AP Latin : Perspectives of Roman Culture in Poetry Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

Example Question #6 : Context Of Poetry

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.

Why does the author use the phrase "rumoresque . . . aestimemus assis"?

Possible Answers:

To talk about money

To indicate that he or she does not value someone's opinion

S/he is bribing someone

To celebrate a special occasion

Correct answer:

To indicate that he or she does not value someone's opinion

Explanation:

The word "assis" (from "as," "assis") refers to a denomination of currency equal to a penny or less. When the author uses the phrase "rumoresque . . . aestimemus assis," he is indicating that his companion should consider the rumors as worthless. He thinks the opinions of those who make the rumors are worthless.

Passage adapted from "Catullus 5," ln.1-13

Example Question #7 : Context Of Poetry

Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me
paucis, si tibi di favent, diebus,
si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam
cenam, non sine candida puella
et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis.                  5
haec si, inquam, attuleris, venuste noster,
cenabis bene; nam tui Catulli
plenus sacculus est aranearum.
sed contra accipies meros amores
seu quid suavius elegantiusve est:                     10
nam unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae
donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque,
quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis,
totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.

The word "meros" in line 9 is a reference to __________.

Possible Answers:

Roman standards of friendship

Roman politics

Roman drinking culture

Roman religion

Correct answer:

Roman drinking culture

Explanation:

The word "meros" translates as "unmixed." Another way to translate the word "meros" is as pure. This relates to the theme of dinner/feasting/partying. Wine is one of the elements of this feast that was mentioned earlier; when Romans drank, they often mixed their wine with other things like water or honey. To get too drunk at a party would be considered shameful. By saying that his love is unmixed, the author is proclaiming the depth/intensity of his love for his friend by saying that it is pure and shameless.

(Passage adapted from "Catullus 13," ln.1-14)

Example Question #8 : Context Of Poetry

Disertissime Romuli nepotum,
quot sunt quotque fuere, Marce Tulli,
quotque post aliis erunt in annis,
gratias tibi maximas Catullus
agit pessimus omnium poeta,               5
tanto pessimus omnium poeta,
quanto tu optimus omnium patronus.

By "Romuli nepotum," (line 1), the author is referring to _________.

Possible Answers:

Romans

Senators

Italy

Romulus' children

Correct answer:

Romans

Explanation:

When the author says "Romuli nepotum," he is not literally talking about the children or grandchildren of Romulus. After all, Romulus is at least 500 years before Cicero's time. Since Romulus was the founder of Rome, he would be considered the head or founder of the Roman race. Therefore, all Romans would be the descendents of Romulus. This is what the author means by "Romuli nepotum."

(Passage adapted from "Catullus 49," ln.1-7)

Example Question #9 : Context Of Poetry

     Inde per inmensum croceo velatus amictu
aethera digreditur Ciconumque Hymenaeus ad oras
tendit et Orphea nequiquam voce vocatur.
adfuit ille quidem, sed nec sollemnia verba
nec laetos vultus nec felix attulit omen.                             5
fax quoque, quam tenuit, lacrimoso stridula fumo
usque fuit nullosque invenit motibus ignes.
exitus auspicio gravior: nam nupta per herbas
dum nova naiadum turba comitata vagatur,
occidit in talum serpentis dente recepto.                            10

The word "Orphea" in line 3 most likely refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

Orphea

Orpheus

The Underworld

Eurydice

Correct answer:

Eurydice

Explanation:

The word "Orphea" is most likely referring to Eurydice. It is obviously based off of the name Orpheus, but the "-a" ending indicates that the name is referring to a female. A Roman woman was often referred to in terms of either her father or her husband. Women did not have much of an identity in Ancient Rome, so, since there is no myth concerning a child between Orpheus and Eurydice, the name most likely refers to Eurydice.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 10.1-10)

Example Question #10 : Context Of Poetry

At vos, o proceres, vigili date praemia vestro,              
proque tot annorum cura, quibus anxius egi,
hunc titulum meritis pensandum reddite nostris:
iam labor in fine est; obstantia fata removi
altaque posse capi faciendo Pergama, cepi.                     5
per spes nunc socias casuraque moenia Troum              
perque deos oro, quos hosti nuper ademi,
per siquid superest, quod sit sapienter agendum,
siquid adhuc audax ex praecipitique petendum est,
[si Troiae fatis aliquid restare putatis,]                           10
este mei memores! aut si mihi non datis arma,             
huic date!' et ostendit signum fatale Minervae.

The word "Pergama" in line 5 refers to ____________.

Possible Answers:

Athens

Carthage

Rome

Troy

Correct answer:

Troy

Explanation:

The word "Pergama" comes from "Pergamum, i," which is the name for the citadel of Troy. It is often used to refer to Troy as a whole.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 8. 370-382)

Example Question #1 : Perspectives Of Roman Culture In Poetry Passages

Occiderat Tatius, populisque aequata duobus,               
Romule, iura dabas: posita cum casside Mavors
talibus adfatur divumque hominumque parentem:
'tempus adest, genitor, quoniam fundamine magno
res Romana valet nec praeside pendet ab uno,                  5
praemia, (sunt promissa mihi dignoque nepoti)               
solvere et ablatum terris inponere caelo.
tu mihi concilio quondam praesente deorum
(nam memoro memorique animo pia verba notavi)
"unus erit, quem tu tolles in caerula caeli"                         10
dixisti: rata sit verborum summa tuorum!'               
adnuit omnipotens et nubibus aera caecis
occuluit tonitruque et fulgure terruit orbem.

What is the "res Romana" (line 5)?

Possible Answers:

The city of Rome

Roman Religion

Rome's army

Rome's Government

Correct answer:

Rome's Government

Explanation:

Often, the Romans used words like "Res Publica" or "Res Romana" to refer to the Roman Empire and its system of government, but not to the city of Rome itself.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 9. 805-818)

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