Definitions

Epitome

Epitome

[ih-pit-uh-mee]
An epitome (Greek epitemnein—to cut short) is a summary or miniature form, also used as a synonym for embodiment.

Many documents from the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds survive now only "in epitome," referring to the practice of some later authors (epitomators) who wrote distilled versions of larger works now lost. Some writers attempted to convey the stance and spirit of the original, while others added further details or anecdotes regarding the general subject. As with all secondary historical sources, a different bias not present in the original may creep in.

Documents surviving in epitome differ from those surviving only as fragments quoted in later works, and those used as unacknowledged sources by later scholars, as they can stand as discrete documents, albeit refracted through the views of another author.

The word is often mispronounced; its correct English pronunciation is "eh-PIH-toh-mee."

Examples

Examples of epitomes providing the only record of now lost works include:

See also

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