Quantity of "iam"?

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TWE
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Quantity of "iam"?

Post by TWE » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:46 am

I am currently on chapter XXXVII of LLPSI, in which I have come across the following verses of the Aeneid:
Iam iam nūlla mora est, sequor et quā dūcitis adsum
Iamque valē, et nātī servā commūnis amōrem!
Now it seems to me that the only way to scan these verses is to interpret "iam" as a long syllable:
Iam iam | nūlla mor' | est, sequor | et quā | dūcitis | adsum
— — | — u u | — u u | — — | — u u | — —
Iamque val', | et nā | tī ser | vā com | mūnis a | mōrem!
— u u | — — | — — | — — | — u u | — —

But if ia is not a diphthong, how can this be? Am I mis-scanning these?

Aetos
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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:39 pm

First, I'd suggest reading (or rereading) whatever Orberg has to say about prosody. You probably know that when the vowel of a syllable is followed by two consonants, that syllable is counted long. In the case of iam iam, the i is actually pronounced as a y, so it counts as a consonant. (There is a fancy Greek word for this, but I won't burden you with it) The second iam is followed by a word beginning with a consonant (nulla), so it too is long. In the second line, iamque ia is followed by mqu, so it too is long by virtue of having at least two consonants following the vowel. In all these cases, the syllables are "long by position, which I think you get, because your scansion is spot on!

TWE
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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by TWE » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:22 am

Aetos wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:39 pm
First, I'd suggest reading (or rereading) whatever Orberg has to say about prosody. [...] In the case of iam iam, the i is actually pronounced as a y, so it counts as a consonant. (There is a fancy Greek word for this, but I won't burden you with it)
Thank you very much, Aetos — I'm so used to thinking of i as a vowel that this key element was eluding me! (I revisited the introduction to Latine Disco and Orberg does indeed talk about the consonantal i.) Out of curiosity, may I ask what the Greek term you refer to is?

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:23 pm

The term is synaeresis and applies to i and u becoming consonants before other vowels, producing a "y" and "w" sound, respectively. That's why sometimes you'll see the "i" in iam written as jam and the "u" in parua as parva, to distinguish the letters as consonants rather than vowels.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by mwh » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:29 am

One complication, sorry, ignore if confusing, but it’s important to distinguish between syllables and vowels. The -a- of iam is actually short (I went for a long time thinking it was long—sounds so much better that way), but the syllable that contains it is long (aka heavy), unless iam is elided before a vowel (leaving the consonantal i- and a faint trace of the-am that doesn’t affect the scansion).

And I don’t like to contradict Aetos, who is always so very helpful, but synaeresis is actually a different phenomenon, never mind what. Just keep in mind that in Latin i- is sometimes consonantal and sometimes not. Likewise with u. (I like to use “v” for consonantal u, to keep them distinct. But I cannot being myself to write jam, so sweet and sticky. Editorial practice varies, but these days i and v are in favor for both vowel and consonant, in accordance with Latin script. It’s a very trivial matter.)

Examples of consonantal i: ianua and iacet. As it happens, the -a- following the i of ianua is long, while the -a- following the i of iacet is short. Once you learn to read metrically you’ll easily pick up on such things.

As I say, ignore all this if it’s confusing at this stage.

But another important thing to note about hexameters. Word-end is avoided at the end of the third foot, so the line falls into two unequal parts. You’ve been learning to divide the line into six feet, in keeping with its being a hexameter (a "six-metra line"), but its dynamic structure is actually quite different.
Last edited by mwh on Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Tue Jan 28, 2020 12:17 pm

As always I defer to mwh-you can take what he says to the bank! I too cannot bring myself to write iam with a "j". I thought that synaeresis explained the "y" sound of iam, but as mwh points out, that's not the case. "i" and "u" are semivowels. The "i" and "u" when pronounced rapidly before another vowel stand in the same syllable and are pronounced "y" and "w", respectively. (That's straight out of Allen & Greenough). A good example of synaeresis would be the sound of the first "i" in abietis abyetis (genitive of abies)"silver fir tree" or the first "i" in parietibus paryetibus (dat. pl. of paries) "walls". The "i" is said to "lose position" because it's no longer being pronounced as a vowel, but rather as a consonant.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:38 pm

Word-end is avoided after the longum of the third foot,
mwh, is that what you meant to write? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but the caesura most frequently falls in that position, doesn't it?

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by mwh » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:31 pm

Thanks for catching that! Of course I meant at the end of the 3rd foot. The line doesn’t break in the middle and fall into two halves. It breaks close to the middle, within the 3rd foot and/or the 4th, only rarely between them.
I've amended the post.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:42 pm

Now that the door to caesuras has been opened, perhaps mwh or hylander can tell us what is meant by the dynamic structure of the verse and why the caesura is so important. I know whole books have been written on these subjects, but a brief explanation of the concepts would be quite beneficial to TME and me. I know this goes beyond the original scope of your question, TME, but understanding the elements mwh has mentioned I think will enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of the poem and book IV is probably the most poignant, most touching part of the Aeneid. (And I don't care what anyone says-I still feel bad for Dido!)

As to the dynamic structure of the verse, I believe mwh is referring to the arrangement of feet (in the case of dactylic hexameter, dactyls & spondees) to produce certain effects, such as changes in tempo and mood; successive dactyls would produce sort of a galloping rhythm and suit a faster tempo (such as in battle scenes), whereas successive spondees would slow down the rhythm and give the verse a more solemn mood (as in mournful processions). Without mixing it up a little, it'd be like listening to a piece of music with nothing but a succession of quarter notes plus two eighth notes. It would get very boring very quickly. Caesuras often mark a break in sense in the line and by having the word break somewhere other than at the end of the third foot (which as mwh indicates would result in the verse having two exact halves), again the poet avoids monotony.

There is obviously a lot more to this and what I wrote above is my admittedly shallow understanding of these elements , but hopefully the above named gentlemen can shed a little more light on the importance of these concepts without necessarily dwelling on the mechanics. I'm pretty sure Orberg shows how to identify the caesura. What I find missing in some textbooks (I don't know about Orberg's) is exactly why it's important and what effect it has in the verse.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:51 pm

The dynamic structure involves the articulation of each hexameter verse into two or three word segments by word breaks, which generally do not coincide with foot-endings.

The word-breaks that articulate the hexameter are the caesuras, whether

--after the long position of the third foot (masculine or penthemimeral caesura),

--the first short position of the third foot (feminine caesura) or

--after the long position of the fourth foot (hephthemimeral caesura, often with another caesura after the long position of the second foot).

There is also sometimes a word-break that corresponds to a foot-ending after the fourth foot, known as the "bucolic dieresis."

The dynamical structure of the hexameter consists of the interplay of these word-breaks against the formal metrical pattern of long and short syllables divided into feet.

These principles are at work in both Latin and Greek hexameters. In Latin hexameters, however, there is another factor at play: namely, the stress accents of the Latin language, which tend to conflict with the pattern of long and short syllables in the first part of the verse and resolve into harmony towards the end of the verse, especially when a bucolic dieresis occurs after the fourth foot and the fifth foot is not spondaic, yielding the "Adonic" pattern, _ u u | _ X.

You will pick up a feeling for these patterns if you read metrically, paying attention to caesuras. You should always read metrically either aloud or at least in your head (but in Latin trying to give effect to word accents that conflict with the pattern of long and short syllables -- not easy to do at first, and I don't always manage to do it properly myself).

The sound-painting Aetos mentions (e.g., galloping horses) is from time to time imposed on top of the dynamical structure of the hexameter described above, as are effects such as internal rhyme and alliteration.

If you write out the scansion of 10-20 verses a day for a while, making sure to mark the caesuras, and then read them aloud, you will get the patterns in your brain and they will come naturally as you read, and you will hear the music of the hexameter.
Last edited by Hylander on Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Aetos
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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:10 pm

Thank you, Hylander! One quick question: is it my imagination or are there far fewer spondaic verses in the Aeneid than in Greek epic poetry? The Adonic pattern seems to occur far more often in the Aeneid.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 pm

It's not your imagination. The spondaic line, which is not unusual in Homer, is a special effect in Vergil, often a Vergilian echo of Greek verse and especially of Homer. The fifth foot in Vergil and other Latin poets is typically dactylic (not necessarily with bucolic dieresis). Spondaic lines occur very sparingly, and only for a deliberate purpose. Whenever you encounter a spondaic line in Vergil, you should ask yourself why.

One other point about the caesuras: the hyperbata of Latin (and to a lesser extent, Greek) poetry that seem so jarring at first, where an adjective is separated from its noun, and the patterns of interlocking noun and adjective word order are usually articulated by the caesura. For example, Verg. Aeneid 4.139 aurea purpuream subnectit fibula vestem: the adjective purpuream immediately before the caesura agrees with the noun vestem at the end of the line, and the adjective/noun pair interlocks with the other adjective/noun pair aurea . . . fibula. Othe caesura articulates the word order. Once you feel the caesura, these elegant effects of word order become second nature and don't seem at all strange.
Last edited by Hylander on Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:28 pm

In addition to echoing Homer and Greek, Vergil sometimes uses spondaic lines to echo the archaic Latin poet Ennius or just to slow down the line. But there's always some intentional effect.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:34 pm

Hylander wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 pm
For example, Verg. Aeneid 4.139 aurea purpuream subnectit fibula vestem: the adjective purpuream immediately before the caesura agrees with the noun vestem at the end of the line, and the adjective/noun pair interlocks with the other adjective/noun pair aurea . . . fibula.
I remember seeing this referred to as a "golden line", where, by hyperbaton, the adjective/noun pairs balance each other on each side of the verb, with an abVAB structure. It really is an elegant effect. Supposedly it only occurs 34 times in all of the Aeneid.

TWE: I know we've strayed a bit from your original question, but this is valuable information which I think will help you enjoy even more what you're reading right now. As far as the "golden line" is concerned, I just brought it up as trivia. It will not be on the quiz!(Just teasing!)
Hylander: Thank you for all this!

EDIT: Corrected TME to TWE. Sorry, W's and M's are starting to look the same to me-it's an old age thing..
Last edited by Aetos on Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Hylander » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:45 pm

The so-called “golden line” isn’t the only type of adjective/noun patterning. Vergil uses the golden line sparingly, perhaps because it’s a device that calls attention to its own cleverness, but Ovid has no such scruples. Catullus 64 self-consciously deploys the golden line — perhaps the earliest extant poem where this device is used.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by TWE » Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:50 am

Thank you very much for your answers, and for this most interesting of digressions. Are there any books that you would recommend when it comes to familiarising oneself with Latin verse? And are there any good recordings?

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:06 pm

Here is a reading from Book IV, using the restored Latin pronunciation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dOv-Tm6RiY

There are more available at the Harvard Classics site:
https://classics.fas.harvard.edu/latin-audio

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by jacknoutch » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:02 pm

Can I ask, at the risk of sounding obtuse, what the caesura is? In the sense that metrical feet are a description of the rhythm of words joined together in a verse, a caesura is... ? I remember being told that it marks a momentary/virtually absent pause, though I have not found that a very satisfying answer. From the discussion above, it appears that the caesura is better considered as simply a word-break marking a rough middle of the verse; so it seems less an audible feature than a formal aspect of Latin (& Greek) poetry. Have I followed along correctly?

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by bedwere » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:21 pm

jacknoutch wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:02 pm
Can I ask, at the risk of sounding obtuse, what the caesura is? In the sense that metrical feet are a description of the rhythm of words joined together in a verse, a caesura is... ? I remember being told that it marks a momentary/virtually absent pause, though I have not found that a very satisfying answer. From the discussion above, it appears that the caesura is better considered as simply a word-break marking a rough middle of the verse; so it seems less an audible feature than a formal aspect of Latin (& Greek) poetry. Have I followed along correctly?
From Wikipedia:
In classical Greek and Latin poetry a caesura is the juncture where one word ends and the following word begins within a foot. In contrast, a word juncture at the end of a foot is called a diaeresis. Some caesurae are expected and represent a point of articulation between two phrases or clauses. All other caesurae are only potentially places of articulation. The opposite of an obligatory caesura is a bridge where word juncture is not permitted.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by TWE » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:37 pm

Aetos wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:06 pm
Here is a reading from Book IV, using the restored Latin pronunciation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dOv-Tm6RiY

There are more available at the Harvard Classics site:
https://classics.fas.harvard.edu/latin-audio
Thank you once again, Aetos.

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Re: Quantity of "iam"?

Post by Aetos » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:13 pm

You're most welcome! Enjoy Vergil!

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