quid dixit aut quid tacuit? 'ō
, silentium regis,
nunc, nunc adeste, nunc in domōs
latent silvīs ferae
senem, omnēs ,
Operatives, in the past you have seen several different uses for both the accusative and the ablative case.
Most often you have seen the accusative as either the object of a transitive verb or as the object of a preposition. Consider the following:
Recentia Clodia canem videt.
Recentia Clodia sees the dog.
Recentia Clodia ad canem ambulat.
Recentia Clodia walks towards the dog.
Now consider this new use of the accusative:
duās horās Recentia Clodia ludit.
Recentia Clodia plays for two hours.
nonās annōs Recentia Clodia Romae habitavit.
Recentia Clodia lived at Rome for nine years.
In both examples the boldfaced words indicate the extent or duration of time in which some action took place. In Latin, this notion of time how long is achieved by using the accusative case with no preposition.
Operatives, in addition to the accusative of time, there is also an ablative of time. While the accusative of time describes the extent or duration of time, the ablative of time describes the time when an action took place. Obviously, because it is called the ablative of time, it uses the ablative case. However, unlike many other constructions you have seen with the ablative, this ablative construction does not use a preposition. Consider the following examples which employ the ablative of time:
quintō diē Clodia ad Graeciam profecta est.
On the fifth day, Clodia set out to Greece.
duodecimō horā ad forum advenit.
At the twelfth hour he arrived at the forum.
Notice, operatives, how the two different time constructions are translated. The accusative of time translates best as "for an amount of time" whereas the ablative of time best translates as "on or at a certain time."
Epode V – The Witch's Incantation
'By all the heavenly gods that rule the world,
And command the human race,
What does this hubbub mean, and all these savage
Faces, turned towards me alone?
By your children, if Lucina came when called
To assist at their proper birth,
By these worthless rags of purple clothing, I pray,
By Jupiter who will condemn this,
Tell me why you gaze at me like my stepmother,
Or a beast pursued by the spears?'
When the lad, who lamented with trembling lips
Stood silent, stripped of a boy's insignia,
His youthful body such a one as might soften
The impious hearts of Thracians:
Canidia, those blunt vipers entangled
In her head of dishevelled hair,
Ordered wild fig-trees, ripped from the sepulchres,
With funereal cypresses,
With the feathers and eggs of nocturnal screech-owls
All smeared with the blood of vile toads,
With herbs that Iolchos and Iberia, fertile
In poisons nurture for us,
And bones snatched from the jaws of a hungry bitch,
All to be burnt in Colchian flames.
Meanwhile eager Sagana, sprinkled water
From Avernus all through the house,
Hair fierce and bristling, like a spiny sea-urchin,
Or like a wild-boar in the chase.
And Veia, unrestrained by sign of conscience,
Was digging the earth, with a sturdy
Mattock, while groaning hard over her labours,
So the lad, buried to his neck,
His face showing like a swimmer's, chin touching
The surface of the water,
Might die staring at food, brought and taken away
Two or three times each endless day:
This so his marrow and liver, extracted, then
Dried, might form a love potion,
When his eyeballs, fixed on the meal he was denied,
Had shrivelled all to nothingness.
Idle Naples, and every neighbouring town,
Believed that the mannish wanton,
Folia of Ariminium was also
Present as one of that number,
Who spirits away the stars with Thessalian
Charms, and steals the moon from the sky.
Then savage Canidia, gnawing a long nail
With livid tooth, what did she say
What did she not say? 'Oh, faithful witnesses
Of my actions, you, Night,
And you, Diana, who are the queen of silence,
Where our secret rites are performed,
Now, aid me now, now, turn your anger and power
Against the houses of my foes!
While wild beasts lie in the fearsome woods,
Wrapped in the sweetest slumber,
Let Subura's dogs bark at the old adulterer,
He whom everyone laughs at,
Who's smeared with the ointment that my hands prepared,
And never more perfectly.
What happened? Why have barbarous Medea's dire
Potions failed to work, those with which
She took vengeance on that proud paramour, great
Creon's daughter, then fleeing,
When the gift of a robe steeped in poisoned blood,
Engulfed the new-made bride in flames?
And yet no root or herb that may grow secretly
In wild places eluded me.
He is sleeping there between perfumed sheets
Forgetful of mistresses.
Alas! He walks at liberty, freed by the charms
Of some clever enchantress!
O Varus, doomed to a life heavy with weeping,
By use of no common potion
Will you return to me, nor will your devotion
Be revived by Marsian spells.
I'll prepare something stronger, a stronger dose I'll pour,
That will counter your disdain,
And sooner shall the sky sink under the sea,
With all the earth spread over both,
Than you not burn with passion for me, just like
Bitumen with its smoky flame.'
Hearing this the boy no longer tried, as before,
To mollify the impious,
But uncertain how best to break the silence,
Uttered Thyestean curses:
'Your magic spells can't alter right and wrong, or
Avert human retribution.
I'll pursue you with terrors: no sacrifice
Will expiate my dark threats.
Even when, doomed to death, I expire, I'll come
To you as a Fury by night,
A shadow whose crooked claws will tear your faces
With the Manes' divine power,
And settling myself in your unquiet hearts,
I'll drive sleep out with terror.
The crowd will crush you, obscene old hags, pelting you
With stones from every side:
And then the wolves and birds of the Esquiline,
Will scatter your unburied limbs,
And my parents, who will alas survive me, shall
Not miss a moment of that sight.
CULTURALIA Comprehension Questions
Directions: Using the CULTURALIA section of your CODEX as a guide, answer the following questions:
1. Where is the Roman Subura located?
2. Briefly describe the Subura; the people who lived there, the type of housing, the type of activities.
3. In what ways was the Subura a cultural crossroads in Rome?
4. Who is arguably the most famous former resident of the Subura?
1. Why would the fabrication of poison be closely associated with magic and witchcraft?
2. Why would the Subura be a location associated with witchcraft in Rome? Can you think of modern parallels?
3. What are some of the themes in Horace's Epode V concerning the art of magic and witchcraft?