Sunday, May 06, 2012



Ovid, Metamorphoses, tr. Frank Justus Miller, 3rd ed., rev. G.P. Goold, Volume I (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977), in the Loeb Classical Library series.

4.30 (pp. 180-181):
longoque foramine buxus

the shrill piping of the flute
"Shrill" describes a high-pitched sound, but the longer the air column of a wind instrument, the lower the pitch. A fife or a penny whistle, with a short bore, emits higher notes than a flute with a longer bore, other things being equal. Thus a boxwood flute (buxus) with a long bore (longo foramine) doesn't necessarily produce a shrill sound. Instead of "the shrill piping of the flute" translate "the long-bored flute".

4.48 (pp. 182-183):
albis in turribus

on high battlements
Manuscripts are divided between albis and altis. Miller and Goold print albis, but translate altis. Translate "on white battlements" or "on shining battlements".

4.261 (pp. 196-197):
sedit humo nuda nudis incompta capillis.

she sat upon the bare ground, naked, bareheaded, unkempt.
Scansion shows that nuda (or, with long marks, nūdā) modifies humo. The ground was bare, but the nymph wasn't naked, so far as we know. Translate "she sat on the bare ground, bareheaded, unkempt."


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