AP Latin : Perspectives of Roman Culture in Prose Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Perspectives Of Roman Culture 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.'

Why is Daphne named "Peneia" in line 1?

Possible Answers:

She is light, like a feather

It is the name of her father

All women are referred to as Peneia

It is a title of honor

Correct answer:

It is the name of her father

Explanation:

The reason Daphne is called "Peneia" is because her father's name is "Peneus." It was common in Ancient Rome to refer to a person by their lineage (e.g. Son of Anchises—Aeneas, and so on). Additionally, however, girls were rarely given original names of their own, but simply called a feminine version of their father's name. So, the daughter of a man named Cornelius would most likely be called Cornelia. 

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

Example Question #392 : Sight Reading

Erat Miseni classemque imperio praesens regebat. Nonum Kal. Septembres hora fere septima mater mea indicat ei apparere nubem inusitata et magnitudine et specie. Usus ille sole, mox frigida, gustaverat iacens studebatque; poscit soleas, ascendit locum ex quo maxime miraculum illud conspici poterat. Nubes — incertum procul intuentibus ex quo monte; Vesuvium fuisse postea cognitum est — oriebatur, cuius similitudinem et formam non alia magis arbor quam pinus expresserit. Nam longissimo velut trunco elata in altum quibusdam ramis diffundebatur, credo quia recenti spiritu evecta, dein senescente eo destituta aut etiam pondere suo victa in latitudinem vanescebat, candida interdum, interdum sordida et maculosa prout terram cineremve sustulerat. Magnum propiusque noscendum ut eruditissimo viro visum. Iubet liburnicam aptari; mihi si venire una vellem facit copiam; respondi studere me malle, et forte ipse quod scriberem dederat. Egrediebatur domo; accipit codicillos Rectinae Tasci imminenti periculo exterritae — nam villa eius subiacebat, nec ulla nisi navibus fuga -: ut se tanto discrimini eriperet orabat. Vertit ille consilium et quod studioso animo incohaverat obit maximo. Deducit quadriremes, ascendit ipse non Rectinae modo sed multis — erat enim frequens amoenitas orae — laturus auxilium. Properat illuc unde alii fugiunt, rectumque cursum recta gubernacula in periculum tenet adeo solutus metu, ut omnes illius mali motus omnes figuras ut deprenderat oculis dictaret enotaretque.

"Nonum Kal. Septembres" refers to which date?

Possible Answers:

September 5

August 23

August 24

September 1

Correct answer:

August 24

Explanation:

The author of this has actually omitted part of the date. The full date is "ante diem Nonum Kalends Septembres." We know this since "Nonum" is in the accusative case. So, the date is nine days before the Kalends (first day of the month) of September. This is August 24. Remember that the Romans counted inclusively, so when counting, September 1 would count as Day 1 (The system of counting in the West today is typically exclusive, where we would not count the day of when counting forwards or backwards from a date).

(Passage adapted from Pliny the Younger's Letters to Tacitus Book 6, #16)

Example Question #393 : Sight Reading

Ac mihi quidem videtur, iudices, hic introitus defensionis adulescentiae M. Caeli maxime convenire, ut ad ea, quae accusatores deformandi huius causa, detrahendae spoliandaeque dignitatis gratia dixerunt, primum respondeam. Obiectus est pater varie, quod aut parum splendidus ipse aut parum pie tractatus a filio diceretur. De dignitate M. Caelius notis ac maioribus natu et sine mea oratione et tacitus facile ipse respondet; quibus autem propter senectutem, quod iam diu minus in foro nobiscumque versatur, non aeque est cognitus, ii sic habeant, quaecumque in equite Romano dignitas esse possit, quae certe potest esse maxima, eam semper in M. Caelio habitam esse summam hodieque haberi non solum a suis, sed etiam ab omnibus, quibus potuerit aliqua de causa esse notus.

Of what is the "M." in the first sentence an abbreviation?

Possible Answers:

Mille

Magister

Marcus

Magnus

Correct answer:

Marcus

Explanation:

Often in writing, Romans abbreviated a person's given name. "M."is the abbreviated form of the name Marcus.

(Passage adapted from Cicero's Pro Caelio, Section 2 (56 BCE))

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