Notes to Catullus, Carmina 34

Diana, -ae f.
goddess Diana, also known as Artemis in Greek. She is the virgin goddess of the hunt, the moon, wild animals, nature, and childbirth. Note the prominent placement of her name, appropriately, as subject of the poem and the ritual repetition of her name in l. 3.
fides, -ei f.
trust, faith, belief; assurance; protection, guardian care; in the ablative following the preposition in.
integer, -gra, -grum
pure, whole, virtuous; the masculine plural modifies both puellae and pueri, the subjects of sumus, the singers of the hymn. It refers to their unmarried state -- why is their virginal status important?
cano, -ere, cecini, cantum
sing, sing of, celebrate in song; a hortatory subjunctive whose direct object is Dianam.
Latonia, -ae f.
daughter of Latona (Leto), a matronymic refering to Diana.
maximus, -a, -um, superlative of magnus
greatest, largest, most powerful; in the genitive case in agreement with Iovis. It is the epithet of Jupiter, the father of Diana.
progenies, -ei f.
offspring, descendant(s); in apposition with Latonia.
Iuppiter, Iovis m.
Jupiter, god of thunder and the sky, king of the gods who resides on Olympus.
qui, quae, quod
who, which, that; relative pronoun, object of deposivit whose antecedent is Latonia.
prope preposition + accusative
near, nearby.
Delius, -a, -um
Delian; the adjective of the island of Delos (click on SPQR at the end of the line), the birthplace of Diana, modifies olivam.
depono, -ere, -posui/-posivi, -positum
deposit, lay down; bear, bring forth (poetic). Note the archaic form of the perfect tense, which suggests ancient ritual. Her birth in a natural setting is appropriate to the goddess who is mistress of wild animals.
oliva, -ae f.
an olive; olive tree.
mons, montis m.
mountain. Note the many genitive plural forms in this stanza: read it aloud to hear the somber effect created by the assonance of the final syllable - um.
fores = esses: the invocation of the goddess (Latonia, domina) continues. With ut, the subjunctive introduces a purpose clause.
vireo, -ere, -ui
green, verdant; flourish, bloom; present participle, genitive plural modifying silvarum.
saltus, -us m.
forest, mountain valley, glade.
recondo, -ere, -didi, ditum
conceal, hide, bury; perfect participle passive, modifying saltuum. Note that the final syllable of reconditorum elides with the first syllable of amnium on the next line. The technical term for this effect is synapheia, a Greek practice Catullus follows throughout the poem so that the verses run in continuous rhythm.
amnis, -is m.
river; modified by sonantum.
sono 1
resounding, sounding, calling out; present participle active form, an alternate poetic form of sonantium.
Lucina, -ae f.
She who brings to light, the ancient Roman goddess who safeguarded women during childbirth. Here Lucina is a predicate nominative with Juno, identifying the queen of gods and men as protector of women in labor (click SPQR at the end of the line). Note the emphatic placement and repetition (anaphora) of tu here and in ll. 15 & 17.
doleo, -ere, -ui, -itum
feel pain, suffer pain (here the pangs of childbirth). The present participle in the dative (dative of agent following the perfect passive participle dicta), modifies puerperis.
dico, -ere, dixi, dictum
name, call; affirm; celebrate, describe. The subject of dicta is tu (Latonia); understand es (see line 15), the perfect indicative passive.
puerpera, -ae f.
a woman bringing forth a child; dative of agent following dicta.
Trivia, -ae f.
Trivia, three ways (lit.), the goddess of crossroads, associated with the Greek goddess Hecate (click SPQR at the end of the line), an archaic epithet of Diana, the triple goddess of animals, childbirth, and the moon. Her name is a predicate nominative after es dicta.
nothus, -a, -um
false, counterfeit, borrowed; a causal ablative, it modifies lumine. The adjective suggests that the moon's light is either false in comparison to sunlight or is an imitation of it. Note the initial assonance of lumine Luna.
Luna, -ae f.
Luna, the moon goddess, with whom Diana is associated in her role as protector of women and pregnancy. Her name is in the predicate nominative after es dicta.
cursus, -us m.
course, running, forward movement; march, revolution; ablative of means.
menstruus, -a, -um
of/belonging to a month; monthly; modifies cursu.
metior, -iri, mensus, -a, -um
measure; traverse, pass through; present active participle whose subject is dea. Note the alliteration of menstruo metiens.
iter, itineris n.
journey; direct object of metiens.
annuus, -a, -um
of the year, yearly; modifies iter.
tectum, -i n.
roof, building, house; modified by rustica, direct object of exples.
frux, frugis f.
fruit, crop; ablative of means modified by bonis.
expleo, -ere, -plevi, -pletum
fill up; supply, satisfy; complete.
sum, esse, fui, futurus
be. Second person singular, present subjunctive in the optative mood; translate with sancta. Still addressing the goddess, the poem ends with a petition.
quicumque, quaecumque, quodcumque
whatever; whoever; here an indefinite adjective in the ablative, modifying nomine.
placeo, -ere, placui, placitum + dative
be pleasing, find favor; used impersonally here.
sanctus, -a. -um
blessed, holy; blameless; modifies the subject of sis, the goddess.
Romulus, -i m.
Romulus, the twin of Remus, son of Rhea Silvia and Mars. Romulus became the first king of Rome legendarily by divine selection. In the genitive case, Romuli is separated for emphasis (see hyperbaton) by two lines from the thing possessed (gentem). The SPQR shows Romulus as a successful Roman general (fresco from Pompeii).
antique adverb
in the ancient manner, as of old.
solitus, -a. -um
accustomed; usual, habitual. modifies the subject of es, the goddess.
sospito 1
keep safe, preserve, prosper; 2nd singular present subjunctive in the optative mood.
ops, opis f.
wealth, power, assistance; ablative of means after sospites, it is modified by bona.
gens, gentis f.
people, nation, race, clan; direct object of sospites.

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