Do you think that the Iliad is a primary epic?

The Iliad is a primary epic because it originated in an oral tradition and is set during a time of upheaval.

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A primary epic is one that was originally presented in an oral tradition and not written down until years afterward. The Iliad is without a doubt such an epic, since Homer's stories were originally part of an oral tradition. They were recited or sung from memory rather than initially put down on paper. In contrast, a secondary epic is literary, such as Virgil's Aeneid, which was not part of an oral tradition but written down first.

There are often differences between the content of primary and secondary epics as well. Primary epics tend to feature demigods as the heroes and other supernatural figures as possible helpmates or hindrances during the events of the narrative, while a secondary epic tends to be more grounded (though not always).

Primary epics are often set during times of upheaval, such as war. The Iliad is certainly such a work, covering the destructive Trojan War. The Iliad is primarily tragic in its presentation of the Trojan War. Contrast this with a secondary epic like the Aeneid, which is about the establishment of what will eventually become the Roman Empire. It is not at all about upheaval since the upheaval has already happened. It is instead about creation.

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