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Humanities LibreTexts 3.527–37

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    dicta fides sequitur, responsaque vatis aguntur.
    Liber adest, festisque fremunt ululatibus agri:
    turba ruit, mixtaeque viris matresque nurusque
    vulgusque proceresque ignota ad sacra feruntur.                             530
    ‘Quis furor, anguigenae, proles Mavortia, vestras
    attonuit mentes?’ Pentheus ait; ‘aerane tantum
    aere repulsa valent et adunco tibia cornu
    et magicae fraudes, ut, quos non bellicus ensis,
    non tuba terruerit, non strictis agmina telis,                                    535
    femineae voces et mota insania vino
    obscenique greges et inania tympana vincant?

    Study Questions

    • Parse dicta.
    • Who is Liber?
    • What is the subject of fremunt (528)? What is the effect of its placement in the sentence?
    • Sort out what each of the five -que in 529–30 (festisque, mixtaeque, matresque, nurusque, vulgusque, proceresque) links. Which one is technically speaking superfluous? Why does Ovid use it nevertheless?
    • What is the case of anguigenae and proles Mavortia (531)?
    • Identify the three subjects of valent (the main verb of the sentence) (533).
    • What type of clause does ut (534) introduce?
    • What is the antecedent of the relative pronoun quos?
    • Identify the three subjects of terruerit (the verb of the relative clause introduced by quos) (535).
    • Identify the four subjects of vincant (the verb of the ut-clause) (537).

    Stylistic Appreciation

    • How does Ovid bring out stylistically the Dionysiac spirit that has gripped the inhabitants of Thebes in 527–30? (Include consideration of the use of the connective -que.)
    • Analyze the overall design of Pentheus’ rhetorical question aerane … vincant? (532–37).

    Discussion Points

    • Why is Pentheus so upset about the behaviour of his subjects? To what does he object specifically?
    • Discuss the role of gender in Pentheus’ rhetoric.
    • What ‘character type’ does Pentheus conform to? Can you think of contemporary public figures who exhibit similar traits?
    Liber, -eri, m. Bacchus
    festus, -a, -um festive, merry
    (cf. dies festus a holiday observed in honour of a god)
    fremo, -ere, -ui, -itum to rumble, roar, hum, buzz
    ululatus, -us, m. drawn-out cries, howling, yelling
    ruo, -ere, -i to rush
    misceo, -ere, -ui, mixtum to mix, blend, mingle, confound
    nurus, -us, f. daughter-in-law
    (here: in poetry, usually in plural) young (married) woman
    proceres, -um, m. pl. the leading men of a country
    anguigena, -ae, m. [anguis + genus] offspring of a serpent or dragon
    Mavortius, -a, -um of or belonging to Mars, warlike
    attono, -are, -ui, -itum to strike with lightening, drive crazy
    aes, aeris, n copper, bronze, brass
    (musical) instrument made thereof
    tantum (adverbial use of the acc. of tantus) to such an extent/ degree
    repello, -ere, reppuli, repulsum to drive back, repel, repulse
    aduncus, -a, -um hooked, curved
    tibia, -ae, f. pipe
    (cf. tibia curva a pipe with a curved end, associated with Eastern religious rites)
    cornu, -us, n horn
    fraus, -dis, f. mischief, crime, deceit, trickery
    ensis, -is, m. sword
    stringo, -ngere, -nxi, -ctum to bind fast, secure; draw tight; scratch (here) to bare, unsheathe
    insania, -ae, f madness, frenzy, folly
    obscenus, -a, -um disgusting, filthy, loathsome, lewd
    grex, -egis m. flock, herd, band, troop
    inanis, -is, -e empty, hollow
    tympanum, -i, n. percussive instrument, drum 3.527–37 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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