I ran into this hexameter verse by Vergilius when researching for an answer to another question:

et vera incessu patuit dea. Ille ubi matrem
(Aeneis I.405)

The only way I can scan that verse is to leave a hiatus between dea and ille. Is this scansion correct? Is elision still possible across punctuation, or should it always be omitted?

1 Answer 1


It's a hiatus because it's located at the principle caesura:

et vera | inces|su patu|it dea. || Ille ubi | matrem

In fact, Lodge specifically references this line in the section on hiatus, as I'm sure do a few others.

Note that hiatus isn't impossible anywhere, but it's common specifically here. The grammars will typically say "most" or "usually", and I'm sure you can find exceptions.

  • Thank you! And welcome back to the site; I haven't seen you for a while.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 20, 2016 at 9:24
  • 1
    This isn't at a normal caesura point, which may come after IIa, IIIa, or IVa, but after IVb2. I usually interpret this specific instance as Vergilius saying rather forcefully that "the current sentence ends right here".
    – blagae
    Feb 27, 2017 at 13:34

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