AskDefine | Define alcaic

Dictionary Definition

Alcaic n : verse in the meter used in Greek and Latin poetry consisting of strophes of 4 tetrametric lines; reputedly invented by Alcaeus [syn: Alcaic verse]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From Latin alcaicus, from Greek αλκαικος, from Αλκαιος ‘Alcaeus’.

Pronunciation

IPA: /æl'keɪɪk/

Adjective

  1. pertaining to Alcaeus, a Greek lyric poet of around 600BC; especially, of a verse meter in a four-line stanza which he supposedly invented

Noun

  1. alcaic verses

Extensive Definition

Alcaic verse (sometimes called Anacreontic verse) is a Greek lyrical meter, traditionally believed to have been invented by Alcaeus, a lyric poet from Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, about 600 BC. The Alcaic verse and the Sapphic stanza named for Alcaeus' contemporary, Sappho, are considered the two most important "generic verse" forms of Classical poetry.
Alcaic verse is distinguished by a complicated variation of a dominant iambic pattern. One stanza consists of four lines; the first two lines are divided into two parts by a caesura after the fifth syllable. The metrical pattern of an Alcaic verse would look like this :
_ _ , _ _ : _ , , _ , _ _ _ , _ _ : _ , , _ , _ _ _ , _ _ _ , _ _ _ , , _ , , _ , _ _
(An "_" denotes a stressed or long syllable, "," a short one, and ":" is the caesura.)
Horace used Alcaic verse in his Odes, as can be seen from this example : _ _ , _ _ :_ , , _ , _ Antehac nefas, depromere Caecubum _ _ , _ _ : _ , , _ ,_ cellis avitis, dum Capitolio _ _ , _ _ _ ,_ _ Regina dementis ruinas _ , , _ , ,_ , _ _ funus et Imperio parabat.
An English translation, which still fits the metre, is :
_ _ , _ _ : _ , , _ , _ Prior to this, 'twas | irreligious to waste _ _ , _ _ : _ , , _ , _ Old Caecuban wine | whilst, for the Capitol _ _ , _ _ _ , _ _ Mad ruination plots the Queen, and _ , , _ , , _ , _ _ Even a funeral for the Empire.
The Alcaic verse was adapted to use in English and French during the Renaissance. It was historically an important form in Hungarian poetry http://www.krater.hu/regi/uj/bemut/atlant3.pdfhttp://www.elib.hu/00400/00433/00433.pdfhttp://www.elib.hu/00400/00433/00433.pdf.

Notes

alcaic in German: Alkäische Strophe
alcaic in Hungarian: Alkaioszi strófa
alcaic in Japanese: アルカイオス風韻文
alcaic in Russian: Алкеев стих
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