Aristotle. Rettorica, et Poetica d'Aristotile. Translated by Bernardo Segni. Firenze: Appresso Lorenzo Torrentino, 1549.

According to Aristotle there are poetic and historical truths. Based on an analysis of Homer's epic of the Trojan war, The Illiad, Aristotle determined that poetry sought universal truths while history strove to explain the particular.

From this Aristotle concluded poetry was superior to history. Aristotelian theorists of the Renaissance agreed on two basic principles: first, that the poem had to have been written several centuries ago and second, that the historical events narrated in the poem did not need to be exact but only to approximate reality. Therefore the author of an epic had more freedom of fantasy than an historian.

< prev | index | next >

University of Notre Dame
Copyright © 2001

Dept. of Special Collections
University of Notre Dame
102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Telephone: (574) 631-5610
Fax: (574) 631-6308
Contact Us