What is the origin of epigone?
The English noun epigone ultimately comes from the Greek plural noun epígonoi “offspring, posterity,” literally “(ones) born after or later,” a noun use of the adjective epígonos “born besides.” The original, primary use of epígonoi was for the sons of the seven heroes who fought against “Seven-Gated” Thebes, traditionally a generation before the Trojan War. The secondary use of epígonoi was for the heirs of the diádochoi “successors,” i.e., Alexander the Great’s (356-323 b.c.) generals (e.g., Ptolemy, Seleucus) who divided Alexander’s conquests among themselves. The diádochoi were very competent and their offspring far inferior, which is the modern meaning of epigone. Epigone entered English in the 19th century.