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The iambic and trochaic metres are the main metres of dramatic verse, but they are also found elsewhere. In Ancient Greece and Rome the iambus and the iambic poetry were mainly used in poems meant to insult specific people and groups (such is their use in Catullus' and Archilochus' poetry). Iambic poetry can be very crude (sometimes graphically so) and cruel in this use.

The Iambic Octonarius is one of the three main iambic metres of antiquity (the two others being the iambic senarius and the iambic septenarius).

The line theoretically has eight iambic feet (^-), but, like in the other iambic metres, these are usually replaced by other metres. The 4th and 8th feet are regularly iambic, a diaeresis follows the 4th foot.

Example (in Latin):

  - -|^ - |  -   ^ ^ |^ -    // ^ ^     - |^   - |-   - |^-
 curabitur. sed pater adest.// cavet(e) esse tristem sentiat

(Terentius, And. 403)

* - long or stressed syllable; ^ short or unstressed syllable; // diaeresis.

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