A2 Latin Scansion

Brief notes on how to scan poetry

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  • Created by: Tooba
  • Created on: 28-04-12 12:41

Basics of scansion

'Scansion is the dividing of a line of verse into collective metrical patterns to determine the rhythm of the line'

A spondee = 2 x long bars (-- --) = 2 beats (dum-dum)

A dactyl = 1 x long bar and 2 x short bars (-- ' ') = 3 beats (dum-di-di)

An anceps = a modified spondee (-- x)

A foot = a spondee/dactyl/anchor

Hexameter = 6 feet

Pentameter = 5 feet

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Rules of scansion

1. Write a spondee at the start of the line (always by default)

2. Write the anceps at the end of the line (always by default)

3. Cross out any elision and mark any long syllables (explained on next card)

4. Mark the 5th foot as a dactyl (it's rarely a spondee)

5. Count the number of beats left in the line and calculate the numbers of dactyls and spondees needed for the remaining 4 feet

--> EXAMPLE: if by step 5 there are 10 beats left in the line, then:

- 4 spondees = 8 beats

- 4 dactyls = 12 beats

- SO it must be 2 spondees and 2 dactyls (2 x 2) + (2 x 3) = 10

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Elision and long syllables

ELISION:

- If a word ends in a vowel OR a vowel + m (eg. am, um etc) AND the next word starts with a vowel or h, the vowel/vowel + m are is ignored for scanning, so cross it out

LONG SYLLABLES

- A diphthong, 2 vowels next to each other (eg. ae) is always long (--)

- A vowel followed by 2 consonants (eg. nauta scit) is always long (the a is long)

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