Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Heroic poetry
(1,075 words)

1. Definition and tradition

Heroic poetry originated as a way to convey knowledge of the past in societies that had not developed historiography. It relied on oral tradition; in antiquity and the semiliterate culture of the medieval nobility it claimed to represent collective memory, in competition with historiography – initially written in clerical Latin, then increasingly in the vernacular.

Heroic poetry recounts a culture’s heroic age: in ancient Greece, the Trojan W…

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Schulz, Armin, “Heroic poetry”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_020857>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

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