digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

For other meanings of epic, see Epic (disambiguation).
Tablet containing a fragment of the Epic of Gilgamesh

An epic (from the Ancient Greek adjective ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos) "word, story, poem"[1]) is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation.[2] Milman Parry and Albert Lord have argued that the Homeric epics, the earliest works of Western literature, were fundamentally an oral poetic form. These works form the basis of the epic genre in Western literature. Nearly all Western epic (including Vergil's Aeneid and Dante's Divine Comedy) self-consciously presents itself as a continuation of the tradition begun by these poems. Classical epic continues to employ dactylic hexameter and centers its plots around the theme of a journey, either physical (as typified by Odysseus in the Odyssey) or mental (as typified by Achilles in the Iliad) or both. Epics tend also to highlight cultural norms and to define or call into question cultural values, particularly as they pertain to heroism.

Another type of epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia), which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means "little epic", came into use in the nineteenth century. It refers primarily to the erudite, shorter hexameter poems of the Hellenistic period and the similar works composed at Rome from the age of the neoterics; to a lesser degree, the term includes some poems of the English Renaissance, particularly those influenced by Ovid.[citation needed] The most famous example of classical epyllion is perhaps Catullus 64.

Some of the most famous examples of epic poetry include the ancient Indian Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Ancient Greek Iliad and the Odyssey, the Old English Beowulf, and the Portuguese Lusiads.[3]

Oral epics or world folk epics[edit]

The first epics were products of preliterate societies and oral poetic traditions. In these traditions, poetry is transmitted to the audience and from performer to performer by purely oral means.

Early twentieth-century study of living oral epic traditions in the Balkans by Milman Parry and Albert Lord demonstrated the paratactic model used for composing these poems. What they demonstrated was that oral epics tend to be constructed in short episodes, each of equal status, interest and importance. This facilitates memorization, as the poet is recalling each episode in turn and using the completed episodes to recreate the entire epic as he performs it. Parry and Lord also showed that the most likely source for written texts of the epics of Homer was dictation from an oral performance.

Epic: a long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in adventures forming an organic whole through their relation to a central heroic figure and through their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race. (Harmon and Holman)

An attempt to delineate ten main characteristics of an epic:[4]

  1. Begins in medias res.
  2. The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe.
  3. Begins with an invocation to a muse (epic invocation).
  4. Begins with a statement of the theme.
  5. Includes the use of epithets.
  6. Contains long lists, called an epic catalogue.
  7. Features long and formal speeches.
  8. Shows divine intervention on human affairs.
  9. Features heroes that embody the values of the civilization.
  10. Often features the tragic hero's descent into the Underworld or hell.

The hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society the epic originates from. Many epic heroes are recurring characters in the legends of their native culture.

Conventions of epics:

  1. Praepositio: Opens by stating the theme or cause of the epic. This may take the form of a purpose (as in Milton, who proposed "to justify the ways of God to men"); of a question (as in the Iliad, which Homer initiates by asking a Muse to sing of Achilles' anger); or of a situation (as in the Song of Roland, with Charlemagne in Spain).
  2. Invocation: Writer invokes a Muse, one of the nine daughters of Zeus. The poet prays to the Muses to provide him with divine inspiration to tell the story of a great hero. (This convention is obviously restricted to cultures influenced by European Classical culture. The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, or the Bhagavata Purana would obviously not contain this element).
  3. In medias res: narrative opens "in the middle of things", with the hero at his lowest point. Usually flashbacks show earlier portions of the story.
  4. Enumeratio: Catalogues and genealogies are given. These long lists of objects, places, and people place the finite action of the epic within a broader, universal context. Often, the poet is also paying homage to the ancestors of audience members.
  5. Epithet: Heavy use of repetition or stock phrases: e.g., Homer's "rosy-fingered dawn" and "wine-dark sea."

Poets in literate societies have sometimes copied the epic format. The earliest surviving European examples are the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes and Virgil's Aeneid, which follow both the style and subject matter of Homer. Other obvious examples are Nonnus' Dionysiaca, Tulsidas' Sri Ramacharit Manas.

Notable epic poems[edit]

The first page of the Beowulf manuscript, 8th to 10th century.
This list can be compared with two others, national epic and list of world folk-epics.[5]

Ancient epics (to 500)[edit]

(The date of compositions of Babylonian epics is often hard to determine, as they may survive on manuscripts that are much later than the first composition. There is also the complication that they underwent successive revisions and redactions.)

The dates of origin of these Hindu epics are hard to determine, as they existed for a long time in history as oral traditions with numerous versions and also in different regions of India and South Asia.

The following poems pertaining Greek mythology were written during this period but they are known only through fragments

Medieval epics (500–1500)[edit]

Statue of Iranian poet Ferdowsi in Rome, Italy. Ferdowsi's national epic Shahnameh played an important role in revival of Iranian patriotism and the Persian language after both were systematically suppressed by the Arab occupation of Iran

.

The Knight in the Panther's Skin by Shota Rustaveli, one of the greatest Georgian poets.

Modern epics (from 1500)[edit]

Other epics[edit]


See also[edit]

  1. ^ Epic Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ Michael Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature (Bedford: St. Martin's, 2005), 2128. ISBN 0-312-41242-8.
  3. ^ "epic". The Columbia Encyclopedia (6 ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. 2004. 
  4. ^ Taken from William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman, A Handbook to Literature, 8th ed., Prentice Hall, 1999.
  5. ^ According to that article, world folk epics are those that are not just literary masterpieces, but also an integral part of the world view of a people, originally oral, later written down by one or several authors.
  6. ^ "The Lusiads". World Digital Library. 1800–1882. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  7. ^ Guerber, H. A. (1913). The Book of the Epic. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott. p. 465. "a work some authorities rank as the first American epic" 
  8. ^ a b Stephen Greenblatt et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volume D, 9th edition (Norton, 2012)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jan de Vries: Heroic Song and Heroic Legend ISBN 0-405-10566-5.
  • Hashmi, Alamgir (2011). "Eponymous Écriture and the Poetics of Reading a Transnational Epic". Dublin Quarterly, 15. 
  • Cornel Heinsdorff: Christus, Nikodemus und die Samaritanerin bei Juvencus. Mit einem Anhang zur lateinischen Evangelienvorlage, Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 67, Berlin/New York 2003, ISBN 3-11-017851-6.
  • Fallon, Oliver. Bhatti's Poem: The Death of Rávana (Bhaṭṭikāvya). New York 2009: Clay Sanskrit Library, [1]. ISBN 978-0-8147-2778-2, ISBN 0-8147-2778-6.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_poetry — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
825440 videos foundNext > 

Favorite Epic Poems!

It's National Poetry Month, so I'm talking about my favorite poems--namely, those in the epic genre! Woo! Do you enjoy reading poetry? Leave a comment with a...

Epic Poetry Conventions

A brief introduction to the conventions of epic poetry.

Epic Poetry Workshop, Frederick Glaysher, AIPF

Read a Free Chapter, The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem Amazon, Hardcover, Kindle http://www.amazon.com/The-Parliament-Poets-Epic-Poem/dp/098267788X/ Barn...

conventions of epic poetry

conventions of epic poetry.

EPIC POETRY 「Blind Justice ~それぞれの正義~」

Disclaimer: This song is copyrighted by Konami, therefore, I do not own this audio. Requested by chowderbombs. A.K.A. Long Version. ~~~ Song Name: Blind Just...

EPIC POETRY 「Blind Justice ~Torn souls, Hurt Faiths~」

Disclaimer: This song is copyrighted by Konami, therefore, I do not own this audio. Requested by chowderbombs. ~~~ Song Name: Blind Justice ~Torn souls, Hurt...

Staceyann Chin- Epic Poetry Performance

Staceyann Chin reads her poetry at the opening plenary "Learning from Our Past, Looking to the Future." It is a must see performance! To catch more NCMR cove...

EPIC POETRY 「Blind Justice ~To each his own~」

Disclaimer: This song is copyrighted by Konami, therefore, I do not own this audio. The shorter long version of this song. ~~~ Song Name: Blind Justice ~To e...

Jesse Parent - "To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter"

Subscribe to Button! New video daily: http://bit.ly/buttonpoetry Download the audio of this poem for FREE by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1nNHhCl Jesse Paren...

Epic Poetry Battle: Joker VS Venom (Poem)

Poetry battles are the NEW rap battles haha A master of dark villainy still leads in utter disarray although the joker is his name he causes smiles to decay ...

825440 videos foundNext > 

19 news items

STV Dundee

STV Dundee
Sat, 23 Aug 2014 02:50:49 -0700

Memorising the epic poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson is a bit of a faff, even for the most accomplished English Literature graduate. Of course, recalling Ulysses and The Lady of Shalott becomes slightly more challenging when you're abseiling with an 140 ...

Korea Times

The Korea Herald
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 04:47:26 -0700

He is best known for “Maninbo” (Ten Thousand Lives), a 30-volume epic poetry series that he began during his imprisonment during a military regime in the 1970s and completed in 2010. Some 10 anthologies of Ko's poems, including “Maninbo” and “Songs ...
 
The Korea Herald
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 01:48:45 -0700

He is best known for “Maninbo” (Ten Thousand Lives), a 30-volume epic poetry series that he began during his imprisonment during a military regime in the 1970s and completed in 2010. Some 10 anthologies of Ko's poems, including “Maninbo” and “Songs ...
 
The Ann Arbor News
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:32:25 -0700

As a distinct body of literature they borrow themes such as war, honor, aristocracy and heroism from epic poetry, especially the medieval cantar de gesta and chivalric romance. For tickets and information: 734-433-7673, www.purplerosetheatre.org

Orillia Packet & Times

Orillia Packet & Times
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:15:00 -0700

One of the ladies was thought to have inspired epic poetry, while another created the idea of lyrical poetry; a third brought forth the thoughts of history; and the others had similar effects on mankind, causing them to pause in their work to dream of ...
 
Washington Post
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:13:22 -0700

He edited Horace and Terence and restored an elided Greek consonant to manuscripts of epic poetry, thus accounting for previously “puzzling gaps in Homer's meter.” Bentley also turned his prodigious learning to delivering a series of lectures endowed ...

WRTI

WRTI
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:07:30 -0700

... the oratorio had grown into something far removed from the church — a hybrid that clothed texts from the Bible, classical literature, epic poetry and other sources in magnificent operative trappings, intended not for edification, but purely as ...
 
First to Know
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:33:45 -0700

She is selling these lyrics as though they were epic poetry, and in so doing the words come across almost like modern-day Shakespearean sonnets. That's the secret to their success, and why they've become a huge viral sensation in the short time they've ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Epic poetry

You can talk about Epic poetry with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!