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Humanities LibreTexts 3.676–86

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    at Libys obstantis dum vult obvertere remos,
    in spatium resilire manus breve vidit et illas
    iam non posse manus, iam pinnas posse vocari.
    alter ad intortos cupiens dare bracchia funes
    bracchia non habuit truncoque repandus in undas                          680
    corpore desiluit: falcata novissima cauda est,
    qualia dividuae sinuantur cornua lunae.
    undique dant saltus multaque adspergine rorant
    emerguntque iterum redeuntque sub aequora rursus
    inque chori ludunt speciem lascivaque iactant                                 685
    corpora et acceptum patulis mare naribus efflant.

    Study Questions

    • Parse and scan obstantis (676). What noun does it modify? How does metre reinforce meaning?
    • Parse manus (677) and explain its syntactical function in the sentence.
    • What noun does the attribute breve (677) agree with?
    • What construction does vidit (677) introduce?
    • What noun does the attribute dividuae (682) modify?
    • Parse saltus (683).
    • On what noun does the genitive chori (685) depend?

    Stylistic Appreciation

    • Discuss the ways in which Ovid represents the disappearance of human anatomy — and the appearance of dolphinesque features.
    • How do lines 683–86 enact the frolicking of dolphins in the sea?

    Discussion Points

    Has the transformation into dolphins also altered the character of the sailors?

    obverto, -ere, -ti, -sum to turn towards/ against; direct towards
    resilio, -ire, -ui (-ii) to jump back, rebound, shrink
    penna, ae f. / pinna, ae f. feather, wing; fin
    intorqueo, -ere, -torsi, -tortum to twist, turn round; brandish, hurl
    intortus, -a, -um twisted (made by twisting)
    involved, entwined
    bracchium, -ii, n. arm, forearm (from hand to elbow)
    funis, -is, m. rope
    truncus, -a, -um maimed, mutilated, disfigured
    repandus, -a, -um bent backwards, turned up
    falcatus, -a, -um [from falx: sickle] armed with scythes; sickle-shaped, curved
    cauda, -ae, f. tail
    dividuus, -a, -um divided, separated; with luna: half-moon
    sinuo, -are, -avi, -atum to bend, wind, curve
    roro, -are, -avi, -atum [ros + o] (intr.) to shed moisture, to drizzle
    aspergo, -ginis f. action of sprinkling; what is sprinkled
    here: spraying
    rursus (adverb) back again, again
    chorus, -i, m. dance; chorus
    species, -ei, f. sight, appearance
    in speciem so as to give an appearance/ impression
    lascivus, -a, -um playful, frisky, frolicsome; mischievous
    patulus, -a, -um wide-open, gaping
    accipio, -ere, accepi, acceptum to take, receive
    efflo, -are, -avi, -atum to blow out, breathe out 3.676–86 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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