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This study is a detailed analysis of the ancient terms of comparison and their nature, scope, and purpose. The author explores the use of these terms of comparison from Aristotle’s predecessors to the beginning of the late technical treatises. He concludes that the ancient critics were interested not in form but in purpose and method; that comparison was rarely discussed as an isolated component of rhetoric but was paired with either metaphor or historical example; and that ancient criticism did not distinguish simile as an independent figure of comparison.