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2011 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 2011 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 2011 Higher School Certificate examinations, the marking guidelines and other support documents 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, with candidates 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 or more extracts are given, candidates should refer to all 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 an ellipsis when quoting more than a few words from an extract, in order to avoid copying long sections of text.


Section I – Prescribed TextCicero, In Verrem V

Question 1

  1. Better responses to this question showed a good understanding of the passage as a whole and gave an accurate account of every word of the extract. They accurately identified the personal endings of the verbs and showed the agreement of depresso and exciso with saxo. The best translations showed sensitivity to Cicero’s rhetorical style by conveying the force of the description ingens, magnificum, regum ac tyrannorum and of the tricolon nihil … nihil … nihil in the final sentence. The best responses provided an idiomatic rendering for totum est e saxo, and different renderings of the synonyms clausum and saeptum, reflecting Cicero’s variatio.

  2. Better responses correctly accounted for every word of the extract and demonstrated a perceptive understanding of the relationship between the words and structures. Such responses distinguished clearly between the two actions of the first sentence Agit … gratias and conlaudat, and reflected accurately the relationship of the four passive infinitives proripi, nudari, deligari and expediri to the verb iubet. These responses were also clear on the meaning of virgas expediri, showing that Gavius’ beating is at this point of the set text still only a threat. The best translations also provided vivid and idiomatic renderings of the phrases toto ex ore, quo tandem progressurus and quidnam acturus esset.

Question 3

    1. Most responses showed a good understanding of the content of this extract and displayed familiarity with rhetorical techniques used to achieve contrast, thus addressing both aspects of the question. Better responses went beyond the mere summary of the content to offer a clear explanation of how specific rhetorical techniques provide an effective contrast between the proper use and Verres’ use of a Roman fleet.

    2. Most candidates correctly identified words that Cicero uses to belittle the achievement of P. Caesetius and P. Tadius and explained how these words present a negative view of the capture of a pirate ship.
    1. Most candidates correctly identified the challenge that Cicero believes is facing him at this point in his prosecution of Verres.

    2. Most candidates identified each of the groups referred to by Cicero. Better responses explained in detail the connection between Cicero’s description of these groups and the reflection it cast upon the negative aspects of Verres’ character.

Question 4

Candidates displayed their understanding of the prescribed text and their appreciation of the arguments used by Cicero. Better responses clearly and directly addressed the question and brought out effectively the foreshadowing of arguments and their development in the prescribed text. The best responses offered clear evaluation rather than explanation of Cicero’s arguments, and supported this evaluation with relevant examples from the three extracts and from the text prescribed for translation.

Candidates identified and evaluated a variety of arguments. Those who clearly identified the arguments that Hortensius was going to use showed how Cicero was able to develop these arguments to counter Hortensius. Some responses, although they identified some arguments of Cicero, did not effectively link these to Cicero’s anticipation of Hortensius’ defence, nor did they support them adequately with reference to the entire prescription.

Section II – Prescribed TextVirgil, Aeneid X

Question 5

Better responses accounted for every word in the extract and showed a perceptive understanding of the relationships between words and structures. These translations accurately reflected the repetition of vultum … ora … ora in the opening lines of the extract and distinguished between the two rhetorical questions in Aeneas’ speech, quid … pro laudibus istis and quid … indole dignum. Better translations demonstrated a sound knowledge of vocabulary, avoiding the confusion of vultum, tetendit, manibus and more with similar common Latin words. The best responses effectively conveyed the emotion of Aeneas’ speech and actions, providing sensitive translations for ingemuit miserans graviter, miserande puer and increpat ultro cunctantis socios. These translations also rendered the clauses si qua est ea cura and hoc … miseram solabere mortem and the phrase comptos de more capillos in a range of idiomatic ways, which nevertheless showed a clear understanding of the Latin syntax.

Question 7

  1. Most candidates demonstrated competence in scanning both lines, marking six feet with the correct meter, including the typical fifth foot dactyl. Better responses marked the elision of caelat(i) argenti and recognised the consonantal i of iacent, which precludes elision. It is imperative that diphthongs are always marked long (such as the ae in caelati and the au in auri).

  2. Most responses recognised the typical effect of a heavily spondaic line, which slows the pace. Better responses made the direct connection between the rhythm and the emotional effect of sadness or desperation in the context of Magus’ appeal.

  3. The better responses identified a similarity as well as a difference in writing about the two appeals to Aeneas.

  4. Most candidates identified some of the emotional responses of Aeneas and explained how they are evident in the extracts by linking them directly to words from Aeneas’ replies. The better responses mentioned a variety of emotions, such as anger, scorn and grief, and thus did not confine themselves to Aeneas’ furor. Candidates are reminded to consider the range of tone used by writers. Furthermore, the best responses reflected a perceptive understanding of how the immediate context of Book X influenced Aeneas’ emotional response – namely, the death of Pallas, which has driven him into a rage. Candidates are also reminded to consider carefully the wording and the scope of the question and to ensure that they support their response with relevant points. Prepared responses on Aeneas’ pietas failed to address properly the emotional content of the extract.

Question 8

The analysis could be carried out in various ways and the extract afforded a significant amount of material to work with. Better responses focused only on relevant points from the different parts of the extract and related the pathos to the intervention of Lausus in the battle, where a noble youth, prompted by a sense of duty, comes to the aid of his less worthy father and is met by a superior, furious warrior in Aeneas. Better responses showed understanding of the concept of pathos and how Virgil uses specific elements to generate audience/reader sympathy. Some of the noteworthy elements are Lausus’ emotion in ingemuit … amore, Mezentius’ state in Ille … trahebat, and Aeneas’ superiority in iamque … Aeneae and later fury in furit, as well as Lausus’ stout resistance in morando sustinuit. It was important that responses not just be a list of poetic or rhetorical devices, or even literary analyses of the extract. The best responses made good use of the crucial authorial intervention, which foreshadows Lausus’ fate with mortis durae casum and sets the tone of the extract, and noted the unique placement of this device and the poignant apostrophe of iuvenis memorande. Some responses also briefly and appropriately placed the extract in context as it related to pathos in Aeneid X.

Section III – Unseen Texts

Question 9

  1. Most candidates identified subvecta as the participle agreeing with Nox.

  2. Most candidates realised that visa required a form of esse to complete the perfect passive, such as est, erat or fuit. The question required that the word be written in Latin.

  3. Most responses correctly identified visa or delapsa as marking facies as feminine. The question required that this word be quoted in Latin. Candidates are reminded to consider carefully the wording of the question. A few candidates interpreted the question as asking for a word identifying the gender of the person to whom the facies belonged, and incorrectly quoted parentis or Anchisae.

  4. The best responses recognised that the first instance of vita in line 724, and not the second one, was an ablative of comparison. In such responses, only the correct vita was clearly identified by underlining.

  5. The best responses identified the perfect participle exercite as a vocative, and not as an ablative or imperative.

  6. Most responses reflected a substantial understanding of the extract. Better responses displayed sound vocabulary skills by selecting an appropriate meaning for nate and depulit, and by not confusing the adverb quondam with the pronoun quoddam. The best responses showed a perceptive understanding of the more complex grammatical structures within the passage, such as the role of visa and of the infinitive effundere, vita as an ablative of comparison after magis, and the agreement of care and exercite with the vocative nate.

Question 10

  1. Most candidates correctly identified commemorem as the verb in the first sentence.

  2. Many candidates identified part of the indirect statement dependent on putatis. Only the best responses correctly and fully identified the statement oblitos … hos … esse.

  3. Most candidates explained that sit solitus was subjunctive as it was part of an indirect question.

  4. Most candidates identified faciam as a first person verb.

  5. Most candidates demonstrated familiarity with the language and style of Cicero. In better responses, candidates accounted for every word of the extract and showed a sound understanding of vocabulary in context by giving appropriate meanings of virgis, concidere and ceciderat, and iste referring to the defendant Verres. They also avoided confusing vero, faciam and solitus with similar common Latin words. The best responses showed a perceptive understanding of the more complex grammatical structures, such as the deliberative subjunctive commemorem, the indirect statement dependent on putatis, the pronoun eum qualified by the relative clause quem … ceciderat as the object of produxit, and the gerundive recognoscendae. These translations demonstrated sensitivity to the rhetorical style of Cicero, picking up on the balance of superbiam … crudelitatem and gravior… atrocior. The best translations rendered the final sentence in a range of idiomatic ways, showing a clear understanding of Cicero’s intended meaning.


Section I – Prescribed Text

Question 1

  1. Most candidates produced a fluent translation that showed their understanding of the content in particular and of Horace’s style more broadly. The better responses reflected Horace’s customary sermo cotidianus and his urbane satiric style by using appropriate contemporary English idiom. These translations accounted for every word of the extract, notably quare and eoque, and showed a sound understanding of vocabulary in context by giving appropriate meanings of expugnabis, aditus and tempora. Such translations also conveyed effectively the tone of the rapid exchange between Horace and the Boor.

  2. Most candidates produced a fluent translation that demonstrated their understanding of Juvenal’s style and intended meaning. Better responses displayed a particular sensitivity to the satiric genre by conveying the humorous description of a young man, ebrius ac petulans, and the subsequent contrast with the poet using appropriate idiomatic language well suited to the tone of the extract. These translations showed a sound understanding of vocabulary in context by giving appropriate meanings of improbus, somnum rixa facit and cavet. The better responses also demonstrated clear understanding of the more complex structures in the extract. In particular, they linked effectively the verb contemnit with its object me, though separated by two relative clauses.

Question 2

    1. Most candidates explained that Umbricius’ honesty was a hindrance to his participation in Roman society.

    2. candidates correctly identified Verres as a former corrupt governor of Sicily and explained the relevance of this example for the speaker.
    1. Most candidates demonstrated their understanding of the extract and offered two reasons why Horace uses this particular excuse to rid himself of the Boor.

    2. Most candidates showed an appreciation of the nature of amicitia and made appropriate comments about the Boor’s misunderstanding of it.
  1. The best responses identified and analysed features of epic language used by Juvenal and explained clearly how their exaggeration or their application to an everyday unheroic context contributed to a mock-epic style in this extract. The most effective responses, drawing on examples from the whole extract as well as broader knowledge of the epic genre, gave due emphasis to the mock-epic effect of Juvenal’s language rather than simply identifying instances of epic language.

Question 3

Better responses took advantage of the opportunity to use knowledge of the prescribed genre to identify elements of the satiric style of each poet. Many responses presented a thorough analysis of the language and stylistic devices used in each extract, but only the best responses were able to demonstrate explicitly an appreciation of how each author’s style was reflected in these extracts.

Better responses evaluated the distinctive style of each poet, showing clear appreciation of similarities and differences. Some responses acknowledged that while the harsh bitterness that is typical of Juvenal’s style elsewhere in Satire III is not present in these opening lines, they nevertheless do convey his angry indignation by an extended rhetorical question, extreme terms and exaggeration.

Section II – Non-prescribed Text

Question 4

  1. Most candidates wrote adequate translations that reflected the immediacy of the rapid exchange between the poet and his interlocutor. Better responses gave appropriate idiomatic translations of bone, ut tu semper eris derisor and si quicquam; such translations also effectively conveyed the tone of the original Latin. The best responses displayed a perceptive understanding of Latin syntax by identifying the periphrastic future tense est … daturus, the agreements and correct case usage in promissa Triquetra praedia … Itala tellure, the indirect statement iurantem me scire, and the function of ut.

  2. Many candidates articulated Horace’s satiric purpose and identified relevant stylistic and satiric features in the extract, such as sermo cotidianus, mock-epic styleand irony. The best responses, drawing from the extract as a whole, linked these features to Horace’s purpose and explained clearly how they contribute to it.

Question 5

  1. The best responses accurately recognised amethystina as the subject of vendunt and caudicum as accusative, census as genitive in agreement with maioris, and eloquio as dative governed by fidimus. Better responses showed a clear overall understanding of the extract and gave a more fluent rather than literal translation. Such responses provided an appropriate meaning in context for servat and conveyed the sense connection between nisi fulserit anulus ingens and the previous clause.

  2. Translations of this passage reflected candidates’ understanding of Latin vocabulary and syntax. The best responses demonstrated accurate knowledge of word formation and Latin grammatical constructions.
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