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Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Illa vel intāctae segetis per summa volāret
grāmina nec tenerās cursū laesisset aristās,
vel mare per medium flūctū suspēnsa tumentī
ferret iter celerīs nec tingueret aequore plantās.

I am a bit confused as to why Vergil uses the subjunctive here, and why laesisset is pluperfect. Can anyone tell me where I am going wrong?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Well, she's not actually doing that ... it's an unreal comparison. The line before it essentially says she is faster than the wind, so she runs so fast that if she ran over a field she would essentially fly over the straws without having touched them or having broken any ears in her run.

I remember that we spoke about a similar picture in Ovid's metamorphoses, so this seems to be a typical metaphor. Unfortunately, the discussion about Ovid might be buried somewhere in the every time thread.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Thanks. The sequence of tenses still seems odd with laesisset. I would have thought that she would have flown before she injured the ears.
 

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Civis Illustris
The discussion on this simile starts here and I think Dantius also mentions the Aeneid lines.

I would have thought that she would have flown before she injured the ears.

Well, it would make the most sense to me if the tenses were parallel, i.e. if she were flying and in doing so would not injure any ears. Maybe laesisset can be taken as some kind of resultative perfect here... not 100%, I would have to look for some commentary.
 

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Civis Illustris
John Conington in 1876 wrote:

Laesisset’ is wrongly understood by Wagn. as i. q. “laesura esset,” a notion to which such passages as 2. 94 lend no colour. Virg. has chosen the pluperf. here for variety's sake, regarding the crushing of the ears as having taken place while the action indicated by ‘volaret’ was still going on; as we might say “she might fly over standing corn and not leave the ears crushed behind her.”

... which is essentially what I mean by resultative perfect, I suppose.
The commentary is here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0055:book=7:card=803
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
The commentary I am using says it is equivalent to nec laesura esset, but I am not sure how.

[Edit, posted at the same time]
 

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Civis Illustris
The commentary I am using says it is equivalent to nec laesura esset, but I am not sure how.

I don't fully understand what is meant by that comment/reading/explanation... mainly because I don't fully understand what laesura esset would be supposed to mean exactly. I know that laesisset could be replaced with laesura erat/fuit, but I'm having some trouble understanding what they are getting at with the esset.
Do you see through this construction, Pacifica ?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't fully understand what is meant by that comment/reading/explanation... mainly because I don't fully understand what laesura esset would be supposed to mean exactly. I know that laesisset could be replaced with laesura erat/fuit, but I'm having some trouble understanding what they are getting at with the esset.
Do you see through this construction, Pacifica ?
I'm not sure what they mean, either. To me, laesisset here looks like an unreal of the past. Laederet would have made sense too but the meter dictated laesisset.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I'm not sure what they mean, either. To me, laesisset here looks like an unreal of the past.
To me, too ... that's why I thought it could be taken in a resultative way ...

would have made sense too but the meter dictated laesisset.

:eek: Never argue on the ground of Versnot! (Unless you argue against words like imperator)
 
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