Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin
Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

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Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

2.2 Parallel text 2: Catullus

Now look at the opening lines of Catullus and the dictionary entries in Table 4 below.

Catullus, Poems, 1.1−2.

Catullus introduces his book of poetry.


To whom do I give my charming, new booklet

recently polished with dry pumice?


cui dōnō lepidum nouum libellum

āridā modo pūmice expolītum?

Table 4 Dictionary entries for parallel text 2: Catullus

LatinEnglishDictionary entry
cuito whom?quis? – ‘who?’
dōnōdo I givedōnō – ‘I give’, ‘I present’
lepidummy charminglepidus – ‘pleasant’, ‘charming’, ‘elegant’
nouumnewnovus – ‘new’, ‘novel’
libellumbookletlibellus – ‘little book’, ‘booklet’
āridādryāridus – ‘dry’
modorecentlymodo – ‘recently’
pūmicewith pumicepūmex – ‘pumice-stone’
expolītumpolishedexpoliō – ‘polish’

Activity 6

Jot down the Latin equivalent for the following:

  1. To whom do I give
  2. booklet
  3. with dry pumice
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EnglishLatin equivalent
To whom do I givecui dōnō
with dry pumiceāridā pūmice

Activity 7

The parallel text of Pliny suggested that Latin tends to use fewer words than English. Does the extract from Catullus support this idea or contradict it? Or does it have no implication either way?


It supports it


It contradicts it


It has no bearing one way or the other

The correct answer is a.


The passage of Catullus supports this idea, with 14 English words being used to represent 9 Latin ones.


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