What is in a name….

                                      Homeric nod

Even an intelligent and a  smart person commits mistakes due to momentary lack of alertness or attention. Such a mistake is idiomatically known as Homeric nod.

Proverbially, the expression even Homer nods is used to convey such slips by celebrated or intelligent persons. Homer was a Greek epic poet who lived during the eighth century B.C. He was a great poet and the author of celebrated epics The Illiad and The Odyssey.

Homer was respected for his exemplary scholarship, trenchant intelligence and eminent authorship. However, Horace, also an eighth century  poet of Rome observed that Homer was not always at his best, and was prone to commit mistakes. Horace said, “Even the great Homer nods off from time to time and commits mistakes.” Thus, Horace coined the idiom, even Homer nods to allude to literary continuity error. This phrase is a translation of a line from Ars Poetica  authored by Horace. In The Illiad, Menelaos kills Pylaimenes in combat. However, in a later part of the work, Pylaimenes is depicted as alive to witness the death of his son. This is one of the Homeric nods highlighted by Horace.

Frequently, pesky Homeric nods occur in films consequent to film editor’s carelessness. Even discerning editors in the profession of book publishing become victims of Homeric nods. It is a common fact even the most vigilant expert is prone to commit mistakes.

 

R.Gopalan

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