Homeric Hymns

Overview

This is a collection of the standard texts of ancient Greek which are important components of what we know about Greek myth, religion, language and culture. All of the works collectively known as the Homeric Hymns are collected and translated here in their entirety, and the work includes ample notes and an introduction to provide information on the works' historic importance, a chronological table, genealogical chart, maps of Greece and the Aegean Islands, and illustrations of vase paintings with mythological ...
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Overview

This is a collection of the standard texts of ancient Greek which are important components of what we know about Greek myth, religion, language and culture. All of the works collectively known as the Homeric Hymns are collected and translated here in their entirety, and the work includes ample notes and an introduction to provide information on the works' historic importance, a chronological table, genealogical chart, maps of Greece and the Aegean Islands, and illustrations of vase paintings with mythological themes. This edition is part of the Focus Classical Library.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“...an exemplary work: an admirable translation combined with up-to-date scholarship in full and lucid notes and introduction.”
—Tom Clayton, University of Minnesota

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585100194
  • Publisher: Focus Publishing/R. Pullins Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Focus Classical Library
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 244,710
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan C. Shelmerdine (Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) is Professor in the department of Classical Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her research interests include Archaic Greek Literature, Homer, Mythology, Ancient Religion, and Greek and Latin Pedagogy.
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GENERAL INTRODUCTION

The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three poems written in dactylic hexameter, like the Iliad and Odyssey, but composed by different authors over a span of many centuries, from the 8th-century BC to as late as the Hellenistic period. The Hymns fall into two groups: four major poems (to Demeter, Apollo, Hermes and Aphrodite) ranging in length from 293 to 580 lines, and twenty-nine minor poems of 3 to 59 lines. Each of the longer poems tells a story about the god or goddess to whom it is addressed, while the shorter hymns are often only invocations.

Collected in antiquity, the Hymns survive today in thirty-one different manuscripts: 29 late Byzantine manuscripts and 3 fragments of papyrus. How they came to be collected is uncertain, but some manuscripts preserved them along with the Homeric poems, while others grouped them with selections from such authors as Hesiod, Pindar, Orpheus, Proclus, and Callimachus. With the exception of one 15th-century manuscript (M), which preserves the opening of the first Hymn to Dionysos and the entire Hymn to Demeter, all others begin with the Hymn to Apollo.

The Literary Tradition and Its Subject Matter. Although the Hymns were composed at very different times, they all belong to a tradition identified with Homer. A word about this tradition, therefore, and about the stages of Greek literature which immediately followed it may be in order. The earliest surviving works of Greek literature come from the body of hexameter poetry associated with Homer and Hesiod (see chronological table). The individual poems were developed over many generations, as different singers composed and retold favorite stories, and an oral tradition grew up. As a result, it is not possible to say for certain who composed, sang, or even dictated the poems which have survived. If a poet named Homer actually existed, it is not clear what role he played in the development of the poems attributed to him, so modern scholars often speak instead of the tradition in which he, and other poets, worked. The Homeric tradition, which may have originated in Ionia (Map 1), is characterized by the heroic poetry of the Iliad and Odyssey, poems which tell of Achilles’ anger in the war against Troy, and of the return to Greece of resourceful Odysseus after the same war. The Hesiodic tradition, which began on the mainland of Greece in Boiotia (Map 1), preserves didactic and catalogue poetry such as the Works and Days (a poem of advice on how mankind should live in an often harsh world), the Theogony (an account of how the Greek gods came into existence and consolidated their power in the universe), and the Catalogue of Women (a series of short biographies detailing the divine loves and famous offspring of women). Because the origins of this poetry lie in an oral tradition, it is impossible to say with certainty which poem came first, or even, very often, which tradition influenced the other. The Homeric and Hesiodic poems which survive were probably composed in the 8th-century BC. (see Table 1), but not preserved in a fixed, written text until as late as the 6th-century BC when contests involving recitations of heroic poetry became a part of certain festivals in the Greek world.

Also connected with the body of early hexameter poetry are the poems of the so-called Epic Cycle which told a variety of heroic legends from the beginning of the world through the death of Odysseus.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
List of Illustrations xii
General Introduction 1
Chronological Table 11
Genealogical Chart 12
Map 1 Greece and the Aegean Islands 13
Map 2 Mainland Greece 14
Vase Paintings with Mythological Themes 15
Hymns:
1. Hymn to Dionysos 27
2. Hymn to Demeter
    Introduction 29
    Hymn 33
3. Hymn to Apollo
    Introduction 59
    Hymn 62
4. Hymn to Hermes
    Introduction 91
    Hymn 94
5. Hymn to Aphrodite
    Introduction 123
    Hymn 126
6. Hymn to Aphrodite 140
7. Hymn to Dionysos 141
8. Hymn to Ares 144
9. Hymn to Artemis 146
10. Hymn to Aphrodite 147
11. Hymn to Athena 147
12. Hymn to Hera 148
13. Hymn to Demeter 148
14. Hymn to the Mother of the Gods 149
15. Hymn to Herakles the Lion-Hearted 150
16. Hymn to Asklepios 151
17. Hymn to the Dioskouroi 152
18. Hymn to Hermes 152
19. Hymn to Pan 153
20. Hymn to Hephaistos 155
21. Hymn to Apollo 156
22. Hymn to Poseidon 156
23. Hymn to Zeus 157
24. Hymn to Hestia 157
25. Hymn to the Muses and Apollo 158
26. Hymn to Dionysos 158
27. Hymn to Artemis 159
28. Hymn to Athena 160
29. Hymn to Hestia 161
30. Hymn to Earth, Mother of All 162
31. Hymn to Helios 163
32. Hymn to Selene 164
33. Hymn to the Dioskouroi 165
34. Hymn to Guest-Friends 167
Pronunciation Guide 168
Suggestions For Further Reading 171
Index 173
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