Scholars occasionally include the two Homeric epics, the Iliad and Odyssey, among the poetry of the Epic Cycle, although the word is more commonly used to distinguish non-Homeric writings from Homeric ones. When referring to the Epic Cycle, modern academics do not usually include the Theban Cycle. However, some later authors did include these poems in their lists of Epics. They were often grouped together because they both involved heroes traveling around Greece looking for news about their families. Although there are differences between the two poems, such as length and subject matter, many scholars believe them to have been written by the same poet or group of poets.
In his commentary on the Iliad, Friedrich Nietzsche noted that "the Odyssey seems to us now merely a long prelude to the Iliad". He also called the Odyssey "a charming book which we should like to read again". Modern scholars generally agree that the Odyssey was intended by its author to be a sequel to the Iliad. It tells of how Odysseus returns home after ten years' absence and falls into conflict with the new king, Telemachus. It ends with the marriage of Odysseus and Penelope, much to the annoyance of Telemachus who wants to marry his mother off to someone else. This final part of the poem may have been added by another writer at a later date.
The Epic Cycle (Greek: Epikos Kuklos, Epikos Kyklos) was a series of Ancient Greek epic poems written in dactylic hexameter about the Trojan War, comprising the Cypria, Aethiopis, the so-called Little Iliad, Iliupersis, Nostoi, and Telegony. The works are generally attributed to Homer, but this attribution is based more on tradition than on any proof of authorship.
In addition to these six major epics, some lesser known ones also survive. They include the work called Achilleid, which is said to have been written by the same poet as the Aethiopis, and another poem called The Sack of Troy or Destruction of Troy described from the point of view of those who survived the war.
The earliest surviving complete version of any part of the Epic Cycle is the Cypria, which may be as early as 730 BC. It is one of the oldest examples of Greek literature and probably came from Egypt, where the Egyptians had a colony called Cyrene on the coast of North Africa. Some believe that it was they who first told the story of the Trojan War and that it was the Greeks who later added to it over time; others think that the story was already well-known when it first appeared in writing.
Other important parts of the Epic Cycle include the Aethiopis, Iliupersis, Nostoi, and Telegony.
An epic is a lengthy, episodic narrative poetry that tells the story of a historical or mythological hero's travels. Homer's Odyssey is an epic because Odysseus (the hero) fights supernatural enemies, the gods and goddesses play key roles, and Odysseus is reinstated as the rightful leader. Epic poems often include descriptions of battles and other events from mythology or history.
Odyssey is made up of eight books written by the Greek poet Homer around 700 BC. The poem itself is about the journey home of Odysseus, who has been gone for ten years after the Trojan War. Along the way he encounters monsters, witches, and other dangers that threaten his life. But Odysseus always manages to overcome these obstacles and return home in time for dinner.
Epic poems are usually based on real people or myths but with some changes done by the author to suit their needs. For example, the author of Odyssey could have wanted to make Odysseus look better by comparing him to other heroes we know from mythology. Or perhaps he wanted to give more importance to certain events by making them longer or including more details about them. This is why epic poems can sometimes be confusing or even contradictory when you read them. There are many things that may not make sense at first but will later on in the poem.
Another important thing about epic poems is that they usually focus on one central topic within each book.