2004
Volume 55, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573

Abstract

Abstract

This paper contrasts two modes of representation, each of which applies to a wide range of phenomena (verbal, visual, and social): aggregation and antithesis. Homeric epic is (like Geometric vase-painting) for the most part aggregative, in narrative and in verbal style. By contrast, later texts (especially Herakleitos and tragedy) often contain the juxtaposition of two words expressing an opposition (‘antithetical dyads’). In Homer there are only four appositional antithetical dyads, which all occur in a peaceful interlude in the that is distinctive also by virtue of containing a number of elements (such as writing and temple statues) that occur nowhere else in Homer but will be central to the polis. The interlude also contains a single line (6.236) which (a) is by far the fullest account of a commercial transaction in Homer, and (b) contains two of the four Homeric appositional antithetical dyads. This illustrates the relation between verbal style and social process, specifically between the antithetical dyad and the unity of opposites inherent in commercial exchange. Finally, the relation between antithesis and the emergent polis is illustrated from the scenes depicted on the shield of Achilles: the antitheticality between and within these scenes expresses the necessity for the polis to unify internal oppositions.

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2022-02-01
2022-06-25
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