AP Latin : Context of Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Context Of Poetry

Ni te plus oculis meis amarem,
iucundissime Calve, munere isto
odissem te odio Vatiniano:
nam quid feci ego quidve sum locutus,
cur me tot male perderes poetis?                         5
isti di mala multa dent clienti,
qui tantum tibi misit impiorum.
quod si, ut suspicor, hoc novum ac repertum
munus dat tibi Sulla litterator,
non est mi male, sed bene ac beate,                    10
quod non dispereunt tui labores.
di magni, horribilem et sacrum libellum!
quem tu scilicet ad tuum Catullum
misti, continuo ut die periret,
Saturnalibus, optimo dierum!                               15
non non hoc tibi, false, sic abibit.
nam si luxerit ad librariorum
curram scrinia, Caesios, Aquinos,
Suffenum, omnia colligam venena.
ac te his suppliciis remunerabor.                          20
vos hinc interea valete abite
illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis,
saecli incommoda, pessimi poetae.

How does "misti" (line 14) translate?

Possible Answers:

You sent

It is wet

You will release

I throw

Correct answer:

You sent

Explanation:

The word "misti" is a syncopated (shortened) form of the word "misisti," from the verb "mitto," "mittere," "misi," "missus." It translates as you sent. Syncopation is somewhat common in Latin literature— especially poetry. It is recognizable because the ending will look strange ("-i" or "-ti" is not a normal ending) and the word will use the perfect stem of the verb. In syncopation, two middle letters are typically removed and it commonly occurs in the perfect tense, second person singular form. (e.g. "amavisti" --> "amasti").

(Passage adapted from "Catullus 14," ln.1-23)

Example Question #1 : Context Of Poetry

Consedere duces et vulgi stante corona
surgit ad hos clipei dominus septemplicis Aiax,
utque erat inpatiens irae, Sigeia torvo
litora respexit classemque in litore vultu
intendensque manus 'agimus, pro Iuppiter!' inquit                     5
'ante rates causam, et mecum confertur Ulixes!

The phrase "clipei dominus septemplicis" in line 2 is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

synchesis

personification

epithet

anaphora

Correct answer:

epithet

Explanation:

The phrase "clipei dominus septemplicis" is an example of an epithet - a word or series of words that describe a well-known characteristic of a person. It is common, especially in epics, for heroes and famous individuals to be given an epithet (or many) to highlight their traits, typically in regard to a particular situation.

(Passage adapted from Ovid's Metamorphoses 8.1-6)

Example Question #2 : Context Of Poetry

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/Who is "Mavors"?

Possible Answers:

A famous field

A great general

Romulus' son

The god of war

Correct answer:

The god of war

Explanation:

The word "Mavors" is the old Latin/Etruscan name for the god of war, Mars. It declines "Mavors, Mavortis." It is interchangeable with "Mars, Martis."

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

Example Question #2 : Context Of Poetry

Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.
par erat inferior versus—risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
'Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?
Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?
crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?

The underlined word "Virginis" in line 10 refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

Venus

Minerva

Juno

Ceres

Correct answer:

Minerva

Explanation:

The word "Virginis" must refer to Minerva as she is the only virgin goddess mentioned in this passage. 

(Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I.1–15)

Example Question #1 : Mythology And Legends In Poetry Passages

Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.
par erat inferior versus—risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
'Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?
Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?
crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?

Who is "Phoebum"?

Possible Answers:

Jupiter

Diana

Apollo

Mars

Correct answer:

Apollo

Explanation:

The name "Phoebus" refers to Apollo. The "-um" ending indicates that the word used here is masculine in gender. If it were feminine ("Phoebe"), it would refer to Apollo's sister Diana.

(Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I.1–15)

Example Question #322 : Ap Latin Language

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 celebrate a special occasion

S/he is bribing someone

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

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 #1 : Perspectives Of Roman Culture In Poetry Passages

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 religion

Roman politics

Roman standards of friendship

Roman drinking culture

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 #2 : 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:

Romulus' children

Italy

Romans

Senators

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 #1 : Perspectives Of Roman Culture In Poetry Passages

     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

Eurydice

The Underworld

Orpheus

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 #2 : 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:

Carthage

Athens

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)

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