I readily acquiesce in the proposition that this posting takes you in a direction that no doubt very few of you want to go in. But for those to whom it will in fact appeal, it will, I genuinely hope, be of great help in the long but intriguing task of gaining some kind of mastery over ancient Greek metrics.
Most are familiar with the recognizable ‘iambic pentameter’ of English poetry, and maybe even with a trochee or dactyl or two (see Paul Fussell). And although English poetry can be metrically a bit more complicated than that (see here, here, and here, for example), it pales in comparison to the prolix complexity (and fascination) of the meters of ancient Greek poetry, a rich heritage bequeathed by Indo-European poetics itself (cf. review at Watkins).
This little enchiridion (from Greek ἐν > ἐγ en > eg) ‘in/on’ + χειρ cheir (> chir) ‘hand’ + ίδιον idion ‘a diminutive neuter formant’ – thus, literally, ‘a little something in the hand’, i.e. a ‘handbook, manual’ [cf. Latin manus 'hand']) , ἐγχειρίδιον is a labor of love, really. Ever since I began the study of ancient Greek over fifty years ago I have been fascinated by Greek poetry, and not least by the high formalism of how it was ‘put together’. It was my very great fortune to begin its study under the great Pindar scholar, Elroy Bundy, at UC Berkeley in 1957. I fancied at the time that he must surely have been born knowing ancient Greek and understanding ancient Greek metrics, so vast and deep and enthusiastic was his knowledge of the subject.
It has been a great pleasure for me to put this material together, recapitulating — as the process has — my own slow but steady engagement with the subject over the years. And although not everyone may agree with all that I say, again, I genuinely hope it will prove of value, especially to students just starting to plumb the apparent mysteries of Greek meter and how to get a handle on it.
Should you after all elect to proceed, I disavow any responsibility for your forgetting to eat, sleep, and pay due attention to your S.O.
Hence, if you think this is your cup of ouzo (or are just soberly curious!), please, do continue!