I'm looking for a way to express in Latin "she broke a blood-vessel in a fit of passion".

It's an English idiom, not to be taken literally, but used to express a burst of outrage or anger. I need something idiomatic, if such a thing exists, rather than a clumsy-looking direct translation.

Can anyone help?


2 Answers 2


Valentinian apparently literally burst a blood vessel after an angry outburst, dying of a stroke.

Ammianus Marcellinus describes how Valentinian ictu sanguinis exstinguitur after angrily berating envoys of the Quadi (History, XXX.6). Perhaps this could suit your purpose.

Alternatively, the furious Valentinian is described as being ira vehementi perculsus (XXX.6.3)

  • Thank you: exactly the kind of thing I was looking for! I know Ammianus basically as one of Gibbon's major souces, but I've read nothing of his for myself and would not have thought to look there. [If you know 'Rip Van Winkle', it is to describe the demise of his Dame.]
    – Tom Cotton
    Mar 25, 2019 at 14:13

Dido goes a bit off the rails at the end of Aeneid IV

In dreams she feels cruel Aeneas goad her madness on,/ and ever seems she, friendless and alone,/ some lengthening path to travel, or to seek/ her Tyrians through wide wastes of barren lands./ Thus frantic Pentheus flees the stern array / of the Eumenides, and thinks to see/ two noonday lights blaze oer his doubled Thebes;/ or murdered Agamemnon's haunted son,/
Orestes, flees his mother's phantom scourge/ of flames and serpents foul, while at his door avenging horrors wait. Vergil. Aeneid. tr. Theodore C. Williams

From that passage, are any of these three useful?

"mad, as if she sees the columns of the Eumenides":

Eumenidum veluti demens videt agmina.

"agitated by visions":

agitatus scaenis.

"Avenging horrors sit upon the doorstep":

ultrices sedent in limine Dirae.

  • Thank you: an interesting reminder indeed, but not quite apposite
    – Tom Cotton
    Mar 25, 2019 at 14:15

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