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Humanities LibreTexts 3.538–50

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    vosne, senes, mirer, qui longa per aequora vecti
    hac Tyron, hac profugos posuistis sede penates,
    nunc sinitis sine Marte capi? vosne, acrior aetas,                         540
    o iuvenes, propiorque meae, quos arma tenere,
    non thyrsos, galeaque tegi, non fronde decebat?
    este, precor, memores, qua sitis stirpe creati,
    illiusque animos, qui multos perdidit unus,
    sumite serpentis! pro fontibus ille lacuque                                  545
    interiit: at vos pro fama vincite vestra!
    ille dedit leto fortes: vos pellite molles
    et patrium retinete decus! si fata vetabant
    stare diu Thebas, utinam tormenta virique
    moenia diruerent, ferrumque ignisque sonarent!                         550

    Study Questions

    • What case is senes (538)?
    • Identify and explain the mood of mirer (538).
    • What noun do the demonstrative adjectives hac — hac (539) modify?
    • What construction does sinitis (540) introduce and what part of it has been omitted (and needs to be supplied mentally)?
    • Explain the case of meae. What noun has to be supplied mentally after meae?
    • What is the antecedent of quos (541)? Why is quos in the accusative?
    • Parse este (543).
    • Identify and explain the mood of sitis … creati (543).
    • What noun does illius (544) modify?
    • What does the -que after illius (544) link?
    • On what noun does the genitive serpentis (545) depend?
    • What does the -que after lacu (545) link?
    • Parse vos (546).
    • What kind of conditional sequence does si (548) introduce? (Note: the combination imperfect indicative (vetabant) in the protasis + imperfect subjunctive (diruerent, sonarent) in the apodosis does not easily match onto any type you will find in grammars.)
    • Explain the form of Thebas (549).
    veho, -here, -xi, -ctum
    here passive in middle sense
    to convey, carry
    to travel, sail, ride
    Tyros, i, f Tyre (a city on the Phoenician coast)
    profugus, -a, -um fugitive, exiled
    penates, -ium, m. pl. tutelary divinities of the household
    acer, acris, acre sharp, fierce, vigorous, energetic
    thyrsus, -i, m. a wand crowned with ivy used in the worship of Bacchus
    galea, -ae, f. a soldier’s helmet
    frons, frondis, f. foliage, leafy boughs, garlands
    memor, -oris (adjective) mindful
    fons, -ntis, m. spring, well, fountain
    lacus, -us, m lake, pond, pool
    intereo, -ire, -ii, -itum to die, perish
    decus, -oris, n. high esteem, honour, glory
    patrius, -a, -um of/belonging to a father, ancestral, native
    Thebae, -arum, f. pl. Thebes
    tormentum, -i, n. rope, catapult; torture, agony
    diruo, -ere, -i, -tum to demolish, wreck

    Stylistic Appreciation

    Analyze the rhetorical techniques Pentheus uses in his appeal to the Thebans. Are they effective?

    Discussion Points

    • What other epic famously features exiles who sailed across the sea with their tutelary household divinities? Are the parallels significant?
    • What do you make of the fact that Pentheus upholds the murderous dragon of Mars who killed off most of the companions of his grandfather Cadmus upon his arrival at the future site of Thebes (see Met. 3.1–49) as a positive role-model? 3.538–50 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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