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Greek and Latin Metre

4. Hendecasyllables and Limping Iambics

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In this module, we think about two metres used by the poet Catullus – hendecasyllables and limping iambics. In particular, we think about the kinds of poems that these two metres were found in, considering poems 3, 8, and 31 in more detail.


In this course, Professor Armand D’Angour (University of Oxford) introduces some of the more popular metrical forms of Greek and Latin poetry. In the first module, we look at dactylic hexameter, the metre used in Greek and Roman epic poetry. After that, we turn to iambic trimeter, the metre used in much of Greek tragedy. In the third module, we think about the elegiac couplet, used by poets such as Catullus, Ovid, Propertius and Tibullus, and in the fourth we turn to two metres used by Catullus – the hendecasyllable and the limping iambic.


Dr D'Angour studied piano and cello at the Royal College of Music (1976-9) before reading Literae Humaniores at Merton College, Oxford. After pursuing careers first in music and then in business, he obtained his PhD in Classics from University College London in 1998. In 2013-15 he will be pursuing research into ancient Greek music, supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

Dr D’Angour has published articles and chapters on classical subjects ranging from ancient Greek music to the poetry of Horace, and compositions in Greek and Latin verse. His book The Greeks and the New: Novelty in ancient Greek imagination and experience was published by CUP in 2011. In 2004 his Pindaric Ode to Athens was recited at the Olympic Games, and an Ode commissioned by the Mayor of London was presented at the London Olympics 2012.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

D'Angour, A. (2018, August 15). Greek and Latin Metre - Hendecasyllables and Limping Iambics [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

D'Angour, A. "Greek and Latin Metre – Hendecasyllables and Limping Iambics." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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