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HesperosStudies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday$
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P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, and N. J. Richardson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199285686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199285686.001.0001

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What’s in a Line? Papyrus Formats and Hephaestionic Formulae

What’s in a Line? Papyrus Formats and Hephaestionic Formulae

(p.306) 21 What’s in a Line? Papyrus Formats and Hephaestionic Formulae

Kiichiro Itsumi

Oxford University Press

The Alcaic stanza was written in four lines, and was conceived as a four-verse unit, from the Alexandrian period to the middle of the 20th century. Horace had been the paramount authority before the papyri were discovered, while Hephaestion gave theoretical support to this layout by providing metrical analysis. All the Alcaeus papyri, moreover, present the Alcaic stanza in four lines. They were believed to provide a definitive guarantee of its four-line division. However, the third verse can be in synaphea with the fourth. This chapter argues that whether Alexandrian scholarship correctly understood the metrical structure of the archaic lyrics or not, or in other words, whether the metrical structure was ignored on papyri deliberately or not, one thing is certain: Hephaestion, who found the four lines before him, had no doubts in accepting the four-line division and in analysing each of them as a metrically independent unit. That is, Hephaestion did not always correctly understand the metre.

Keywords:   Alcaic stanza, Horace, papyri, Hephaestion

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