Epyllion

In classical studies the term epyllion (Ancient Greek: ἐπύλλιον, plural: ἐπύλλια, epyllia) refers to a comparatively short narrative poem (or discrete episode within a longer work) that shows formal affinities with epic, but betrays a preoccupation with themes and poetic techniques that are not generally or, at least, primarily characteristic of epic proper.wikipedia
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Epic poetry

epic poemepicepics
In classical studies the term epyllion (Ancient Greek: ἐπύλλιον, plural: ἐπύλλια, epyllia) refers to a comparatively short narrative poem (or discrete episode within a longer work) that shows formal affinities with epic, but betrays a preoccupation with themes and poetic techniques that are not generally or, at least, primarily characteristic of epic proper.
Another type of epic poetry is epyllion (plural: epyllia), which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme.

Catullus 64

6464thCatullus' longest poem
The locus classicus for the sense of epyllion as a hexametric mythological poem that is not only comparatively short, but also imbued to some extent with the characteristics of Hellenistic poetry is Moritz Haupt's 1855 study of Catullus 64, but it is likely that Haupt was using a term that had in the preceding decades become common to discussions of the shorter narrative poems of the Alexandrians.
Catullus 64 is an epyllion or "little epic" poem written by Latin poet Catullus.

Georgics

GeorgicThe GeorgicsGeorgica
Virgil's Nisus and Euryalus digression in the Aeneid totals 73 verses and is sometimes considered an epyllion, while the so-called Aristaeus-epyllion (Georgics 4.315–558) is considerably more substantial and reminiscent of independent epyllia from the Hellenistic period.
The tone of the book changes from didactic to epic and elegiac in this epyllion, which contains within it the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Moschus

Moschos
His few surviving works consist of an epyllion, the Europa, on the myth of Europa, three bucolic fragments and a whole short bucolic poem Runaway Love, and an epigram in elegiac couplets.

Metamorphoses

Ovid's MetamorphosesOvid's ''MetamorphosesThe Metamorphoses
The poem has been considered as an epic or a type of epic (for example, an anti-epic or mock-epic); a Kollektivgedicht that pulls together a series of examples in miniature form, such as the epyllion; a sampling of one genre after another; or simply a narrative that refuses categorization.

Virgil

VergilPublius Vergilius MaroVirgilian
Book 4 concludes with a long mythological narrative, in the form of an epyllion which describes vividly the discovery of beekeeping by Aristaeus and the story of Orpheus' journey to the underworld.

Classics

classicistclassical scholarclassical
In classical studies the term epyllion (Ancient Greek: ἐπύλλιον, plural: ἐπύλλια, epyllia) refers to a comparatively short narrative poem (or discrete episode within a longer work) that shows formal affinities with epic, but betrays a preoccupation with themes and poetic techniques that are not generally or, at least, primarily characteristic of epic proper.

Ancient Greek

GreekClassical GreekGr.
In classical studies the term epyllion (Ancient Greek: ἐπύλλιον, plural: ἐπύλλια, epyllia) refers to a comparatively short narrative poem (or discrete episode within a longer work) that shows formal affinities with epic, but betrays a preoccupation with themes and poetic techniques that are not generally or, at least, primarily characteristic of epic proper.

Diminutive

diminutive formdiminutive suffixdiminutives
Ancient Greek ἐπύλλιον (epyllion) is the diminutive of ἔπος (epos) in that word's senses of "verse" or "epic poem"; Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon thus defines ἐπύλλιον as a "versicle, scrap of poetry" or "short epic poem", citing for the latter definition Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2.68 (65a–b):

Henry Liddell

Henry George LiddellLiddellLiddell, Henry George
Ancient Greek ἐπύλλιον (epyllion) is the diminutive of ἔπος (epos) in that word's senses of "verse" or "epic poem"; Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon thus defines ἐπύλλιον as a "versicle, scrap of poetry" or "short epic poem", citing for the latter definition Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2.68 (65a–b):

Robert Scott (philologist)

Robert ScottScott
Ancient Greek ἐπύλλιον (epyllion) is the diminutive of ἔπος (epos) in that word's senses of "verse" or "epic poem"; Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon thus defines ἐπύλλιον as a "versicle, scrap of poetry" or "short epic poem", citing for the latter definition Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2.68 (65a–b):

A Greek–English Lexicon

A Greek-English LexiconLSJGreek-English Lexicon
Ancient Greek ἐπύλλιον (epyllion) is the diminutive of ἔπος (epos) in that word's senses of "verse" or "epic poem"; Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon thus defines ἐπύλλιον as a "versicle, scrap of poetry" or "short epic poem", citing for the latter definition Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2.68 (65a–b):

Athenaeus

Athenaeus of NaucratisAthenaiosAtheneus
Ancient Greek ἐπύλλιον (epyllion) is the diminutive of ἔπος (epos) in that word's senses of "verse" or "epic poem"; Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon thus defines ἐπύλλιον as a "versicle, scrap of poetry" or "short epic poem", citing for the latter definition Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2.68 (65a–b):

Deipnosophistae

DeipnosophistsThe DeipnosophistsSophists at Dinner
Ancient Greek ἐπύλλιον (epyllion) is the diminutive of ἔπος (epos) in that word's senses of "verse" or "epic poem"; Liddell and Scott's Greek–English Lexicon thus defines ἐπύλλιον as a "versicle, scrap of poetry" or "short epic poem", citing for the latter definition Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2.68 (65a–b):

Friedrich August Wolf

F. A. WolfF.A. WolfWolf
Wolf was apparently responsible for popularizing the term, for two of his essays from early in that century are referred to by titles including epyllion: Ad Scutum Herculis epyllion Hesiodo subditum animadversiones (Observations on the Shield of Heracles, an Epyllion Falsely Attributed to Hesiod) and Theocriti idyllia et epyllia (The Idylls and Epyllia of Theocritus).

Shield of Heracles

AspisScutum HerculisShield of Herakles
Wolf was apparently responsible for popularizing the term, for two of his essays from early in that century are referred to by titles including epyllion: Ad Scutum Herculis epyllion Hesiodo subditum animadversiones (Observations on the Shield of Heracles, an Epyllion Falsely Attributed to Hesiod) and Theocriti idyllia et epyllia (The Idylls and Epyllia of Theocritus).

Hesiod

HesiodicHesiodic prooemiaHesiodus
Wolf was apparently responsible for popularizing the term, for two of his essays from early in that century are referred to by titles including epyllion: Ad Scutum Herculis epyllion Hesiodo subditum animadversiones (Observations on the Shield of Heracles, an Epyllion Falsely Attributed to Hesiod) and Theocriti idyllia et epyllia (The Idylls and Epyllia of Theocritus).

Theocritus

TheocriteanTheocritanTheocritos
Wolf was apparently responsible for popularizing the term, for two of his essays from early in that century are referred to by titles including epyllion: Ad Scutum Herculis epyllion Hesiodo subditum animadversiones (Observations on the Shield of Heracles, an Epyllion Falsely Attributed to Hesiod) and Theocriti idyllia et epyllia (The Idylls and Epyllia of Theocritus).

Locus classicus

The locus classicus for the sense of epyllion as a hexametric mythological poem that is not only comparatively short, but also imbued to some extent with the characteristics of Hellenistic poetry is Moritz Haupt's 1855 study of Catullus 64, but it is likely that Haupt was using a term that had in the preceding decades become common to discussions of the shorter narrative poems of the Alexandrians.

Moriz Haupt

Moritz HauptHaupt
The locus classicus for the sense of epyllion as a hexametric mythological poem that is not only comparatively short, but also imbued to some extent with the characteristics of Hellenistic poetry is Moritz Haupt's 1855 study of Catullus 64, but it is likely that Haupt was using a term that had in the preceding decades become common to discussions of the shorter narrative poems of the Alexandrians.

Richard L. Hunter

Richard HunterHunter, R.Hunter, Richard
The exact meaning and applicability of the term epyllion has remained a matter of dispute, and Richard Hunter's recent appraisal summarizes well the current opinion regarding epyllia:

Homer

HomericHomeric epicsHomeric poems

Dactylic hexameter

hexameterhexametersdactylic hexameters
An epyllion is, in its most basic definition, a narrative poem written in dactylic hexameters that is comparatively short.

Elegiac couplet

elegiac coupletselegiacelegiac verse
There is disagreement about whether the term should also be applied to works written in elegiac couplets.

Eratosthenes

Eratosthenes of Cyrenea seminal experimentEratosthenes of Alexandria
The exact meaning of "comparatively short" varies among modern scholars, with some considering Theocritus, Idyll 13 (75 lines) an epyllion, while Eratosthenes' Hermes is commonly classed as an example, even though at some 1,600 lines it would probably have taken up two papyrus rolls.