- Slides: 12
Scansion Dactylic Hexameter
Poetry? What makes Latin poetry since it does not rhyme? Although classical Latin poetry does not use endrhymes as a rule, it is written in a variety of meters, or specific patterns of syllables. The rhythm of the poem can add meaning (fast feet for excitement, slow feet for majesty or sadness) and euphony (beautiful sound)
Long and Short Syllables Whereas English poetry is based on stressed and unstressed syllables, Latin poetry is based on short and long vowels. A short vowel makes a short syllable. A long vowel makes a long syllable.
Three categories of long vowels 1. Vowels that are long by nature. These are marked with a macron in your text but sadly not on the AP exam. Very common are macrons over ablative and second conjugation verbs. 2. Vowels that are long by position. These are vowels followed by two or more consonants. The consonants may be in the same word or in different words. They may be two of the same consonant.
Exceptions to the above rules. 1. an “x” is considered two consonants, since it has a “k” and an “s” sound. 2. an “h” does not count as a consonant, since it is barely pronounced. 3. A combination of a mute consonant (“b”, “p”, “c”, “g”, “d”, “t”) and a liquid (“l” or “r”) may or may not make the preceding vowel long. To remember the mute consonants, think of the sentence, “Bad Pupils chew Gum During Tests. ” 4. An initial “I” is often a consonantal “j” and should not be scanned. 5. The “u” in “QU” is considered part of the consonant “Q” and should not be scanned.
Long Syllables Continued 3. All diphthongs are scanned as one long vowel. AE, AU, Eu, Oe
Elision is a contraction of two words, in which one syllable is either swallowed up or pronounced quickly and passed over. 1. Vowel – Vowel tecto et becomes tect’et 2. Vowel – H ego hanc becomes eg’hanc 3. –m-Vowel antrum immane becomes antr’immane 4. –m –H monstrum horrendum becomes Monstr’horrendum
Elision Continued If the elision does not occur where expected (this you can tell from scanning), this is called HIATUS. See the following line: Et vera dea incessu patuit dea. Ille ubi matrem… There is no elision between dea and ille. As this depicts the heretofore disguised Venus walking away from a surprised Aeneas, the hiatus illustrates his gasp of shock.
More Elision When you spot an elision, consider whether the author is showing the close connection of the words elided in some way. In Catullus 3, see the line: Nec ses’ a grem’ illius movebat. (Nor did be move himself from her lap) The elision shows the inseparability of the sparrow from Lesbia.
Dactylic Hexameter Epic Meter which consists of six feet of dactyls or spondees. Dactyl (long, short) - u u Spondee (long, long) - - The final syllable may be either long or short; such a syllable is known as a syllaba anceps. AP readers want you to mark it as a Long
Dactylic Hexameter Continued The penultimate (5 th) foot is almost always a dactyl. If a spondee does occur in the fifth foot, watch for the other horsemen of the apocalypse. Such a line is called a spondaic line. Probably won’t happen.
Procedure when macrons are on text 1. Check for elision and mark them 2. Mark all longs by position 3. Mark all diphthongs long 4. Put shorts over all other vowels 5. Insert feet lines after a dactyl or a spondee 6. Count feet to make sure you get six Sometimes it’s helpful to start from the end of the