An Epic Formula in Herodotus
Keywords:Herodotus, Homer, epic formula, myth, historiography, history
This paper examines Herodotus’s use of a formulaic phrase, known from Homer and the drama, by analyzing four test cases. The analysis reveals how Herodotus embeds mythical and traditional stories and the epic language in the relatively new genre of historiography and how the historical narrative is shaped by them. By this technique Herodotus associates himself with Homer and presents a continuous historical narrative that stretches from mythical times to his own, but also undermines the traditional Homeric authority by giving the formulaic language new contexts and implications, sometimes contrary to their mythical model.