What are some examples of Homeric parables

Summary too

W. Schadewaldt: The Homeric world of similes and the Cretan-Mycenaean art, in: From Homer's world and work 4/1965, pp. 130-154.


[144ff] The nature of the Homeric parables is not a Garden of Eden. There is no dreaming here. Here there is the sharpest alertness. A fantasy that does not act and does not depend on the appearance, but penetrates the real in the eye and thus creates an image of the seriously real. Characters of the real are therefore also the main features of Homer's world of parables when viewed in different directions.
What initially emerges in the many individual images in the parable is an incessant play of forces. Storm against cloud, surf against beach, Giessbach breaking into farmland. Animal against animal, human against animal. In everyday activities in the human world, too, when mowing, winnowing, carving, weaving, and dyeing, forces work against and in one another. And so we say: Homer's nature is through and through dynamic.

In this Homeric nature there is no being that cherishes itself, is there for itself alone, and in this being-for-itself nothing but pleasing. No animal walks aimlessly through the world here. Everything does and suffers, acts for both good and bad - what is good and bad here? Hardly ever in the parable of Homer a pure picture of a state, almost always moving, purposeful events, actions. And therefore: The nature of Homer's parables is dramatic.

In doing and suffering, opposites interact. Being becomes effective according to its peculiarity. The storm storms, rivers flow, rocks resist. The lion hunts and robs, the deer flees. Man strives, fights, builds, acts. Everything does, works; everything is' at work ': ἐνεργεῖ'. And so for the third: Homer's nature is energetic, and as energetic it is reality. Not dreams and fairy tales, phantasmagoria. Reality that is serious and has fate.

Homer's nature is not a collection of appearances that are 'beautiful'. Homeric nature is by no means 'beautiful', but it is is. How come What Homer depicts in the appearances of his parables - appearances that are perceived with great sharpness of the eye - is not what is visible in the appearances, but precisely that invisible that appears in the appearances. When the storm storms, the sea scorches, the rock stands, the oak falls, the wolf yaws and steals, when the snake rears up to leap, a worm bends in the sand, when a snowfield shines and the swell on the sea is undecided here goes: so it is rush, force, resistance, falling, greed, innermost tension, miserable annihilation, intensity of light and indecision of the soul, whereupon the poet sees what he sees in the appearances sees what controls those appearances from within: forces, impulses, speeds, modes of movement, intensities, functions, relationships and references of all kinds, as well as the soul in all its forms, positions and fates - all things that one cannot 'see' can. The poet catches them in the parable and lets them 'appear' in the image of visible nature. In short, there are Modes of being and action, modes of occurrence and types of nature, to which Homer's inner gaze is directed when he grasps natural phenomena with his eye. You could put together a whole table of categories from it. We dare to say: Homer sees nature in parable pictorial-ontological.

Next: Homer sees nature meaningful. He sees the Storm, the Billows, the Tree, the wild animal, the Plowers, the Mower and sees something at the same time in the Storm, in the Tree, in the Animal that robs in the Mower: crowds, firm standing, ferocity, an activity that stretches out. The things of nature in Homer represent, and so, as a great variety of representations, nature reveals something to the poet, says him something. Nature is not just there for him, but speaks a language, and the poet follows this language with the pictorial elements of his parables. A fixed vocabulary of images is created in this way. 'Sea', 'Cornfield', 'Cloud', 'Herd' mean the crowd, 'Rock' is an army lord, just as 'shepherd' or 'lead bull' can be an army lord. 'Wind' is impulse, 'fire' is destructive supremacy, 'light' is life, salvation, etc. 'tree' is as much as man. The basic idea that has been recorded can be downright declined according to circumstances and phases. The young tree is the growing boy, the rooted oak tree is the steadfast man; if it falls, 'felled' in a fight, it becomes a tree that the woodcutter cut down. The army of men becomes a forest in which - when the armies fight - the branches beat together in the wind, because 'branch' is again a spear. This goes on until the felled trunk - the dead one - which mules are dragging. As Homer in his parables in this way perceives the piece of nature grasped with the bodily eye (ὀφθαλμός) at the same time with the inner gaze (νο ,ς), images emerge that are really 'image': unity of appearance and meaning. - The images of nature in Homer's parables are not merely representations of appearances, and still less are naked signs. They are living embodiments of that meaningfulness in nature, to which the eye of the seer is also directed. The mantic, too, as has been well seen, has really influenced the design of the Homeric parable. A sympathetic connection in which the compared and the comparison are still really one can still be felt in a primeval way in some of Homer's parables.
If one takes a closer look at the meaning of Homer's parable, one encounters a phenomenon that I understand Definitionalthe Homeric view of nature.

Then the poet in the lion, who behaves in one way or another, does this and that, perceives the 'lion-like', namely something powerfully wild, noble, courageous, dangerously bloodthirsty, merciless. Such a savage and courageous one can also be seen in the wolf, but in a slightly different way: this bloodthirsty attacks in packs, is less powerful in its savagery, less noble, but more greedy - it is the wolfish. And similarly with panthers, boars, etc. - the wild, courageous, strong, etc. is heard by the poet in the "genus" predator and immediately modified according to the "species". But this kind of nature is modified further into the particular when the poet pursues the particular activity of the animal in his parable; Homer's way of spinning out his comparisons to a small event is known.

Achilles armed his myrmidons:
"[...] and they, like wolves, raw-eating ones who have inexhaustible fighting power in their diaphragms: they kill a large horned stag in the mountains and tear it to pieces, and everyone's cheeks are red with blood, and they run around in packs their thin tongues licking the black water away from the black water spring, vomiting up the bloody food; the courage in their chest is without trembling, and their belly is bulging [...] "(Il.16,156)

Paris rushes from the city to the battlefield:
"[...] like when a horse that has stood in the stable for a long time and fattened itself at the manger, tears off its halter and stomps across the field, used to bathe in the beautiful flowing river, swollen with pride: it holds it high Head, and his mane flutters around his shoulders; aware of its beauty, his thighs easily carry it to the drifts and the horse pasture [...] "(Il.6, 506).

These are not just poetic 'paintings', as if poets just like to dwell on the piece of nature that has been referred to. If you take a closer look, you will distinguish two elements in almost all Homeric parables with sufficient clarity: a substantial one, the 'bearer of the equation', here 'wolf' and 'horse' and then a modifying one: the chain of attributes (appositions and relative clauses) that follows the bearer of the equality. which mostly grow into a small act. [...]

For Homer's whole way of conceiving nature in the parables, this pictorial primal logic is very remarkable. There is no mere mood of “surrender” to “nature”, no “Dionysian” dissolving in its circle. Homer's conception of nature is 'noetic' through and through. The progress that prevails in the process of parables from the general-typical to the particular, from the generally outlined scope of ideas to the vividly fulfilled characteristic-individual, proves a keen pressure on the essence in its peculiarity, a precise determination and narrowing, an articulation and definition. And so we say: The conception of nature in Homer's parables is by definition.

In summary: Homer sees nature dynamic and dramatic; energetic he experiences her life; on the covers and Conditions, the Ways of being and Modes of action is his gaze directed; meaningful the things of nature are represented in it in 'pictures'; by definition he develops the parable process of the type towards the special character: everything by naively, pictorially, totally grasping at a glance these different aspects, which we had to emphasize individually and separately.

What is all of this getting at? Homer saw nature as - 'nature', namely as physisto use the word that gives the key to everything that is said: physis as the living, regular inner structure that underlies the phenomena and reveals itself in them.

Sententiae excerptae:
Greek to "Homer" and "Parable"
to "Homer" and "Parable"
On the character and function of parables in the 16th book of the Iliad

Observations on the parables of Homer's Iliad

Göttingen (Vandenhoeck) 1977

Of Homeric parables and their fates

About the conceptual world of the pre-Socratics
Darmstadt (WBG, WdF 9) 1968

Homeric Parable and the Beginning of Philosophy
in: Gadamer: Vorsokr., WBG 1968 (WdF 9)

From Homer's world and work. Essays and interpretations on the Homeric question
Stuttgart (Koehler) 4/1965

Homeric world of parables and the Cretan-Mycenaean art .. Naturansch.
in: Homer's world and work, Stuttgart 1965

Homeric world of parables and the Cretan-Mycenaean art
in: Homer's world and work, Stuttgart 1965

Homeric parables and the Cretan-Mycenaean art (Plates 9-16)

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