Ovid's Metamorphoses 7.66, here I marked my attempt:

nempĕ tĕ/nens, quŏd ă/mo, grĕmĭ/oqu(e) in/ Iasŏnĭ/s haerens

That makes the 3 first feet dactyls and the fourth one a spondee, but the answer from hexameter.io says the fourth is yet another dactyl (and also mentions there is an elision, so I probably got the elision right; unfortunately I can't see the correct scan itself). The i in qu-in is parsed long, because the I of Iasonis is a consonant. I can't figure out what I missed.

  • I tried to scan it before clicking the link to see if I can still scan, and got caught out because I read the word as 'Lasonis' (misreading capital I for lowercase L). Consequently my scan was the same as yours.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


As often with tricky verses, the key is in the name. The only way I can scan that right is reading the name as Ĭ-ā-sŏ-nĭs. The initial I/J of a name can easily vary between vowel and consonant in poetry, but in this case Lewis and Short do give precisely the same reading I got.

The first syllable of Iason goes into the fourth foot and makes it a dactyl instead of a spondee. Your reading does scan properly and it would not be an unusual licence, but it seems that the canonical reading is with the vowel I instead of the consonant J.


Just to make it clear what Joonas said explained in his post, here is the line scanned out:

nempĕ tĕ/nens, quŏd ă/mo || grĕmĭ/oqu' in ĭ/asŏnĭ/s haerens

The reason the initial letter of Iason is a vowel is because it's not Latin at all: it's Greek, from Ἰάσων, and ancient Greek did not have a separate [j] phoneme (though Allen says that it was likely pronounced as a glide following the iota before another vowel).

So in words where we might expect a J in Latin, in Greek it's always vocalic. In Latin, you'll find the odd exception, but the general rule is that it's a poetry and most often scans like one (so Iacchus and Iapyx are trisyllabic and Iocasta and Iasius are quadrisyllabic).

  • Thanks. Is the naive spelling of jiasoni out of the question?
    – d_e
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:08
  • 1
    @d_e I'm not sure what you mean: naive?
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:10
  • well, I meant that if I had to spell it based on the sound, this is how I think is more natural way to do. basically I just wondered why not to spell like this
    – d_e
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:12
  • 3
    @d_e Based on what it sounds, I think ijason is closer than jiason (cf. cmw's parenthetical remark), but iason is best. The pronunciation starts with a vowel, so it would be confusing to start the spelling with a consonant (J).
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:25
  • @JoonasIlmavirta, I see. thank you both.
    – d_e
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:28

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