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date: 28 June 2022

metaphor and similelocked

metaphor and similelocked

  • Michael Silk


Features of literary language that have been extensively discussed by theorists and critics since antiquity. The first purposeful investigations are *Aristotle's (Poet.21–2; Rh. 3. 2. 6–4. 4, 3. 10. 7–11. 15). By the time of *Quintilian (Inst. 8. 5. 35–9. 3. 102) metaphor and simile have a place in an elaborate apparatus of ‘tropes’ (τρόποι, tropi/modi) and ‘figures’ (σχήματα, figurae), with metaphor (μεταφορά, translatio) classed among the tropes, and simile (εἰκών, similitudo) generally associated with the figures (e.g. Cic. De or. 3. 205, cf. Quint. Inst. 9. 2. 1–2). Figures comprise a variety of supposedly special ‘conformations’ (Quint. Inst. 9. 1. 4), from homoeoteleuton to rhetorical question. Tropes comprise all deviations (except for errors) from established word usage, including in particular(a) deviations based on contiguity or association, in modern analysis generally grouped together as ‘metonymy’ (‘arma virumque cano’, ‘arms and the man I sing’, Verg. Aen.


  • Greek Literature
  • Latin Literature

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