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DAVID AMSTER

Carmina Catulli recitata



CATULLUS Poem 80: Quid dīcam, Gellī, quārē rosea ista labella; Latin & English

Catullus’ Carmen 80 is addressed to his “frenemy” Gellius of poem 74. The poem is written in a very lofty lyrical style, while dealing with with a not-so-lofty, “locker-room” subject. #catullus #latinpoetry #latinpronunciation Quid: why? for what reason? dīcam: shall I say? should I say?; subjunctive Gellī: Gellius; probably L. Gellius Poplicola, the fellow from poem 74, who had an affair with his father’s wife, was accused of plotting his father’s murder, and was at least flirting with with Clodia/Lesbia, Catullus’ beloved. quārē: why, on account of what, for what reason? ista: those…of yours (often expressing contempt) rosea: rosy, rose-colored, ruddy; probably suggests that G. is not very old. labella: little lips; diminutive of “labrum”, lip fīant: become; subjunctive in indirect question candidiōra: whiter hībernā: (than) wintry, winter (as adj), of winter; ablative of comparison nive: snow; abl. of comparison māne: in the morning cum: when exīs: you leave, go out domō: from your house, from home octāva: the 8th hōra: hour; a “day”, the time when the sun is shining, was divided into 12 hours. In the summer the 8th hour was approx. 1:15 PM. suscitat: wakes, awakens, wakes up ē: from, out of mollī: soft, gentle, pleasant; “mollis” has a connotation of effeminate, which Catullus may be hinting at. quiēte: rest, repose, sleep longō: long diē: day; “when the day is long”, i.e., the summertime; ablative absolute or abl of time when Nescio quid: something, “something, I’m not sure what” certē: certainly est: is, is going on an: or perhaps? introducing a question fāma: rumor, talk, that which people say; nom sing fem. susurrat: whispers, murmurs vērē: truly tē: that you; acc in indirect statement vorāre: swallow whole, eat greedily, devour; infinitive in indirect speech tenta: the extended, distended grandia: large parts, big, full-grown mediī: of the middle, of the middle part virī: of a man Sīc: thus, this much, in this way certē: certainly est: is (true), is the case rupta: the burst, ruptured īlia: groin, the abdomen below the ribs; Catullus used the same image in Carmen 11, referring to Clodia’s treatment of her lovers: “nullum amans vere, sed identidem omnium ilia rumpens” misellī: of poor little; diminutive of miser. Victōris: Victor; we don’t know who this refers to. clāmant: shout out, cry out; Ilia and labra are the subjects. labra: lips, your lips. Cf. labella in line 1. notāta: marked ēmulsō: with/by “milked out”, having been milked out serō: whey, the watery part of curdled milk. Note the emphatic position as the last word of the poem. REPETITION of Sound, Word Order: Note the 3 verbs of spleaking: say, whisper, shout; dīcam, susurrat, clāmant Striking repetition of L-sounds: Gellī, labella, mollī, longō, misellī, īlia, ēmulsō, labra V-sounds: vērē, vorāre virī, Victōris Nescio quid “certē est”, Sīc “certē est” Interlocking ABAB word order: “OCTAVA longō HORA diē” “GRANDIA mediī TENTA virī” “VICTORIS rupta MISELLI īlia” ABBA word order: “EMULSO labra notāta SERO”

276 views • May 9, 2024


VIRGIL Aeneid 1, 23-33: Id metuēns, veterisque memor Sāturnia bellī, Latin & English

In lines 23-33 of Aeneid Book 1 we learn more about the reasons for Juno’s hatred of the Trojans. #latinpoetry #latinpronunciation #aeneid metuēns: fearing, afraid of id: this; what was mentioned in the previous line, that the Trojan race would overthrow and destroy Carthage. -que: and memor: mindful, remembering veteris: of the old, former, earlier bellī: war; the Trojan War Sāturnia: the Saturnian one, the daughter of Saturn, Juno; subject of “arcebat”, found EIGHT lines later! quod: which, ref. to “belli” prīma: first, as leader, foremost; ref. to Juno, who had played a leading role in the war against the Trojans. ad: at Trōiam: Troy gesserat: had waged prō: on behalf of cārīs: beloved, dear Argīs = Argivis: Argives, Greeks; Juno’s most famous temple was at Argos. necdum: and not yet etiam: still, even now; also, as well causae: the causes, reasons; recalls “Mūsa, mihī causās memorā” from line 8. īrārum: of her feelings of anger; cf. “Tantaene animīs caelestibus īrae” from line 11. saevī: the raging, fierce, savage, relentless, wrathful dolōrēs: pains, feelings of resentment, anguish exciderant: had (not) departed, fallen from animō: her mind, heart; cf. “animis” in line 11. manet: it (iudicium Paridis, etc) remains repostum = repositum: stored up, kept, preserved altā: the deep mente: mind, heart, soul; abl of place; in the deep part of her mind, deep in her heart iūdicium: the judgement Paridis: of Paris, Trojan prince and son of Priam, asked by Juno, Minerva, and Venus to judge who was the most beautiful. He decided in favor of Venus. iniūria: the insult, wrong, injustice sprētae: of her scorned fōrmae: beauty invīsum: the hated genus: race. She hated the Trojans, whose founder was the son of her husband Jupiter by another woman. honōrēs: the honors. Note the repetition of sound at the end of the lines: dolores…honores. raptī: of snatched up, carried off, abducted Ganymēdis: of Ganymede. A Trojan prince, “the loveliest born of the race of mortals”, snatched up by Jupiter in the form of an eagle and made his cupbearer, instead of Juno's own daughter, Hebe. accēnsa: enraged, incensed, set aflame hīs: by these things, because of these things super: in addition, too, also; in addition to her fears regarding Carthage. arcēbat: she was hindering, keeping at a distance, keeping away Trōas: the Trojans rēliquiās: the remnant, the ones remaining, the ones left; i.e. those not killed by the Greeks. Danaum = Danaorum: of the Greeks atque: and also immītis: of merciless, fierce, cruel, ruthless Achillī: Achilles iactātōs: tossed about, scattered; Cf. line 3: “multum ille et terrīs iactātus et altō vī superum” tōtō: (on) the entire, whole aequore: sea; ablative of place longē: far away from; an echo of “longe” in line 13: “Ītaliam contrā Tiberīnaque longē ōstia” Latiō: (from) Latium. Latium is the region in Italy where Rome was to be founded. per: through, for, during multōs: many annōs: years errābant: they (the Trojans) wandered, were wandering āctī: driven, compelled Fātīs: by the Fates, the godesses of fate; Cf. “fato profugus” in line 2. circum: around omnia: all maria: the seas erat: it was tantae: of such, such a great, so great mōlis: (of) such/so great a task, an effort, difficulty; genitive of quality or description condere: to found, to establish; cf "dum conderet urbem” in line 5 Rōmānam: the Roman gentem: race, nation, people

281 views • Apr 28, 2024


VIRGIL Aeneid 1, 8-22: Musa, mihi causas memora

Virgil’s Aeneid Book 1, 8-22 continues the introduction to his epic masterpiece about the hero Aeneas and the founding of Rome. #vergil #aeneid #latinpoetry #latinpronunciation Notes: Mūsa: Muse; there were nine Muses; here it’s Calliope, the patron goddess of heroic poetry Compare the beginning of the Odyssey and the Iliad: “Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy.” “Sing the wrath, Goddess, of Peleus' son, Achilles, that destructive wrath which brought countless woes upon the Achaeans.” memorā: remind, recount, relate, tell mihī: to me causās: the causes, the reasons quō: what nūmine: divine will, command; divinity, deity, god laesō: having been offended, violated, wounded; “because of what aspect of her divinity having been offended” -ve: or dolēns: being displeased, angry, feeling indignation quid: at what                   rēgīna: the queen, Juno deum = deorum; of the gods; This gen. pl ending is very common in poetry. impulerit: forced, compelled, drove, pushed; perfect subjunctive, indirect question. virum: a man īnsīgnem: renowned, distinguished, remarkable pietāte: for his loyalty and devotion to his family, the gods, and country volvere: to live through, experience, endure, suffer tot: so many cāsūs: hardships, misfortunes, dangers, perils adīre: to encounter, undergo tot: so many labōrēs: hardships, difficulties, dangers, misfortunes -ne: introduces a question (sunt): are, are there; understood tantae: such great, so great īrae: feelings of anger, wrath, rage, hatred, resentment animīs: in the minds; dative of possession caelestibus: celestial, heavenly, divine, of the gods fuit: there was, it was antīqua: (an) ancient; Carthage was actually founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century BC, about 300 years after the Trojan war! urbs: city Tyriī: Tyrian, Phoenician, of Tyre; Tyre is a city in Lebanon. colōnī: settlers, colonists tenuēre = tenuerunt; held, inhabited, ruled Karthāgō: Carthage contrā: in front of, across from, opposite; in opposition to Ītaliam: Italy. Note the juxtaposition of Karthago and Italiam. -que: and ōstia: the shores; acc. after “contra”. Tiberīna: of the Tiber longē: at a distance, far, far off; an adverb. Note how “ostia” being on the next line and the lack of “elision” (longe…ostia) emphasizes the distance. dīves: rich opum: in resources, power, lit. “of resources” -que: and asperrima: very (most) fierce, cruel, formidable studiīs: in its pursuits, zeal, desires, endeavors bellī: of war quam: which ūnam: alone magis: more omnibus: than all; ablative of comparison terrīs: lands, countries Iūnō: Juno fertur: is said, is reported coluisse: to have cared for, cherished, loved Samō: Samos, an island near Ephesus in Asia Minor, a center of the worship of Juno, her birthplace and site of a very famous temple. Ablative absolute. posthabitā: having been placed after, having been esteemed less; “Even Samos having been put in second place” hīc: here; probably Carthage (sunt/fuerunt): are/were illius: “Iunonis”, her, Juno’s arma: armor, weapons hīc: here fuit: was currus: (her) chariot; refers to relics preserved in her temple hoc: for/that this (city, refering to Carthage); acc subject of infinitive; neuter because of proximity to “regnum”. Note repetition of hic, hic, hoc. esse: to be, be; infinitive with tendit and fovet rēgnum: the ruling power, the royal authority gentibus; over nations sī: if quā (viā): in any way Fāta: the fates, the godesses that determine the will of the gods. Note that the Fates are more powerful than Juno. sinant: would allow it; subjunctive. iam: already tum: then dea: the goddess tendit: endeavors, designs, intends; present used instead of the past, for vividness. -que….. que: and; the repetition is a feature of epic poetry. fovet: cherishes, hopes, longs for, desires; present referring to the past sed enim: but indeed audierat = audiverat: she had heard prōgeniem: (that) a race, lineage; acc subject of infinitive in indirect statement. dūcī: was being derived, was springing from, was descended; passive infinitive. ā: from Trōiānō: Trojan sanguine: blood quae: which, ref. to progeniem olim: one day verteret: would overturn; imperfect subjunctive. Tyriās: the Tyrian (Carthaginian) arcēs: citadels, strongholds, fortresses, palaces hinc: (that) from here (the race from Trojan blood) populum: a people; acc subject of infinitive rēgem: ruling, the noun being used as a participle, regentem lātē: widely, far and wide -que: and superbum: proud, arrogant, fierce, mighty bellō: in war ventūrum (esse): was going to come; future infinitive excidiō: for the destruction, ruin, overthrow; dative of purpose Libyae: for/of Libya, (especially Carthage); dative object of excidio. sīc: thus Parcās: the Parcae, the Fates volvere: were ordaining, decreeing

327 views • Apr 14, 2024


VIRGIL Aeneid 1, 1-7: Arma virumque canō

The introduction to Virgil’s Aeneid, his epic masterpiece about the hero Aeneas and the founding of Rome. #vergil #aeneid #latinpoetry #latinpronunciation Vocabulary & Grammar: canō: I sing of, I celebrate in verse; compare the first line of the Iliad: “Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles”. arma: arms, wars; refers to the wars in which Aeneas fought, at Troy and in Italy; accuasative pl neut. An allusion to the Iliad and the Trojan war. -que: and virum: a man, the man; Aeneas, not yet mentioned by name. An allusion to the Odyssey. Note the emphatic placement of Italiam, and how with “litora” the clause continues onto the next line. Very often the sentence or clause does not end at the end of the line, and there should not be a pause. quī: who ab: from + abl ōrīs: the shores, the coast; abl pl. Trōiae: of Troy; Placed before “qui” for emphasis. Note how this LONG relative clause begins with “Troiae” and ends with “Romae” fātō: by fate, because of destiny, that which has been decreed; abl. Can be understood with both “profugus” and “venit”. profugus: exiled, as a fugitive prīmus: first vēnit: came Ītaliam: to Italy; accusative of place to which without a preposition, in prose it would be “ad Italiam” or “in Italiam”. Lāvīnia: to the Lavinian; accusative of place to which (without a prep), pl neut; Aeneas married an Italian/Latin princess, Lavina and named the town he founded “Lavinium”. lītora: shores, coast; acc. of place to which; neut pl ille: that one, he (the “vir”, Aeneas) iactātus: having been thrown, cast, tossed multum: much, a lot et: both terrīs: on land, in various lands/countries; ablative (pl) of place where without a prep. et: and altō: on the deep, at sea; abl of place where vī: by/because of the force, power, violence, fury; abl. superum = superorum: of the ones above, of the gods; genitive pl masc. -um instead of -orum is very common in poetry. Note the interlocking ABAB (gen acc gen acc) word order: VERY common in poetry: “saevae memorem Iūnōnis ob īram” ob: on account of, because of memorem: the remembering, mindful of, not forgetting, vindictive; literally describing “iram” but the idea is that it’s describing Juno īram: wrath, anger, rage. An allusion to the wrath of Achilles in the Iliad and of Poseidon towards Odysseus in the Odyssey. saevae: of fierce, wrathful, furious, bitter Iūnōnis: (of) Juno quoque: also, as well, too passus: (ille) having suffered, endured, undergone, borne; perfect deponent participle multa: many things et: also, even bellō: in war; ablative; referring to the battles he had after arriving in Italy. dum: until + subjunctive conderet: he founded, established;imperfect subj urbem: a city; i.e. Lavinium inferret: brought to, carried; imperfect subj. deōs: his ancestral gods, penates, guardian deities carried from burning Troy Latiō: to Latium, an area in Italy in which Rome was situated, ruled by King Latinus; dative of direction after “inferret” = ad/in Latium. unde (est): whence is, from which (is/comes) Latīnum: the Latin; nom sing neuter genus: race, people, nation; origin, lineage; nom sing neut. Albānī: the Alban; referrring to Alba Longa, the mother city of Rome, built by Ascanius, son of Aeneas. patrēs: fathers, forefathers atque: and also moenia: the defensive walls, ramparts, city walls altae: of lofty, high, great, noble; can refer to Rome being built on seven high hills and also its power and prestige Rōmae: (of) Rome. Note the emphatic position at the end of the line and sentence. Pronunciation: aRma vi’ruNGque canō, trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīsī’talia(m) fātō ‘profugus lā.’vīn.ia.que vēnit‘lītora, mult(um) iL.L(e) et teRRīs iac’tātus et altōvī ‘superu(m), saevae ‘memore(m) iū’nōnis ob īra(m),multa quoqu(e) et beL.Lō paS.Sus, duNG ‘conderet uRbe(m)    i(n)feR’Retque deōs ‘latiō, genus unde la’tīnu(m)albā’nīque patrēs atqu(e) altae ‘moenia rōmae. Meter: Dactylic Hexameter Ārmă vĭrūmquĕ cănō, || Trōiaē quī prīmŭs ăb ōrīs Ītălĭām fātō || prŏfŭgūs Lāvīniăquĕ vēnĭt lītŏră, mūltum īlle ēt || tērrīs iāctātŭs ĕt āltō vī sŭpĕrūm, saēvaē || mĕmŏrēm Iūnōnĭs ŏb īrăm, mūltă quŏque ēt bēllō || pāssūs, dūm cōndĕrĕt ūrbĕm īnfērrētquĕ dĕōs || Lătĭō; gĕnŭs ūndĕ Lătīnŭm Ālbānīquĕ pătrēs || ātque āltaē moēnĭă Rōmaē.

301 views • Apr 2, 2024


CATULLUS Poem 79: Lesbius est pulcher. Quid nī? Quem Lesbia mālit quam tē; Latin & English

Catullus 79 is addressed to “Lesbius”, who we assume is the brother of Lesbia/Clodia. #catullus #latinpoetry #latinpronunciation Lesbius: the masculine version of “Lesbia”, Catullus’ name for his beloved Clodia. “Lesbius” is her colorful, notorious younger brother, Publius Clodius Pulcher. He was accused of incest with both of his sisters, and his brother-in-law divorced his sister because of this. He dressed as a woman and entered the women-only rites of the goddess Bona Dea, allegedly with the intention of seducing Caesar’s wife Pompeia, whom Caesar divorced because of the scandal. He was acquitted of this capital offense by his friend Crassus’ bribing the jurors. He belonged to one of the most important “patrician” families in Rome, and his daughter was the first wife of the emperor Augustus. est: is pulcher: pretty; nominative sing masc. This is a pun on his family name, Pulcher, as well as his good looks. But this is not a normal adjective used for an adult male, and it has been argued (J.L. Butrica “Clodius the Pulcher in Catullus and Cicero”) that it would imply an unmanly character, especially since it was known that he has dressed as a woman. Quid: why nī: not? Quem: whom Lesbia: Clodia, whom Catullus loved. He used “Lesbia” as an allusion to Sappho, whom he greatly admired. But at the time of this poem their affair had ended, or was “on the rocks”. mālit: would prefer, would rather have; present subjunctive. Catullus seems to be suggesting an incestuous relationship. quam: more than, rather than, over tē: you cum: with tuā: your tōtā: entire gente: clan, family, people. Clodia and her brother belonged to the aristocratic “gens Julia”; Catullus suggest that she may have lost interest in him because of his less-illustrious family, the Valerii, and perhaps because he was less attractive than her brother and other lovers. Catulle: vocative. Sed: but tamen: for all that, nevertheless, however, still hic: this; nom sing masc. pulcher: “pretty boy”, handsome fellow. Subject of vendat. vēndat: would sell off; let him sell (into slavery), betray for money, sell all one’s possessions; subjunctive. Probably a reference to how dangerous Clodius could be towards an enemy; as Tribune of the Plebs he took revenge on Cicero and King Ptolemy of Cyprus by confiscating and selling off their assets. Catullum: Catullus cum: along with gente: his family, clan sī: if reppererit: he will have found, might be able to find; either future perfect or perfect subjunctive, suggesting that it’s very unlikely. (reperio) tria: (even) three; acc pl neut. sāvia: kisses, greetings with a kiss; the normal form of greeting among elite Roman men. nōtōrum: of acquaintances. His reputation is so bad that he won’t be able to find even three decent people willing to kiss him socially. In order to harm Catullus and his family, Clodius would need the support of many of the elite in Rome, which Catullus imagines is unlikely. Stress/Accent: (for words with 3 or more syllables) LESbius est pulcher. Quid nī? Quem LESbia mālit      quam tē cum tōtā gente, caTULle, tuā. Sed tamen hic pulcher vēndat cum gente caTULlum,      sī tria nōTŌrum SĀvia repPErerit. Pronunciation: ‘leSbius est pulcheR. quid nī? que(m) ‘leSbia mālit      quaN tē cuN tōtā gente, ca’tuLLe, tuā. sed tamen hic pulcheR vēndat cuNG gente ca’tuLLu(m),      sī tria nō’tōru(m) ‘sāvia reP’Pererit. Meter: Elegiac Couplets Lēsbĭŭs ēst pūlchēr. || Quīd nī? Quēm Lēsbĭă mālīt quām tē cūm tōtā | gēntĕ Cătūllĕ tŭā. Sēd tămĕn hīc pūlchēr || vēndāt cūm gēntĕ Cătūllūm sī trĭă nōtōrūm || sāvĭă rēppĕrĕrīt.

257 views • Mar 24, 2024


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