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Definition of Epopeya

An epic (Epopeya) means a poem of great length. It is characterized for being a narrative text that generally presents a great and public feat or action that is performed by some character of heroic spirit. They contain supernatural and fantastic details developed in prose or in long verses.

An epic must contain transcendental actions that include a hero or several heroes who represent values such as bravery. Their plots are based on exploits, wars, journeys and dangerous deeds related to war.

Many of the recognized epics have these characteristics plus marvelous journeys in prophetic dreams or visions from beyond the grave. All the poems that constitute the epic tradition of some people or community are known as epics.


  1. ● Feat
  2. ● Heroic deed
  3. ● Adventure
  4. ● Feat
  5. Epic legend
  6. Narrative
  7. ● Saga and
  8. ● Peripeteia.


The origin of this word is epopéia, where “epos” is defined as a “sung poetic discourse” and “poiein” meaning “to create”. So, the sung poetic discourse created orally in its beginnings is an epic.

Narrative poems were spread orally, their origins go back to the Epic known as the Gilgamesh, the first one of which there are written records, it is the oldest narrative. The Sumerians wrote it on clay tablets in the 2nd millennium BC.

Other recognized epics are the Greek ones, The Iliad and The Odyssey, attributed to Homer. On the other hand, there are the Roman ones, an example of which is Virgil’s Aeneid.


By the 19th century, epics were replaced by the realistic novel, leaving some subgenres such as the epil or epic song, the Icelandic saga, the cult epic poem and the Roman courtois.

It is worth mentioning that nowadays an epic refers to a glorious episode.