Epode, in verse, is the third part of an ode, which followed the strophe and the antistrophe, and completed the movement.

At a certain point in time the choirs, which had previously chanted to right of the altar or stage, and then to left of it, combined and sang in unison, or permitted the "coryphaeus" to sing for them all, while standing in the centre. With the appearance of Stesichorus and the evolution of choral lyric, a learned and artificial kind of poetry began to be cultivated in Greece, and a new form, the epode-song, came into existence. It consisted of a verse of trimeter iambic, followed by a dimeter iambic, and it is reported that, although the epode was carried to its highest perfection by Stesichorus, an earlier poet, Archilochus, was really the inventor of this form.

The epode soon took a firm place in choral poetry, which it lost when that branch of literature declined. But it extended beyond the ode, and in the early dramatists we find numerous examples of monologues and dialogues framed on the epodical system. In Latin poetry the epode was cultivated, in conscious archaism, both as a part of the ode and as an independent branch of poetry. Of the former class, the epithalamia of Catullus, founded on an imitation of Pindar, present us with examples of strophe, antistrophe and epode; and it has been observed that the celebrated ode of Horace, beginning "Quem virum aut heroa lyra vel acri", possesses this triple character.

Epodes of Horace

The word is now mainly familiar from an experiment of Horace in the second class, for he entitled his fifth book of odes "Epodon liber" or the Book of Epodes. He says in the course of these poems, that in composing them he was introducing a new form, at least in Latin literature, and that he was imitating the effect of the iambic distichs invented by Archilochus. Accordingly, we find the first ten of these epodes composed in alternate verses of iambic trimeter and iambic dimeter, thus:

:"At o Deorum quicquid in caelo regit Terras et humanum genus;"

In the seven remaining epodes Horace diversified the measures, while retaining the general character of the distich. This group of poems belongs mostly to the early youth of the poet, and displays a truculence and a controversial heat which are absent from his more mature writings. As he was imitating Archilochus in form, he believed himself justified, no doubt, in repeating the sarcastic violence of his fierce model. The curious thing is that these particular poems of Horace, which are really short lyrical satires, have appropriated almost exclusively the name of epodes, although they bear little enough resemblance to the epode of early Greek literature.



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  • épode — [ epɔd ] n. f. • 1546; lat. epodos, gr. epôdos, de epi « sur » et ôdê « chant » ♦ Hist. littér. 1 ♦ Troisième couplet d un chœur lyrique divisé en strophe, antistrophe et épode. 2 ♦ Couplet lyrique composé de deux vers inégaux. ⇒ distique. Par… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Epode — Ep ode, n. [L. epodos, Gr. ?, fr. ?, adj., singing to, sung or said after, fr. ? to sing to; epi upon, to + ? to sing: cf. F. [ e]pode. See {Ode}.] (Poet.) (a) The after song; the part of a lyric ode which follows the strophe and antistrophe, the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • epode — [ep′ōd΄] n. [MFr épode < L epodos < Gr epōidos, incantation, lit., song sung after < epi , upon, after + aeidein, to sing: see ODE] 1. a form of lyric poem, as of Horace, in which a short line follows a longer one 2. the stanza that… …   English World dictionary

  • Epode — (v. gr. Epōdos), 1) Nach od. Schlußgesang; 2) der auf Strophe u. Antistrophe folgende Nachsatz, s.u. Strophe; solche Gedichte hießen Epodĭka u. kommen bei Pindar u. in den dramatischen Chören vor; 3) ein in einem Gedicht nach bestimmten… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Epode — Epōde (grch.), Nach , Schlußgesang; in den altgriech. Hymnen und Chorliedern der auf Strophe und Antistrophe folgende Abgesang; auch eine Gattung lyrischer Gedichte, in der ein längerer Vers mit einem kürzern abwechselt, wie solche z.B. von Horaz …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Epode — Epode, griech., in der antiken Lyrik Theil eines Liedes, auf Strophe und Antistrophe folgend und eine rhythmische Abtheilung schließend. Epoden, ist auch der Name des 5. Buchs der Oden des Horaz, meistens in jambischen Versmaßen verfaßt und… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • epode — 1590s, a kind of lyric poem in which a short line follows a longer one (invented by Archilochus, also used by Horace), from L. epodos, from Gk. epodus after song, incantation, from epi after (see EPI (Cf. epi )) + odein to sing (see ODE (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Epode — Als Epode (griechisch ἐπῳδός, Nachgesang, Refrain) bezeichnet man eine lyrische Dichtform, in der abwechselnd regelmäßig längere und kürzere Verszeilen vorkommen. Besonders bekannt sind die Epoden des römischen Dichters Horaz. Formen Gemeinhin… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Epode — Ep|o|de 〈f. 19〉 1. 〈in der altgriech. Dichtung〉 die auf Strophe u. Gegenstrophe folgende, anders aufgebaute 3. Strophe, ähnlich dem Abgesang im Meistergesang 2. 〈altgrch. u. röm. Dichtung〉 lyrischer, auf eine längere Zeile folgender Kurzvers 3.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • ÉPODE — s. f. Terme de la poésie lyrique des Grecs, qui signifie, La troisième partie d un chant divisé en strophe, antistrophe et épode.  Les Épodes d Horace, Le dernier livre de ses poésies lyriques …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)