To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Drawing on the perspectives of cognitive linguistics and evolutionary biology, this contribution revisits the meaning of the Homeric formula ὑπόδρα ἰδών, literally ‘looking from below’, which is generally acknowledged as an indication of anger in epic poetry. A detailed examination of the phrase suggests that the facial expression it refers to was originally an inclination of the head while maintaining a fixed gaze ahead, resulting in a view from beneath lowered brows. It is argued that this position of the head serves as a functional preparation for a physical conflict, and consequently that the epic phrase ὑπόδρα ἰδών is not merely a metonym for anger but also a signal of the willingness to resort to violence if the conflict is not resolved by other means. This is also borne out by the contexts in which the formula occurs, since in most cases the speeches introduced with a ‘look from below’ are either followed by violent actions or cause their addressee to retract the offence.
The so-called Latin Iliad, the main source for the knowledge of the Greek epic poem in the Latin West during the Middle Ages, is a hexametric poetic summary (epitome) of Homer's Iliad likely dating from the Age of Nero, which reduces the 15,693 lines of the original to a mere 1,070 lines (6.8%).
This article argues for an approach based on the cognitive linguistic theory of conceptual metaphors (CMT) by demonstrating its potential for the discussion and interpretation of Homeric metaphors. CMT provides a theoretical framework for analysing metaphors in a conceptual context, and even with unique, i.e. apparently non-formulaic, metaphors in Homeric poetry the possibility of a conceptual basis always needs to be considered for comprehensive study. Even unusual expressions such as the phrasing of Il. 5.642, χήρωσɛ δ’ ἀγυιάς, where Heracles is said to have ‘widowed the streets’ of Troy can be related to other metaphors (esp. Τροίης ἱɛρὰ κρήδɛμνα in Il. 16.100, where the phrasing is formulaic) drawing on the same conceptualization of the city is a woman. This appears to be a contextually specified version of the personification of locations which not only provides the basis for poetic extensions but also has the potential to reflect back on the literal usage of certain salient terms and imbue them with particular, ominous meaning (such as κρήδɛμνον in Il. 22.470).
Homer's Iliad is an epic poem full of war and battles, but scholars have noted that ‘[t]he Homeric poems are interested in death far more than they are in fighting’. Even though long passages of the poem, particularly the so-called ‘battle books’ (Il. Books 5–8, 11–17, 20–2), consist of little other than fighting, individual battles are often very short with hardly ever a longer exchange of blows. Usually, one strike is all it takes for the superior warrior to dispatch his opponent, and death occurs swiftly. The prominence of death in Homeric battle scenes raises the question of how and in which terms dying in battle is being depicted in the Iliad: for while fighting can be described in a straightforward fashion, death is an abstract concept and therefore difficult to grasp. Recent developments in cognitive linguistics have ascertained that, when coping with difficult and abstract concepts, such as emotions, the human mind is likely to resort to figurative language and particularly to metaphors.
The verb βυσσο-δομεύω (Sc. 30 = Hes. Frg. 195.37 M.–W.), separated by Glenn Most in his translation as ‘planning in the depth’, appears to be composed of a noun βυσσός (‘depth’) and a verbal root *δέμ- (‘[to] construct’), thus literally meaning ‘(to) build in the deep’. There is no instance in our extant texts where this compound verb is employed literally in reference to an act of construction, and to the best of our knowledge it is exclusively used metaphorically in early epic diction to describe a mental process (see also Hom. Od. 4.676; 8.273; 9.316; 17.66, 465, 491; 20.184).
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.