Ovid’s Amores 3.10 is a somewhat challenging poem, so I felt compelled to write a brief synopsis of a possible timeline for the events it alludes to.

Cum Cerēs Proserpinam fīliam intellēxisset ā Plūtōne in īnferōs raptam, omnēs terrās, Siciliam praecipuē, ad īnfertilitātem condemnāvit (Metamorphōsēs 5.471-485); tunc autem, Īasium vēnātōrem vidēns feram iaculō fīgentem, amōre incēnsa in Īdam Crētēnsem montem recessit ut cum eō coitū fruerētur, ita ut Crēta sōla in omnī orbe terrārum eō tempore fertilis esset.

My question is on the last clause.

so that Crete at that time was the only fertile land in the whole world

Should so that be rendered here as ita ut, or just ut, or as something else entirely?

1 Answer 1


To answer my own question, I finally did what I should have done in the first place: a PHI search for the words ita ut. Below are some examples from the Historiae Alexandri Magni of Quintus Curtius Rufus, an author admirable for his clear and vivid writing style. You see ita ut being used in two slightly different ways.

  1. First, where it is used to indicate that an action is done in a specific, purposeful way to produce some intended result (“in such a way that”).

Ā Memphī eōdem flūmine vectus ad interiōra Aegyptī penetrat, compositīsque rēbus ita ut nihil ex patriō Aegyptiōrum mōre mūtāret, adīre Iovis Hammōnis ōrāculum statuit. (4.7.5)

From Memphis the king sailed on the same river to the interior of Egypt, and after arranging matters in such a way as to make no change in the native customs of the Egyptians, he decided to visit the oracle of Jupiter Ammon.

Tyriī nāvem magnitūdine eximiā saxīs harēnāque ā puppī onerātam, ita ut multum prōra ēminēret, bitūmine ac sulphure inlitam rēmīs concitāvērunt, et, cum magnam vim ventī vēla quoque concēpissent, celeriter ad mōlem successit. (4.3.2)

Meanwhile the Tyrians so loaded a ship of unusual size, by piling rocks and sand in the stern, that the prow was greatly raised, smeared it with bitumen and sulphur, and drove it ahead by oars; and when its sails also had caught the wind in full force, it quickly reached the causeway.

  1. Next, to state the logically inevitable but unintended consequence of some condition or circumstance (“so that”).

Paulātim deinde laxāre sēmet sinūs montium et maius spatium aperīre coeperant, ita ut nōn pedēs sōlum in ōrdinem incēdere, sed etiam lateribus circumfundī posset equitātus. (3.9.12)

Then the folds of the mountains began to widen and open a greater space, so that not only could the infantry take their usual order, but the cavalry could cover their flanks.

Platanī quoque et pōpulī contegunt rīpās, ita ut procul vīsentibus continuāta videantur montibus nemora rīpārum. (5.4.8)

Plane trees also and poplars cover its banks, so that to those who view them from afar the groves along the banks seem to be a continuation of those on the mountains.

Context makes clear what shade of meaning is being expressed.

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