Is it possible to adapt ancient graeco-roman prosodic styles, forms, principles, modifications into modern verses?

Does anybody know good authors who write in vernacular or modern languages with greek iambic trimetre and using prosodic rules in Greek tragedy or other kinds of plays or poetry? is there a way for it to succeed or is it more about trial and fails? Name for prosodic pattern in which the last line in a verse is much shorter than all the rest for example is said to be sapphic with an adonic final line. Or this lyrical poem of Nietzsche's in iambic trimetre which I assume he models after Greek tragedy's metre and has catalexis and metre substitutions. (Do his lyrics follow or resemble any ancient Greek prosodic styles?) What are the major ancient Greek prosodic styles, rules, modifications that are possible to be adapted into modern verses?

  • 2
    Anything can be rewritten as anything else. Please use proper capitalization on a site like this.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 19:07
  • Of course. Why might it not be? Can you Post any examples? Commented Mar 2 at 20:56

2 Answers 2


That's quite a few questions at once!

  1. The Wikipedia articles for the Iambic trimeter contain examples in modern languages. Follow the links to the different language versions of the article to find examples in languages other than English.

  2. I think that should also answer your question whether an adaptation into modern verse is possible (the answer is: yes, apparently).

  3. As for how to succeed with verse, I'd say your best bet is to write lyrics for popular music. Poetry and verse drama aren't financially successful nowadays.

  4. As for the rest of your questions, you got me there. I have no idea!


In principle yes.

Writing style, while heavily language dependent, can nonetheless be measured using a number of metrics that can be used across languages. You've identified the meter already, along with the prosodic rules you mention (whatever they may be), but one can also rely on different parts-of-speech (e.g. number of nouns, adjectives, verbs), the different "types" of nouns used, their semantic content, and even the number or synonyms of close synonyms used, along with their etymologies (are they ancient Greek words, did their meanings change over time, etc.). This is a field of study known as stylometrics.

Strictly speaking, based on these metrics, you can determine if what you've written follows "graeco-roman prosodic styles, forms, principles, modifications", and change your work based on these numbers, although usually, this is not how works are written. Usually, writers identify these things not quantitatively, but qualitatively; You ask whether there is a way to "make it work". This is a qualitative assessment, so if it "works" for you, and "works" for others, then you've succeeded. But your audience would have to be versed in Greek poetry.

As to your last question, I think it would be more relevant to a literature StackExchange.

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