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

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

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Example Question #161 : Content Of Poetry

Quo tamen haec Ithaco, qui clam, qui semper inermis
rem gerit et furtis incautum decipit hostem?
ipse nitor galeae claro radiantis ab auro              
insidias prodet manifestabitque latentem;
sed neque Dulichius sub Achillis casside vertex                5
pondera tanta feret, nec non onerosa gravisque
Pelias hasta potest inbellibus esse lacertis,
nec clipeus vasti caelatus imagine mundi               
conveniet timidae nataeque ad furta sinistrae:
debilitaturum quid te petis, inprobe, munus,                    10
quod tibi si populi donaverit error Achivi,
cur spolieris, erit, non, cur metuaris ab hoste,
et fuga, qua sola cunctos, timidissime, vincis,              
tarda futura tibi est gestamina tanta trahenti?

The word "gerit" in line 2 should be translated as ___________.

Possible Answers:

he wages

he separates

he manages

he wears

Correct answer:

he manages

Explanation:

The word "gerit" comes from the verb "gero, gerere, gessi, gestus," which typically means to wear (clothing). It has many other meanings, however, based on context. When paired with "bellum" it means to wage war; it can also mean to carry; here, with no articles of clothing or mention of war, to manage is the most appropriate translation of this word.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 8. 103-117)

Example Question #31 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Poetry Passages

Quo tamen haec Ithaco, qui clam, qui semper inermis
rem gerit et furtis incautum decipit hostem?
ipse nitor galeae claro radiantis ab auro              
insidias prodet manifestabitque latentem;
sed neque Dulichius sub Achillis casside vertex                5
pondera tanta feret, nec non onerosa gravisque
Pelias hasta potest inbellibus esse lacertis,
nec clipeus vasti caelatus imagine mundi               
conveniet timidae nataeque ad furta sinistrae:
debilitaturum quid te petis, inprobe, munus,                    10
quod tibi si populi donaverit error Achivi,
cur spolieris, erit, non, cur metuaris ab hoste,
et fuga, qua sola cunctos, timidissime, vincis,              
tarda futura tibi est gestamina tanta trahenti?

The word "nitor" (line 3) translates __________.

Possible Answers:

I shine

a fire

brightness

I am shined

Correct answer:

brightness

Explanation:

The word "nitor" in this sentence comes from the noun "nitor, nitoris" and not the verb "nitor, niti, nisus sum." You can tell that "nitor" is not a verb because it would not make any sense in this sentence. "Nitor" is the accusative singular form of this noun, since it is neuter, and it is acting as the object of the verb "prodet" in line 4.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 8. 103-117)

Example Question #31 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Poetry Passages

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

How should cum in line 2 be translated?

Possible Answers:

When

With

Since

Although

Correct answer:

When

Explanation:

The word cum should be translated "when" in this sentence. A word in the ablative case does not follow cum, so it can't be "with." Furthermore, the translations "since" and "although" must have a subjunctive verb. The correct choice is "when."

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

Example Question #31 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Poetry Passages

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

How should cum (line 6) be translated?

Possible Answers:

With

Although

While

Because

Correct answer:

With

Explanation:

The word cum should be translated as "with" because it is accompanied by the ablative phrase pharetra soluta. The phrase translates as "the one with the loosened quiver."

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

Example Question #32 : Context Based Meaning Of Words And Phrases In Poetry Passages

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

How should the word legit (line 7) be translated?

Possible Answers:

Weighed

Chose

Collected

Read

Correct answer:

Chose

Explanation:

All the answers given are possible translations of the word legit (from lego, legere). The only choice that makes sense in the context of this sentence, though, is "chose." The phrase ille...meum translates: "He chose my ruin with regard to the arrow that was made."

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

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