Technical terms in Greek or Latin Epic poetry:
- Aidos: shame, can range from a sense of respect to disgrace
- Aition: cause, origin
- Anthromorphism: Literally, turning into a human being. Gods and goddesses are anthropomorphized when they take on human qualities
- Arete: virtue, excellence
- Aristeia: a warrior’s prowess or excellence; a scene in battle where the warrior finds his or her finest moment
- Ate: blindness, madness, or folly that the gods may impose on a human.
- Dactylic Hexameter: the meter of epic has 6 dactylic (long/short/short) feet in a line. Daktylos is a word for a finger, which, with its 3 phalanges, is like a finger. See: Ancient Meter.
- Dolos: trickery
- Geras: a gift of honor
- In medias res: into the middle of things, the epic story begins in the middle of things and reveals the past with narratives and flashbacks
- Invocation: at the start of epic, the poet calls upon the Goddess or Muse. The poet’s persona believes it requires divine inspiration to compose.
- Kleos: immortal fame for one’s actions. From a word for that which is heard, kleos is renown. Kleos can also refer to praise poetry.
- Moira: portion, lot in life, destiny
- Nemesis: righteous indignation
- Nostoi: (singular: nostos) return voyages
- Penthos: grief, suffering
- Timē: honor, should be proportionate to one’s arete
- Xenia (Xeinia): bond of guest-friendship
- Xenos (Xeinos): host/guest
- Personification: imbuing an inanimate object or an abstract with living, particularly human characteristics
[Information partly from Reading Epic: an Introduction to the Ancient Narratives, by Peter Toohey]