ξυλόχῳ. This word, like “δρύοχος”, means probably ‘having wood.’ The simile that follows is remarkable as bringing out several points of comparison. The “ξύλοχος” represents the home of Odysseus; the “νεβροί” [and perhaps the presumptuous “ἔλαφος”] point to the suitors; the “λέων” to Odysseus; and the resemblance is still further kept up in the picture of the lion's absence and return. A similarly elaborated simile occurs in Catullus 62. 39 foll. Compare also Od.6. 130 foll.; Il.13. 137; 15. 271, 630; 17. 725; 22. 139. As to the various tenses and moods found in the Homeric simile, we may remark that the simplest way of introducing a comparison is by means of the pres. indic. which pictures the scene as actually and visibly existing. So Il.2. 455“ἠύτε πῦρ . . ἐπιφλέγει ὕλην”, Il.11. 492“ὡς δ᾽ ὁπότε πλήθων ποταμὸς πεδίονδε κάτεισι”, Il.20. 490“ὡς δ᾽ ἀναμαιμάει βαθἔ ἄγκεα θεσπιδαὲς πῦρ”. The same mood and tense serve to introduce the picture of every-day occurrences, as Il.2. 87“ἠύτε ἔθνεα εἶσι μελισσάων”, Il.3. 3“ἠύτε περ κλαγγὴ γεράνων πέλει”, Il.5. 499“ὡς δ᾽ ἄνεμος ἄχνας φορέει ἱερὰς κατ᾽ ἀλωάς”, cp. also Il.21. 23; Od.8. 124; 13.81; or, again, to describe the constant condition of things, as Il.9. 14“ὥς τε κρήνη . . ἥ τε . . δνοφερὸν χέει ὕδωρ”, Il.12. 132“ὡς ὅτε τε δρύες . . αἵ τ᾽ ἄνεμον μίμνουσι”, Il.17. 434“ὥς τε στήλη μένει”, ib. 747 “ὥς τε πρὼν ἰσχάνει ὕδωρ”, cp. also Il.22. 199.This present tense may afterwards change to a perfect or aorist, and even back again to present; cp. Il.2. 87 foll., “εἶσι . . πέτονται . . πεποτήαται”, Il.4. 453 foll. “συμβάλλετον . . ἔκλυε”, Il.8. 556“φαίνεται . . ἔπλετο . . ἔφανεν . . ὑπερράγη . . εἴδεται . . γέγηθε”, Od.13. 31“λιλαίεται . . ἕλκητον . . κατέδυ . . βλάβεταιͅ”. Or, again, the simile may be introduced by the aorist indicative [gnomic aorist], as Il.3. 33“ὡς δ᾽ ὅτε τίς τε δράκοντα ἰδὼν παλίνορσος ἀπέστη”, etc., Il.13. 389“ἤριπε δ᾽ ὡς ὅτε τις δρῦς ἤριπεν”. And this tense may change as the simile progresses; cp. Il.4. 275“ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ εἶδεν νέφος . . φαίνεται . . ἄγει . . ῥίγησεν . . ἤλασε”, Il.5. 902“ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ὀπὸς γάλα . . συνέπηξεν . . περιστρέφεται”, Il.16. 352“ὡς δὲ λύκοι . . ἐπέχραον . . διέτμαγεν . . διαρπάζουσι”. The perfect indicative is occasionally used, as in Il.16. 384“ὡς δ᾽ ὅτε . . βέβριθε χθών . . ὅτε . . χέει ὕδωρ Ζεύς”, Il.17. 263“ὡς δ᾽ ὅτε . . βέβρυχεν μέγα κῦμα . . ἀμφὶ δέ τ᾽ ἄκραι ἠιόνες βοόωσιν”, in both of which instances the tense changes back to present indicative. The imperfect and pluperfect seem to be unsuitable in describing comparisons, as connoting a too definite point of time. In Od.22. 469“ἑστήκῃ” is perf. subjunctive; and in Il.4. 483; 17. 435 “πεφύκῃ” and “ἑστήκῃ” are probably the right readings, and not “πεφύκει, ἑστήκει”. It is doubtful if any genuine instance can be found of the pluperf. in such sentences. The use of the indicative future in simile is very doubtful. Its admissibility is denied by Hermann and Spitzner and allowed by others. The question is complicated by the variation of MSS., as e. g. between “ἄξει” and “ἄξῃ” Il.5. 161, and by the identity of form of the indicative future and the subjunctive aorist with short penultima, e.g. “λέξεται” Il.4. 131.The subjunctive mood is used to introduce a simile where the picture is rather imagined than described as actually existing. The tenses used of this mood may either be the present, as “θείῃ” Il.6. 507, “θρώσκωσι” Il.13. 589, “μένῃσι” Il.22. 93, “αἰόλλῃ” Od.20. 27; or, more commonly, the aorist, as “στυφελίξῃ” Il.11. 305, “ποιήσωνται” Il.12. 168, “τανύσσῃ” Il.17. 547, “φανήῃ” Od.5. 394.In such cases the tense of description often passes into the graphic indicative, as Il.6. 507“θείῃ . . ἔχει . . ἀίσσονται”, etc., Il.22. 93“μένῃσι . . ἔδυ . . δέδορκεν”, ib. 163 “τρωχῶσι . . κεῖται”, 189“δίηται . . θέει”, Od.5. 328“φορέῃσιν . . ἔχονται”, Od.19. 518“ἀείδῃσιν . . χέει”. The optative mood in similes is very rare (compare Od.9. 484“ὡς ὅτε τις τρυπῷ” [for “τρυπάοι] δόρυ νήιον”), and, when used, it is generally introduced by “ὡς εἰ” or “ὡς εἴ τε”, as in Od.9. 313; 10.416.
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