Divinità «simili» a uccelli in Omero: dalla morphé all’agency

Carmine Pisano


In the Homeric poems there are twelve cases in which the poet speaks of «bird-like» deities. Ancient commentators and modern scholars debate whether this «likeness» indicates a theriomorphic epiphany or a simple simile between the action of the god and that of the bird to which he is compared. Although different, both positions presuppose the idea, rooted in the concept of theriomorphism, that it is the «form» (morphé) that determines the animal character of the gods: which is why scholars speak of the metamorphosis of the deity or, on the contrary, of pure analogy of movements without transformation. This article intends to follow a different path. Its scope is to investigate the «animal agency» of the gods regardless of theriomorphism, showing how a deity can appear or act like a bird without necessarily assuming its appearance.

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