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Musa PedestrisMetre and Meaning in Roman Verse$
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Llewelyn Morgan

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554188.001.0001

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The Short and the Long of it

(p.114) 2 Iambics
Musa Pedestris

Llewelyn Morgan

Oxford University Press

This chapter tackles the class of iambic metres, represented in non-dramatic Latin verse by the iambic trimeter, ‘limping’ iambic and the epodic systems used by Horace in the Epodes. After a consideration of the continuing prominence of the choliambic or ‘limping’ iambic, the discussion turns to the peculiarly Roman development represented by the ‘pure’ iambic trimeter, which offers a salient illustration of the interpenetration of academic theory and poetic practice in Roman metrical usage. The argument focuses on the parody of Catullus 4 attributed to Virgil, Catalepton 10, but there is also close analysis of Horace's theoretical commentary on iambics and later contributions from the Latin metricians. After a rehearsal of recent work on Horace's meaningful deployment of metres in the Epodes, the chapter concludes by reading Epode 16, a combination of hexameters and pure trimeters, in the light of the understanding gained into pure iambics earlier in the chapter.

Keywords:   iambic, choliambic, limping iambic, Catullus, Catalepton 10, Horace, metricians, Epodes, pure iambic trimeter

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