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Nunc Scio Quid Sit Amor

by Maria
(Los Angeles, CA, USA)


Regarding Virgil's line 'Nunc scio quid sit amor', is this gender-specific? In other words, would a woman express the same sentiment to a man in the same words, or would the words differ---and, if they differ, how would a woman say this phrase to a man? Also, when the phrase is written, shouldn't the letter "u" properly appear as "v"?

Thank you so much for all your help!

Dear Maria,

Virgil's words mean "now I know what love is" and they may placed in the mouth of a man or a woman without change. They are from Vergil's Eclogues, poem 8, line 43.

Incipe Maenalios mecum, mea tibia, uersus.
Nunc scio quid sit Amor: duris in cautibus illum
aut Tmaros aut Rhodope aut extremi Garamantes
nec generis nostri puerum nec sanguinis edunt.

Begin Maenalian versus with me, my flute!
Now I know what love is: on hard cliffs that boy
either Tmarus or Rhodope or most remote Garamentes
produced, a child not of our race and blood.

As for the modern u and v, the Romans had only one letter. It was a u in lower case and a V in upper case. Later Latin and most modern editors use two distinct letters, u for the vowel and v for the consonant. However, notice uersus above: it stands for versus.

Hope this helps and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.



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