Monday, November 7, 2022

εριc sιmιlεs

Database by Dr. Deborah Beck & Dr. Rebecca Van Der Horst
 gif of boat gently rocking over wave


Dr. Deborah Beck is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. This database makes publicly available the data underlying her book, The Stories of Similes in Greek and Roman Epic (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

Dr. Rebecca van der Horst received her BA from Utah State University and her MA and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation was entitled “Iliadic and Odyssean Heroics: Apollonius’ Argonautica and the Epic Tradition.” She taught for several semesters at Trinity University in San Antonio and now lives in Idaho with her family.

List of LAITS Staff

  • Marissa Devivar, Graphic Designer (2022)
  • Jake Engelberg, Junior Web Developer (2020-2021)
  • Maddy Kaniewski, UI/UX Designer (2020-2022), Project Supervisor & Art Director (2021-2022)
  • Marianne Le, Web Developer (2022)
  • Suloni Robertson, Project Co-Supervisor (2020-2022)
  • Estella Sun, Web Coordinator (2021-2022)
  • Valerie Tran, Project Co-Supervisor (2020-2022)

Definition of Simile

An explicit likeness between a story element and something superficially separate from it that takes the form of a brief story in which something happens. Short similes like “Hector’s spear shone like fire” are not included.

How the Database Categories Work

Each record in the database collects a variety of information on a single simile. Most fields provide a list of options from which the user selects one or more choices. Some fields require text entry

For a given simile, some fields may include several categories. For instance, in Odyssey 9.391-93, “story subject” is marked as “war, attack,” “sound,” and “injury, death.”

Some closely related subject categories are classified differently, such as the story subject categories “travel” (which covers travel by land) and “seafaring” (travel by sea). Users interested in similes related to all forms of travel need to search for both “travel” and “seafaring.”

Many fields have subfields, such as the various facets of “war, attack” (story subject) or “craftsmanship” (simile subject). Fields that have subfields show a + to the right of that field in the left-hand column of the database. The subfields are displayed when the user clicks on the + .

A multi-variable search returns records that include all of the selected variables. For instance, a search for “Apollonius,” “story subject/emotion,” and “simile subject/craftsmanship” returns two results that include all three variables.

How the User Notes Work

Each section of the database, such as “Basic information,” includes a brief definition, and most but not all subfields are defined. Self-explanatory fields are omitted in the interest of space. Each top-level category (Basic information, Content details, Advanced citation information, Advanced structural details, Advanced content details) is linked to the relevant section of the Help notes.


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