Hexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the ''Iliad'', ''Odyssey'' and ''Aeneid''. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, Ovid's ''Metamorphoses,'' and the Hymns of Orpheus. According to Greek mythology, hexameter was invented by the god Hermes.
== Classical Hexameter ==
In classical hexameter, the six feet follow these rules:
* A foot can be made up of two long syllables (– –), a spondee; or a long and two short syllables, a dactyl (– υ υ).
* The first four feet can contain either one of them.
* The fifth is almost always a dactyl, and last must be a spondee.
A short syllable (υ) is a syllable with a short vowel and no consonant at the end. A long syllable (–) is a syllable that either has a long vowel, one or more consonants at the end (or a long consonant), or both. Spaces between words are not counted in syllabification, so for instance "cat" is a long syllable in isolation, but "cat attack" would be syllabified as short-short-long: "ca", "ta", "tack" (υ υ –).
Variations of the sequence from line to line, as well as the use of caesura (logical full stops within the line) are essential in avoiding what may otherwise be a monotonous sing-song effect.
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