Epics of the Troy Cycle

Diane Thompson, NVCC, ELI

There were originally eight epics in the cycle, which is often referred to as The Epic Cycle. I am calling it the Troy Cycle because the central event is the Trojan War. The entire Epic or Troy Cycle began with the primal marriage of Heaven and Earth and told the stories of Greek mythology down to the deaths of the Greek heroes of the Trojan War. Together these epics dealt with all the matter of Troy from the judgment of Paris to the death of Odysseus and his sons' marriages. All but the Iliad, the Odyssey, and a few fragments of the others are now lost, but the epics were listed and summarized by Proclus in later antiquity.

The Eight Troy Epics

Cypria the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the quarrel of the gods and goddesses, the judgment of Paris, the rape of Helen, and the beginnings of the Trojan War
Iliad the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in the ninth year of the siege of Troy, the death of Hector
Aethiopis the war to the death of Achilles
Little Iliad the last part of the war
Sack of Troy the end of the war
Returns the Greek heroes, except Odysseus, return home
Odyssey Odysseus returns home after 10 years' wandering
Telegonia later adventures of Odysseus and his death at the hands of his son by Circe, Telegonus

(c) Thompson: 7/10/1998; updated: 08/11/2005