Amores 1.7

Adde manūs in vincla meās (meruēre catēnās),

dum furor omnis abit, sī quis amīcus ades:

nam furor in dominam temerāria bracchia mōvit;

flet mea vēsānā laesa puella manū.

tunc ego vel cārōs potuī violāre parentēs5

saeva vel in sānctōs verbera ferre deōs.

quid? nōn et clipeī dominus septemplicis Aiax

strāvit dēprēnsōs lāta per arva gregēs,

et vindex in mātre patris, malus ultor, Orestēs

ausus in arcānās poscere tēla deās?10

ergō ego dīgestōs potuī laniāre capillōs?

nec dominam mōtae dēdecuēre comae:

sīc fōrmōsa fuit; tālem Schoenēida dīcam

Maenaliās arcū sollicitāsse ferās;

tālis periūrī prōmissaque vēlaque Thēsei15

flēvit praecipitēs Crēssa tulisse Notōs;

sīc, nisi vittātīs quod erat, Cassandra, capillīs,

prōcubuit templō, casta Minerva, tuō.

quis mihi nōn 'dēmēns,' quis nōn mihi 'barbare' dīxit?

ipsa nihil: pavidō est lingua retenta metū.20

sed tacitī fēcēre tamen convīcia vultūs;

ēgit mē lacrimīs ōre silente reum.

ante meōs umerīs vellem cecidisse lacertōs;

ūtilius potuī parte carēre meī:

in mea vēsānās habuī dispendia vīrēs25

et valuī, poenam fortis in ipse meam.

quid mihi vōbīscum, caedis scelerumque ministrae?

dēbita sacrilegae vincla subīte manūs.

an, sī pulsāssem minimum dē plēbe Quirītem,

plecterer: in dominam iūs mihi māius erit?30

pessima Tȳdīdēs scelerum monimenta relīquit:

ille deam prīmus perculit; alter ego.

et minus ille nocēns: mihi quam profitēbar amāre

laesa est; Tȳdīdēs saevus in hoste fuit.

ī nunc, magnificōs victor mōlīre triumphōs,35

cinge comam laurō vōtaque redde Iovī,

quaeque tuōs currūs comitantum turba sequētur,

clāmet 'iō, fortī victa puella virō est!'

ante eat effūsō trīstis captīva capillō,

sī sinerent laesae, candida tōta, genae.40

aptius impressīs fuerat līvēre labellīs

et collum blandī dentis habēre notam.

dēnique sī tumidī rītū torrentis agēbar

caecaque mē praedam fēcerat īra suam,

nōnne satis fuerat timidae inclāmāsse puellae45

nec nimium rigidās intonuisse minās

aut tunicam ā summā dīdūcere turpiter ōrā

ad mediam (mediae zōna tulisset opem)?

at nunc sustinuī raptīs ā fronte capillīs

ferreus ingenuās ungue notāre genās.50

astitit illa āmēns albō et sine sanguine vultū,

caeduntur Pariīs quālia saxa iugīs;

exanimēs artūs et membra trementia vīdī,

ut cum pōpuleās ventilat aura comās,

ut lēnī Zephyrō gracilis vibrātur harundō55

summave cum tepidō stringitur unda Notō;

suspēnsaeque diū lacrimae fluxēre per ōra,

quāliter abiectā dē nive mānat aqua.

tunc ego mē prīmum coepī sentīre nocentem;

sanguis erant lacrimae, quās dabat illa, meus.60

ter tamen ante pedēs voluī prōcumbere supplex;

ter formīdātās reppulit illa manūs.

at tū nē dubitā (minuet vindicta dolōrem)

prōtinus in vultūs unguibus īre meōs;

nec nostrīs oculīs nec nostrīs parce capillīs:65

quamlibet infirmās adiuvat īra manūs.

nēve meī sceleris tam trīstia signa supersint,

pōne recompositās in statiōne comās.

1.7: Violence and Love

This poem, like Amores 1.5, plays with a topic about which it is hard for modern readers to be playful, physical abuse. The poet has used violence on his girlfriend. [full essay]

1–2: adde manūs: addō can mean "insert"; binding the hands was the traditional treatment for the insane. meruēre = meruērunt. catēnās: whereas vincla are chains or restraints in general, catēnae are long and heavy chains. dum: dum + indicative can mean "until." sī quis amīcus ades: for the use of indefinite quis, quid with sī, nisi, nē and num see AG §310a. The second person singular is hard to translate; it is almost the equivalent of a vocative, though not as strong; perhaps, "if any of you, my friends, are present."

5–6: tunc: tunc can be used to refer to a hypothetical situation: "if I could do X, then." verbera ferre: a variation of the idiom arma ferre, which means "make war on."

7–8: clipeī dominus septemplicis: "lord of the seven-layered shield," a reference to Ajax’s famous "tower" shield of seven ox hides (Homer, Iliad 7.219–223). Aiax: Ajax went insane with anger because he had not been awarded the prize in the funeral games held in honor of Achilles; he destroyed a flock of sheep because he mistook them for the Greeks who had done him the (as he saw it) injustice. English artist John Flaxman provides a rare illustration of the killing of the sheep (strāvit dēprēnsōs lāta per arva gregēs), from a set of drawings made for Sophocles' Ajax. More usually Ajax is portrayed at the moment of his suicide.

9–10: in mātre: "in the matter of his mother"; in + abl. used in a judicial context (e.g., in rē). patris: objective genitive with vindex (AG §348). malus ultor, Orestēs: Orestes, driven temporarily mad by the Furies, avenged the murder of his father Agamemnon by killing his mother Clytemnestra; the morality of this vengeance was of course highly problematic, hence malus ultor (Aeschylus, Orestes). ausus: understand est. arcānās ... deās: the Furies, who were associated with the underworld (i.e. "secret," "mystical," or "hidden" from mortal view). Orestes asked for a bow with which to defend himself from the Furies (Euripides, Orestes 268).

11–12: ergō: introduces an indignant rhetorical question. Despite the mythological precedents just mentioned, the speaker is shocked at his own actions. dīgestōs: "carefully arranged." motae ... comae: "her locks having been moved," i.e., her disheveled hair. nec ... dēdecuēre: "were not unbecoming to" + acc. (litotes).

13–14: sīc fōrmōsa fuit: sīc points to an action or a situation: "she was lovely thus" (= "in the way that I have just described her, with her hair messed up"). The narrator now proceeds to describe several women from mythology (Atalanta, Ariadne, and Cassandra) who were beautiful despite their messy hair; the tone shifts from self-reproach to a clueless romanticism. Schoeneida: Atalanta, literally "the daughter of Schoenius," a king of Boeotia. For the Greek form of the accusative case, see AG §81. dīcam: potential subjunctive (AG §447.1). Maenaliās > Maenalius, -a, -um "of Mount Maenalus" (a range of mountains in Arcadia), "Arcadian." sollicitāsse: syncopated form of sollicitāvisse, perfect active infinitive in an indirect statement: "I would say that she were such a one as the daughter of Schoeneus (i.e., Atalanta), who harassed ...." ; a 4th c. AD mosaic pavement shows Atalanta participating in the hunt for the Calydonian boar, a common mythological subject in art made for those who enjoyed hunting, from seventh century BC Greek vases right up through late antiquity.

15–16: tālis ... Notōs = tālis Cressa flēvit praecipitēs Notōs prōmissaque vēlaque periūrī Thēseī tulisse; flēvit ("wailed, lamented") introduces an indirect statement. The Cretan princess Ariadne fell in love with Theseus when he came to face her brother the Minotaur, and helped him kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth; Theseus then abandoned her on the island of Naxos. See especially the description of Ariadne in Catullus 64.63–70, where much is made of the disordered state of her hair and clothes as she watches Theseus sailing away. prōmissaque vēlaque: zeugma: these two nouns are governed by a single verb, tulisse, which applies to each in a different sense. An English example would be, "she gave him her heart and her purse." Thēseī: two syllables, by synizesis (the running together of two vowels in different syllables without full contraction) (AG §603c). A wall-painting from Herculaneum is typical of many from Herculaneum and Pompeii: it prortrays Ariadne, waking, scantily clad, as she watches Theseus depart in his ship. His face is inscrutable as he gestures urgently for the rowers to hurry. In this version, unusually, Theseus seems to have thought to leave Ariadne a row-boat. For Roman poets and artists Ariadne abandoned was perhaps the most passionate and erotic single image from mythology.

17–18: sīc: i.e. with hair similarly messy. nisi ... quod: "except for the fact that." vittātīs ... capillīs > vittātus -a -um, "bound up by a fillet"; the vitta was a headband worn by priestesses. Ablative of description (AG §415). Cassandra: Cassandra, a daughter of Priam, was a priestess of Athena (Minerva), from whose temple she was taken at the fall of Troy; she was an inspired prophetess (cursed with being always accurate and always ignored) and was therefore often depicted as having messy hair. templō ... tuō: ablative of place where (AG §421). casta Minerva: vocative case, apostrophe. On a Roman onyx cameo (1st-2nd c. AD) Cassandra takes refuge in the temple of Athena (casta Minerva), clutching the Palladion (statue of Minerva), as Ajax drags her off in preparation for raping her, a crime for which he later paid with his life. Why this should be a good subject for Roman jewellery is unclear.

19–20: ipsa: understand dīxit. vultūs: nominative plural; vultūs here has its original meaning of "facial expression, look."

21–22: ēgit mē ... reum: reum agere means "to accuse, prosecute, put on trial"; the subject is inferred from ipsa (line 20). ōre silente: a concessive ablative absolute, "even though her mouth was silent" (AG §420).

23–24: ante: "beforehand" (adverbial). vellem: potential subjunctive, (AG §447.1) (first person singular expressions of cautiously saying, thinking or wishing). = utinam lacertī cecidissent. umerīs: ablative of separation (AG §400). carēre: "to be without, lack," regularly construed with the ablative of separation (here parte). meī: partitive genitive (AG §346a1).

25–26: in mea ... dispendia > dispendium, -(i)ī, n. "loss"; with in + acc. it means "so as to produce my own loss," i.e., at a cost to myself. et ... meam: "and I was (physically) powerful, strong (enough) for my own punishment myself," i.e., strong enough to punish myself. The contorted word order foregrounds ipse, which accentuates the paradox. For fortis in + acc. = "strong (enough) for" a task, see Ovid, Metamorphoses 4.149–50.

27–28: quid mihi vōbīscum: apostrophe (to the poet’s hands); quid mihi (est) cum ... ? means "what have I to do with ...?" mihi is dative of reference (AG §376). caedis scelerumque: objective genitives (AG §348). sacrilegae ... manūs: vocative plural (as is ministrae in 27). subīte: plural imperative, "endure, submit to."

29–30: an: an is a particle used to introduce questions, often with a sense of surprise or indignation (AG §335b). pulsāssem: = pulsāvissem, syncopated form of the pluperfect subjunctive. minimum: minimus can be used of social status to mean "least important, lowest, humblest." Quirītem > Quirīs, Quirītis, m. the formal term for a Roman citizen, used particularly in legal situations to emphasize civic rights. plecterer > plectō, plectere, "to beat, punish" (occurs only in the passive); a mixed contrary to fact condition (AG §517a). in dominam: "over my mistress"; in + acc. is used with words indicating power or control over someone. Note the asyndeton. 

31–32: Tȳdīdēs: Tȳdīdēs, -ae, m. "the son of Tydeus," i.e. Diomedes, who wounded Aphrodite/Venus when she took part in the battle before Troy (Homer, Iliad 5.334–351). monimenta: "reminder, example," perhaps also with overtones of "warning" (the word is derived from moneō). In the Aeneid (11.275–280) and the Metamorphoses (14.477–495) Diomedes tells of the punishment he suffered for his violence to Venus. ille ... ego: antithesis and chiasmus. alter ego: undestand deam perculī. A mid-nineteenth century etching shows a menacing Diomedes pointing his spear at Aphrodite, who carries off her son, the rather less menacing Aeneas.

33–34: nocēns: "guilty." mihi: dative of agent, with laesa est (AG §375). quam profitēbar amāre: understand ea as the antecedent of quamprofitēbar > profiteor, profitērī, professus (+ inf.), here "to claim." in hoste: "when dealing with an enemy" as at line 9 above.

35–36: ī nunc, magnificōs victor molīre triumphōs: The poet sarcastically addresses himself as if he were a victorious general celebrating a triumph. victor: here used as an adjective or in apposition to the subject. molīre: imperative singular. vōtaque redde: vōtum reddere means "to discharge a vow"; in a triumph the victorious general would offer previously promised prayers and sacrifices in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline. quaeque: = et quae, the antecedent of quae being turba.

37–38: tuōs currūs: plural for singular. io ... est!: a bitter parodyof the kinds of ritual cries made by the crowds at triumphal processions. fortī virō is dative of agent (AG §375).

39–40: ante eat: "let her go before you" (in the triumphal procession). eat = hortatory subjunctive (AG §439). effūsō > effūsus, -a, -um "flowing." capillō: capillus though more commonly plural, can be a collective noun, "the hair." candida tōta: in apposition to trīstis captīva. The protasis of the condition is replaced by a hortatory subjunctive (AG §521b): ante eat ... candida tōta, sī sinerent laesae ... genae, i.e., "Let her go before you ... all white, if her wounded cheeks permitted it."

41–42: aptius: neuter singular comparative of aptus, -a, -um, "appropriate." fuerat = fuisset; the indicative is used in certain expressions where we might expect a potential subjunctive, e.g. satius erat, "it would have been better" (AG §437a). līvēre > līveō, līvēre "to be livid, to be black and blue with bruises"; the subject is collum in the next line. labellīs: the Roman poets speak often of love bites. collum: subject of līvēre in the preceding line and of habēre. blandī dentis: oxymoron.

43–44: dēnique: "at least" (adverb). rītū: rītus, -ūs, m. in the ablative singular can mean "in the manner of, like" (+ genitive).

45–46: fuerat: = fuisset; see on line 41. inclāmāsse: "to shout abuse" + dat. For the form of the perfect infinitive (inclāmāsse = inclāmāvisse), see AG §184. nec nimium rigidās ... minās = et minās nōn nimium rigidās; rigidus here means "stern, strict."

47–48: turpiter: "in a way that brings discredit"; the primary reference is apparently to the discredit that such an act would bring on the woman, but there may also be an implication that it would bring discredit to the perpetrator as well. ōrā > ōra, ōrae, f. here in its original sense of "edge, border" (including the border of a piece of clothing). ad ... opem: "to its middle (her belt would have come to the rescue at the middle)."

49–50: at nunc: "but as it is," nunc in an adversative sense introducing a fact contrary to previous possibilities. sustinuī > sustineō, sustinēre, sustinuī, "to allow oneself to, be cruel enough to" + infin. ingenuās > ingenuus -a -um, "tender, delicate." Notice the play on words with genās.

51–52: albō ... vultū: "her face white and bloodless"; abl. of description (AG §415). Pariīs > Parius, -a, -um "of Paros"; the island of Paros was famous for its marble; the puella was as white (albō ... vultū, 51) as a statue made of Parian marble.

53–54: exanimēs > exanimis -e "scared stiff, frightened out of one’s wits." ut cum: "as when," introducing a simile.

55–56: stringitur: "is touched lightly, is grazed."

57–58: suspensaeque diū: "long pent up." abiectā > abiciō, abicere, abiēcī, abiectum, "to throw down"; the text has been suspected, but if correct abiecta dē nive means "from snow that has been thrown down into a pile," i.e., "piled up."

59–60: sanguis erat lacrimae ... meus: we would say "the tears were my blood," but Ovid reverses the predicate nominative for emphasis, "it was my blood that those tears were."

61–62: tamen: the reading has been suspected, since there is no obvious contrast with what precedes; an obvious alternative is tandem. If tamen is right the point seems to be "it took me a long time to feel any pity (tunc ego mē prīmum coepī sentīre nocentem), at which point her tears were my blood, but nevertheless (I eventually did)."

63–64: at tū: the poet now addresses his girlfriend directly for the first time. nē dubitā: "do not hesitate" = nōlī dubitāre; the use of nē + present imperative in prohibitions is poetic, (AG §450a). vindicta: "vengeance, punishment." prōtinus: "at once, immediately" (adverb). in vultūs ... meōs: plural for singular.

65–66: parce: > parcō, parcere, pepercī + dative, "to act forbearingly towards, show consideration for." quamlibet: modifies infirmās, i.e., "weak though they are."

67–68: in statiōne: > statiō, statiōnis, f. "position"; the word is often used in military contexts, for guard duty, garrisons, etc.

catēna -ae f.: chain, fetter

temerārius -a -um: accidental; thoughtless, impetuous

bracchium -ī n.: the forearm (elbow to hand), arm

vēsānus -a -um: wild, frenzied, insane

violō -āre: profane, dishonor, treat with violence, violate5

verber -eris n.: whip; blow

clipeus -ī m.: round shield

septemplex -icis: sevenfold

Ājax -ācis m.: Ajax, a Greek hero

sternō sternere strāvī strātum: spread out; strike down, lay low

dēpre(he)ndō -pre(he)ndere -pre(he)ndī -pre(he)nsum: catch, seize, trap

grex -egis m.: herd, flock

vindex -icis m.: champion, defender; avenger

ultor -ōris m.: avenger, punisher

Orestēs -is or -ae m.: Orestes, a Greek hero

arcānus -a -um: secret, mysterious, hidden10

dīgerō -gerere -gessī -gestum: separate, spread; arrange carefully

laniō -āre: tear to pieces, mangle, lacerate

capillus -ī m.: hair

dēdecet, -ēre, -uit: be unsuitable for or unbecoming to (+acc.)

fōrmōsus -a -um: shapely, beautiful

Schoenēis -idis f.: the daughter of Schoenius, Atalanta

Maenalius -a -um: of Mount Maenalus

arcus arcūs m.: bow; arch, arc

sollicitō -āre: harass, agitate, attack

periūrus (pēiūrus) -a -um: oath-breaking, perjuring

vēlum -ī n.: sail; fabric15

Thēseus -ī m.: Theseus

Cressa -ae f.: Cretan woman

Notus -ī m.: the south wind

vittātus -a -um: bound up by a fillet

Cassandra -ae f.: Cassandra, a daughter of Priam

prōcumbō -cumbere -cubuī -cubitum: lie outstretched (in worship)

Minerva -ae f.: Minerva

dēmens -ntis: out of one’s mind, insane, senseless

barbarus -a -um: foreign, strange, savage

pavidus -a -um: trembling, quaking, fearful20

convīcium -ī n.: clamor, uprair; insulting talk, abuse, mockery

sileō silēre siluī: be still, be silent

umerus -ī m.: shoulder

lacertus -ī m.: the arm, esp. the upper arm

dispendium -ī n.: loss25

ministra -ae f.: servant, attendant

sacrilegus -a -um: guilty of impiety, sacrilegious

pulsō -āre: strike, beat

minimus -a -um: smallest; youngest; lowest; least

Quirīs, Quirītis, m.: the formal term for a Roman citizen

plectō -ere: beat; punish30

pessimus -a -um: worst

Tȳdīdēs -ae m.: the son of Tydeus, Diomedes

monimentum (monumentum) -ī n.: reminder, example

percellō -cellere -culī -culsum: strike down, overturn, shatter

profiteor -fitērī -fessus sum: claim

magnificus -a -um: grand, splendid, magnificent

mōlior mōlīrī mōlītus sum: set in motion, stir; toil, struggle

triumphus -ī m.: triumph, triumphal procession35

laurus -ī f.: laurel

Iuppiter Iovis m.: Jupiter

comitor -ārī: accompany, follow

clāmō -āre: shout, call

iō: hurrah! oh!

captīvus -a -um: captured, captive

gena -ae f.: cheek40

imprimō -primere -pressī -pressum: apply with pressure, press onto, imprint

līveō -ēre: be livid, be black and blue with bruises

lābellum -ī n.: lip

collum -ī n.: neck

blandus -a -um: flattering, caressing

dens -ntis m.: tooth

nota -ae f.: mark; sign; brand

tumidus -a -um: swollen, tumid; enraged, violent

rītū: + gen., in the manner of, like

torrens -ntis m.: a rushing stream, torrent

nōnne: (adv.) surely

timidus -a -um: fearful, timid, shy

inclāmō -āre: shout abuse at (+dat.)45

rigidus -a -um: stern, strict

intonō -tonāre -tonuī: thunder forth

minae -ārum f. pl.: threats

tunica -ae f.: tunic

summus -a -um: highest, uppermost; final

dīdūcō -dūcere -dūxī -ductum: draw apart, separate

zōna -ae f.: girdle

ferreus -a -um: made of iron; hard-hearted, cruel

ingenuus -a -um: tender, delicate

unguis -is m.: fingernail; claw, talon50

notō -āre: mark, distinguish

astō -stāre -stitī: stand by; stand still

amēns, -ntis: out of one's mind, insane; distracted, frantic

Parius -a -um: of Paros

exanimis -e: scared stiff, frightened out of one's wits

artus -ūs m.: joint; limb

tremō tremere tremuī: tremble, quake

pōpuleus -a -um: of the poplar tree

ventilō -āre: wave, fan; brandish

lēnis -e: soft, smooth, gentle

Zephyrus -ī m.: a gentle west wind, the western breeze, zephyr

gracilis -e: slender, thin

vibrō -āre: vibrate, shake, move to and fro

harundō -inis f.: reed55

ve: or, or if you will, or as you please

tepidus -a -um: warm, tepid

stringō stringere strinxī strictum: touch lightly, graze

suspendō -pendere -pendī -pensum: suspend, hold up, check, keep under control

abiciō -icere -iēcī -iectum: throw down

nix, nivis f.: snow

mānō -āre: flow 

nocens, nocentis: guilty

ter: (adv.) three times, thrice

supplex -icis: kneeling, supplicating, suppliant61

formīdō -āre: fear, dread

repellō repellere reppulī repulsum: drive back, repel

minuō minuere minuī minūtum: make smaller, leesen, diminish

vindicta -ae f.: vengeance, punishment

quamlibet: (adv.) however, in whatever degree66

infirmus -a -um: weak, feeble

adiuvō -iuvāre -iūvī -iūtum: help, assist

nēve or neu: and not, nor, and that not, and lest

recompōnō -pōnere -posuī -positum: put back together; readjust, rearrange

statiō -ōnis: position

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Suggested Citation

William Turpin. Ovid: Amores Book 1. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-947822-00-9. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/ovid-amores/amores-1-7