A list of epic conventions might look something like this:

Long Narrative Poem

Hero of High Position/Characters of High Position

Nationally or Historically Important Episodes

Events and Persons of Legendary Significance

A Vast Setting–a Nation or the World

Deeds of Valor and Courage

A World Changing Event

God and Demigods (Supernatural Forces)

The Arming of the Warrior/Hero

Ancestry of Men and Inanimate Objects

Allusions to Stories, Science, History, or Cultural Beliefs

Topical Digressions

Epic Simile

Epic Epithet or Kennings

Religious Observances

Lives of the Gods


Descent into Underworld

Elevated and Majestic Language and Imagery

Oral or Literary Formulation

Begins in the Middle, In Medias Res

Epic Question

Wrath or Guile


Formal Speeches and Boasts (and Flyting)

Epic Catalogs

Dark Humor; Wry Wit