James Weeda wrote:
> ... 'rosc' in poetry was
> used in a surprisingly similar manner to Homer's use of 'muthos'.
> That is,
> as wise words that offered either good counsel on problems, or
> examples of
> what was inappropriate behaviour or action to illustrate what was
> and so on.
My understanding is that in legal literature, rosc (aka roscad) can
refer to maxims presented in heightened language. In narrative
literature, such as the sagas (since you are comparing Homer), that is
generally not the case at all. That is, the "wisdom" component is not
much in evidence in those texts. In the tales, the form, rather than
the content, is the defining feature of rosc(ad). McCone defines
rosc(ad) very simply as all that material which is neither prose, on
the one hand, nor syllabic verse on the other. "Furthermore, 'rosc'
is characterised by various linguistic features, usually referred to
as 'Archaic Irish', which are not found in prose, but are found in Old
Irish rhyming syllabic verse." (Liam Breatnach, as quoted by McCone in
_Pagan Past..._, p. 42).
I'm not sure what the most recent theories are on the origin and
function of rosc in OI, however, including whether it was "originally"
felt to be a vehicle for dispensing "wisdom", a branch of gnomic
literature... or not.