Epics are long narratives in verse form that tell a story about one heroic person or a group of people. They include superhuman deeds, adventures, high-styled language, and dramatic events. Many of the oldest narratives are written in epic form, including Homer's two epics, Iliad and Odyssey, and Aeneid. Epics have been used to fit traditions and beliefs and to formalized mythological traditions in some cultures

Sample Poem. {excerpt}
SPEAK, MEMORY-- Of the cunning hero, The wanderer, blown off course time and again After he plundered Troy's sacred heights. Speak Of all the cities he saw, the minds he grasped, The suffering deep in his heart at sea As he struggled to survive and bring his men home But could not save them, hard as he tried-- The fools--destroyed by their own recklessness When they ate the oxen of Hyperion the Sun, And that god snuffed out their day of return. Of these things, Speak, Immortal One, And tell the tale once more in our time. By now, all the others who had fought at Troy-- At least those who had survived the war and the sea-- Were safely back home. Only Odysseus Still longed to return to his home and his wife. The nymph Calypso, a powerful goddess-- And beautiful--was clinging to him In her caverns and yearned to possess him.