Encomium is a formal eulogy in prose or verse glorifying people, objects, ideas, or events. Originally it was a Greek choral song in celebration of a hero, sung at the komos or triumphal procession at the end of the Olympic games.
The Greek writers Simonides of Ceos and Pindar wrote some of the earliest encomiastic odes praising the winners. Many English poets have produced encomiastic verse:
- John Milton’s Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity (1629);
- John Dryden’s Song for St Cecilia’s Day (1687);
- Thomas Gray’s Hymn to Adversity (1742);
- William Wordsworth’s Ode to Duty (1805).
A curiosity in this genre is the Panegyric Latini, a collection of encomia on Roman emperors dating from 289 to 389.
Also read: Black comedy or Dark comedy