The Homeric Hymns
Diane J. Rayor
University of California Press, 2004 - History - 164 pages
The Homeric Hymns have survived for two and a half millennia because of their captivating stories, beautiful language, and religious significance. Well before the advent of writing in Greece, they were performed by traveling bards at religious events, competitions, banquets, and festivals. Thirty-four poems that invoke and celebrate the gods of ancient Greece, the Homeric Hymns raise questions that humanity still struggles with—questions about our place among others and in the world.
"Homeric" because they were composed in the same meter, dialect, and style as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, these "hymns" were created to be sung aloud. In this superb translation by Diane Rayor, which deftly combines accuracy and poetry, the ancient music of the hymns comes alive for the modern reader. Here is the birth of Apollo, god of prophecy, healing, and music and founder of Delphi, the most famous oracular shrine in ancient Greece. Here is Zeus, inflicting upon Aphrodite her own mighty power to cause gods to mate with humans, and here is Demeter rescuing her daughter Persephone from the underworld and initiating the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
With her introduction and notes, Rayor places the hymns in their historical and aesthetic context, providing all the information needed to read, interpret, and fully appreciate these literary windows on an ancient world. As introductions to the Greek gods, entrancing stories, exquisite poetry, and early literary records of key religious rituals and sites, The Homeric Hymns should be read by any student of mythology, classical literature, ancient religion, women in antiquity, or the Greek language.
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Alpheos ambrosia Anchises Aphrodite Aphrodite's Apollo Artemis Asklepios Athena bard beautiful birth blessed gods bore born cattle cave celebrated chariot child cows Cretans Crete dance dark daughter of Zeus deity Delos Delphi Demeter Demeter's Dionysos Dioskouroi divine dragon Dryope earth Eleusinian Mysteries Eleusis Euboea father fertility festivals forever fragrant Gaia gifts give glorious goddess golden Greek Hades heart Hekate Helios Hephaistos Hera Herakles Hermes Hesiod's Theogony Hestia Homeric Hymns honor horses human Hymn to Aphrodite Hymn to Apollo Hymn to Demeter immortal gods island Keleos Kronos Kynthos land Leto Leto's live Lord Apollo lovely lyre Metaneira mortal mother mountain Muses nymphs Olympian oracles Ouranos Peloponnesus Persephone Phoibos Apollo Pieria Poseidon Pylos Queen rejoice Rhea rich-haired Selene Semele shining ship sing skillful Archer Slayer of Argos song story strikes from afar sweet swift tell Telphusa temple Themis Theogony Typhon underworld words worshipped Zeus
Page 5 - PanHellenic' story that includes no concession to the audience but signals its validity through its rhetoric