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Title: Correption  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Epic poetry, Dactylic hexameter, Figures of speech, Metre (poetry), History of linguistics
Collection: Epic Poetry, Figures of Speech, Phonology, Poetic Rhythm
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


In Latin and Greek poetry, correption (; Latin correptiō "a shortening")[1] is the shortening of a long vowel at the end of one word before a short vowel at the beginning of the next.[2] Vowels next to each other in neighboring words are in hiatus.

Homer uses correption in dactylic hexameter:

  • Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
    πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε·
    Odyssey 1.2
  • Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full
    many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy.
    — translation by A.T. Murray

Here the sequence η ε in bold must be pronounced as ε ε to preserve the long—short—short syllable weight sequence of a dactyl. Thus, the scansion of the second line is thus:

πλαγχ θε, ε | πει Τροι | ης ι ε | ρον πτο λι | εθ ρο νε | περ σε

Attic Correption

Typically in Homeric meter a syllable is scanned long or "closed" when a vowel is followed by two or more consonants. However, in Attic Greek, a short vowel followed by a plosive and a liquid consonant or nasal stop remains a short or "open" syllable.[3] This is called Attic Correption.

Therefore, the first syllable of a word like δάκρυ (ᾰ) could be scanned "δά | κρυ" (open/short), exhibiting Attic correption, or "δάκ | ρυ" (closed/long) in keeping with the conventions of Homeric verse.

See also


  1. ^ correptio. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Stanford, W.B. (2009). Homer: Odyssey I-XII. Duckworth. pp. lv.  
  3. ^ Smyth, Herbert (1984). Greek Grammar. Harvard University Press. p. 35.  
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