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The Homeric Hymns

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,144 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 1st 1976 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published -600)
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1) It's called Homeric Hymns not because they are by Homer but because they are in the same meter that Homer used.

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.

4) Aphrodite is kind of a jerk. They're all kind of jerks.
Mary Catelli
A series of hymns of ancient Greece.

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
This collection of hymns follows the style of Homer's writings and due to that and to tradition are said to have been written by him. The first two hymns were missing until the late 1700's, but even then only a small fragment of hymn one was recovered (although nearly all of hymn two was found). Aside from difficulties resulting from a few missing lines these hymns are easy to follow and it is a marvel this much remains now for readers to enjoy.

Although the works of Homer, Hesiod and others were
Required reading for Greek and Roman Mythology, but I'm happy about it. It seems to be an excellent and enjoyable translation, with good notes to clarify meanings and identities. If you're into Greek Mythology, the hymns here definitely add a bit of depth to the experience. The stories aren't new, but they're told with a different flow to them, and so are just as fun to read again as they were the first time.
These Homeric Hymns might be better be described as prayers or invocations to the Gods, to be read before the start of stage plays. They can be a bit repetitive, but that's the nature of offering praise to the gods, especially when you asking them to bless your proceedings.

If you're a fan of ancient Greek drama, I would recommend this book as a supplement to your reading.

Mark Desrosiers
A taut, hypnotic translation: sorta the poetic equivalent of Velvet Underground's "The Murder Mystery". Choppy and insistent, no dactyls, no hexameters. So it's probably pretty close to the way these central hymns sounded in Mediterranean caves and hillsides. The hymns to Hermes guide my every move (wink), and I ended up disliking Demeter very much (ducking). Essential reading.
Beautiful translation of what will become one of your favorite books of short-form Ancient verse. Cannot recommend this highly enough!
Anna C
Required reading for a class on Homer.

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
Homerische Hymnen, das klingt schrecklich langweilig. Man sollte sich aber nicht vom Titel abschrecken lassen, denn was die alten Griechen unter Hymnen verstanden ist zum Großteil deutlich spannender und unterhaltsamer als das, was das Christentum darunter versteht. Natürlich gibt es auch die langweilig, schwafeligen Lobhuddeleien an ein paar Götter, die den christlichen Hymnen in nichts nachstehen, die großen, langen Hymnen sind aber spannende Geschichten, die der Odyssee in nichts nachstehen.
Jelly Fish
Jun 16, 2012 Jelly Fish rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone; especially fans of mythology
Recommended to Jelly by: Myself
Shelves: favourite, mythology
This is such a fantastic book. One of my favourite ancient Greek works, because of its easy-to-readness, the lyrical prose, and the fact that it's basically a factbook about the gods.
Also, it includes a heap of great info about Hermes, who is my favourite god. The section of the book that's about him is actually the longest part, I think.

Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the ric
A collection of 33 hymns, each praising a specific Greek god or demigod. Each hymn is sung to a god or goddess to praise them and request good fortune in return for the singer. Not now believed to be penned by Homer, indeed there seems little evidence that any one poet composed them all. Most are quite short and all were easy to read.
My copy was a second edition translated by Apostolos Athanassakis (a nice genuine Greek name) and published by Johns Hopkins University Press (ISBN 0801879833).
Barnaby Thieme
Sargent presents a serviceable if prosaic translation of the surviving hymns to various Greek deities spuriously attributed to Homer.

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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
These are 33 hymns to the various Greek Gods: the twelve Olympians, Rhea, Heracles, Asclepios, the Dioscuri, Pan, the Muses, Mother Earth, Helios and Selene. About half of them are very short--just a few lines. Others are far more substantial, one to Hermes and another to Demeter running over ten pages and consisting of extended mythological stories, such as Demeter's wandering in search of her abducted daughter--my favorite among the Hymns. In fact the Foreword tells us the Hymns are frequently ...more
Syahira Sharif

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
Brennan Wieland
The story begins with a mouse running away from a weasel. Having escaped from the weasel the mouse arrives at a river, and being unable to swim, is unable to cross. He happens upon a frog (The king of the frogs of that pond), the frog offers him a ride over the river. The mouse accepts, but hesitantly. Halfway across they see a snake rise to the surface. The frog, forgetting about the mouse, dives to the bottom and leaves the mouse for dead. Another mouse sees this cowardly act that the frog com ...more
Los himnos, se trata de un género muy puntual en la literatura griega.
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.
Bridget Bernstein
2015 Challenge: 54/40

I'm really enjoying classic Greek literature. My class is so interesting and I don't find reading this to be a chore. I still have a decent amount of other stories to get through before the quarter is over. By the way, "The Hymn to Hermes" is my favorite one by far.
A beautiful collection of songs believed to be written by Homer, in honour of the Greek gods of Olympus, which have been performed at festivals throughout Greece over the centuries. While some of them are only a few sentences long, these majestic hymns highlight the epic traits of such legends as Zeus, Demeter and Aphrodite, but my favourite would be ‘Hymn to Hermes’ which explores the newborn’s theft of the mighty Apollo’s sheep.
The Homeric Hymns:
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
Amy Masonis
I was obsessed with greek mythology when I was in elementary school. I think I would have taken a turn in my life - I love you, teachers, pay attention to the ones who want to learn.
Jay Resnick
Read the hymns to Demeter and Apollo for Peter Struck's wonderful Greek and Roman mythology class ( on coursera).
Garrett Cash
The Homeric Hymns were probably not written by Homer himself, but in the same style as his works. Whoever wrote them did a fantastic job, the poems are not only easy to read but quite fun as well. I would even recommend reading this to someone before their Iliad or Odyssey reading; because it really fleshes out the roles and stories of the gods and goddesses that the two Homeric epics assume you are already aware of. This is a great work for those looking for stories of Greek mythology from the ...more
Shelmerdine's translation of the homeric hymns is superb. The explanatory notes are extensive and thorough. Possibly the best translated and edited ancient Greek book I have read to date.

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
Although they don't add much to the mythological canon(or well, I've read enough ancient Greek writings at this point to be fairly familiar with most of it and nothing came as a surprise), some of the hymns are quite witty(the infant Hermes is the highlight) and evoke some powerful/beautiful imagery(Dionysus' capture by the pirates, Aphrodite's descent to earth) while others, like the two longer hymns to Apollo that lose themselves in geographical details, did not particularly appeal to me.
Hermes! I like Hermes.

Like Don, I am reading these for Peter Struck's (U of Penn) Greek and Roman Mythology Coursera course. W-a-y better than The Illiad! (which we did not have to read for the course, but I thought I should before reading The Odyssey.) Just finished it and I liked Hermes there too. :-)

Another favorite is To Pan. Delightfully mischievous. And a wonderful line from To Poseidon: "Joy, earth-surrounder with your blue hair streaming!"
Isaac Lambert-lin
Read these aloud with a wide open imagination, and you're brought back to a time of banquets and rituals begun with such invocations to the gods.

The ones at the end are short and sweet, the first bunch (Demeter, Apollo, Hermes & Aphrodite) are longer and contain well known versions of stories. The annotations are helpful and you're likely to pick up some tidbits from them.
Faith Bradham
Gorgeous. I like Aphrodite best, despite the fact that as a goddess I can't stand her. However, I love the Anchises/Aeneas story, which features heavily in the hymn. I have several friends who like Demeter best, but the whole Persephone/Hades myth has never been a favorite of mine. My myth teacher likes Hermes best. No matter which your favorite is, the language is simply beautiful in each and every hymn.
My copy is an old, yellow-paged thing bought from a library book sale, but still it is one of my most prized books. The stories are just magical. I never understood why this volume gets overlooked when mentioning the original sources of Greek myths. It belongs with Hesiod, Ovid, Vergil, & the epic works of 'Homer' (this collection is even less likely to have been written by Homer than they).
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In the Western classical tradition, Homer (Greek: Όμηρος) is considered the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.
When he lived is unknown. Herodotus estimates that Homer lived 400 years before his own time,
More about Homer...

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