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epyllion


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Is the term applied in modern times to ‘miniature epic’, a narrative poem of up to c.600 hexameters, usually about an episode from the life of a mythological hero or heroine. This was a favourite form from Theocritus and Callimachus 2 until the ‘new’ poets contemporary with Catullus. The topic is preferably unfamiliar, the love motif (often pathological love) becomes prominent in the later specimens, and often a second theme or a description of an object is enclosed within the main narrative; the style tends to be more subjective and emotional than in formal epic, and the scale of the narrative is uneven, with some events elaborated (esp. emotional speeches) and others quickly passed over.

Subjects: Literature — Classical Studies.


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