Scansion of Aeneid

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tolky0001
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Scansion of Aeneid

Post by tolky0001 »

I tutor in Latin, and I am helping a student to scan lines 81-101 of the Aeneid Book One. We've been able to work through 20 of them pretty well, but there is one line about which he and I are absolutely flummoxed. It is line 95: quis ante ora patrum Troiae sub moenibus altis. I totally understand if this is verboten to help because this is a student's homework, but I am namely wondering if there's an authoritative source to help clearly lay out all the rules and exceptions as I'm just one syllable short and can't find, and I'd prefer for this not to happen in the future.

Anyway, If I could get some insights on thorny scansion lines in general, that would be great, even if it's that Virgil only got it right 99% of the time, which I think to be likely :).

Mark Hamilton
Middle School Latin Instructor
Mount Pisgah Christian School

Aetos
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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by Aetos »

tolky0001 wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:37 pm quis ante ora patrum Troiae sub moenibus altis
If you remember to elide the e in ante before ora and that a in patrum can be either long or short (the liquid makes it a common syllable), you'll get it.

The section in Allen&Greenough on Prosody is a pretty good place to start:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... ythp%3D602
There are probably newer and better guides, but this'll get you started.

tolky0001
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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by tolky0001 »

Thank you so much :). But doesn't the a in patrum have to be long by position? Are we saying that the r does not count as a consonant?

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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by Aetos »

tolky0001 wrote: Tue Mar 10, 2020 10:19 pm Thank you so much :). But doesn't the a in patrum have to be long by position? Are we saying that the r does not count as a consonant?
If you go to Allen & Greenough in the link above, check chapter 603, para. f. In a nutshell, it says when a short vowel is followed by two consonants, one a mute (in this case the t)followed by a liquid (l or r), the syllable is considered common and can be long (heavy) or short (light), so you can have pătrum or pātrum, as required by the metre; so in this case, pătrum is what's needed.
P.S. Also check A&G, chapters 7 & 11. These can give you some guidance on syllabification and syllable quantity.
P.P.S. I'm delighted to hear that Latin is being given in the middle schools!

tolky0001
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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by tolky0001 »

Aetos:

You really helped me. Yes, Latin is definitely experiencing a resurgence in the Atlanta area. Just between you and me :), Latin teachers command top dollar in Atlanta because schools are so desperate to keep them. There is a definite shortage.

Latin is also extremely successful in many charter schools and some public schools which is why I can't for the life of me see why people want to end the charter school movement. Thanks so much for all your kind words.

https://www.ajc.com/news/local-educatio ... h5NSZnViN/

Best,

Mark Hamilton

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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by Aetos »

You're most welcome! Thanks for the link to the article-encouraging news! I was very fortunate to have a high school Latin teacher who was totally committed to bringing Latin to life for her students and making it a meaningful part of our education. Sounds like your students are fortunate as well!

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Dante
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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by Dante »

you can find online a PDF of this work (e.g. Zlibrary):

Wilhelm Ott - Metrische Analysen zu Vergil Aeneis Buch I

which has the whole of Book I with scansion marked up as well as exhaustive statistical analyses

tolky0001
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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by tolky0001 »

Thank you very much!

mwh
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Re: Scansion of Aeneid

Post by mwh »

quis ante ora patrum Troiae sub moenibus altis

Dear Mark, Aetos has taken care of your problem with the first syllable of patrum, which has to be short, otherwise the line would not scan. But I’d urge you to get away from laborious syllable-by-syllable scanning of hexameters ASAP, and to learn to read the verses metrically line by line.
Here’s how to set about it. (Expertus dico.)
Read aloud a dozen or more scanned lines until you have the hexameter rhythm fixed in your head and it feels almost natural. Then continue on to lines you have not previously scanned. The trick is to aim for the main caesura, here, as usual, in the 3rd foot. (That’s within the third foot, not directly in front of it and it and not directly following it.)
So: quis ant(e) ora patrum: there’s the caesura, after patrum, right where it should be.
(Hopefully you realized that quis, as the first syllable, must be long, = quibus, dative.)
Once you’ve reached the caesura, your problems are as good as over. “sub moenibus altae” is the clausula, the closing cadence. (Note the word accents: sub MOEniibus ALtae, enhancing the clausular feel). Almost all lines end this way. In front of it we have Troiae, two long syllables, giving Troiae sub moenibus altae “beneath the walls of lofty Troy”, a self-contained phrase with typical word order.
That’s it, you’ve done it, you’re home dry, you’ve read the line metrically.
You can go back and mark the longs and shorts if you must,

Once you learn how to read hexameters properly, this particular line will not seem a problematic one at all, more an exemplary one. It falls neatly into two, breaking at the caesura in both rhythm and sense. It articulates itself, and virtually scans itself.

Don’t divorce the meter from the sense. They’re complement each other. It’s a marvelously expressive section you’re doing, and Vergil’s manipulation of the meter contributes enormously to that. It’s so much more than a matter of longs and shorts.

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