cede deae veniamque tuis, temeraria, dictis
supplice voce roga: veniam dabit illa roganti.'
adspicit hanc torvis inceptaque fila relinquit
vixque manum retinens confessaque vultibus iram       10
talibus obscuram resecuta est Pallada dictis:
'mentis inops longaque venis confecta senecta,
et nimium vixisse diu nocet. audiat istas,
si qua tibi nurus est, si qua est tibi filia, voces;
consilii satis est in me mihi, neve monendo                  15
profecisse putes, eadem est sententia nobis.
cur non ipsa venit? cur haec certamina vitat?'

In lines 1-2, we learn that __________.

Possible Answers:

the author is describing Minerva's godly appearance

Minerva is speaking with Bacchus

an old woman has approached Minerva

Minerva is disquising herself as an old woman

Correct answer:

Minerva is disquising herself as an old woman

Explanation:

In lines 1-2, the author is describing the appearance of Minerva as she changes into an old woman. "Pallas anum simulat" translates as Pallas pretends to be an old woman.

(Passage adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid, VI.26-42)

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