Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The fundamental effect of metre on language is to organise and regulate it; and language so structured automatically rises in status, gaining a heightened, even ritualistic character purely by virtue of the artificial patterns it is obliged to obey. What precisely is ‘measured’ by ‘metre’ varies. It may be the number of syllables, or the number of accentual stresses; it may be a combination of the two. Accentual stress had a role to play in Roman poetry, and there was also an element of syllable counting, seemingly inherited from the syllabic metres of the Indo-Europeans, the ancient common source of Greek, Roman, Indian, and other metrical systems. No other Roman poetry had quite so combative a relationship with its own metre as satire, but it could still be argued that Rome was never entirely at ease with its Greek metres. Metre is absolutely central to Horace's characterisation of Pindar and of himself.

Keywords: Rome, metre, syllables, Roman poetry, language, accentual stress, satire, Horace, Pindar

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.