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homeric metrics for beginners

Homeric verses are written (mostly) in a rhythm called: dactylic hexametre. (mod.gre: δακτυλικό εξάμετρo)
The term's literal translation is: six-beat (metres) of fingers.
Each rhythmic beat (also called 'foot') consists of a dactyl gre: δάκυτλος, eng=finger) which is a sequence of syllables
long + short + short =   .
In the hexametre (=6 beats) the last daktylos has only two syllables. The last syllable can be either short or long.
Source: note at (lang:gre).
So, here is the model:
Let's recite the first verse of the Odyssey:
(My recitation is simply a contemporary greek's pronunciation, if asked to recited in this rhythm. I am no expert on metrics.)
Homer, Odyssey, α 1 .mp3 24 kb
an δra mi e ne pe mu sa po li tro pon os ma la po la international phonetic alphabet for mod.gre.pronunciation, not erasmic.
Ἄνδρα μoι ἔννεπε, μoῦσα, πoλύτρoπoν, ὃς μάλα πoλλὰ (gre.anc. scr.gre.poly.)
andra moi ennepe mousa polytropon hos mala polla (gre.anc.transliterated in latin alphabet)
the man to me tell, sing o muse the ingenious who very many (translation to eng. mot-à-mot)
Was it so simple? Is that all, on homeric metrics?
Unfortunately, not. This pattern is not persistent through thousands of verses. It would be boring, and also, it is impossible, because some words or vowels do not fit exactly.
The verse beats are frequently grouped in smaller units. Cuts and variations occur.
scanned from Lesky, greek edition 1981, page 106
Also, the short-long quantity has to do with the vowels' weight -long or short- (the prosody), not just stress. It is a complicated concept...
Would you like to advance to grade 2 at homeric metircs?
Read Lesky's classic History of ancient greek literature. From there, you can get bibliography to go to grade 3 too! Graduation comes after that.
Here is the paragraph about the kinds of cuts on Homer's metrics.
source: {lesky.G.} greek edition 1981, page 106.
My english translation from greek follows. Please bear with me, because I am not a translator. I try to translate literally, not nice.
scanned from Lesky, greek edition 1981, page 106
The positions of the possible cuts are marked on the following sketch:
scanned from Lesky, greek edition 1981, page 106
One can clearly set apart three groups, of which the middle one includes the two most important cuts. In 27803 hexametres it has been counted: 11361 times a cut after the long syllable of number 3 foot. (πενθημιμερὴς, ἄρρην τoμὴ)(1) and 15640 times a cut after the first short syllable of the same foot (τριτoτρoχαϊκή, θήλεια τoμή).(2) This means that almost every homeric verse has in its middle an easily detectable partition, and thus, the articulation of the verse is in two parts, of which the first is of an ascending rhythm (from downbeat to upbeat), and the second of a descending rhythm (from upbeat to downbeat). Around these two main cuts, there are secondary ones moving in various ways. Each one falls on every semi-verse resulting to a polymorphic breaking of the verse in four parts. But because the cuts of the first group are frequently either weak or entirely overlapped, we consequently detect quite often a three-breaking of both the content and form of the hexametre. The fact that we can confirm within this kind of verse a free play of potential within strictly set boundaries, this very freedom when binding, discloses that basic characteristic of greek creativity, which finds its completeness in the classical era.

^ 1. (penthimimeres, arren tome). Greek in the text. Literal translation: five-part, masculine cut (caesura).
^ 2. (tritotrochaice, theleia tome). Greek in the text. Literal translation: three-trochaic, feminine cut (caesura).
other links
Dactylic hexameter @wikipedia