Syllabification 
Scansion
 
Nature
Position
Example
Syllabification
Elision
Pauses
Divisions

 
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Drawing a line between feet often means drawing a line between syllables.  arma virumque cano, for example, is broken up as arma vi | rumque ca | no.  But why not arma vir | umque can | o

For the answer one must remember the basic rules for syllabification, or dividing words up into their syllables. 

  • Syllables are usually divided between a vowel and a single consonant:  vi-rum, not vir-um.

  •  
  • When a vowel is followed by two consonants in the same word, the divison comes between the consonantsar-ma, not arm-a or a-rma.
The exception to the second rule is with a vowel followed by a stop (a consonant formed by complete air blockage, e.g. t, d, p, b, k, g) plus a liquid (a consonant that can be prolonged, e.g. l or r). 

So patres divides as pa-tres, not pat-res.  A stop-liquid combination, furthermore, will not always "make position" for a vowel:  the -a- in patres, for example, scans as short, not long.

Likewise the combination -qu-, which is treated like a single consonant for the purposes of scansion. A syllable division is always placed before the -q-, never between the -q- and -u-.

 
 
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