metres are the main metres of dramatic verse, but they are also found elsewhere. In Ancient Greece
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 Senarius is one of the three main iambic metres of Roman antiquity (the two others being the iambic septenarius and the iambic octonarius), and it is in fact a free-form version of the strict Greek iambic trimeter.
Theoretically the line in the iambic senarius is made of 6 iambic feet (^-), but in practice such a line is very rare, as some of the feet were changed to other metres.
In drama the last foot is always iambic, and the 5th regularly a spondee (--). The spondee is very common also in the first four feet. The first four feet, however can also be changed also to a dactyl (-^^) or a tribrach (^^^) quite frequently, occasionally to an anapaest (^^-), and rarely to a proceleusmatic (^^^^). There is usually a caesura in either the third or fourth foot.
An example for a iambic senarius is (in Latin):
^ - | ^ ^ - |^ : ^ ^|- -| - -|^ -
in hac habitasse : platea dictumst Chrysidem
(Teretius, And. 796)
* - long or stressed syllable; ^ short or unstressed syllable; : caesura.