AP Latin : Passage Comprehension in Poetry Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,
cui primum digitum dare appetenti
et acris solet incitare morsus,
cum desiderio meo nitenti                       5
carum nescio quid lubet iocari
et solaciolum sui doloris,
credo ut tum gravis acquiescat ardor:
tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem
et tristis animi levare curas!                    10

Why does the author think the girl has the bird?

Possible Answers:

It was a gift

She really loves all sorts of birds

To ease her pain

For fun

Correct answer:

To ease her pain

Explanation:

The author states in line 7 and 8: I believe that it is a consolation for her grief.

(Passage adapted from "Poem II" by Gaius Valerius Catullus, 1-10)

Example Question #12 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Lesbia mi praesente viro mala plurima dicit:
     haec illi fatuo maxima laetitia est.
mule, nihil sentis? si nostri oblita taceret,
     sana esset: nunc quod gannit et obloquitur,
non solum meminit, sed, quae multo acrior est res,           5
     irata est. hoc est, uritur et loquitur.

According to the author, why does Lesbia speak badly of him?

Possible Answers:

The man has asked her to

The author wronged her

The author does not give a reason

She is not over their relationship

Correct answer:

She is not over their relationship

Explanation:

The author states the reason why he thinks Lesbia speaks ill of him in lines 3-6: If she, having forgotten, was silent of us, she would be healed: now, because she speaks ill and interrupts, she not only remembers, but that thing which is more sharp by much is her anger. That is, she burns (with passion) and she speaks.

Passage adapted from "Carmen 83" by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Example Question #13 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Lesbia mi praesente viro mala plurima dicit:
     haec illi fatuo maxima laetitia est.
mule, nihil sentis? si nostri oblita taceret,
     sana esset: nunc quod gannit et obloquitur,
non solum meminit, sed, quae multo acrior est res,           5
     irata est. hoc est, uritur et loquitur.

In lines 1-2, we learn that Lesbia ___________.

Possible Answers:

is telling the author about someone she dislikes

is slandering the author

hates the author

is insulting the author's friends

Correct answer:

is slandering the author

Explanation:

According to lines 1-2, Lesbia is insulting the author to some other man, the lines can be roughly translated as: Lesbia presently says many bad things about me to that man: this is a source of the greatest joy for that idiot.

Passage adapted from "Carmen 83" by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Example Question #14 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum,
     Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem.
dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam,
     sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos.
nunc te cognovi: quare etsi impensius uror,               5
     multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.
qui potis est, inquis? quod amantem iniuria talis
     cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus.

How does the author feel about Lesbia?

Possible Answers:

He has forgotten about her.

He does not love her.

He loves her.

He hates her.

Correct answer:

He does not love her.

Explanation:

The author claims that he loved Lesbia at one point ("dilexi tum"), but now that he knows her better, he no longer loves her. He does not literally say he does not love her now, but it is implied based on the wording and context of the poem. He does not hate her; he just does not love her anymore.

Passage adapted from "Carmen 72" by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Example Question #15 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
     spectat et audit
dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis             5
eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi
     
lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures gemina, teguntur                 10
     lumina nocte.
otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:
otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas
     perdidit urbes.                                      15

In lines 8-11, we learn that the author feels __________.

Possible Answers:

sad

nervous

happy

jealous

Correct answer:

nervous

Explanation:

In lines 8-11, the author describes the different feelings that he is experiencing: the tongue is numb, flames flow down under thin limbs, ears ring with their own sound, eyes are covered by night. These are all classic signs of extreme nervousness, in this case nervousness brought on by love.

Passage adapted from "Poem 51" by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Example Question #16 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
     spectat et audit
dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis             5
eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi
     
lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures gemina, teguntur                 10
     lumina nocte.
otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:
otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas
     perdidit urbes.                                      15

In lines 1-4, we learn that __________.

Possible Answers:

the author is describing a God

the author is in love with a God

the author is jealous of a rival

the author has met a God

Correct answer:

the author is jealous of a rival

Explanation:

In lines 1-4, the author of this poem is talking about some other man (we know this since "ille" is masculine) who seems to be interacting with someone the author likes. The author compares this man to a God because he is able to be near the person ("te" (line 3)) the author desires.

Passage adapted from "Poem 51" by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Example Question #17 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

 Aurea prima sata est aetas, quae vindice nullo,
sponte sua, sine lege fidem rectumque colebat.               
poena metusque aberant, nec verba minantia fixo
aere legebantur, nec supplex turba timebat
iudicis ora sui, sed erant sine vindice tuti.                      5
nondum caesa suis, peregrinum ut viseret orbem,
montibus in liquidas pinus descenderat undas,               
nullaque mortales praeter sua litora norant;
nondum praecipites cingebant oppida fossae;
non tuba derecti, non aeris cornua flexi,                        10
non galeae, non ensis erat: sine militis usu
mollia securae peragebant otia gentes.               

According to lines 1-2, what was the golden age like?

Possible Answers:

Nothing existed in this age but the Gods.

Men were expected to live by laws set by the Gods.

It was lawless and chaotic.

Men lived in freedom.

Correct answer:

Men lived in freedom.

Explanation:

The lines state that the Golden Age was without laws ("sine lege") and that people lived with one another by their own will ("sponte sua") and in good faith ("fidem rectumque colebat").

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses 1. 89-101)

Example Question #18 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Postquam Saturno tenebrosa in Tartara misso
sub Iove mundus erat, subiit argentea proles,
auro deterior, fulvo pretiosior aere.               
Iuppiter antiqui contraxit tempora veris
perque hiemes aestusque et inaequalis autumnos            5
et breve ver spatiis exegit quattuor annum.
tum primum siccis aer fervoribus ustus
canduit, et ventis glacies adstricta pependit;               
tum primum subiere domos; domus antra fuerunt
et densi frutices et vinctae cortice virgae.                        10
semina tum primum longis Cerealia sulcis
obruta sunt, pressique iugo gemuere iuvenci.
  

In this passage, we learn that ___________.

Possible Answers:

the seasons are very chaotic

even the Gods have issues with the weather

Jupiter is causing a storm

this age is worse than the age before it

Correct answer:

this age is worse than the age before it

Explanation:

The passage states in line 2-3 ("subiit [...] aere") that: the silver generation followed, worse than gold, bur more valuable than tawny broze. In other words, it admits that this age (Silver) was worse than the age before it, but was not the worst of the ages of man.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 1.113-125)

Example Question #19 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

Tertia post illam successit aenea proles,               
saevior ingeniis et ad horrida promptior arma,
non scelerata tamen; de duro est ultima ferro.
protinus inrupit venae peioris in aevum
omne nefas: fugere pudor verumque fidesque;             5
in quorum subiere locum fraudesque dolusque               
insidiaeque et vis et amor sceleratus habendi.
vela dabant ventis nec adhuc bene noverat illos
navita, quaeque prius steterant in montibus altis,
fluctibus ignotis insultavere carinae,                              10
communemque prius ceu lumina solis et auras               
cautus humum longo signavit limite mensor.
nec tantum segetes alimentaque debita dives
poscebatur humus, sed itum est in viscera terrae,
quasque recondiderat Stygiisque admoverat umbris,       15
effodiuntur opes, inritamenta malorum.               

According to lines 2-3, what was the Bronze Age like?

Possible Answers:

Full of evil people

It was the best age

Savage

Decent, once the Gods removed wicked people

Correct answer:

Savage

Explanation:

Lines 2-3 state that the Bronze Age was savage, at least more so than the previous age ("saevior"), but it was not wicked or filled with evil ("non scelerata tamen").

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 1.125-141)

Example Question #20 : Passage Comprehension In Poetry Passages

quae, quamquam comitum turba est stipata suarum,
in latus obliquum tamen adstitit oraque retro
flexit et, ut vellet promptas habuisse sagittas,
quas habuit sic hausit aquas vultumque virilem
perfudit spargensque comas ultricibus undis                 5
addidit haec cladis praenuntia verba futurae:
'nunc tibi me posito visam velamine narres,
si poteris narrare, licet!' nec plura minata
dat sparso capiti vivacis cornua cervi,
dat spatium collo summasque cacuminat aures            10
cum pedibusque manus, cum longis bracchia mutat
cruribus et velat maculoso vellere corpus;
additus et pavor est: fugit Autonoeius heros
et se tam celerem cursu miratur in ipso.

We learn in this passage that __________.

Possible Answers:

the girl is chatting with her friends

the girl has discovered a man

the girl is an expert hunter

the girl is learning to shoot a bow and arrow

Correct answer:

the girl has discovered a man

Explanation:

In this passage, the girl is upset because her arrow missed. The reason she let loose the arrow in the first place, however, is revealed in lines 4-14. A man has been hiding under the water.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 3.186-200)

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