I was looking over some practice tests and came across this question:

What is the scansion of the first four feet of "Atque haec impressō gemuit miseranda cubīlī"

Based on my knowledge, I got At / qu(e) haec / imp / res / ...

"At", "imp", and "res" each should be long by position and "qu(e) haec" has a dipthong, so I said that these are all long syllables.

The answer was apparently SSDD, which I think means long/long/short/short (correct me if I'm wrong)

Can somebody please explain what I did wrong here?

  • 1
    Not relevant to your question, but most authorities would syllabify impresso as im/pres/so, not imp/res/so. Depending on who you ask the relevant rule is that plosives followed by liquids are usually kept together at the start of syllables and/or that prefixed prepositions (here in) are split off before anything else because they behave distinctly.
    – Cairnarvon
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


Your scansion is entirely correct! There's just a misinterpretation of the answer.

In this shorthand, "S" means a spondee (long-long) and "D" means a dactyl (long-short-short). So "SSDD" means long-long / long-long / long-short-short / long-short-short.

The scansion of the whole line is:

A̱tqu' ha̱e|c i̱mpre̱s|sō̱ ge̮mu̮|i̱t mi̮se̮|ra̱nda̮ cu̮|bī̱lī̱

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