In rhetoric, antonomasia is a kind of metonymy in which an epithet or phrase takes the place of a proper name, such as "the little corporal" for Napoleon I. Conversely, antonomasia can also be using a proper name as an archetypal name, to express a generic idea.
A frequent instance of antonomasia in the Late Middle Ages and early Renaissance was the use of the term "the Philosopher" to refer to Aristotle. A more recent example of the other form of antonomasia (usage of archetypes) was the use of "Solons" for "the legislators" in 1930s journalism, after the semi-legendary Solon, lawgiver of Athens.
Stylistically, such epithets may be used for elegant variation to reduce repetition of names in phrases.
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See "archetypal name" for examples of the opposite kind of antonomasia.
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press..