The Epicness of Epics

By the insanly epic, Kailtyn Maloney

The two types of Epicness

There are two types of epic poems, primary and secondary.

A primary epic poem is a pretty accurate retelling of a historic event put into poem form.

A secondary epic poem is a poem which deals with legends and the supernatural.

The History of Epicness

Epics were first introduced in Ancient Greece and this form of poetry has been used by many overachieving poets through history. Such poets include Dante, Homer, Virgil and Chaucer. Most epics were written a few hundred years ago, the earliest dating back to Homer's the Iliad, about 800 B.C.

Why epically epic epics?

An epic is a narrative, a story, that relates the story of legendary hero. Therefore epics are written to explain the cultural history of a race through the life or it's heroes and legends.

Primary epics are written to relate a historic occurrence through poetry.

Secondary epics are slightly exaggerated history books with a dash of myth in them, actually a bit more than a dash.

Any epic is meant to explain the reasons a culture was created (or explain any event from the past) sometimes by using that culture's heroes and legends to explain it.

What is an Epic ( it's epic, I promise )

Epic poems are usually very long, about as long as a novel. They are written in a very grand style, uses big words and are pretty descriptive. In secondary epics there is almost always a hero connected to something supernatural, and usually deals with the beginning of a culture. The author will invent characters and events freely (they won't be afraid to flip the script), they might even include themselves in the story. Primary epics are factually with very descriptive language ( like all poems). Primary epics do include the supernatural (gods, goddess) if such things were thought to be fact by the particular culture.

Example of a Primary Epic: Homer's The Iliad

Sing, Goddess, Achilles’ rage,

Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks

Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls

Of heroes into Hades’ dark,

And left their bodies to rot as feasts

For dogs and birds, as Zeus’ will was done.

Begin with the clash between Agamemnon--

The Greek warlord--and godlike Achilles.

Example of a Secondary Epic:

Midway upon the journey of our life

I found myself within a forest dark,

For the straightforward pathway had been lost.


Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say

What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,

Which in the very thought renews the fear.


So bitter is it, death is little more;

But of the good to treat, which there I found,

Speak will I of the other things I saw there.

Works Cited Page

What is an Epic,

https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/What_is_an_Epic.pdf

03 Dec. 14


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"Notes on Heroic Poetry: The Primary and Secondary Epic." Notes on Heroic Poetry: The Primary and Secondary Epic. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.


Homer. "The Iliad Book 1, Lines 1-15." Poets.org. Trans. Stanley Larmbardo. Academy of American Poets, Web. 05 Dec. 2014


Alighieri, Dante. "Inferno, Canto 1." Poets.org. Trans. Henry W. Longfellow. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.