Archives for November, 2011


Hypermetric verses

I thought others might find it useful to have collected in one place all instances of hypermetric verses in classical Latin poetry (i.e., lines that have an ‘extra’ syllable at the end that elides with the opening vowel of the following line).

Lucilius, fragment 17. 6: (cf. Vergil, Aeneid 5. 422)

  1. … magna ossa lacertique
  2. apparent homini …

Lucretius, De rerum natura 5. 849–50:

  1. multa videmus enim rebus concurrere debere,
  2. ut propagando possint procudere saecla
Catullus, carmen 64. 298:

  1. inde pater divum sancta cum coniuge natisque
  2. advenit caelo, te solum, Phoebe, relinquens

Catullus, carmen 115. 5:

  1. prata arva ingentes silvas saltusque paludesque
  2. usque ad Hyperboreos et mare ad Oceanum?
Horace, Satires 1. 4. 96:

  1. me Capitolinus convictore usus amicoque
  2. a puero est causaque mea permulta rogatus

Horace, Satires 1. 6. 102:

  1. et comes alter, uti ne solus rusve peregreve
  2. exirem, plures calones atque caballi
Vergil, Georgics 1. 295:

  1. aut dulcis musti Volcano decoquit umorem
  2. et foliis undam trepidi despumat aeni.

Vergil, Georgics 2. 69:

  1. inseritur vero et fetu nucis arbutus horrida,
  2. et steriles platani malos gessere valentis,
Vergil, Georgics 2. 344:

  1. si non tanta quies iret frigusque caloremque
  2. inter, et exciperet caeli indulgentia terras.

Vergil, Georgics 2. 443:

  1. navigiis pinus, domibus cedrumque cupressosque;
  2. hinc radios trivere rotis, hinc tympana plaustris
Vergil, Georgics 3. 242:

  1. Omne adeo genus in terris hominumque ferarumque
  2. et genus aequoreum, pecudes pictaeque volucres,

Vergil, Georgics 3. 377:

  1. otia agunt terra, congestaque robora totasque
  2. advolvere focis ulmos ignique dedere.
Vergil, Georgics 3. 449:

  1. et spumas miscent argenti vivaque sulpura
  2. Idaeasque pices et pinguis unguine ceras

Vergil, Aeneid 1. 332:

  1. iactemur, doceas. Ignari hominumque locorumque
  2. erramus, vento huc vastis et fluctibus acti
Vergil, Aeneid 1. 448:

  1. aerea cui gradibus surgebant limina, nexaeque
  2. aere trabes, foribus cardo stridebat aenis.

Vergil, Aeneid 2. 745:

  1. quem non incusavi amens hominumque deorumque,
  2. aut quid in eversa vidi crudelius urbe?
Vergil, Aeneid 4. 558:

  1. omnia Mercurio similis, vocemque coloremque
  2. et crinis flavos et membra decora iuventa

Vergil, Aeneid 4. 629:

  1. imprecor, arma armis: pugnent ipsique nepotesque.
  2. Haec ait, et partis animum versabat in omnis
Vergil, Aeneid 5. 422:

  1. et magnos membrorum artus, magna ossa lacertosque
  2. exuit atque ingens media consistit harena.

Vergil, Aeneid 5. 753:

  1. robora navigiis, aptant remosque rudentisque,
  2. exigui numero, sed bello vivida virtus.
Vergil, Aeneid 6. 602:

  1. quos super atra silex iam iam lapsura cadentique
  2. imminet adsimilis; lucent genialibus altis

Vergil, Aeneid 7. 160:

  1. iamque iter emensi turris ac tecta Latinorum
  2. ardua cernebant iuvenes muroque subibant.
Vergil, Aeneid 7. 470:

  1. se satis ambobus Teucrisque venire Latinisque.
  2. haec ubi dicta dedit divosque in vota vocavit

Vergil, Aeneid 8. 228:

  1. ecce furens animis aderat Tirynthius omnemque
  2. accessum lustrans huc ora ferebat et illuc
Vergil, Aeneid 9. 650:

  1. omnia longaevo similis vocemque coloremque
  2. et crinis albos et saeva sonoribus arma

Vergil, Aeneid 10. 781:

  1. sternitur infelix alieno vulnere, caelumque
  2. aspicit et dulcis moriens reminiscitur Argos.
Vergil, Aeneid 10. 895:

  1. clamore incendunt caelum Troesque Latinique.
  2. advolat Aeneas vaginaque eripit ensem

Vergil, Aeneid 11. 609:

  1. substiterat: subito erumpunt clamore furentisque
  2. exhortantur equos, fundunt simul undique tela
Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 11:

  1. turaque dant Bacchumque vocant Bromiumque Lyaeumque
  2. ignigenamque satumque iterum solumque bimatrem

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 780:

  1. perque vias vidisse hominum simulacra ferarumque
  2. in silicem ex ipsis visa conversa Medusa
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 507:

  1. inter seque datas iunxit natamque nepotemque
  2. absentes pro se memori rogat ore salutent

Do with that what you will. (Including, of course, correcting me if I’m wrong or missed anything.)


GapVis: Visual Interface for Reading Ancient Texts

You may know that I teach Latin in a public high school, and that my school is in the midst of a major technology push involving $2.4 million invested in MacBooks for teachers and iPads for all. Of course there’s the usual resistance — or at least disconnect — from faculty who are uncomfortable with technology. But I’ve made it a priority to find things that students can do to enrich their experience, and in my searches for iPad compatible site I was very pleasantly surprised to find GapVis.

GapVis is a product of GAP, the Google Ancient Places project, and has its roots in the HESTIA project, which focused on plotting places in Herodotus. GapVis expands on that idea by pulling texts on ancient history from Google Books and offering the reader a visualization of the places mentioned via Google Maps.

GapVis reading view

The "reading view" of the Histories of Tacitus, from GapVis.

I was so happy to find a site like this because, as any one who has read ancient history knows, without careful attention to geography, it can quickly become very difficult to follow texts with any real precision or deep understanding. Visualization is key, and is one of the reasons the Robert B. Strassler’s ‘Landmark’ series has been both so popular and so helpful.

GapVis can not yet approach what the ‘Landmark’ editions of ancient historians offer, such as carefully edited maps, scholarly appendices, and contemporary translations, but that’s not really the point. I think that what makes GapVis such a treasure is its interactive nature and its potential, even in a beta offering.

The texts are often problematic, considering the state of OCR text from scanned books that haven’t been carefully reviewed. And often places are misidentified by similarities in personal names, etc. But this can lead to productive activities for students and ensure a close reading of texts. Students may be assigned particular passages and asked to perform certain tasks, including checking the place identification and reporting problems to the GapVis team.

I think this is a tool to watch and one that has pedagogical potential even today. I’m looking forward to see where it goes.


A scholar’s riposte

Richard Porson, who — along with Bentley and Housman, makes one third of the trinity of British textual critics — was apparently as much a wit as he was a critic. And as often happens with scholar’s of famous wit, stories are told (whether true or not). I really like this one:

“Dr. Porson,” said a gentleman to the great “Grecian,” with whom he had been disputing — “Dr. Porson, my opinion of you is most contemptible.” ” Sir,” returned the doctor, ” I never knew an opinion of yours that was not contemptible.”

Oh snap!


Hector to the defenders of Troy

  1. ἀλλὰ μάχεσθ’ ἐπὶ νηυσὶν ἀολλέες· ὃς δέ κεν ὑμέων
  2. βλήμενος ἠὲ τυπεὶς θάνατον καὶ πότμον ἐπίσπῃ
  3. τεθνάτω· οὔ οἱ ἀεικὲς ἀμυνομένῳ περὶ πάτρης
  4. τεθνάμεν· ἀλλ’ ἄλοχός τε σόη καὶ παῖδες ὀπίσσω,
  5. καὶ οἶκος καὶ κλῆρος ἀκήρατος, εἴ κεν Ἀχαιοὶ
  6. οἴχωνται σὺν νηυσὶ φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν.
  7. ὣς εἰπὼν ὄτρυνε μένος καὶ θυμὸν ἑκάστου.

Therefore swarm round the ships and fight. If any of you is struck by spear or sword and loses his life, let him die; he dies with honor who dies fighting for his country; and he will leave his wife and children safe behind him, with his house and allotment unplundered if only the Achaeans can be driven back to their own land, they and their ships.”Hector Cassandra Pomarici Santomasi

With these words he put heart and soul into them all.

(Trans. A.T. Murray)


How to pronounce Latin vowels

We’ve all seen suggestions (in textbooks, vel sim.) for how to pronounce Latin vowels. We’re often given pairs of words, and depending on the text the sounds are either un-classical or unlike the sounds of our own dialect of English.

What has worked for many of my students is using disyllabic words or phrases in English, showing the qualities of both the short and long vowel sounds of Latin in that order.

A aha! [ăhā]
E bed frame [bĕdfrēm]
I Phillies [fĭlīz]
O autos [ŏdōz]
U footloose [fŭtlūs]

It works as long as you understand that it’s meant to illustrate not the quantity of syllables but the quality of vowels.
Thorvaldsen Cicero
As I alluded to in the beginning, you may find that these vowels don’t work in your dialect, but the principle holds: find short, easy, memorable words and phrases that work within the dialect used by your students, and you should see — or rather hear — better results.