Encomium: Originally, a choral hymn developed in ancient Greece praising victorious athletes of the Olympic games; later, any ancient Greek work written to glorify people, events, or objects. Today encomiums may take two forms: eulogies for the dead, often delivered at funerals; or odes or other types of verse written to celebrate individuals, objects, or abstract ideas. Essays or speeches written in praise of a person or group of people are usually referred to as epideictics but are sometimes called prose encomiums.
EXAMPLES: Pindar’s victory odes, such as Olympian 1 and 2 (476 B.C.); Gorgias’s epideictic speech Encomium of Helen (late-fifth-century B.C.); Desiderius Erasmus’s satiric Encomium moriae (In Praise of Folly) (1509). Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin (1995), a tribute album by bands and artists ranging from Duran Duran to Stone Temple Pilots to Sheryl Crow, offers a contemporary musical twist on the encomium.