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2010 HSC Notes from the Marking Centre — Latin



This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Latin courses. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2010 Higher School Certificate examinations, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.

This document should be read along with the relevant syllabuses, the 2010 Higher School Certificate examinations, the marking guidelines and other support documents which have been developed by the Board of Studies to assist in the teaching and learning of Latin.

General comments

Translations of prescribed texts should be coherent and fluent, and not awkwardly literal. In translating unseen texts candidates should read the heading and use the vocabulary provided. Candidates should also take care to read the short-answer questions carefully. Translations should be written on alternate lines as directed.

The marks allocated to a question indicate the depth of response required. Better responses for short-answer questions are brief and succinct. For extended-response questions, better responses communicate understanding of the meaning of the extracts by supporting the explanation or analysis with relevant and valid examples, explaining the link between the examples given and the aspect being analysed. Candidates are advised to address all elements of an extended response question in a logical and cohesive way, focusing only on relevant information. If two extracts are given, candidates should refer to both extracts in their answer. When quoting from a text, candidates should demonstrate their understanding of how the Latin is relevant to their argument, and should avoid using a Latin word in isolation without regard to its place in the structure of the Latin sentence. Candidates are advised to use ellipsis when quoting more than a few words from an extract, in order to avoid copying long sections of text.


Section I Prescribed Text — Cicero, In Verrem, Book V

Question 1

  1. Better responses to this question showed a good understanding of the passage as a whole and gave an accurate and perceptive account of every word of the extract. They accurately identified the personal endings of the verbs and the comparative plura. The best translations showed sensitivity to the meaning of the words criminis and argumenta in the context of the extract and took particular care in translating the subjunctives percussus esset, haberes, esset mortuus, profugisset and non esset difficile. The best responses also showed sensitivity to the demonstrative adjectives illam and illo and conveyed an understanding of the polyptoton suppositi… supponere as employed by Cicero by using a similar technique in English.
  2. Better responses accurately accounted for every word, in particular rendering repentinum as an adverb, identifying the negative purpose clause of ne possis, realising that me was the subject of an indirect statement and translating the generic subjunctive qui…dicant appropriately. In addition, better translations gave idiomatic renderings and due emphasis for hunc illum and istum ipsum which demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of Cicero’s argument. The best translations ensured that all of the subordinate clauses were included in an order which was logical and coherent.

Question 3

    1. Most candidates correctly identified what the slave had done and better responses explained correctly the reason why he was punished.
    2. Most candidates offered an acceptable explanation as to why Cicero includes this story in his prosecution of Verres. The best responses showed clear awareness of the precise context of the extract and linked it effectively to the extract.
  1. Most responses showed a good understanding of the content of this extract and displayed familiarity with how Cicero chooses words to discredit Verres’ character, thus addressing both aspects of the question. Better responses went beyond mere summary of the content to offer a clear explanation of how Cicero discredits Verres, articulating in particular the discrepancy Cicero exploits between Verres’ behaviour as described and the standards expected of a Roman governor. 

Question 4

Candidates displayed their understanding of the prescribed text and their appreciation of the rhetorical methods used by Cicero. Better responses clearly and directly addressed the question and brought out effectively the application of rhetorical methods to persuade the audience of Verres’ guilt. The best responses offered analysis rather than explanation of Cicero’s use of rhetorical methods and supported this analysis with relevant examples from both extracts.

Candidates identified and analysed a variety of rhetorical methods, including Cicero’s effective use of rhetorical questions, use of emotive language, polyptoton, dubitatio, direct address to the judges and the appeal for a precedent. Some responses, although they dealt well with rhetorical methods, did not effectively link these with Verres’ guilt. With reference to the first extract, Cicero’s exploitation of the contrast between expected behaviour and Verres’ actual conduct was well analysed, as was the emphasis placed on his own oratorical exhaustion in the second extract, which is of no account since Verres’ crimes are alleged to speak for themselves.

Many candidates displayed a good knowledge of the technical terms of rhetoric included in the syllabus. It was important to use these terms correctly and show accurate understanding of the meaning of the extract.

Section II — Prescribed Text — Virgil, Aeneid X

Question 5

Better responses accounted for the adjective cari, attributing it to the correct noun, recognised that hic was adverbial and translated equidem with due weight. Better translations also provided an object for the verb vidit. The best translations recognised that silebo governed three accusatives, casum, facta and te, and accounted for the gerundive in iuvenis memorande with an idiomatic phrase, showing their understanding that this young man was ‘worthy-to-be-remembered’. The phrase pedem referens was most correctly translated as a single action, ‘retreating’. The best responses expressed clearly and in fluent English the many actions taking place in lines 797 and 798, realising that the genitive participles adsurgentis and ferentis related to Aeneas, and conveying the sense of the ablative dextra in some way. Better translations reflected the meaning of morando in this context, giving a more sophisticated translation than simply ‘by delaying’. The concluding tenet se required a translation which gave the sense of Aeneas holding his ground.

Question 7

  1. Most candidates demonstrated competency in scanning both lines, accurately marking six feet with correct meter. Most responses accounted for all of the syllables in the longer words such as venientis and proelia. It is imperative that elisions, such as meditant(em) in and ali(a) est, are acknowledged and that diphthongs are always marked long (such as the oe in proelia, and the au in taurum and haud).
  2. Most candidates correctly identified the corresponding comparison between Turnus as the lion, and Pallas as the bull. To explain what the simile suggested about Turnus, Pallas and the outcome of their contest, the better responses included relevant qualities about each beast, leaving no doubt about the foreshadowed outcome of Turnus’ victory. Some responses noted that in the ancient world the bull is an animal of sacrifice, which contributed to their understanding of the effect of the simile.
  3. By referring closely to these two speeches, candidates were able to describe various aspects of Virgil’s characterisation of Pallas as a young warrior eager to prove himself by winning spoils from a more experienced foe. Pallas’ pietas, his heroism and his reference to father-son relationships in these two speeches were mentioned. Candidates are reminded that they must deal with every part of a question. This question demanded much more than a description of Pallas’ character. The best responses, referring to significant words or implications, not only picked out comparable aspects of Virgil’s characterisation of Pallas in the two speeches, but also showed their perceptive understanding of the differences, often suggesting that Pallas’ earlier heroic words represent mere bravado when contrasted with the desperation revealed both in his plea to Hercules and in the bloodthirstiness revealed in his last two lines.

Question 8

Most responses demonstrated a thoughtful interpretation of the extract. Many candidates described the heroic qualities of Mezentius, but only the better responses effectively analysed how the poet portrayed them. Drawing on knowledge of the text as a whole, these responses conveyed an understanding of the heroic qualities evident in Mezentius in this extract, and sometimes compared these with examples from earlier in Aeneid X. Better responses demonstrated an understanding of the traditional hero-warrior by closely analysing various aspects of the text to indicate Mezentius’ prowess in battle. The best responses referred to words and phrases from Aeneas’ speech such as acer and illa effera vis animi, and then analysed Mezentius’ own words, revealing how Virgil has portrayed different heroic qualities. Some responses made use of the implied comparison with Aeneas. When quoting from an extract, candidates should remember to demonstrate their understanding of how the Latin supports their argument.

Section III — Unseen Texts

Question 9

  1. The best responses showed the candidates’ ability to identify Teucros and manum as the accusative subjects of the indirect statement and to distinguish between the adjective Tyrrhenam and the noun manum.
  2. Many candidates displayed their knowledge of Latin grammatical forms by identifying words in the nominative case from the final two lines of the extract. Only the best responses demonstrated the ability to infer that vulgi must be in the genitive case, and to distinguish between the participles turbati, concussa, arrectae and the nouns animi, pectora, irae. The question required that these nouns be quoted in Latin.
  3. Better responses accounted for every word of the extract and showed a good understanding of basic Latin syntax, correctly identifying the subjects of most verbs and showing correct relationships between most nouns and adjectives. These responses also displayed understanding of vocabulary in context by selecting appropriate meanings for instructos, campis and stimulis. The best responses also showed a perceptive understanding of the more complex grammatical structures within the passage, such as the indirect statement in lines 449 and 450 and the passive verbs in lines 451 and 452. These responses were also characterised by idiomatic translations of difficult phrases, such as agebant certantes, per regia tecta and totis descendere campis, which showed sophisticated understanding of both the language and content of the extract. Responses at this level also typically provided a translation of the last two lines of the extract which showed sensitivity to the emotions described by Virgil.

Question 10

  1. Most candidates correctly identified me as the pronoun with which instructum agrees. In doing so, these candidates showed an awareness of the concept of grammatical agreement, that is, that adjectives and participles agree with nouns or pronouns and not with other adjectives or participles.
  2. Most candidates correctly identified (in) auribus (vestris) and (in) oculis (omnium) as indicating the senses to which Cicero says he will appeal. The question required that these words be quoted in Latin.
  3. Most candidates correctly identified ab amicissimis civitatibus and cum publicis auctoritatibus as indicating the origin of the legationes, and what they have brought with them. The question required that these words be quoted in Latin.
  4. Most responses demonstrated that candidates were familiar with the language and style typical of Cicero’s speeches. The better responses displayed an understanding of the extract’s content, choosing the most appropriate meaning of civitatibus and legationes for this context. Better responses were also characterised by consistency of expression, shown especially in the tenses of verbs. The best translations demonstrated a clear understanding of the extract’s content as well as a broad knowledge of the prescribed vocabulary, giving suitable translations of words such as frequentes and praeterea, and distinguishing auribus from aura or aurum. The best responses also paid careful attention to the grammatical forms and structures of the extract, accurately translating the nominative homo, the indirect statement me… venire, the result clause ita… ut, the future participle defixurus, and the dative relative pronoun quibus.


Section I — Prescribed Text

Question 1

  1. Most candidates produced a fluent translation which showed their understanding of the content in particular and of Horace’s style more broadly. A range of translations was accepted for such adjectives as gracilis, flavam, vacuam and amabilem. Better responses conveyed accurately the ablative phrases nigris… ventis and tabula… votiva, the masculine plural miseri and the fact that aurea was not dependent on credulus. The best translations gave idiomatic renderings of such phrases as multa… in rosa, simplex munditiis, fidem mutatosque deos and quibus intemptata nites, and reflected Horace’s use of literary techniques such as the repetition of semper.

Question 2

    1. Most candidates were able to show how Catullus contrasts his comites, Furius and Aurelius, with his puella, Lesbia. This question did not require a lengthy explanation or analysis, and candidates are reminded to look at the mark allocation as an indication of the expected length of the response.
    2. Most candidates clearly explained the points of comparison of the simile in the final stanza. The better responses not only identified Catullus' love as the flower and Lesbia as the plough, but explained the connection.
    1. Most candidates identified an example of diction that Horace uses and related that example to Horace's delight at the coming of spring.
    2. Most responses correctly identified at least one example of imagery and two Roman references and explained how those were used by Horace to reflect on the nature of life and death. The best responses were clearly and elegantly expressed.

Question 3

The better answers to this extended response identified a number of the conventions of lyric poetry and showed how these conventions were reflected in the poems of Catullus and Horace as these poets celebrated friendship. Better responses also gave sufficient weight to both the similarities and the differences in these two poems. The better responses also presented a logical and cohesive analysis, focusing on material relevant to the question. Most candidates identified the aspect of humour in both poems as well as the element of affection that Catullus and Horace show to their respective friends. All examples drawn from the poems needed to be effectively linked to the candidate's argument.

Section II — Non-prescribed Text

Question 4

  1. This extract provided candidates with the opportunity to analyse a complex passage of Latin. Better responses correctly matched subjects with verbs, eg necessitas sortitur and movet urna, and adjectives with the nouns they described, eg turba… maior, aequa lege, omne… nomen, capax… urna. These responses also selected the most appropriate meanings for words from the dictionary entries supplied and demonstrated their accurate knowledge of Latin vocabulary such as vir, mores, fama and aequa. The best responses recognised the ablative of comparison viro, the ablatives of respect moribus and fama, and correctly identified omne as accusative, neuter singular rather than ablative. The best responses also showed awareness of the structure and flow of the extract, delineated by the demonstrative pronouns hic, hic and illi.
  2. The best responses correctly identified the personification of necessitas or urna in the extract. Candidates who identified other examples of personification which matched their mistranslation were given credit for their recognition of the literary technique in the context of their translation.
  3. Most candidates explained how Horace uses language to convey the idea that all people are subject to destiny, no matter what their status. The better responses provided appropriate examples and explained these in context.

Question 5

  1. The best responses recognised that plura, perscripta, relata, derecta, omnia and aequata all agreed with milia, the subject of the indirect statement introduced by puto, and acknowledged the possessive dative illi and the parenthetical sicut fit. Most candidates were able to translate the list in lines 6—7 of the extract correctly, using the plural for all the items.
  2. No candidates attempted this question.



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