Can synizesis happen when the perfect stem ends in 'u' and the ending starts with a short 'i'? For example, can the 'ui' in fuisti be synizesized1 into a diphthong? In my understanding the two vowels would normally be in different syllables. If it is normally a diphthong — which I doubt — can it be split in two?

What I would like to see is an example or two in classical poetry showing this synizesis. If no such example can be found, then something like "I looked through the Aeneid and found no examples, but there were these cases without synizesis" would make a good answer.

1 I am not sure if this is the correct verb in English. I formed it by analogy to "synthesis" and "synthesize".

1 Answer 1


I went through the first two books of Aeneis and found no evidence of this kind of synizesis. These two books contain 25+31 perfect forms of the kind (with the ending starting with a short 'i'). Some of the 'ui's could be parsed as either two short syllables or one long syllable, but in most cases the metric forces two syllables. There was not a single instance where the metric would require synizesis.

Here are the verses containing these perfect forms (with "a" for ambiguous cases allowing but not requiring synizesis):

  • Book 1: 12, 16, 17a, 40, 45, 62, 98, 132, 176, 188, 242, 309, 405, 441, 513, 534a, 545, 613, 618, 629, 669, 690a, 698, 739, 741.
  • Book 2: 26, 54, 64, 111a, 175, 250a, 290a, 292, 301, 325a, 325a, 363, 378, 383a, 427a, 433, 434, 474, 513, 534, 541, 542, 552, 593, 631, 641, 693, 724, 736, 744a, 791.

The list may contain mistakes, but the conclusion is clear: Vergilius had ample opportunities to make the synizesis, but he does not do it. He might do it somewhere, but it is certainly rare. And other authors might be different.

  • I accept this answer for now, but I will gladly unaccept if someone can give a more thorough answer.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 10:22

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