serves as the basic rhythmic unit, or metron,
of hexameter verse. The word hexameter
also derives from Greek and essentially means "six metrons (or, to be precise,
metra) in a row." In other words,
a single epic verse consists of six successive dactyls,
as Figure B shows.
that the final metron is technically not a
dactyl. Its second syllable is
called the anceps
(Latin for "two-headed"), which is noted either as
No hexameter verse ends in ;
in its place one finds the anceps, which is
either short or long—it does not matter. In fact, for purposes of recitation,
the anceps is always treated as long to fill
out the line.
more common word for metron is foot,
the idea behind this term being that a line of metra
marches past one's ear during recitation. The long syllable, which is the
first half of the foot, is called the thesis
(Greek for "putting down") because the foot is
imagined as touching the ground; the two short syllables are therefore called
the arsis (Greek
for "lifting up"), the half in which the foot
is raised up...for the next "footstep."