The most renowned Western epics, Homer's Greek "Iliad" and "Odyssey," and Virgil's Latin "Aeneid," utilize dactylic hexameter as the dominant meter of Greek and Roman poetry, but no rhyme system. However many other ancient poets used a metered verse form with regular end-words; these include Archilochus, Simonides, and Pindar. The Odyssey is the only one of these poems that remains intact today, but some scholars speculate that another epic poem may have been attached to the Iliad during its transmission.
Rhyme was important in ancient Greece. Poets wrote songs for performance at festivals, and they often included iambic or trochaic verses alternated with end-words that sounded like grammatical particles (such as "ly", "men", or "te"). These endings were added by later copyists to distinguish between different words for a given idea (for example, "to love" and "love"). Rhyme also helped readers remember poems' lines: The sound of two similar words together recurred throughout each line, so that listeners/readers could more easily recall them when singing or speaking the poem back to the poet/songwriter.
In English, we usually think of rhymes as pairs or groups of syllables that match up simultaneously by name or sound (e.g., man/man, foot/foot).
Homer is credited with composing the Iliad and the Odyssey, two important epic poetry. Both poems are composed of 24 books of hexameter poetry written in an old Greek dialect. The Iliad recounts the events of the legendary tenth conflict of the Trojan War, focusing on the heroic warrior Achilles. The Odyssey is a long poem that follows Odysseus's adventures after the war. It consists of ten books plus an epilogue that is not included in some editions.
Homer used material from earlier poets to compose his own works. He probably received inspiration from real people who had lived around the time of the Trojan War but none of them can be identified now. What is known about these individuals comes only from Homer's testimony in the Iliad and Odyssey.
Homer was a blind old man when the war ended. So he couldn't have participated in any activities during it. But he kept its memory alive by writing about them. He used other people's stories as well as information about ancient Greece that he found in other writings (for example, data on armor design where collected by kings who wanted to arm their soldiers).
In the Iliad, when Apollo asks him where he got his knowledge about warfare, Homer replies: "From the gods, who will tell you themselves". This shows that he believed that the gods sent him for a purpose and told him what to write down.
The two major epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are at the beginning of Greek literature. Some aspects of the poems date back to the Mycenaean period, maybe as far as 1500 BC, although the written works are typically attributed to Homer; in their current form, they presumably date from the 8th century. The Iliad is thought to have been composed by several authors over a long period of time. It describes the Trojan War, which lasted three years and ended with its destruction. The story focuses on the conflicts between the Greeks and the Trojans. Among the main characters are Achilles, who was born into a royal family but became so angry when he lost a fight that he killed his best friend, Hector, out of revenge; Paris, who was chosen by Aphrodite to be the new king of Troy after the former ruler, Priam, was killed during a war against the Greeks; and Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta.
In addition to these epic poems, Greek writers produced many other types of texts: dramas (such as the Oedipus trilogy by Sophocles), histories (especially those by Herodotus), scientific writings (for example, those by Aristotle). In addition, some myths and legends were also recorded by classical writers.
An epic is a lengthy poem with a serious tone that narrates a tale about the acts of gods and heroes. It is generally constructed of lines with six rhythmic measures. The Iliad and Odyssey, two works by the Greek poet Homer, are among the most famous epics in global literature. They tell the stories of the Trojan War and the voyage home of Odysseus, respectively.
The term "epic" comes from the Greek word epikhanos, which means "long-lasting". This adjective fits well with the idea that an epic is a long poem that takes a lot of time to finish. However, unlike a tragedy or a comedy, which have clear endings, epos can continue indefinitely through additional works by the same author or others.
In addition to being long, epics are also thought of as being important and significant poems. They often deal with great moral questions or explore different aspects of human nature. Many scholars believe that epic poetry was the first form of literature because it could include detailed descriptions of battles and other violent scenes while still having a coherent story overall. This type of writing would later be called fiction.
Epics are considered ancient works because they are known to have been written down for the first time many years after their supposed authors had died. Some scholars think that their original versions may even have been sung rather than read out loud. Their preservation in writing only exists today in some abbreviated forms.