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(hĕksăm`ətər) [Gr.,=measure of six], in prosody, a line to be scanned in six feet (see versificationversification,
principles of metrical practice in poetry. In different literatures poetic form is achieved in various ways; usually, however, a definite and predictable pattern is evident in the language.
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). The most celebrated hexameter measure is dactylic, which was the meter for most Greek and Latin poetry. In dactylic hexameter each foot may have a long syllable followed by two shorts, except the last, which has only two syllables, the first being long; any of the first four feet may have two long syllables. The origin of the dactylic hexameter is not known, but it appears first, and in its purest form, in Homer. Classical epic poets thereafter, including Vergil, used this meter, and it was extended to didactic and satirical literature, as in the works of Lucretius and Martial. In modern languages the only possible substitute for the quantitative differences that were essential to classical meters is in the stress accent; hence we have a noticeably singsong effect when English dactylic hexameter is read aloud. One of the few examples of its use in modern languages is in Longfellow's Evangeline: "Thís is the fórest priméval. The múrmuring pínes and the hémlocks." A famous dactylic hexameter in English prose is in Isa. 14.12: "Hów art thou fállen from héaven, O Lúcifer, són of the mórning!" The alexandrinealexandrine
, in prosody, a line of 12 syllables (or 13 if the last syllable is unstressed). Its name probably derives from the fact that some poems of the 12th and 13th cent. about Alexander the Great were written in this meter.
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 is the only important modern hexameter.



(1) In classical metric verse a six-foot dactylic meter with a final truncated foot. In every foot except for the fifth, two short syllables can be replaced by one long syllable, forming a spondee (― ―); the caesura is on the third foot (in Greek hexameter after the first or second syllable, in Latin, only after the first syllable) and, more rarely, after the first syllable of the second and fourth feet. The scheme of the hexameter is as follows (⋮ = Greek caesura, ǀ = Latin caesura):

Hexameter is the most general meter in classical poetry and is used in the epic (Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, Ovid), idyll (Theocritus), and satire (Horace, Juvenal).

(2) In syllabotonic verse, hexameter is rendered by combining tonic dactyls (ÚUU) with chorees (ÚU).

Gnev, boginia, vospoi Akhillesa, Peleeva syna

(N. I. Gnedych, translation of The Iliad).

In Russian poetry the hexameter was first used by V. K. Trediakovskii (Argenida, 1751) and became accepted with N. I. Gnedych’s translation of The Iliad (1829) and the poetry of V. A. Zhukovskii. In more recent poetry it is used primarily to affect classical genres (Reynard the Fox by Goethe and The Seasons by K. Donalitius) and subjects (A. Del’vig, N. Shcherbina, and A. Fet).



1. a verse line consisting of six metrical feet
2. (in Greek and Latin epic poetry) a verse line of six metrical feet, of which the first four are usually dactyls or spondees, the fifth almost always a dactyl, and the sixth a spondee or trochee
References in periodicals archive ?
Progressing onto Frischer's second possible generic solution in our quest to resolve the epistolary with the hexameter in the Ars poetica, we have the didactic poem: (22) 'it is strange that the case for categorizing the Ars as a didactic poem has not, to my knowledge, been made in a serious way during this century: Lucretius' De rerum natura and Virgil's Georgies certainly show how popular and prestigious was the genre in the mid- to late first century' (Frischer 1991:90).
It's a hypnotic effect, and the English hexameter (practiced in different ways by everybody from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Gerard Manley Hopkins) gives off its own weird music.
Juan Latino's work that stood the greatest chance of being known in sixteenth-century England and Scotland was his poem Austrias Carmen (1573), a panegyric in hexameters praising don John of Austria as victor of the battle of Lepanto in 1571, putting an end to the myth of Turkish naval invincibility.
No wonder, then, if Xenophon felt compelled to alter Abradates' name, which is both barbaric and alien to Greek hexameter.
Given the unreliability of the flamboyant Heinrich Schliemann and the sober reexamination of his extravagant claims of finding Priam's city, classicists long ago concluded that Troy VIIa was actually a sort of backwater--hardly the windy Ilium of Homer's hexameters.
17) As Rudolph Tombo remarks, "The hexameters lend an air of stateliness and dignity to the poems and give them more the air of a classic.
We can show that if you recite hexameters it has a coordinating effect on the rhythms of the heart and respiration and on other bodily rhythms and it helps to coordinate these rhythms.
Thus, as in classical hexameters and blank verse, the units of discourse may be of variable lengths and, though Dante tends to measure them out in multiples of three lines, some of them comprise quite long paragraphs:
Although the hexameters that young Maximus composed are not notable for their originality, either in style or content, his parents went to the great expense of having them preserved in stone.
v], the quatrain of leonine hexameters reads as follows:
Indeed, RP also frequently went along with other academic accomplishments, such as the ability to compose correctly scanned Latin hexameters, which, although not necessary in a journalist, politician or high court judge, were also potential gate-keeping skills that could appear to exclud e those who were not adept in them.
Some Latin hexameters that preface the Ars nautica say that his parents begot him in 'Aviger': they were of equestrian rank, modest station and small means.