Poetically Speaking: Epic poetry by Eva Marie Cagley


Epic Poetry predates literacy, centuries before humans began writing poetry. Researchers believe that poetry and storytelling were developed to help storytellers remember their history and pass it through the ages. Poetry was easier to remember.

“An epic poem is a long narrative poem that tells about heroic deeds and events that are Signiant to the culture of the poet.” Often it contained tales of intense adventures and heroic feats. This includes Oral Epics and Folklore (Ideals of stories that are not true but many people have heard or read.)

Epic came from the Ancient Greek adjective” epikos” which means a poetic story. It speaks of bravery and courage. The style usually uses an impressive style.

It represents the values of a certain culture, race, nation, and group.

The hero comes out the victor in the end.

Ballard poetry, on the other hand, is shorter, and it is composed to be sung. They are known as folk ballads. Passed on from generation to generation.

The first example of Epic poetry called Gilgamesh tells the story of life as an Assyrian king. Themes are related to gods, mortality, human beings’ legacy, and seduction. It is done in a grand style. This epic was written 4,000 years ago.

Iliad is another form of epic poetry, written by a blind poet by the name of Homer. Homer is a mystery; little facts are known about him. It contains the story of the Trojan wars.

Paradise Lost is an epic written by a blind poet, John Milton. Milton was an English poet polemicist (attacks with spoken words and loves a good debate) and man of letters, a civil servant for the commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. Milton used similar techniques as Homer, such as the grand style that contained similes and the muse.

The purpose of epic poetry was to raise the heroes up to audiences, inspiring them to be ready for heroic actions. Epics were collections of historical events not recorded in history books. There are few examples of Epic poetry due to the length of the poem. Enjoy the spoken word and remember to listen to your grandparents and great-grandparents for family history.


Pen On!


© Eva Marie Ann Cagley



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