Epilio: what it is, characteristics, origin, main authors and more.


What is the subgenre epilion or epilion?

The epilion, also known as epilion, refers to one of the types of literary composition that is part of the epic genre, being also one of the oldest and most important that develops during the Hellenistic period, a time of great boom for literary works where new styles emerge that are configured to the extent of the work of the authors of the time.

It is a poem of short length whose theme is usually of an amorous or mythological character that is composed of a single episode, this being part of a much larger story in which an answer is given.

Meaning of the subgenre Epilion

The term epilion is derived from epos in Greek and refers to a short literary and epic composition, poetic in character that is written from hexameters.

Definition of the subgenre Epilion

Refers to a short composition written in hexameters, whose subject matter usually revolves around love or mythology.

Origin and history of the subgenre Epilion 

The diffusion of the epilion takes place during the Hellenistic period, a time that was ruled by a great sum of poetic forms that, although of short length, were created in large quantities by the most important poets of the time, such as Callimachus, one of the Greek poets exponents of this literary subgenre, and who becomes the most important reference for later authors.

The epilogue regained strength from the Renaissance onwards, when the subgenre was taken up by humanists in the brass, among them Álvaro de Cadaval. Later, around the 17th century, it was also developed by several poets of Spanish origin, among them the poet and playwright Luis de Góngora. It will later be translated into other languages that will allow it to continue to spread, passing through the hands of Englishmen such as Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

What is the subgenre epilion

Characteristics of the subgenre Epilio

Because of its brevity, the characteristics of this subgenre are much more concrete. Let’s see:

Subject of composition

As we saw, the theme on which the epilogue is written will be either of amorous character, or of mythological themes, where it will include all kinds of traditionally recognized elements and resources.

Form of composition

The epilogue, following the poetic form, is written from verses in hexameters. Its writing should be between 100 and 600 verses. It is important to keep in mind that it is a poem with narrative overtones, since it is a fragment or space of a larger story through which it summarizes or provides some kind of answer.

Most important authors and works

One of the most important authors recognized within the subgenre of epilion is Callimachus, a Greek poet who initiated the tradition. He would be followed by other poets such as Theocritus, Euphorion of Chalcis, Moschus, later in Latin literature appears Catullus, Virgil, among others.

Example of the epilic subgenre 

The following is a fragment of the epilogue of Orpheus, written by Virgil, one of the most representative works of this subgenre:

“You are not left undisturbed by the wraths of some god:

you purge a grave crime: the evil Orpheus

brings you these undeserved punishments,

if the fairy consents, and takes revenge with viciousness

for the lost wife. For that girl,

while from thee she hastily escaped

by the bank of the river to certain death,

did not see before her feet a huge snake

that among the tall grasses guarded the bank.

But then the chorus of her Dryad friends

filled the tops of the mountains with their clamor;

and the summits of the Rhodope and the high

Pangeo and the land of warlike Reso

and the Getas and the Hebro and the Attic Oritia.

Orpheus, consoling his lost loves,

to thee sweet wife, with the hollow zither,

to thee beside himself on lonely shores,

to thee at the dawn of day he sang,

to you in his fall. He even went deep

into the maw of the Tenarus, through the deep entrance

of Pluto, and there, amidst black terrors,

He came to the Manes through dark woods.

and even to the terrifying king and to the hearts

Which with human entreaties know not how to soften.”