7 junio, 2024

The 15 Most Relevant Short Epics

The short epics they are longer narrative poems. They usually deal with themes or details that have to do with heroic labors and important events of a culture or nation.

Epics have been part of literature since the beginning of it. Spanning nearly four millennia, each of the classic works in this genre speak to the human condition. They also talk about the nature of heroism and the struggle to overcome the dark forces of the world.

In these pieces of literature, complex language elements are often combined with themes such as war, betrayal, romance, adventure, and reflection. Epics can be semi-true stories or satires of historical events.

In most of the works a muse is invoked; additionally the epics usually begin in the middle of the story and not tell it from the beginning.

It is also common for them to narrate battles and have ambiguous analogies or fantasy elements.

List of short epics and their plots

1- Epic of Gilgamesh – Anonymous

It is often regarded as the oldest work of literature to have survived into the Modern Age; it is more than 4000 years old.

It was composed in ancient Mesopotamia and tells the story of King Gilgamesh (based on an Assyrian king), who embarks on a quest for eternal life.

Gilgamesh confronts themes common to this genre, such as the human/deity divide, mortality, seduction, and legacy.

As a young god king, his arrogant practices cause trouble for the populace until Endiku, a savage created by a god, confronts his might.

This epic follows the king’s thoughts after Endiku’s death. It deals with how to become human, with a heavy emphasis on immortality.

2- The odyssey – Homer

This Ancient Greek epic tells the story of the warrior Odysseus, who tries to find his way home from Troy across the Peloponnesian sea.

Not only must he fight the malevolence of the gods and Calypso’s seduction, but he must also get home before his wife’s suitors convince her to marry one of them.

Many narrative and poetic elements of this epic have influenced many modern works of Western literature.

3- Beowulf – Anonymous

It is a national text in most of the Nordic countries and in England. It tells the story of Beowulf, the hero of the story and the strongest man who ever lived.

He is hired by Hrothgar to protect his domain from a grotesque swamp creature called Grendel.

Not only does he defeat him, but he also ends up facing his mother, other horrible creatures, and a fire-breathing dragon.

4- Roland’s Song – Anonymous

This epic was written during the 11th and 12th centuries. It tells the story of the 18th century battles between the conquering Muslims and the Franks who defended the territory; this fight was for the region of Iberia and the Pyrenees.

This narrative piece reinforces many of the values ​​of the knights, such as gallantry and martyrdom.

5- orlando furious – Lodovico Ariosto

This narrative continues the tradition of interpreting the battles between the Franks and the Saracens.

Furious was a brave warrior charged with saving his people, but he is distracted by a fit of madness caused by Angelica’s seductions.

This story juxtaposes the duty of being brave with passionate love, but also idealizes love by comparing it to a kind of madness that overthrows identity.

But at the end of the epic it is recognized that passion is a weakness for knights, and that duty is the most important.

6- Lost paradise –John Milton

This religious epic, published in 1667, tells the story of the fall of Satan from heaven (he is the anti-hero and fallen angel) and the fall of man, when Adam and Eve eat the forbidden apple.

It is a story with rather strange descriptions; a narration of angels with flatulence is included.

It is considered a rewrite of the fall of Adam and Eve from the book of Genesis, as Milton portrays Satan as a seductive and charismatic villain in a brutal war with God.

7- The Divine Comedy – Giving

It is an imaginative and allegorical vision of life after death according to the Christian religion.

This epic is written in the first person and tells of Dante’s journey through the three planes of death.

The poet Virgil guides him through hell and purgatory, while Beatrice (Dante’s ideal woman) guides him into heaven.

Although it seemed somewhat dark, the Divine Comedy It is characterized by its humorous details. It is also notable for its depiction of hell: a lake of excrement with gas-passing demons.

8- the aeneid – Virgil

It is an epic written in the first century BC. C. in which the legend of Aeneas is narrated, a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of the Romans.

The first part of the story tells the story of wanderings from Troy to Italy, including a romance with Queen Dido; and the second part tells of the victory of the Trojans over the Latins.

In the end his descendant, Romolus, founded the Italian city that bears his name.

9- The Iliad – Homer

This epic tells the story of the Trojan War between the Greeks and the Trojans, after the kidnapping of Helen of Troy by Paris, the prince of Troy.

Surprisingly many of the popular myths about this event, such as the Trojan Horse and Achilles’ Heel, do not appear in the story.

The story narrates only a few weeks into the final part of the war and focuses on the individual characters who participated in it: Achilles, Ajax, Agamemnon, Hector, Helen and Melenao.

10- The Song of the Nibelungs

This epic written in the 13th century revived Teutonic mythology in Germany. It is about the slow decline of the Burgundian people of the North Atlantic.

Specifically, it tells the story of Siegfried, an Achilles-like figure who fights dragons, conquers the Nibelungs, and uses his invisibility cloak to defeat enemies.

It was in this story that the composer Richard Wagner was inspired to produce his material. The Ring of the Nibelung.

eleven- The lusiads – Luis de Camões

Epic published in 1572 in which the first expedition of the navigator Vasco de Gama to the East is narrated.

It is made up of 1,102 eighths divided into ten songs, written by Luís de Camões to express the power of the Portuguese Empire in the seas around the world. In fact, a third of the book consists of historical accounts of the Lusitanian country.

12- The Song of my Cid

Best known epic song in Spanish literature. By an anonymous author, it is estimated that it was published around 1200. The work recounts the adventures of the brave Castilian knight Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, better known as the «Cid Campeador».

Despite its age, the original work is practically intact, being the first work in terms of length (it consists of 3735 verses). Courage, honor, honesty or loyalty are some of the concepts that are embodied.

13- Ramayana – Valmiki

Epic writing of a religious nature from the 3rd century BC. C. The legendary Valmiki is considered its creator, although there are discrepancies about its authorship. In any case, it is one of the main historical works of Hindu literature, being written in Sanskrit and divided into seven volumes.

It consists of 24,000 verses in which the exploits and adventures of Rama, a prince and reincarnation of God Vishnu, are narrated. Rama counts his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana as luxury secondaries.

14- mahabharataha

Written in Sanskrit, it is possibly the oldest mythological epic in the world. From an anonymous author, it was written in India during the 3rd century BC. C. This means that it coincided in time and context with ramanaya.

The plot is complex due to its chaotic structure and its enormous length. In short, it would be the constant fight between two family clans for honor or heritage. Love, betrayal and myths go hand in hand in this wonderful work of ancient India.

fifteen- Pharsalia – Marco Anneo Lucano

Also Known As De Bello Civili, this epic by Lucanus is an unfinished text that narrates the Civil War arranged between the Emperor Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. The title is due to the fact that a large part of the text relates to the Battle of Farsalia that occurred in said war in the year 48 a. C. in Thessaly (now Greece).

It is one of the most important historical epic accounts due to the large amount of information provided about the Ancient Age, specifically during the Roman Empire.


10 of the best epic poems everyone should read. Recovered from interestingliterature.com
Epic poetry. Retrieved from wikipedia.org
Epic poems. Recovered from ranker.com

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