dictionary of Homeric likenesses

When Luke writes about the shepherds who keep watch at night it should be understood that he is addressing 'leaders of the people', by whatever name they go. Shepherds as metaphor for kings is a universal figure of speech all over the Middle East and the 'not sleeping at night' is probably understood everywhere. Certainly Agamemnon found sleeping (Il 2.23-) is a severe criticism of him. So Luke is addressing his audience in a 'semi-hidden' way, telling them he has something to offer for managing their flocks. Just so Homer is addressing 'kings' among his audience. Here is an incomplete overview of the likenesses(1) used by him.


  1. I propose not to go into the technicalities of likenesses, simile's, symbols, metaphors, allegories, parable, analogy etc. All language based on an observation that A 'is-like' B when telling a story about B, I refer to as likeness. The special thing about Homer's poetry is that he can make his rhetoric work on both levels A and B.