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Det gnomiska uttrycket i Iliaden, Odysséen och Beowulf-eposet


  • Viktor Wahlström

Summary, in Swedish

In this paper I examine what I call the ‘gnomic expression’, i.e. a statement of a general truth with regards to the human condition, as it is manifested in the Iliad, the Odyssey and Beowulf. A general introduction is first given to gnomic poetry in the Greek and Anglosaxon traditions in order to put the main analysis into its historical and literary context. The analysis is then presented in five chapters in which all the gnomic expressions in Homer and Beowulf are translated and divided into the following categories: 1) wisdom, foolishness, fortune and misforture; 2) the Gods and their gifts; 3) power, war and honor; 4) the family and other human relations; 5) fate and death. Finally, I present my own reflections on the esthetic value of the gnomic expression and how its mixture of simplicity, pessimism and pathos relates to to poetic force of the epic works themselves.

Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • gnomic expression
  • gnomes
  • gnomic poetry
  • Iliad
  • Odyssey
  • Beowulf


  • Karin Blomqvist (Professor)