As an Enkomion is a eulogy, a praise, or even a praise poem, whereby in ancient times as a rhetorical art form was considered to write particularly beautiful Enkomien. As a rule human beings, ideas and things are praised or honored with the Enkomion, while a hymn to individual gods is called hymn. Originally the winners of important races (Agon) were honored with an Enkomion when they returned gloriously to the homeland. At the same time an ironic prosaic form developed, which was marked with the same concept and flattered in exaggerated measure. This ironic, partly satirical form, was then widely used in the court poetry of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The concepts of eloge, laudation, and panegyric are all related, all of which refer to types of eulogy and, moreover, the poem form of the Ode.
The term is derived from the Greek noun kōmos (κῶμος), which can be translated into words with festive singing or a festive procession. The term “Komos” in Greek antiquity was a solemn, ostentatious and joyful procession, which was organized mainly in honor of the god Dionysus and was part of the Dionysia. But also the term was used before, but here meant a rite with dance and singing. Since the 6th century BC, Is usually meant the procession in honor of the god.
Consequently, enkomies were mostly for poets who were victorious in the Dionysia. However, the term was quickly used for all eulogies or praise poems concerning a returning victor. The Epinikion, which describes a prize song written by a choir, is also related to the winner of a competition. The main difference here is that the Enkomion describes not only songs, but also songs, speeches and poems, which are presented in honor of the victor. Such a price is already found in Homer. The Apotheosis of Homer
Homer (m.) Is one of the most important poets of antiquity, more to this picture: apotheosis
History of Enkomies
Later, it is mainly Pindar (522/518 BC – after 446 BC), Simonides (557/556 BC – 468/467 BC) as well as Bakchylides (520/516 v. – about 451 BC), who write well-known and sophisticated Enkomien on diverse people. The Greek poet Pindar even found a work entitled Enkomia and thus a collection of such praise.
The Greeks of Isocrates (436 BC – 338 BC) and Gorgias (about 480-380 BC) are the first to use the Enkomion ironically and thus not only honor or praise it, to which the particular work is dedicated, in an exaggerated measure, whereby the whole is partly negatively connotated and occasionally the opposite, that is, the mockery. They write such enkomies mostly in prose and use them in the epic, with the ironic, partly satirical, chatacter being evident.
It is this ironic undertone that will accompany the genre over the coming centuries. For example, in Erasmus of Rotterdam the Morias enkomion (praise of folly, 1516) is one of the best known works of the Dutch author and philosopher. It was often translated during his lifetime, as satires in the Renaissance were regarded as the favorite literature of the educated.
In his work, Rotterdam shows Stultitia, a woman who describes herself as a personification of folly, which makes it clear at the beginning of the work which intention Rotterdam is pursuing. Stultitia now gives a speech, talking about the stupidity of the scholars. In order to clarify the tone which Rotterdam is striking, an example follows from the closing ebendies “Lobrede” of Stultitia:
“And now […] you expect the epilogue. Alone, you’re really too stupid, if you think I know what I’ve been talking about, I’ve poured out a whole sack of words before you. An old word means, ‘A friend of Zech will be able to forget’, a new one: ‘An hearer shall be able to forget.’ For God’s command, good-natured applause, lived and drunk;
Short overview: The most important to Enkomion at a glance
As an Enkomion is a eulogy, a praise, or even a praise poem, whereby in ancient times as a rhetorical art form was considered to write particularly beautiful Enkomien. As a rule, the work is praised or honored by people, ideas and things
In the course of time, such enkomies distinguished themselves not only by the exuberant praise of a victor or a thing, but also took an ironic, biting undertone. Thus, texts that are overly satirical, flattering, and praiseworthy are summarized under the term.