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date: 02 December 2022

brevis brevianslocked

brevis brevianslocked

  • H. D. Jocelyn
  •  and Jonathan G. F. Powell


Brevis brevians, ‘abbreviation (of a long syllable) through the agency of a (nearby) short (syllable)’; the Latin term used by Louis Havet (1880) to denote a phenomenon in some forms of early Latin dramatic verse first clearly isolated by C. F. W. Mueller (1869) and dubbed by him Iambenkürzung, ‘shortening of an iambic sequence’. (Eng. ‘iambic shortening’, modern Lat. correptio iambica). Thus, for example, a word of iambic shape like amo (˘ ˉ ) may be scanned ˘ ˘; the sequence ˘ ˉ ˉ as in voluptatem may become ˘ ˘ ˉ. The phenomenon is probably to be explained with reference to the stress accent, but the details continue to be disputed. It is rarely, if ever, found in the cretic and bacchiac verses of drama, or in the dactylic hexameter of narrative poetry. Although it disappears from Latin verse after the 2nd cent. bce, some individual words (e.


  • Latin Literature

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