Greek Epic Cycle (2501 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Alberto Bernabé (Universidad Complutense)


1. The Epic Cycle

Of all Archaic Greek epics only two poems by Homer and two by Hesiod have survived in full. However, that era saw the creation of many other poems on greatly varied topics; they survive mainly in fragments or in late prose summaries.

The so-called Epic Cycle was a series of poems on heroic themes, particularly the large sagas that surpassed the limits of local poems and were composed independently by different authors at different times and in various places. Their common aim was either to fill out the gaps left in Homeric poems or to develop certain episodes that had only been suggested in the Iliad or the Odyssey. At a certain time, the custom of reciting some of them one after …

Bernabé, Alberto. "Greek Epic Cycle". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2010
[, accessed 21 October 2016.]