Epic Cycle

Martin Litchfield West

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online July 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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Epic Cycle, ἐπικὸς κύκλος, a collection of early Greek epics, artificially arranged in a series so as to make a narrative extending from the beginning of the world to the end of the heroic age. Apart from the Iliad and Odyssey (see homer), we possess only meagre fragments of the poems involved, and our knowledge of what poems were involved is itself incomplete. We are best informed about those that dealt with the Trojan War and related events: there were six besides the Iliad and Odyssey, and summaries of their contents are preserved in some Homer manuscripts as an extract from the Chrestomathia of *Proclus (see neoplatonism; but some think an earlier Proclus). *Apollodorus (6) and *Hyginus (3) (see mythographers) draw on a related source for their accounts of the Trojan War. Among monumental sources, the ‘Tabulae Iliacae’ (IG 14. 1284 ff.; Nina Valenzuela Montenegro, Die Tabulae Iliacae, 2004) is of particular interest.

Article.  1115 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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