Formulas
(2,264 words)

Abstract

Formulas are the verbal building blocks of ancient Greek poetry.  They are most conspicuous in dactylic hexameter epic verse, where they appear as standardized phrases that are ‘stitched’ together – to use an ancient metaphor – by epic poets to describe the typical characters and objects and to narrate the typical actions of heroic epic: ‘rosy-fingered Dawn’; ‘dark-prowed ships’; ‘he fell with a thud and his armor rattled about him’.  Research on the essential nature of the formula was the key to determining that Homer’s Iliad an…

Cite this page
Steve Reece, “Formulas”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: First Last. Consulted online on 26 June 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_COM_00000137>
First published online: 2013



▲   Back to top   ▲