The Homeric Hymns
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 pr...more
I'm not sure how it happened but after taking six semesters of Latin (high school and a few upper level college courses of the foreign language), I never had to translate and read any Roman or Greek text fully in Latin. We read excerpts or parts in translated idiomatic English. So I sort of felt cheated by this being someone that was very interested in mythology growing up. (It's a shame most of my Latin/Greek mythology knowledge is from Percy Jackson and the O ...more
I'm a little a loss to explain why I liked these so much or explain what I liked about them. Maybe I'm just fond of Greek mythology and any riff on them that made it through the vagaries of time will catch my interest. But there does seem to be something extra here. There is a reason Percy Bysshe Shelley translated so many of these, as did Chapman. Maybe it's just how the opening fragment to Dionysos says somethin ...more
2) It is a very quick read. A couple hours at most.
3) The Hymn of Demeter/Persephone is the best, Hermes second, and the rest, while interesting and sometimes beautiful, didn't add much for me.
Although the works of Homer, Hesiod and others were ...more
In the introduction by Nicholas Richardson, the author explores the composition, the history of the hymns and the beauty of the structure, themes and style.
"The hymns... Tell us something about the Greek view of the relationship between the divine and human worlds..."
"Ignorance of th ...more
Ranging from recounting myths, sometimes at length, to bursts of short lyric. Some of it will be familiar, and some not at all -- the Hymn to Ares in particular.
Translation matters. I read an idiomatic one this time, and it tried to bring it into modern English as much as possible. More unfortunately, it was a 1970s translation and bears quite definitely the mark of it, several phrases sheriek of the decades.
Even so, you get the effect of the original Greek in ...more
If you're a fan of ancient Greek drama, I would recommend this book as a supplement to your reading.
Ἐτερπόμην βιβλίου μύθους, ἀλλὰ καίπερ αἱ ἑλίκωπες Μοῦσαι πολλάκις παρακαλούμεναι, ἡ ποίησις οὐ καλή. ἡ ἀναγνώσεως τελουμένης αὖθις στίχους τῆς Ἰλιάδος ἐμάνθανον, καὶ κάλλεϊ γ' ἐδάκρυσα. οἴμοι, τοσοῦτο τὸ διάφορον !
The Homeric Hymns have had a fascinating and rather sad life history. This collection consists of 33 poetic invocations to various Greek gods, with Hermes, Apollo, and Aphrodite getting the most page time. Originally oral poetry, they were widely read by armchair classicists in later centuries. After someone decided they were written by Homer, the hymns got even more popular. Unfortunately, then some scholars apparently decided that the Hymns weren't that H ...more
I have been slogging my way through Apollodorus's Library of Greek Mythology (which I WILL finish!), and the bits and pieces of ...more
There are two well-known Hymns in Homeric Hymns collection which are Hymns for Demeter and Apollo which are two very different story from one another. There are also incoherent pieces of poems which are included in my copy of Homeric Hymns but I would rather prefer reading it accompanied with notes.
As for Hymn to Demeter, I do admit, it took me a long while to realize it was the story of Persephone's mother and how Hades's abduction (dirty uncle) made Demeter angry and moody and bitchy the whole ...more
Content of the hymns: The first hymns to Demeter, Apollo, and Hermes contain some interesting narrative, but most of the poems are relatively brief flattery of the gods mentioning their origin and/or a few basic characteristics. They seem to be composed as prologues to longer poems, and their interest lies more in terms of artistry than content. (If you are more interested in detailed information about the Greek pantheo ...more
My copy was a second edition translated by Apostolos Athanassakis (a nice genuine Greek name) and published by Johns Hopkins University Press (ISBN 0801879833).
Along with the Homeric epics and the Library of Apollodorus, the Hymns are one of our most valuable primary sources on ancient Greek religion. While only a handful of the hymns are longer than two dozen lines, the hymns provide a marvelous and unique glimpse of the liturgical life of Classical Greece. Structured as preludes, they are believed to be invocations of ...more
Attributed to Homer, but probably not written by him, this collection of classical myths and hymns is certainly a classic and must be read by anyone interested in Greek mythology or classical history. For those with an incomplete understanding of the Greek pantheon, this collection is difficult to read, however.
My favorite him is the hymn to Aphrodite, as it provides background to the Aeneid. Aphrodite ,speaking of the lineage of Aeneas, pronounces:
“Yet of all human beings thos ...more
With regards to the hymns themselves, they are an interesting compendium of short stories regarding the lives of the gods, such as the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades, the theft of Apollo's cattle by Hermes, or Aphrodite's love affair with mortal Anchises.
Overall, a fantastic book for those interested in anti ...more
Digamos que Homero cumple este papel de manera buena, mencionando varios relatos a destacar como el de Atenea y Afrodita. El de Démeter es uno de los himnos más largos y ahí describe de manera magistral el rapto de su hija Proserpina por Hades y las protestas de Démeter. Otra pieza interesante es la de Afrodita pues ahí narra algo no muy conocido, los amoríos con Anquises, padre de Eneas.
When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time, ...more