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The Simile at "Iliad" 16.7–11 Once Again: Multiple Meanings

DAVID PORTER
The Classical World
Vol. 103, No. 4 (SUMMER 2010), pp. 447-454
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27856648
Page Count: 8
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The Simile at "Iliad" 16.7–11 Once Again: Multiple Meanings
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Abstract

In a 2008 article Kathy L. Gaca argued that the simile at "Iliad" 16.7–11 represents a wartime scene of "a daughter-mother pair of refugees on the verge of being caught and dominated by warrior thugs." While praising Gaca's demonstration of the simile's wartime connotations, I resist her rejection of its peacetime associations, arguing that—as so often with Homeric similes—the language of the passage accommodates both readings. Placed at a critical turning point in the "Iliad", and reaching toward both peace and war, past and future, the simile's power resides in the acutely contrasting associations that its open-ended language evokes. Only when we honor its full associative range can we appreciate its full impact.

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