Talk:Terra (mythology)

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[edit]

my name is megan peterson and iam wondering, what does terra have to do with anything

You live on it, stupid. --67.163.226.190 04:32, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Tellus as Earth, the sphere, Terra as earth, the element[edit]

I'm not an expert in Latin, Ovid at least does not seem overly concerned with this distinction. I'm working here from Project Gutenberg and A.S. Kline's translation

E.g., Here tellus is very clearly an element

Lucidus hic aër, et, quae tria corpora restant,
Ignis, aquae, tellus, unus acervus erant.

Here "tellus Arcade" is translated as "Arcadia", so tellus would appear to mean land

Orta prior Luna,--de se si creditur ipsi--
A magno tellus Arcade nomen habet.

I'm not sure here, even with the translation, but I don't see anything about the earth as a whole

Fluminaque, et Fontes, quibus utitur hospita tellus,
Et nemorum Nymphae, Naiadumque chori!

On the other hand, it does appear to refer here to the earth as a whole — not in the sense of a spherical planet, but in the sense of "the world".

Nec tacet Evandri mater, prope tempus adesse,
Hercule quo tellus sit satis usa suo.

If anything, Terra seems more astronomical here

Tempora cum causis Latium digesta per annum,
Lapsaque sub terras ortaque signa canam.

(translated as "I’ll speak of divisions of time throughout the Roman year/Their origins, and the stars that set beneath the earth and rise.")

However

Dexter ades ducibus, quorum secura labore
Otia terra ferax, otia pontus agit.

(translated as "Be favourable to the leaders, whose labours win/Peace for the fertile earth, peace for the seas:")

From what I can see, Ovid at least uses both terms in a variety of senses. At this point I'm curious whence the notion that "Tellus" means the sphere and "Terra" the element may derive. -Dmh 06:07, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

After a bit more digging it appears that this may derive from a statement in Book IV of Augustine's City of God, in which he says that the Romans distinguish Terra, Tellus and Tellumo. I also ran across a couple of statements that "Terra" referred to dry land while "Tellus" referred to the world. In particular, the opening of Metamorphoses uses the two in those senses, but it seems a bit much to draw a general principle from that particular usaage. Mainly, "Tellus" and "Terra" appear to be used interchangeably, in Latin, in English translations and in commentaries. -16:03, 13 October 2006 (UTC)