Hexameter

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366. The verse in which the Hoτmeric poems are composed- the ἄerοic 2eπaρeter -consists of six feet, of equal length, each ob which again is divided into tςwο equal parts, vi22. an accented part or aτwίς (on which the rhythmical beat or ictνuς fats), and an unaccented part or tesir. n each foot the arsis consists of one ong syllable, the thesis of one long or two short syllables ; except the last thesis, which consists of one syllable, either long or short.

Γhα fifth thesis nearly always consists of two short syllables, thus producing the characteristic - - r - be2 which marks the end of each hexameter.

The last foot is probably to be regarded as a little shorter than the others, the time being filed up by the pause at the end of the verse. The eβect ob this shortening is heightened by the dactyl in the fifth place, since the tςwο short syllables take the full time of half a foot.

367. Diaeresis and Caesura. Besides the recognised ςtορς or pauses vwhich mark the separation of sentences and clauses there is in general a slight pause or break of the voice betςween successive swords in the same clause, sufficient to aβfect the rhythm of the verse. Hence the rules regarding diaeresis and caesura.

By Diaeresis is meant the coincidence of the division betςween swords ςwith the division into feet. The commonest place of diaeresis in the hexameter is after the fourth foot

ἡρώων αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τείῦχε κύνεσσιν.

This is called the bucolic diaeresis.

Caesura (τομή) occurs vwhen the pause betςween tςwo words falls ςwithin a foot, so as to ' cut it into two parts. The caesura which separates the arsis from the thesis (so as to divide the foot equally) is called the strong or πmascμutine caesura : that which falls betςween the two short syllables ob the thesis is called the μweaέὲ or feπiniπne or trοcάaίc caesura.

The chief points to be observed regarding caesura in the Homeric hexameter are as folloςws.

  1. There is nearly always a caesαra in the third foot. Of the two caesuras the more frequent in this place is the trochaic (τομὴ κατὰ τρίτον τροχαῖον).

    ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε Μοῦσα | πολύτροπον ὃς μάλαπολλά.

    The strong caesura, or "caesura after the fifth half-foot" (τομὴ πενθημιμερής), is rather less common.

    μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, | Πηληίάδεω Ἀχιλῆος.

    In the first book of the Iliad, which contains 611 lines, the trochaic caesura of the third foot occurs in 35θ, and the corresponding strong caesura in 247.1

    On the other hand, there must be no diaeresis after the third foot; and in the few cases in which the third foot lies wholly in one word there is always a strong caesura in the fourth foot (τομὴ ἑφθημιμερής).

    ὅς κε θεοῖς ἐπιπείθηται | μάλα τʼ ἔκλυον αὐτοῦ
    Hρη τ ἠδὲ Ποσειδάων | καὶ Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη.

    The division between an enclitic and the preceding word is not sufficient for the caesura in the third foot: hence in Od. 10. 58 we should read

    αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ σίτοιό τʼ ἐπασσάμεθʼ ἠδὲ ποτῆτος not σίτοιό τε πασσάμεθʼ (as La Roche).

    The remaining exceptions to these rules are

    Il. 1. 179 οἴκαδ’ ἰὼν σὺν νηνσί τε σῆς καὶ σοῖς ἑτάροισι

    which is an adaptation of the (probably conventional) form σὺν νηί τʼ ἐμῇ καὶ ἐμοῖς ἑτάροισι(l. 183). We may help the rhythm by taking νηυσί τε σῆς closely together, so as to avoid the break in the middle of the line.

    Il. 3. 205 ἠδη γὰρ καὶ δεῦρό ποτʼ λυθε δὸς Oδυσσεύς.

    Il. 10. 453 οὐκέτʼ ἔπειτα σὺ πῆμά ποτʼ ἔσσεαι Ἀργείοισι.

    Where ποτέ, as an enclitic, is in an unusual place in the sentence (§ 355, 4). but it is perhaps in reality an emphatic bone day. Similarly, in-

    Il. 3. 220 φαίης κε ζάκοτόν τέ τινʼ ἔμμεναι ἄφρονά τʼ αὔτως

    τινα may be slightly emphatic. Or should vwe read τὸν ἔμμεναι?

    Il. 15. 18 ἡ οὐ μέμνῃ ὅτε τʼ ἑκρέμαω ὑφόθεν, ἕκ τε ποδοῖν.

    We may read ὅτε τε κρεμάω: but possibly the peculiar rhythm is intentional, as being adapted to the sense.

  2. Trochaic caesura of the fourth foot is very rare, and is only found under certain conditions.

    (1) when the caesura is preceded by an enclitic or short monosyllable (such as μέν, δέ, etc.); as-

    καί κεν τοῦτʼ ἐθέλοιμι Διός γε διδόντος ἀρέσθαι.

    (2) when the line ends with a wοrd of four or five syllables.

    αὐτὰρ ὁ μοῦνος ἔην μετὰ πέντε κασιγνήτῃσι.

    πολλὰ δʼ ἄρʼ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθʼ θυσε μάχη πεδίοιο.

    The commonest form of this kind of caesura (especially in the Hind) is that in which these two alleviations are both present.

    ερσῖτʼ ἀκριτόμυθε, λιγύς περ ἐὼν ἀγορητής.

    The first fifteen books of the Iliad contain eleven instances of trochaic caesura in the fourth foot, of which seven are of this form.

    In ll. 9. 394 the MSS. give

    ΓΠbηλεύς θήν μοι ἔπειτα γυναῖκα γαμέσσεται αὐτός.

    But we should doubtless read, with Aristarchus

    γυναῖκά γε μάσσεται αὐτός.

    Similarly we should probably read τὰ θέμ’ οὐκ ἄρα μέλλον ὀνήσειν (l. 5. 205, 8xc.), instead of ἔμελλον : and conversely θαλερὴ δʼ ἐμιαίνετο χαίτη (B. 17. 439, and ῥαφαὶ δʼ ἐλέλυντο ἱμάντων (Od. 22. 186), instead of μιαίνετο, λέλυντο. In Od. 5. 272 we may treat ὄνε δύοντα as one vword in rhythm. But it is not easy to account for the rhythm in Od. 12. 47 ἐπὶ δʼ οὔατ ἀλεῖψαι ἑταίρων. The result of these rules evidently is that there are two chief breaks or pauses in the verse-the caesμuτa in the third foot, and the diaeresis betςween the fourth and fifth-and that the fοτ- ὁidὰdeμn divisions are the diaeresis and caesura which lie nearest to these pauses. Γhus-

    Best caesura- ς - λ - - Κ - - -
    Worst diaeresis - ς - λ2 - - i2 - - - -

    Again-

    Best diaeresis - - ς - - λ - γ - -
    Worst caesura - λς - λ2 - ς - - ῦC - -

    It is also common to find a diaeresis with a slight pause after the first foot ; cp. the recuurring ὡς φάτο, ὡς ἔφατʼ, ὡς ὅ γε, αὐτὰρ ὁ, and forms of address, as τέκνον, δαιμόνιʼ, ἄὦ φίλοι, ἄῳ πόποι, 8Cc. Hence the occasional hiatus in this place, as 7. 2. 209 χῇ, ὡς κτλ., ll. Il. 333 αὐτὰρ ὁ ἔγνω ἧσιν ἐνὶ φρεσί.

368. Spondaic verses. The use of a spondee in the fifth place occurs most commonly in verses which end with a word of four or more syllables.

στέμματʼ ἔχων ἐν χερσὶν ἑκηβόλου Ἀπόλλωνος.
Ἀρεῖ δὲ ζώνην, στέρνον δὲ Ποσειδάωνι.

It is also found with words of three long syllables.

τῷ δʼ ἠδη δύο μὲν γενεαὶ μερόπων ἀνθρώπων.

And once or twice when the last word is a monosyllable: as νωμῆσαι βῶν (l. 7. 238), ἑστήκει μείς (Ii. 19. 117).

A spondee in the fifth place ought not to end with a word. Hence we should correct the endings ἠῶ δῖαν dc. by reading hόα, and δήμου φῆμις (Od. 14. 239), by restoring the archaic δήμοο. In Od. 12. 64 the swords λὶς πέτρη at the end of the line are scanned together.

Words of three long syllables are very seldom found before the Bucolic diaeresis. Examples are

Il. 13. 713 οὐ γάρ σφι σταδίῃ ὑσμίνῃ μίμνε φίλον κῆρ.

Od. 10. 492 ψυχῇ χρησομένους Θηβαίου Γειρεσίαο.

The rarity of verses with this rhythm max be judged from the fact that it is never found with the oblique cases of ἄνθρωπος (ἀνθρώπων etc.), although these occur about 150 times, and in every other place in the verse: or with ἀλλήλων etc., which occur about 100 times.

  • 1. In this calculation no lines are reckoned twice, short monosyllables being taken either with the preceding or the following wοrd, according to the sense.