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On the Role of Accent in Ancient Greek Poetry

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Dactylic and Iambic Words in the Homeric Hexameter

image of Mnemosyne

In this paper, I set out to study the distribution of some accentual types of two different word shapes in the Homeric hexameter: iambs and iambic ending words and dactyls and dactylic ending words. Following Nagy 2000 and 2010 and David 2006, I start from the idea that accent has a role in Ancient Greek poetry, which has been corroborated in Abritta 2015 by studying the distribution of trochaic ending words. In the sections corresponding to each word shape, after a statistical consideration of the distribution, I examine some literary uses of accentual types, which the poet places in the line apparently in order to produce a certain effect on the audience. The article is conceived as a first approximation to the study of accentual distribution in Ancient Greek poetry.

Affiliations: 1: Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto de Filología Clásica—Conicet


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1. Abritta A. 2015 On the Role of Accent in Ancient Greek Poetry. Pitch Patterns in the Homeric Hexameter QUCCVol 111 11 27
2. Allen W.S. 1966 Prosody and Prosodies in Greek TPhSVol 65 107 149
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16. O’Neill E.G. Jr. 1942 The Localization of Metrical Word Types in the Greek Hexameter YClSVol 8 103 178
17. Probert P. 2003 A New Short Guide to the Accentuation of Ancient Greek London
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20. Wahlström E. 1970 Accentual Responsion in Greek Strophic Poetry Helsinki
21. West M.L. 1970 A New Approach to Greek Prosody GlottaVol 48 185 194
22. West M.L. 1982 Greek Metre Oxford

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