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Homeric Hymns

Andrew Faulkner

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0098
Homeric Hymns

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The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three hexameter hymns to Greek deities, so named because they were often in Antiquity attributed to Homer, the supposed composer of the Iliad and Odyssey. The poems are, in fact, of varied date and provenance, although the majority are most probably products of the archaic period (7th to 6th centuries bce). Four of the Homeric Hymns (two to Demeter, three to Apollo, four to Hermes, and five to Aphrodite) contain developed narratives of episodes in the lives of the deities celebrated and stretch from 293 to 580 lines. The first Hymn to Dionysus also contained an extended narrative of over 400 lines, but now survives only in fragments. There are two mid-length Hymns with narratives, seven to Dionysus (fifty-nine lines), and nineteen to Pan (forty-nine lines), but the rest of the poems in the corpus are short celebrations of divine powers consisting of between three and twenty-two lines. Critical attention has understandably focused most on the longer Homeric Hymns with extended narratives.

Article.  7915 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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