Notes to Ovid, Fasti VI. 219-234

sum, esse, fui, futurum
be, exist. When est opens a sentence, translate it as “there is”; it is followed here by the dative of possession (mihi).
precor, -ari, atus/a sum
pray, beg, entreat; wish. The present subjunctive follows precor [ut] in a Substantive clause of purpose (A&G #563).
diuturnus, -a, -um
long, long-lasting; the comparative adjective modifies filia below.
annus, -i m.
year; in the ablative case following the comparative diuturnior.
filia, -ae f.
daughter, i.e., Ovid’s daughter, who is not named. Note the enjambment, emphasizing his affection for his daughter; his prayer for her longevity is a reminder of the high mortality rate for Roman children and women in childbirth.
qui, quae, quod relative pronoun
who, which, that; qua is in an ablative absolute construction, in agreement with sospite (A&G #419a).
felix, -icis
fruitful, auspicious, fortunate, happy.
sospes, -itis
safe and sound, auspicious, lucky. Note the alliteration of f and s that links daughter (filia sospite) with father (felix semper).
volo velle, volui
wish, want; vellem is imperfect subjunctive in a cum circumstantial clause (A&G #546); its object hanc refers to filia.
gener, -eri, m.
son-in-law; indirect object after dare.
tempus, -oris, n.
time, right time, opportunity; direct object of requirebam.
taeda, -ae, f.
torch, wedding torch; wedding; dative case after apta. Click on the SPQR for an image of a bridal torch held by a naked cupid/hoped-for son.
aptus, -a, -um
suitable, orderly, convenient, joined together, fitted. Among the times Romans considered unsuitable for marriages were wars and ceremonies for the dead.
requiro, -quirere, -quisivi, -quisitum
look for, search for, ask, ask for, demand. The verb introduces two Indirect Questions in secondary sequence: (1) requirebam quae tempora taedis apta forent (=essent); (2) requirebam quae tempora cavenda forent (= essent).
caveo, -ere, cavi, cautum
guard against, beware of, keep clear of. Cavenda forent is a passive periphrastic construction (A&G #582a (gerundive + imperfect subjunctive of verb to be) expressing obligation or necessity in an Indirect question (secondary sequence).
sacer, -cra, -crum
sacred, holy, consecrated; sacras modifies Idus.
monstro (1)
show, point out, make known, demonstrate; perfect participle modifying Iunius.
Iunius, -i, m.
June; also an adjective with mensis= the month of June.
Idus, -uum, f. pl.
Ides; in June, the 13th day. Since the day of the Kalends, Nones, and Ides, and the day after were nefasti (ie. forbidden for legal, civic, religious business) Vesta's temple could not be cleaned until 15 June, thus Ovid's daughter should not plan to marry before 16 June (see Littlewood, p. 71).
utilis, -e
useful, profitable, practical; modifies Iunius.
nupta, -ae, f.
bride, wife. Click on the SPQR for a wedding ceremony for the bride and groom.
vir, viri, m.
bridegroom, husband. The structure of this pentameter is noteworthy: consider the effect of the anaphora and end rhyme of utilis...nuptis and utilis...viris, the assonance of s and t, and the repeated long vowels i and u.
pars, partis, f.
part, share; followed by the genitive huius [mensis/Iuni].
thalamus, -i, m.
marriage bed, marriage.
alienus, -a, -um
unsuitable, contrary, hostile, strange, foreign; followed by dative case thalamis.
reperio, -ire, repperi, repertum
find, discover; subject is prima pars.
coniunx, -iugis, m./f.
spouse, wife, husband. Is Ovid suggesting her status as a human Juno, wife of the hyper-sexual god Jupiter? Click on the SPQR for the fresco of a coniunx displaying her wedding band.
sanctus, -a, -um
consecrated, hallowed, sacred, holy. The wife of Jupiter's chief priest (Flamen Dialis) was called Flaminica Dialis. Earlier in the Fasti Ovid speaks of her as coniunx apicati cincta Dialis (3.397; an alternate reading for cincta is sancta: the belted/sacred wife of the apex-wearing Flamen Dialis).
Dialis, -e
of Jupiter. The Flamen Dialis was the high priest of Jupiter, who held his office for only as long as he was married to the priestess of Jupiter, the Flaminica.
aio, intransitive, defective
say, speak; say yes; relate; present active indicative, 3rd singular.
Iliacus, -a, -um
Trojan, Ilian; note the reference to Vesta’s Trojan origins.
placidus, -a, -um
calm, quiet, gentle; note the alliteration of p and the effect of the sound of long a, carried over into the next line.
purgamen, -inis, n.
dirt, filth, impurity. Each year a ritual cleansing of the temple of Vesta was performed by the Vestals on June 15, the final day of the festival of the Vestalia.
Vesta, -ae, f.
Roman goddess of the hearth; metonymy for the aedes Vestalis, which was closed on the day of cleansing. Click on the SPQR for a reconstruction drawing of the Vestal temple.
defero, -ferre, -tuli, -latum
carry down, carry away. The subject is Thybris below, the object is purgamina. Detulerit is future perfect active indicative, 3rd person sing., in a temporal clause introduced by donec (until). This construction denotes an actual fact in past time (A&G #554).
flavus, -a, -um
yellow, golden; modifying aquis in ablative of means; note how Thybris is embedded between flavis . . .aquis. An epithet often used by Augustan poets to describe the silt swirling in the Tiber’s waters.
mare, -is n.
sea; the Tiber emptied into the Mediterranean sea at Ostia.
Thybris = Tiberis, -is, m.
Tiber River; modified by placidus above. The Tiber River was not typically calm, overflowing its banks and flooding the Forum on many occasions. The Vestals carried the debris along the Porta Stercoraria (an alley midway up the Clivus Capitolinus opened once a year for this purpose), and threw it into the Tiber (Festus 466L; Varro, Lingua Latina 6.32). Click on the SPQR for a reconstructed view of the placid Tiber between bridges.
dentosa: the word does not exist; what is needed is a word like dentata (toothed).
Several manuscripts retain the reading detonso (smooth, stripped) in reference to the boxwood comb (modifying the neuter noun buxum), but I follow Heinsius’ conjecture of dentosa (full of teeth, toothed), modifying buxus in its feminine form, a reading approved by Bömer and the Perseus editors (though it doesn't appear in OLD). On the other hand, Pighi believes that the teeth were symbolically stripped off the comb on dies religiosi to indicate that the Flaminica was forbidden to comb her hair (P. Ovidii Nasonis Fastorum Libri, Annotationes, Turin, 1973, p. 66).
crinis, -is, m.
hair, lock of hair. Click on the SPQR for a statue of a Republican woman wearing the tutulus hairstyle.
depecto, -ere, ___, depexum
comb out; the infinitive is dependent on licet in l. 230. Note the use of the present tense indicating ongoing action: presumably the Flaminica daily combed her hair, which she kept long and in certain rituals piled on the top of her head.
buxus, -i f.
an object made of boxwood, a comb; modified by dentosa.
unguis, -is, m.
ferrum, -i, n.
iron; ablative of means.
subseco, -are, -ui, -tum
clip, trim, cut off; note the change in tense to the perfect infinitive, indicating a completed action.
licet, -ere, -uit, -itum est impersonal
it is lawful, it is permitted, followed by infinitives and the dative of person (mihi; see A&G #454-5). Note the anaphora of non at the beginning of ll. 229-231, stressing the relgious prohibitions on the Flaminica to insure her purity during the purification of Vesta's temple.
tango, -ere, tetigi, tactum
touch, handle; the perfect infinitive, indicating single, complete action (see A&G #486).
quamvis adverb
however, ever so; repeated in the next line where it governs a concessive clause (datus sit). Is the first quamvis meant to be humorous? Even though her husband is the priest of Jupiter, a god known for his sexual exploits, the Flaminica must refrain from contact with him at this time?
Iuppiter, Iovis, m.
Jupiter, Jove; son of Saturn, king of the Olympian gods. Scan the line for sound painting, especially the end rhyme of quamvis Iuvis.
sacerdos, -otis, m./f.
priest, priestess. Note the effect of assonance of s and v in the line. The sacred marriage of the Flamen and Flaminica Dialis, believed to be symbolic of the well-being and fertility of Rome, was the ideal Augustus held up to the elite who were avoiding marrying (see Augustus' Julian laws). Click on the SPQR for the Flamen Dialis, processing on the Ara Pacis in his ritual leather cap with its apex and holding the rod of office.
perpetuus, -a, -um
perpetual, continuous. The law that governs their marriage is perpetua in two ways: it is eternal, not man-made and can only be dissolved by death.
lex, legis, f.
law; bill, motion, statute; ablative of means.
propero (1)
hasten, hurry. The present imperative with ne is used by early writers and the poets in statements of prohibition.
melius comparative adverb
nubo, -ere, nupsi, nuptum
marry (used of a woman marrying). Click on the SPQR for an image of a bride marrying.
igneus, -a. -um
fiery; of fire, on fire; scan the line to find the noun this adjective modifies.
niteo, -ere, -ui
shine, gleam, glisten; cum introduces a temporal clause in the indicative (see A&G #545). The Flaminica ends by declaring that after the sweepings were ritually thrown into the Tiber (June 15), business and ceremonies could resume. Thus, June 16 was the earliest date for Ovid’s daughter to marry.
humus, -i, f.
ground, earth, soil, floor. Ablative of place where without in. The temple's marble floor, swept and purified, now reflects the flames from Vesta’s hearth.

Close this window after final use.