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Meaning of "dies illa" from Dies Irae

This means "illa" definitely doesn't refer to "dies". But it does! The word dies can be feminine, and it is here. The feminine gender is rarer but it is the typical choice for a special day like an ...
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17 votes
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Why "impressa" in Æneid IV.659–60?

Virgil is imitating a Greek construction here, or rather two Greek constructions: the middle voice and the accusative of respect. Greek had a "middle" voice, which in most tenses was formally ...
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17 votes
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Why does Catullus use "odi" instead of "odio" in Catullus 85?

The verb Catullus uses is odisse, not odire (from which you would get an imperative odi). This verb only has forms in the perfect system but the meaning is that of the present system. That is, what is ...
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14 votes
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How do we know the quantity of vowels followed by several consonants?

The length of vowels with “hidden quantity” can often be discovered from one of the following sources of information: Explicit descriptions of vowel length in ancient texts “Lachmann’s law” is a well-...
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14 votes
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Where does our knowledge of the ancient poetic meters come from?

We know that meter existed because Aristotle in his Poetics flatly tells us so. Moreover, we have quite a bit of testimony from ancient grammarians like Quintilian and Victorinus, whose work on meters ...
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14 votes

Why does Catullus use "odi" instead of "odio" in Catullus 85?

Joonas's answer is entirely correct, but to give a slightly different explanation: Some verbs in Latin are defective. Some of their forms are outright missing, for no obvious reason. For example, the ...
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13 votes

Meaning of "dies illa" from Dies Irae

It is the feminine nominative and refers to dies. It means “that day.” You do not say why you think you can definitely rule it out, but I guess you think dies is masculine, which is indeed the case. ...
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13 votes

Word order in Virgil's Aeneid - why so scrambled?

I suspect that any reply to this broad a question will always be rife with conjecture, but the reason for the convoluted word order is always a combination of the metrical cadence, and the effect that ...
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13 votes
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Word order in Virgil's Aeneid - why so scrambled?

I think you're still assuming that English-style word order is in some sense natural or default, despite your correct disclaimer that "sentences that appear 'scrambled' in English might not be ...
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12 votes
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Was elision specific to verse in classical Latin?

First, though it is indicated by an apostrophe in modern texts, elision also occurs in ancient Greek poetry. The rules were different from Latin, though. I quote Smyth for them: Elision is ...
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12 votes
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Allecto's cerulean hair in *Æneid* VII.346-7

Allecto, one of the Furies, is commonly associated with dark colours and snakes (see Pauly–Wissowa on the Furies). Furies often have snake hair too, and snakes are often blue; they don't look like ...
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12 votes
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A poem that works in both Latin and Italian

This page (in Italian) has three bilingual Italian-Latin poems. "Salve Regina" by Anacleto Bendazzi (1883-1982) seems to be the Christian-themed one (though I don't know either Italian or Latin well ...
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12 votes
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Meaning of "τρίχας" in Anacreon's Περι Γέροντος

Accusative of respect: 'He's old/an old man with respect to his hair(s)' – i.e., his hair is that of an old man. Draconis has alluded to this in the other answer, but it's worth making explicit that ...
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11 votes
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What does "quibus intemptata nites" (Odes 1.5.10–11) mean?

Horace's poem here is about a pretty young girl, Pyrrha, and I understand the phrase to describe how unfortunate (miseri) the men are who have not been able to touch (tempto/tento) her. I might ...
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11 votes
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Omnia vincit amor: vincere or vincire?

As a first point, you are certainly not the first person to recognize this. I found a delightful little poem composed in the 19th century by a certain Piré that uses this same word-play: Omnia Vincit ...
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11 votes
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How to translate these few lines? Met. 1.94–96

Let me offer a translation attempt piece by piece. My translations are not perfectly literal, but the way I build it up should clarify what it each Latin word does. I reordered the words to make the ...
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11 votes

Meaning of "τρίχας" in Anacreon's Περι Γέροντος

To add on a bit to cnread's (completely valid) answer: this is a form that's also called the "accusative of body parts" or the "Greek accusative" (since it wasn't common in Latin ...
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11 votes
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Why does Müller read "accusatius" in Satyrica 119.11?

When you see "daggers" (properly obeli) in a critical text, it means the word is (or words are) corrupt. If the editor cannot make sense of the meaning, they are obelized, which is ...
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10 votes
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Choosing -ter or -iter for adverbs from third declension adjectives

I have run a quick analysis using data from latinlexicon.org. I included adverbs ending in -ter (about 820). Most end in -iter (the rule). A good number end in -nter (which as you know are formed with ...
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When can I perform an elision?

Elision of a vowel (or vowel + m) occurs when it's at the end of the word, and the next word starts with either a vowel or h + vowel. At the discretion of the poet, the last vowel of a word can be ...
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9 votes
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What do "hic" and "ille" refer to in this passage from Ovid's Tristia?

Of course, as with so much in Latin, there's more than one answer, none of them incorrect. The first answer is yes, using hic and ille like this to mean "the latter" and "the former&...
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9 votes

What do "hic" and "ille" refer to in this passage from Ovid's Tristia?

When hic and ille are used like this, they refer to the distance of words: hic refers to the closest noun, ille the one that came first. In your example, you have first pontus and then aer. Hic ...
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9 votes

Do shorter words tend to come before longer ones in verse?

After doing a rudimentary corpus analysis of the Vergil's Aeneid, my conclusion is that Latin verse does not show any meaningful relationship between syllable length and word position. To test this, ...
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9 votes
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What exactly is brevis brevians?

For reference: iambus: light + heavy pyrrhicus: light + light creticus: heavy + light + heavy dactylus: heavy + light + light Brevis Brevians is a tendency in early Latin, first attested in early ...
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8 votes

What do "hic" and "ille" refer to in this passage from Ovid's Tristia?

I'd like to offer an addition, which was originally posted as a comment but requested to be turned into an answer by OP. As explained in the other two answers, iste, ille and hic are used to refer ...
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8 votes
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Who are Maecenas' atavi?

They are Etruscans. Atavi here does not mean any specific ancestor (i.e. pater abavi), but in general "ancestors." Horace makes the connection explicit later (Odes 3.29.1): Tyrrhena regum ...
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8 votes
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Translation of Samuel Garth's Harveian oration

There are a couple of Greek loan words here: agyrta(?) (ἀγύρτης), vagabond theriaca (θηριακή [sc. ἀντίδοτος]), antidote against a poisonous bite (e.g., snake bite) pyrium (πύρινον [sc. φάρμακον]), ...
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7 votes

Is -um (instead of -ōrum) a typical genitive plural ending outside of poetry?

I believe it is also used in prose with certain words, like deum and virum, although it is indeed less common. Livius, Ab Urbe Condita V 14.4: ... pestilentiam agris urbique [esse] inlatam haud ...
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7 votes
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Does the letter "X" at the end of a line make that syllable long?

In scansion, a vowel is long by position if there are more than two consonants between it and the next vowel. This is the usual way of putting it, but it's inacccurate/misleading in a couple of ways. ...
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7 votes
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Where does this (Sappho?) fragment come from

It's an uncertain fragment, fr. 27.1 in Lobel & Page's Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, per the TLG. It comes from P.Vindob. 29777a. It's on p. 454 of the Campbell's Loeb on Sappho and Alcaeus. If ...
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