What Is an Example of a Homeric Simile?

Homeric similes can be found throughout the Greek epic poem "The Iliad." Homeric similes usually compare events, people or objects, and they are usually detailed, containing several lines.

For example, lines 657 to 665 from book 17 of "The Iliad" reads: "like a lion who leaves the farmyard when he is exhausted attacking the dogs and men who do not allow him to carry off the fattest of the cattle, staying awake all night. Craving meat he keeps attacking, but accomplishes nothing. For spears pour constantly from brave hands and lighted torches which he fears even though he is eager. Then at dawn he draws away sullen at heart. Thus did Menelaus, good at the war shout, go from Patroclus."

Another example of a Homeric simile is from "The Iliad," book 8, lines 555 to 560: "As when in the sky the stars about the moon's shining are seen in all their glory, when the air has fallen to, stillness, and all the watch places of the hills are clear, and the high shoulders, and the ravines, as endless bright air spills from the heavens, and all the stars are seen, to make glad the heart of a shepherd; such in their numbers blazed the watchfires." In this simile, the Trojan watchfires are compared to stars in the sky.