The book is a study of comparison and identification with exemplary figures drawn from myth, history and historical legend, the Bible, the authorial canon, and literary tradition, from Homer to the interrelated branches of the medieval European vernacular lyric up to the end of the fourteenth century. The first half treats Homer, Virgil, Latin poets from Catullus to Ovid, and late and medieval Latin poets. The second half discusses the troubadour lyric, including Italian and Catalan poets who wrote in the language of the troubadours, the trouvere lyric, the German lyric, and the Sicilian and Italian lyric up to Petrarch. The languages covered are thus classical Greek, classical, post-classical and medieval Latin, Occitan/Old Provencal, Old French, and medieval German and Italian.Representative examples of comparison and identification are given in the original language, followed by translation and textual and literary analysis. OLIVE SAYCE is Emeritus Fellow and Tutor in Modern Languages, Somerville College, Oxford.