The Homeric Hymns / Edition 1

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Overview

A rich source for students of Greek mythology and literature, the Homeric hymns are also fine poetry. Attributed by the ancients to Homer, these prooimia, or preludes, were actually composed over centuries and used by poets to prepare for the singing or recitation of longer portions of the Homeric epics. In his acclaimed translations of the hymns, Apostolos Athanassakis preserves the essential simplicity of the original Greek, offering a straightforward, line-by-line translation that makes no attempts to masquerade or modernize. For this long-awaited new edition, Athanassakis enhances his classic work with a comprehensive index, careful and selective changes in the translations themselves, and numerous additions to the notes which will enrich the reader's experience of these ancient and influential poems.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801817922
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1976
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.89 (w) x 10.01 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Homer

Apostolos N. Athanassakis holds the James and Sarah Argyropoulos Chair in Hellenic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Among his many translations is Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days, Shield, also available from Johns Hopkins.

Biography

We know very little about the author of The Odyssey and its companion tale, The Iliad. Most scholars agree that Homer was Greek; those who try to identify his origin on the basis of dialect forms in the poems tend to choose as his homeland either Smyrna, now the Turkish city known as Izmir, or Chios, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea.

According to legend, Homer was blind, though scholarly evidence can neither confirm nor contradict the point.

The ongoing debate about who Homer was, when he lived, and even if he wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad is known as the "Homeric question." Classicists do agree that these tales of the fall of the city of Troy (Ilium) in the Trojan War (The Iliad) and the aftermath of that ten-year battle (The Odyssey) coincide with the ending of the Mycenaean period around 1200 BCE (a date that corresponds with the end of the Bronze Age throughout the Eastern Mediterranean). The Mycenaeans were a society of warriors and traders; beginning around 1600 BCE, they became a major power in the Mediterranean. Brilliant potters and architects, they also developed a system of writing known as Linear B, based on a syllabary, writing in which each symbol stands for a syllable.

Scholars disagree on when Homer lived or when he might have written The Odyssey. Some have placed Homer in the late-Mycenaean period, which means he would have written about the Trojan War as recent history. Close study of the texts, however, reveals aspects of political, material, religious, and military life of the Bronze Age and of the so-called Dark Age, as the period of domination by the less-advanced Dorian invaders who usurped the Mycenaeans is known. But how, other scholars argue, could Homer have created works of such magnitude in the Dark Age, when there was no system of writing? Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, placed Homer sometime around the ninth century BCE, at the beginning of the Archaic period, in which the Greeks adopted a system of writing from the Phoenicians and widely colonized the Mediterranean. And modern scholarship shows that the most recent details in the poems are datable to the period between 750 and 700 BCE.

No one, however, disputes the fact that The Odyssey (and The Iliad as well) arose from oral tradition. Stock phrases, types of episodes, and repeated phrases -- such as "early, rose-fingered dawn" -- bear the mark of epic storytelling. Scholars agree, too, that this tale of the Greek hero Odysseus's journey and adventures as he returned home from Troy to Ithaca is a work of the greatest historical significance and, indeed, one of the foundations of Western literature.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Odyssey.

Good To Know

The meter (rhythmic pattern of syllables) of Homer's epic poems is dactylic hexameter.

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Table of Contents

1 Fragments of the hymn to Dionysos 1
2 To Demeter 1
3 To Apollon 14
4 To Hermes 28
5 To Aphrodite 42
6 To Aphrodite 50
7 To Dionysos 50
8 To Ares 52
9 To Artemis 52
10 To Aphrodite 53
11 To Athena 53
12 To Hera 53
13 To Demeter 53
14 To the mother of the Gods 54
15 To lion-hearted Herakles 54
16 To Asklepios 54
17 To the Dioskouroi 54
18 To Hermes 55
19 To Pan 55
20 To Hephaistos 56
21 To Apollon 57
22 To Poseidon 57
23 To Zeus 57
24 To Hestia 57
25 To the muses and Apollon 57
26 To Dionysos 58
27 To Artemis 58
28 To Athena 59
29 To Hestia 59
30 To Earth, mother of all 60
31 To Helios 60
32 To Selene 61
33 To the Dioskouroi 62
To guest-friends 62
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    Excellent translation

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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