Animals In Semonides: Women In A New Perspective

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Animals in Semonides:
Women in a New Perspective

One of the best ways to describe something is by connecting it to what one already knows. The ancient Greeks in particular were very fond of utilizing metaphors and similes to discuss scenes that they wished to better convey to their audience. Some uses would just be nothing more than a simple line or phrase and some would be vast, extended metaphors such as those by Homer. Many times these comparisons were made between man and beast and, in this specific case, between woman and their animal kingdom counterparts. Semonides creates an interesting perspective in his poem Women relating women and animals by means of shared characteristics. The poem presents several different animals that typify potential women that ancient Greek men may encounter. His comparisons are crude to the modern feminist but are very telling of how ancient Greeks viewed certain animals (as well as their women). Some confusion exists surrounding the precise time that Semonides wrote in, however it was likely either the seventh or sixth centuries BCE. While not much is known about the life of Semonides, it is widely accepted that he was from Amorgos which was colonized by Samians. In fact, it is also believed, based on certain
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However, while describing the woman compared to the sea, the author also uses a comparison to a bitch again. This time noting how ferocious the bitch is when it has pups (line 35). The idea of the vicious mother bitch is not seen in Xenophon’s On Hunting where when he does discuss hounds as mothers he only mentions how useful it is to keep the pups with their real mother for quality purposes and also because the pups “like her caresses” painting a picture only of a kindly mother dog (Xen. Hun. 7.3). Thus it seems where the two writers before were in agreement are no
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