I am preparing an edition of Sappho in Chinese, and need to mention the various meters she used, because it is according to meter that the fragments are arranged. Do ancient forms of poetry like "Sapphic stanzas", "Alcaic stanzas", "Glyconians", "Asclepiads" and such have established Chinese names?

2 Answers 2


Sources: this short article, another blog post, and iChaCha.

  • Sapphic stanza = 萨福诗律 or 莎孚诗选
  • Alcaic = 阿尔凯
  • glyconic = 格莱坎诗体
  • asclepiad = 阿斯克莱皮亚底斯(诗体) [in most online dictionaries it simply gets described] or 阿斯克里皮亚底斯(诗体) [according to Wikipedia's article on the eponymous originator]

The Roman and Greek classics are of course very rarely studied in the Sinosphere (Japan's (Western) Classics probably being the most advanced). But there are some initiatives.


I finally came back to it, and you can see the result in the Chinese version of the intro to the blog post in the question.

Basically, I mapped meter->诗体, stanza->律师/诗节 (the former in names of specific stanzas, the latter when referring to stanzas in a poem), line->诗行, foot->格, and tried to get into the etymology of terms to come up with the names. For example:

  1. Sapphic stanza -> 萨夫律诗;
  2. Alcaic stanza -> 阿尔凯乌斯律诗;
  3. Glyconic -> 格莱坎诗行;
  4. Lesser/greater Asclepiad -> 大/小阿斯克里皮亚低斯诗行, shortened to 大/小斯克里诗行;
  5. Hagesichorean -> 哈节西口拉诗行, because the term comes from Hagesichora, the name of a character introduced by this kind of line in a poem by Alcman (I think);
  6. Cretic -> 克里提克格 and Bacchic -> 巴克斯格;
  7. Dactyl -> 长短短(格) and choriamb -> 长短短长(格), because they are feet with structure –uu and –uu– respectively;
  8. Pherecratean -> 斐勒克拉忒斯诗行;
  9. Dactylic hexamenter -> 长短短六格诗行;
  10. Elegiac couplet -> 挽歌对句 (literal calque);
  11. "Expanded with X choriambs" -> X个长短短长扩大的 (X=单,两,三,……);
  12. "Expanded with X dactyls" -> X个长短短扩大的 (X=单,两,三,……).

I believe that's all I needed in the post. Note that 行 is always háng, and means "line", as found in Hú Shì's lines "病中得他书/不满八行纸", "Bìng zhōng dé tā shū / Bù mǎn bā háng zhǐ".

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