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Homeric Hymns

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  4,176 Ratings  ·  109 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

Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (first published -600)
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May 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gods, 2015, for-class
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.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pallas Athena I begin to sing,
The glorious goddess with gleaming eyes,
Brilliantly inventive, her heart relentless,
The formidable maiden, guardian of cities,
The courageous Tritogeneia.

Wise Zeus gave birth to her himself
Out of his majestic head.
Golden armour clothed her,
It was glistening, war-like.
All the gods who saw her
Were overcome with awe.

Suddenly she was there
Before Zeus who holds the Aegis.
She sprang from his immortal head
Shaking her sharp spear.
Great Olympus trembled terribly
At the power o
3 Stars, Completed February 9, 2016

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
Daniel Chaikin
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
translated by Jules Cashford, with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Richardson

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
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
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Reading this book again for the Ancient Greek and Roman mythology course I am doing for the second time, I found I enjoyed it much more. This Penguin Classics translation is elegant, full of charm and so inspiring.

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
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical-lit
Beautiful translation of what will become one of your favorite books of short-form Ancient verse. Cannot recommend this highly enough!
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-greek
Beautiful translations.

Unfortunate that the majority of the hymns are so short as the longer ones are great.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These were surprisingly enjoyable. Well, I guess it is silly to be surprised – anything that is still in print well over a thousand years after its composition has probably got some fine qualities. But many of these poems/songs tell really compelling stories in beautiful, intense language. (I realize that part of the credit for the loveliness of the poetry goes to the translator, and, while admitting that I have no basis whatsoever for comparison, I think Thelma Sargent did a first class job her ...more
Τέλος δὲ τοὺς Ὁμηρικοὺς Ὕμνους ἀνέγνωκα, ὧν βιβλίου ἐν βιβλιοθήκῃ μοι κεκονιμένου μακρὸν χρόνον ἠμέλησα. οὐ μὲν ἔτι τὴν πᾶσαν γραμματικὴν τὴν ὁμηρικὴν διανέγνων, ἤθελον δ' ἐπῶν τινων πειρᾶσθαι.

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 !
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Recensione sul blog:

Questa è una recensione davvero molto personale. È raccomandato (anzi, quasi obbligatorio) per noi politeisti ellenici, approcciarsi ai testi antichi. L'ho fatto e lo sto facendo. Volevo comprare una copia degli inni da tempo, e non trovandola in italiano ho preso questa.
Gli "Inni Omerici" sono una serie di Inni agli dei ellenici, di cui potete leggere la storia sia online che in questo libro. Ovviamente non sono davvero scritti da Ome
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't tell why, but the hymn on Demeter has risen so many emotions and images in me... though of course I known the story itself before reading it.
Generally I really enjoyed the four "longer" hymns, just four solid pieces of good poetry and stories were also interesting ones. On the other hand shorter on were often were just boring, empty...but not all of them, some of them have risen that wield religios vibe in me...

Must-read for everyone with at least basic interest in greek mythology.
Maan Kawas
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece!!! I found this book an enchanting read from the first pages! I have read the 'Focus Classical Library' edition and I found Susan C Shelmerdine introduction and rich footnotes so helpful for understanding this great work. I think I am going to reread this interesting book again and again. I particularly loved the Hymns to Demeter, Apollo, Aphrodite, and Hermes, though all the hymns are so beautiful. I do highly recommend it.
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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.
Anna C
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katherine Hurley
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, mythology, greek
I've never read other translations of the Homeric Hymns, but these flowed beautifully and certainly had the feel Homer's verses, even though they are written by various, unknown poets. My initial interest was in the long hymn to Demeter, which was my favorite even after reading them all. Some, like the Demeter hymn, have cohesive story lines, but others are less focused.

I have been slogging my way through Apollodorus's Library of Greek Mythology (which I WILL finish!), and the bits and pieces of
Erik Graff
Mar 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of classical Greek religion
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: religion
While most of these hymns are boring as presented (a scholarly Greek/English version with lots of critical apparatus would have been more interesting), there is one which works to the modern sense, at least in part. The Hymn to Dionyos has, as I recall, a theme of Apollo being pissed at the trickster godling. Once, when still very young, Dionysos had stolen some of the god's sacred cattle. Apollo pursues, finally catching him in, get this, his crib. In the face of the god's accusatory rage, Dion ...more
A very good, understandable translation of this set of ancient hymns. I greatly prefer Athanassakis' line-per-line kind of translation over less accurate poetic translations, as I seek to understand the original Hellenic texts better. The same applies to my preference over Athanassakis' trnaslations of the Orphic Hymns compared to Thomas Taylor's.
Caroline Beatle
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grecia, 2015
Las notas y las introducciones hacen de este libro una edición preciosa ♥
Y los himnos largos son lo mejor (mi favorito por siempre el de Hermes).
Ojalá se hubieran conservado más ):
Ray Zimmerman
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best known of the poems is The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which is the story of a mother's search for a lost daughter. The translator did not preserve the hexameter rhythm of the original Greek, but that would add another dimension. These works are credited to Homer, as are The Iliad and The Odyssey. A few tell a story, specifically the Hymn to Demeter, The Hymn to Apollo, the Hymn to Hermes, and The Hymn to Aphrodite. The others are hymns of praise to the specific Greek god, and most ...more
Nicholas Bobbitt
Solid collection, but not necessarily one I feel I'd need on my shelves.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the hymns are really enjoyable and a great read. The poem format does not make it challenging to read and the lengths are not overwhelming. Who new 2,500 poems still are an enjoyable read.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
we made hephaestus "dropping his seed on Athena's leg" into a legend
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dawdled over this volume of about 70 pages for months. It was delightful.
I loved Athanassakis' translation. It was beautiful to read and his notes were useful and enlightening. I am quite happy with it.
Toon Pepermans
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I read this mostly in translation, but whenever I looked at the original I thought: what a wonderful language is this ancient Greek.
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  • Hesiod: The Works and Days/Theogony/The Shield of Herakles
  • The Odes
  • Greek Tragedies Vol. 3: Aeschylus: The Eumenides; Sophocles: Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus; Euripides: The Bacchae, Alcestis
  • Heroides
  • Poems and Fragments
  • The Hymns of Orpheus
  • Euripides V: Electra / The Phoenician Women / The Bacchae
  • Greek Lyric Poetry
  • Idylls
  • The Gods of the Greeks
  • Greek Religion
  • The Library of Greek Mythology
  • Sophocles II: Ajax/Women of Trachis/Electra/Philoctetes (Complete Greek Tragedies 4)
  • Pharsalia: The Civil War
  • War Music: An Account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homer's Iliad
  • The Birds and Other Plays
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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