PUN-ishing TALES: The Stuff That Groans Are Made On

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Ovid seems playfully to be developing verbal incongruities — speaking names that misspeak, as it were — as he enumerates members of the crew. The objective genitive praedae depends on cupido , with tam caeca a predicative complement. Blindness, both literal and metaphorical, is a prominent theme of the Pentheus-episode from the outset —16, —18, with nn. The phrasing here harks back to an earlier Theban episode: at 3. A prohibitive tone is also imparted by the staccato effect of the rapid-fire alliteration on p pondere pinum perpetiar… pars.

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The implication of violari is that the coerced presence of the god would render the ship religiously impure — and Acoetes will have none of it. Note that hanc agrees with pinum trees are almost invariably feminine nouns in Latin, just as rivers are almost exclusively masculine. Great weight was a traditional attribute of gods that frequently features in epic; so, for instance, when Juno visits the underworld in Book 4 the threshold groans under her weight 4.

Acoetes invokes his superior rank as helmsman or captain of the ship — an office that afforded him broad authority for averting dangers to the vessel and its crew. Acoetes is promptly and violently cast aside by Lycabas, a particularly felonious member of the crew.

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The juxtaposition in of the verbs obsisto and furit , representing the two antagonists, separated by a strong penthemimeral caesura neatly enacts on the level of verse the initial confrontation. Acoetes ominously supplements the main clause furit … Lycabas in two ways. In most cases the exiles are innocent victims suffering unjustly; Lycabas is a rare instance in which the banishment was merited.

But the thuggish Lycabas dispatches Acoetes without breaking a sweat. The precise sense of guttural … rupit is difficult to pin down. Ovid has the expression again at Met. Note that guttura is poetic plural, which, like pectora in , provides a convenient dactyl in the fifth foot. Lycabas would have sent Acoetes tumbling into the water, had the latter not managed to cling to the ropes sc. Earlier the crowd expressed its approval probat , at the blasphemous words of Dictys, here they approve the phyal outrage committed by Lycabas: we move from dicta to facta , from words to deeds.

The sprawling main clause tum denique Bacchus… ait extending through sets up the direct speech at — Bacchus enim fuerat is a parenthetical gloss on the part of the internal narrator Acoetes. The stranger, now positively identified as Bacchus, acts as if the noise of the brawl is returning him to his senses. The subject of redeant is the long-delayed sensus nom. Time to come to our senses. Befuddlement is conveyed through four rapid-fire questions, each introduced by a different interrogative pronoun, adjective, or adverb: quid …?

In the midst of this sequence of queries the parenthetical command dicite, nautae in which the vocative reinforces the imperative heightens the sense of urgency, as deeds and noise factum… facitis ; clamore… clamor prompt their correlative, words dictis. The question quis clamor? There is some uncertainty here about the individual speaking: most modern editions capitalize Proreus , taking it as a proper name.

Understood this way, proreus would amount to a second mention of Melanthus, who featured earlier at see —18 n. In this tricksy story, the dunces think to trick the master who holds all the tricks. The former is a simplex poetic form for depone —71 n. For Liber as a designation of Bacchus, see n.


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Note the Greek accusative form Naxon —61 n. Naxos is one of the Cycladic islands, celebrated in antiquity for its vineyards; it was as such sacred to Bacchus cf. The strong associations of the god with the island afford his statement illa mihi domus an underlying appropriateness. The-que attached to me links iurant and iubent.

The miscreants swear per mare and, with dramatic irony, per omnia numina , unwittingly invoking their addressee, that they will do his bidding. With vela dare supply ventis as indirect object Ovid has the full expression at Met. Notice the power inversion achieved through the mutiny: the crew is now issuing orders to the helmsman. Just like Thebes? An amusing mime is acted out on board, as the crew endeavours to indicate to Acoetes that he is to steer the opposite course from that just promised to Bacchus, without tipping off the latter.

What frenzy addles your brain? Go to the left! Notice that dextera is an adjective nom. The unsettled word order of the second sentence reflects the agitation of the crewmembers, who evidently assume that Acoetes is slow on the uptake rather than still daring to resist their plan. The pronoun mihi serves as the indirect object of inquit in the following verse; agreeing with it is the participle danti , which takes lintea a stock metonymy for vela as its object; dextra is ablative of place a regular usage without a preposition , here qualifying the participial phrase.

The verb of speaking, inquit , introduces the pair of rhetorical questions and the abrupt command with which the crew members assail Acoetes. For the interjection o before a vocative address, see —42 n. Here the distribution is made asymmetrical by the adjective maxima modifying the first pars : in effect, we have a pars maior and a pars minor.

Additional Information: Although the manuscript reading ore creates a neat balance of ablative complements nutu… ore , it is otherwise somewhat lacking in point, and many editors prefer the variant aure a poetic shortening of in aure ; in prose we would expect in aurem. The - que after capiat in the original Latin, the quotation marks would of course have been absent connects obstipui and dixi. The - que after me connects dixi and removi. Having already suffered physical assault, Acoetes now opts for passive resistance. For the correlating -que…-que , coordinating the two genitive attributes of ministerio , see —23 n.

The - que after totum links increpor and inmurmurat. This is a device of emphasis; in addition, the switch from Acoetes as passive subject to the crew as active subject subtly prepares for the emergence of a ringleader from the group, who takes charge of matters with Caesarean vigour and decisiveness.

His utterance is dripping with sarcasm, rendered explicit by the particle scilicet and underscored by the hyperbaton of te… in uno giving mocking prominence to the 2nd person pronoun and of omnis … nostra salus giving mocking prominence to the hyperbolic omnis. The -que after meum links subit and explet ; the-que after Naxo links explet and petit.

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Naxo … relicta is an ablative absolute the Greek proper noun Naxos is f. The primary verb for this sequence is ait in Here puppe is meant literally rather than synecdochically: Bacchus is standing at the stern. The epithet adunca arises from the fact that on the ancient ship the keel was raised up at the stern just as it was at the front; cf.

It was generally held by the ancients that the gods were incapable of crying; but of course Bacchus is acting here. Indeed, the god, who was the divine patron of the theatre, does that patronage proud by continuing persuasively to play the part of the defenceless youth, on whom the criminal intent of the crew is only now beginning to dawn. Notice the pronounced alliteration on p in Acoetes portentously introduces this new narrative phase with an affirmation of veracity in the form of an oath sworn by the avenging god himself, delivered to his internal audience tibi is addressed to Pentheus , but naturally aimed at the reader as well.

Challenges to the reader to overcome steep thresholds of disbelief in the face of the marvellous are a key feature of the Metamorphoses , an epic poem that insists on making prima facie incredible forms of divinely induced transformative change part of the record of universal history. Anticipation of incredulity on the part of the audience is one of the strategies by which Ovid tries, tongue-in-cheek, to endow his narrative with credibility.

In the parenthetical aside, illo , referring to Bacchus, is ablative of comparison after praesentior. In supernatural contexts, praesens has a quasi-technical sense, speaking to a deity making its power manifest cf. OLD s. The indirect statement tam me tibi vera referre quam veri maiora fide is dependent on adiuro ; the subject accusative is me , the infinitive referre.

The latter takes two accusative objects, vera and maiora both are n. Finally, fide is ablative of comparison after maiora , and veri an objective genitive dependent on fide. The miraculous developments begin with the ship for the synecdoche puppis , see n. The-que after vela links perstant and deducunt , the-que after gemina links deducunt and temptant.

The first colon captures the attempt at rowing; the second the unfurling of the sails; the third sums up the first two: they try to overcome the eerie standstill through this twofold effort gemina ope. The metaphoric use of verber , verberare etc. In addition to rowing, the crew makes an equally futile attempt to harness the winds: vela deducunt speaks to the unfurling or letting down of the main sail, which was tied to the yard the horizontal beam attached to the top of the mast. The application of currere to the progress of a ship through water is a standard poeticism OLD s.

Here Ovid has simplified the account of the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus , which begins with a miraculous geyser of wine Hymn. Additional Information: Writing in the later Neronian Age, Seneca offers a ramped-up version of this scene: hinc verno platanus folio viret et Phoebo laurus carum nemus; garrula per ramos avis obstrepit.

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As the epiphany continues, the god himself — ipse refers to Bacchus — acquires a couple of his familiar accessories: a garland and the thyrsus. The elaborate formulation can be stripped down to a simple core: ipse subject agitat verb hastam object. The trope is freighted with foreboding for Pentheus, as his mother Agave will begin the murderous onslaught on her son by hurling her thyrsus at him as if it were a spear with n.

The creatures in question here — tigers, lynxes, panthers — became associated with Bacchus and were added to his train as a result of a body of legends attributing the conquest of India to the god on which see Intro. The lynx in particular came to be seen as the Bacchic animal par excellence. The pronoun quem is a so-called connecting relative, equivalent to et eum. A simulacrum is an image formed in the likeness of something else. But one might justly wonder about focalisation: did the lynxes appear as simulacra inania to Acoetes at the time?