Summer on Tenedos or The Wooden Horse Part 5 of 12 / by Anthony Gibbins

The Wooden Horse. Part 5. As we await the October 1 arrival of Legonium pars tertia, here is some complete nonsense in 12 parts.

From the translation of The Aeneid, Book II by John Dryden

In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle

(While Fortune did on Priam's empire smile)

Renown'd for wealth; but, since, a faithless bay,

Where ships expos'd to wind and weather lay.

There was their fleet conceal'd. We thought, for Greece

Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release.


tum : tum is another adverb, so – again – it does not have case or number or anything of that kind. tum, like deinde, means ‘next’ or ‘then’. Although you may remember that deinde could also mean ‘from that place’, which tum cannot.

reliqui : reliquus is an adjective meaning ‘left behind’ or ‘remaining’. Here it is masculine, plural and nominative in order to agree with ‘Graeci’.

Graeci : Graecus, as we have seen, is a masculine noun meaning ‘a Greek’. Here it is plural because there are more than one of them and nominative, because it is the subject of the verb.

ad : ad is a preposition. We have seen that prepositions do not alter their form, although we do need to learn the case of the noun (or pronoun) that follows them. ad is always followed by the accusative case. It means ‘to’ or ‘towards’ with a verb that implies motion and ‘at’ with a verb that doesn’t. For example, ‘she walks to the table’ vs ‘she sits at the table’.

insulam : insula is a feminine noun meaning ‘island’. The island in question is Tenedos, just off the coast of Troy. Here it is accusative to indicate that it forms a prepositional phrase along with ad. It is singular because there is just the one of them.

propinquam : propinquus is an adjective meaning ‘near’ or ‘neighbouring’. Its form is feminine, singular and accusative to 'agree with' insulam.

se : se is the reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject. On the previous page we saw the less usual form sese. It is accusative to indicate that the Graeci did something to themselves. Or, to put it another way, that it is the object.

recipiunt : recipere is a verb meaning, among other things, ‘to take back’. It is often used, as here, with the reflexive pronoun to mean ‘retreat’. recipiunt is third person plural, because we have a third person plural subject. It is present tense. Literally it means ‘they are taking themselves back’. There is no way, however, that it is actually describing an action occurring in the present, so the author must be doing this to create a sense of excitement. We will understand recipiunt as ‘they retreated’.

Translation: Then the left over Greeks retreated to a neighbouring island.