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The Artistry of the Homeric Simile
William C. Scott

University Press of New England
and the Dartmouth College Library, 2009.

© Copyright William C. Scott, 2009

PA4177.S5 S28 2009

"The similes in Homer are treasure troves. They describe scenes of Greek life that are not presented in their simplest form anywhere else: landscapes and seascapes, storms and calm weather, fighting among animals, aspects of civic life such as settlements of disputes, athletic contests, horse races, community entertainment, women carrying on their daily lives and men running their farms and orchards. But the similes also show Homer dealing with his tradition. They are additions to the narrative showing how the Greeks found and developed parallels between two scenes, each of which elucidated and interpreted the other, and then expressed those scenes in effective poetic language."

[See also: The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile (1974)]

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Print out the tables only (pp. 190-205) as an aid while reading

About the Electronic Publication

William C. Scott's The Artistry of the Homeric Simile is being published by the University Press of New England (Hanover and London, 2009) in partnership with the Dartmouth College Library, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.

Professor Scott's first book, The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile (E. J. Brill: Leiden, 1974) has been re-issued as an electronic book by the Dartmouth College Library in 2009, to coincide with the digital and print publication of The Artistry of the Homeric Simile.

The electronic versions of both books are publicly available for non-commercial uses, free of charge, at the Dartmouth College Library's Digital Publishing website.

WILLIAM C. SCOTT is emeritus professor of classics at Dartmouth College. His previous publications include The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile, Musical Design in Aeschylean Theater, Plato's The Republic with Richard W. Sterling, and Musical Design in Sophoclean Theater.

Copyright 2009, William C. Scott.

DOI: 10.1349/ddlp.769

Project Update and Usage Statistics, May 2011


Preface vii
Chapter One  
Similes, the Shield of Achilles, and Other Digressions 1
The Usefulness of Book Divisions 10
Chapter Two  
The Simileme: The Background of the Homeric Simile 14
The Oral Nature of Homeric Verse 14
The Simileme 18
Homer and His Audience 31
Simile and Simileme 37
Chapter Three  
Homer’s Use of Similes to Delineate Character and Plot 42
Iliad, Book 2: Ironic Characterization 43
The Similes of Book 2 44
The Role of Similes in Book 2 59
Iliad, Books 21 and 22: Similes to Show a Thematic Contrast 65
Iliad, Book 11: Similes to Mark a Shifting Scene 78
Conclusion 89
Chapter Four  
Similes to Delineate a Narrative Theme 94
Iliad, Book 12: Direct Focus on a Single Theme 94
Iliad, Book 5: The Use of Parallel Similemes to Create a Unified Theme 102
Odyssey, Book 22: Similes to Interpret Typical Actions 112
Odyssey, Book 5: Thematic Similes 118
Conclusion 126
Chapter Five  
Problem Books 130
Iliad, Book 13: The Ordering of Conscious Chaos 130
Iliad, Book 17: Similes as Guides through a Series of Type Scenes 145
Iliad, Book 16: Similes for Complexity 155
Conclusion 171
Chapter Six  
The Creative Poet and the Co-creating Audience 174
The Simile within the Narrative 174
The Poet’s Choices in Forming the Individual Simile 181
The Creative Moment: Poet and Audience 185
Charts of Similemes: The Basic Motifs 189
Notes 207
Bibliography 247
Index 257

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