Comparaisons et métaphores homériques: un formulaire traditionnel ou un art poétique?
| AEVUM ANTIQUUM - 2005 - 5
Starting from the formula ἔπεα πτερόεντα and the controversy caused by Milman Parry's paper on "the traditional metaphor in Homer" (1933), we will show how this formula became a touchstone in the debate over "Oral Poetry".
In association with the verbal form –προσηύδα- or a variant, the formula is used as a pragmatic sign of the opening of a direct discourse. The opposite seems to be ἄπτερος μῦθος, "a mute word". The metaphor was neither used nor intended, but comparative evidence shows that the words were assimilated to an arrow.
Other Homeric metaphors can be found to express emotions and describe psychological conditions: the heart is said to be made of iron, bronze, or stone. Surprisingly, the most "recent" material -iron- appears in the majority of the examples, although it is rather seldom used for "real" objects of the world. We will try to justify our findings based on the "stratigraphy" of the Homeric text.