We identify the basic colometry of Tocharian 4x15-syllable verse as 4+3+3+5 (traditionally 7+8), but we find no support for the putative alternative colometries of 4x15 often cited in the literature (viz. 6+4+5 and 8+7). In rare cases in which the medial caesura is violated, a word boundary after syllable 6 or 8 is highly probable by chance alone, as we confirm through corpus statistics. If the colometry is indeed invariable, one major argument for the influence of Indic on Tocharian meter is undermined. We further reinforce that the medial caesura after syllable 7 is no stronger than the final one after syllable IO, despite their putative statuses as major vs. minor caesurae, respectively. The more complex picture of the metrical practice of the poets demands that we call into question certain proposed restorations.

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Copyright © 2015 Hempen Verlag. This chapter first appeared in Tocharian Texts in Context.

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