Brevis Brevians In Plautus And A New Kind Of Iambic Octonarius
This thesis is an examination of prevailing theories of "iambic shortening" or brevis brevians (BB), especially as this phenomenon relates to iambic and trochaic octonarius (ia8 and tr8) in Plautus, two of the least discussed meters in archaic Latin. In Part One, I treat the question of the reality or unreality of the phenomenon of BB, a precondition of any further investigation, and assert a spectrum of reality along which instances of BB may be placed, dependent upon various prosodic or linguistic conditioning factors. In Part Two, noting that discussions of BB in Plautus have failed to account for ia8 and tr8, I examine the iambo-trochaic system in accordance with Gratwick's schema, the most recent and informative account of the system. Along the way, I show that ia8, which has generally been recognized as being unitary, consists in fact of two distinct subtypes, each sufficiently distinct from the other in terms of metrical restrictiveness (a quantifiable reflection of one meter's independence from another, among other things) to constitute a separate meter within the archaic Latin iambo-trochaic system. I call these subtypes ia8.I and ia8.II. Since previous scholars have treated these two subtypes as mere variations of a single type, I examine Plautus' distribution and dramatic use of each type in Amphitruo, the most dense with ia8 of all Plautus' plays, showing that alternations between ia8.I and ia8.II are not made freely, but appear to be deliberate, meaningful, and full of poetic and dramatic potential. I conclude by pointing out the productive potential of prosodic phenomena such as hiatus and the locus Jacobsohnianus when considered in tandem with ia8.I and ia8.II, and suggest a chronology for the development of ia8.I and ia8.II as separate meters within a single metrical system. Though speculative, the unusual nature of these meters within Latin meter as a whole is such that I hope a bit of informed speculation may be a useful impetus to further study.
Brevis Brevians Plautus Iambic Meter; Octonarius Iambo-Trochaic Amphitruo; Shortening Correptio Iambica
Pelliccia, Hayden Newhall
Brittain, Charles Francis; Weiss, Michael L
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis