I want to write the following line (Ovid, Metamorphoses, X.30) with its metric peculiarity :

per Chaos hoc ingēns uāstīque silentia rēgnī

(something like : By this huge void and these vast and silent realms...)

It's a dactylic hexameter with the "hoc" being treated as a long syllable (for another example, confer this line in Eneid 2.664 : Hoc erat, alma parens...)

 -    u u  -  -  -    -  -  u  u -  uu  -  -
per Chaos hoc ingēns uāstīque silentia rēgnī

My question is : how can I show that "hoc" is treated as a long syllable ? I don't want to use a macron ("hōc") since the vowel is short (hoc < hodce; the word being read "hocc"). I can't use some wordprocessor or CSS tricks : I have to use pure Unicode output. I thought to the synizesis symbol (something like ho͡c) but this Latin word had nothing to do with a synizesis !

Any better idea ?

  • How about putting a stress on the c? Like hoć? Looks strange, but might bring the message across.
    – Boldewyn
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 19:26
  • Boldewyn > thank you. Of course, I can play with so many Unicode symbols (like this one : hoc⃜). But I'm looking for something somehow "standardized".
    – suizokukan
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 19:37
  • It would hafta be "standardized" to indicate a "non-standard" syllable; not a simple problem. In the case of the nonstandard long hoc, why not just spell it the way it was pronounced, viz HOCC, and make the second C grey or red or something, to indicate it's nonsilent but nonspelled -- the opposite of a silent letter, in fact. If you forswear colors there's always "HOCℂ", using "Double-Struck Cqpital C", Unicode 2102 UTF8 E2 84 82.
    – jlawler
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 20:57
  • 2
    Are you trying to make it resemble some method used in print or manuscript? Or are you the first person trying to solve this as a novel problem? Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 1:28
  • @suizokukan You can use the @ symbol to tag users you're replying to (they'll get the notification this way).
    – Alenanno
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


I do not see any problem with the way you did it in your second grey box: you put a macron immediately above the long vowels, and indicated the scansion of the verse (heavy and light syllables) in a separate line above the text. That is standard procedure. But if you want to call attention to the unorthographic scansion of “hoc”, you could always write “hoc(c)”, that is: “written hoc but presumably pronounced hocc”.

  • As far as I know, no "one-character solution" is convenient : h͞oc, ho͡c, ho⁀c, ho̶c, ho͝c, ho⃛c, ho⃪c, ho⏜c, ho⁓c, ho͜c, ho᷍c, ho⃐c, ho⃔c, ho⃕c, ho⃡c, ... are awful to read. I think your solution based on "hoc(c)" is the most elegant we can imagine. Thank you very much.
    – suizokukan
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 18:55

Some American textbooks for (modern) languages will use an underdot (U+0323) to represent stressed syllables that must be memorized.

As long as you explain to your reader what you mean, that could be a good alternative:

per Chaos học ịngēns uāstīque silentia rēgnī

Doesn't look as good with SE's default font, but most serif fonts I've seen prints quite nicely. If it's for screen use, instead of the dot, you could maybe go for U+0329 (vertical line underneath) for better visibility: “per Chaos ho̩c i̩ngēns…”

  • Thank you but your trick is used to mark a stressed syllable, as in "hoc" or in "in-"(gens). My purpose is to mark a long syllable having a short vowel.
    – suizokukan
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 13:47
  • @suizokukanYou just define it as "underdot is used to mark a short vowel that is long". There's no standard that says "dot = stress". The main point was that the books use undermarkings because it's out of the way and won't be confused for anything. You could use an under macron you want to really keep the link with Latin's method of showing long syllables or other symbols like an acute or a ring: ho̱c ho̥c ho̗c Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 18:55
  • > you're right, I misunderstood your idea.
    – suizokukan
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 7:22

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