Poetry written in elegiac couplets was initially called elegiac poetry. The six foot dactylic line used in epic poetry by Greek and Latin poets was known as an hexameter. When a Dactylic Hexameter was followed by a line of dactylic pentameter, the couplet was called an elegiac couplet.
The Roman Ennius introduced the elegiac couplet to Latin poetry. He used it for epigrams. It was soon used in Latin poetry for erotic themes. It is found in Ovid in his love poetry.
Source: Edward John Kenney , Stephen E. Hinds "elegiac poetry, Latin" The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth. © Oxford University Press 1949, 1970, 1996, 2005.
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