Metrical and Rhythmical Clausulae in Medieval Latin Prose: Some Aspects and Problems

Giovanni Orlandi

in Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263327
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734168 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Metrical and Rhythmical Clausulae in Medieval Latin Prose: Some Aspects and Problems

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The possibility that quantitative clausulae were sought by authors of the Latin literature of the medieval West offers a new means of entering the debate over ‘continuity or discontinuity’ between late antiquity and the Latin Middle Ages. The principles and aims of calculating prose rhythm, whether quantitative or tonic, have been changed; but much has returned as well. The variation of prosodical structure between the body and the end of a period may well be due to other reasons than the search for rhythm, such as the general preference of a long word to a short one to close a sentence. If the presented preliminary results are confirmed in the future by larger samples, it may be possible to trace in this twelfth-century prose a tendency towards what was to become the system characteristic of the Italian schools of ars dictaminis, namely a division of functions between the cursus tardus, deputed to minor pauses, and the obligatory cursus uelox, used to conclude nearly every sentence.

Keywords: clausulae; medieval Latin prose; prose rhythm; Latin literature; Latin Middle Ages; late antiquity

Chapter.  7527 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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