Textkit Logo

Ovid, Metam., book vii, lines 394 ff.

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.

Ovid, Metam., book vii, lines 394 ff.

Postby hlawson38 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:37 pm

I'm having trouble with a pronoun, and some meanings. The passage seems to expect reader familiarity with the details of the Medea & Jason story.

Sed postquam Colchis arsit nova nupta venenis, [line 394]
flagrantemque domum regis mare vidit utrumque,
sanguine natorum perfunditur impius ensis,
ultaque se male mater Iasonis effugit arma.

But after the new bride burned with Colchian poisons
and either sea witnessed the palace of the king burning
her unholy sword was drenched in the bood of her sons
and she [ Medea] wickedly fled the avenging sword of Jason.

l. 394: "nova nupta": is this Glauce, for whom Jason abandoned Medea,?

l. 395: mare . . . utrumque: the place is Corinth, located on a narrow isthmus, so the allusion is to the seas on either side of Corinth's location?

l. 396: a reference to events also treated in the Medea of Euripides, Medea's murder of her & Jason's children, to punish Jason's taking up with Glauce?

l. 397: the pronoun "se". I don't understand its grammatical purpose. Is this meant to remind the reader that Medea is the subject? I must have missed a clue.
hlawson38
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:38 am

Re: Ovid, Metam., book vii, lines 394 ff.

Postby mwh » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:49 pm

Yes yes and yes.
se with ulta, used reflexively: having avenged herself. male either with this ("the mother who had wickedly avenged herself") or (better, if grammar allows) with mater: a mother who kills her children hardly deserves the name.
mwh
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2764
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Ovid, Metam., book vii, lines 394 ff.

Postby hlawson38 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:30 pm

mwh wrote:Yes yes and yes.
se with ulta, used reflexively: having avenged herself. male either with this ("the mother who had wickedly avenged herself") or (better, if grammar allows) with mater: a mother who kills her children hardly deserves the name.


"ulta se", of course! I see it now; ulta is a _perfect_ participle. Medea has already avenged herself. Somehow I misread "ulta" to modify "arma".
hlawson38
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:38 am

Re: Ovid, Metam., book vii, lines 394 ff.

Postby Qimmik » Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:28 am

This is typical of Ovid. He passes over the most famous aspects of the story in a few densely allusive lines and instead develops less well-known aspects with astonishingly prolific poetic imagination. For example, Medea's rejuvenation of Aeson, and especially her sinister supernatural activities collecting herbs and plants (7.158-293), or her long soliloquy (7.11-71) attempting resolve the conflict between her love for Jason and her loyalty to her father and her country (this is one of several such episodes in which women succumb to passions that conflict with social norms or normative loyalties--Medea's famous lines: video meliora proboque/deteriora sequor--in other words, I know better but I just can't help it). This is a characteristic ploy of Hellenistic poetry following Callimachus--avoiding the obvious and the well-worn, and focusing instead on the obscure.

The four lines of 7.394 ff. illustrate some of Ovid's techniques of allusion--everyone knows the story from the famous tragedy of Euripides.

Colchis arsit nova nupta venenis "the new bride burned in Colchian poisons" Medea is from Colchis; she has poisoned Glauce, but neither Glauce nor Medea is mentioned by name.

flagrantemque domum regis mare vidit utrumque, "both seas saw the burning palace of the king" As you recognize, Corinth is identified not by name but by the reference to two seas, situated as it is on the Isthmus.

sanguine natorum perfunditur impius ensis "the impious sword is drenched in the blood of children" -- the story of Medea's murder of her children by Jason: the climax of Euripides' tragedy encapsulated in a single line that doesn't mention any party by name but instead focuses on an inanimate object, the blood-drenched sword.

ultaque se male mater Iasonis effugit arma --- here we have Jason mentioned by name, but still not Medea.

The whole Euripidean tragedy is laid out in four lines that simply connect the previous episode to the next without even mentioning Medea by name.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2090
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Ovid, Metam., book vii, lines 394 ff.

Postby hlawson38 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:50 am

Thanks to mwh for clearing up my confusion about "ulta se", and to Qimmik for the explication of Ovid's allusions.
hlawson38
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:38 am


Return to Learning Latin