Dear Maria,

Please help me understand following sentences below (Ars Amatoria 1).  

Quid, modo cum belli navalis imagine Caesar
Persidas induxit Cecropiasque rates?(171-172)
1) What's the meaning of 'quid' here?
2) Please advise rest of the declension of 'Persis, Persidis'.

quam multos advena torsit amor!(176)
1) advena, adj. or noun? what's the case?

nunc, oriens ultime, noster eris. (178)
1) ultime is adverb here?

Signaque barbaricas non bene passa manus.
1) passa is plural vocative neuter perfect participle agreeing with signa?

Thank you.


Dear John,

1. In “Quid, modo cum belli navalis imagine Caesar / Persidas induxit Cecropiasque rates?"( Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1, 171-172) the meaning of  the neuter interrogative 'quid'  is “what? or “what  do I say?” as an expression of wonder that refers to “modo cum belli navalis imagine Caesar / Persidas induxit Cecropiasque rates” literally  meaning :
” What do I say (QUID) [ about what happened] when (CUM)  a little while ago (MODO) Caesar arrayed (INDUXIT) Persian (PERSIDAS) and Greek ( CECROPIASQUE ) boats (RATES) as a representation/imitation ( IMAGINE. Ablative of Means) of a naval (NAVALIS) war  (BELLI)?".

As for the rest of the declension of 'Persis, Persidis', here it is:genitive sing. Persidis or Persidos; dative sing. :Persidi (obsolete) ; accusative sing. :Persida or Persidem; vocative:Persis; ablative : Perside”(obsolete).  
In the plural this  Greek noun of the 3rd.declension has only the nominative "Persides" and the accusative "Persidas".
Note that many nouns originally Greek (mostly proper names) retain Greek forms of inflection.

2.In “quam multos advena torsit amor!"(176) “advena” (nominative singular.1st declension) is used as an adjective, so that the line means:
”how many  persons (QUAM MULTOS.Direct object) a foreign (ADVENA used as an adjective that modifies AMOR.Nominative) love (AMOR) tormented (TORSIT)”,  in the sense  that many persons fell in love for a foreign maiden/ boy”.

Note that ADVENA can be either a noun (a foreigner, stranger)  and an adjective (foreign).

3. In “nunc, oriens ultime, noster eris" (178) “ultime”  is a vocative singular of the superlative “ultimus” agreeing with “oriens”, i.e.:
“now (NUNC) , o extreme/  furthest (ULTIME) Orient /East (Oriens), you will be (ERIS)  our (NOSTER) ”

4. In “Signaque barbaricas non bene passa manus”(180)  “passa” is the neuter  plural perfect participle  of PATIOR  agreeing with “signa” as a vocative case,  so that  “Crassi gaudete sepulti, / Signaque barbaricas non bene passa manus” literally means:
”Rejoice  (GAUDETE), o buried (SEPULTI, perfect participle, vocative plural) [soldiers] of Crassus (CRASSI), and [you] military standards (SIGNAQUE) having  suffered (PASSA.vocative neuter  plural perfect participle )not well (NON BENE) barbarous(BARBARICAS, feminine plural adj. agreeing with MANUS) hands (MANUS. acc.plural, 4th declension)”.

It is a reference to the triumvir Crassus and his ignominious  defeat and death at Carrhae (53 BC)in the war with the Parthians  who seized the Roman military standards.

Best regards,



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