Ictus and Accent in Early Latin Dramatic Verse

Classical Quarterly 23 (2):80-86 (1929)

That accent as well as quantity plays a certain rô1e in the structure of early Latin dramatic verse is no new doctrine. It has been present in some form or other to the minds of most writers on Plautine and Terentian prosody since the time of Bentley, who in his Schediasma de metris Terentianis laid the foundations of modern research into this somewhat thorny subject. Unfortunately, however, the question has been complicated from the very first by the introduction of a third term into the discussion, viz. the term ictus, with the result that the fundamental issue has been obscured and to some extent side-tracked. Bentley was himself responsible for this result; for it was he who introduced into his text of Terence those ictus-marks which have figured in most texts of Plautus and Terence down to the present day. And his whole theory of Terentian verse was dominated by the postulate that it was delivered on the stage with a stress of the voice falling rhythmically on the ‘rise’ of each foot: e.g. Malúm quod ísti dí deaéque omnés duínt
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DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0009838800003207
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