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Humanities LibreTexts 3.582–91

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    ille metu vacuus ‘nomen mihi’ dixit ‘Acoetes,
    patria Maeonia est, humili de plebe parentes.
    non mihi quae duri colerent pater arva iuvenci,
    lanigerosve greges, non ulla armenta reliquit;                                     585
    pauper et ipse fuit linoque solebat et hamis
    decipere et calamo salientis ducere pisces.
    ars illi sua census erat; cum traderet artem,
    ‘accipe, quas habeo, studii successor et heres’,
    dixit ‘opes’, moriensque mihi nihil ille reliquit                                       590
    praeter aquas: unum hoc possum appellare paternum.

    Study Questions

    • What kind of ablative is metu (582)?
    • Lines 584–85 jumble a main clause and a relative clause: rewrite in standard prose order.
    • What is the antecedent of the relative pronoun quae (584)?
    • Identify the subject and the object of colerent (584)
    • What is the mood of colerent (584) and why?
    • Identify the subject and the (three) accusative objects of reliquit (585).
    • What is the direct object of decipere (587)?
    • Parse salientis (587). What noun does it agree with?
    • What kind of dative is illi (588)?
    • What is the accusative object of accipe and the antecedent of quas (589)?

    Stylistic Appreciation

    Discuss the devices by which Acoetes manages to take nine lines to say ‘my parents were poor and I inherited nothing’. Can you detect touches of irony, more specifically formulations reminiscent of elevated epic style that are here used to express the unremarkable and the everyday?

    Discussion Points

    • What do you make of the presence of words such as plebs (583) and census (588) that evoke the political culture of republican and early imperial Rome?
    • What might make you wonder if this sounds like Bacchus, god and metonymy of wine, talking?
    Maeonia, -ae, f Lydia
    Etruria (because the Etruscans were said to be descended from the Lydians)
    humilis, -is, -e low, base, humble, obscure, poor
    plebs, -bis, f the common people, lower class
    iuvencus, -i, m a young bullock
    laniger, -gera, -gerum wool-bearing, fleecy
    grex, gregis, m. flock, herd; troop, band
    armentum, -i, n. cattle for ploughing
    pauper, paupera, pauperum poor
    linum, -i, n. thread, rope, cable; net
    hamus, -i, m. hook
    decipio, -ere, -cepi, -ceptum to catch, ensnare, entrap, beguile
    calamus, -i, m. reed; object made thereof, such as: fishing-rod
    salio, -ire, salui to leap, spring, bound
    piscis, -is, m. fish
    census, -us, m. a registering and rating of Roman citizens or property
    hence: wealth, riches, property
    trado, -ere, tradidi, traditum to hand over, transmit, betray, surrender
    heres, heredis heir, heiress
    ops, opis, f. power, might; property, wealth; help
    appello, -are, -avi, -atum to drive toward, accost
    to address, speak to, call upon
    *to call, term, entitle, declare
    paternus, -a, -um belonging to a father, paternal 3.582–91 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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