The Homeric Hymns

Front Cover
Diane J. Rayor
University of California Press, 2004 - History - 164 pages
1 Review
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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Contents

Dionysos
15
Demeter
17
Apollo
35
Hermes
55
Aphrodite
75
Aphrodite
86
Dionysos
87
Ares
89
Poseidon
96
The Muses Apollo And Zeus
97
Artemis
98
Hestia And Hermes
99
Gaia
100
Helios
101
Dioskouroi
102
Xenoi
103

Aphrodite
90
Hera
91
Herakles
92
Hermes
93
Hephaistos
95
Notes
105
Select Bibliography
151
Glossary
159
Copyright

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Page 5 - PanHellenic' story that includes no concession to the audience but signals its validity through its rhetoric
Page 4 - Music played a role in every moment of Greek communal life—in religious ceremonies, competitions, symposia, festivals, even in political contentions

About the author (2004)

Diane Rayor is Professor and Chair of the Classics Department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. She is the author and translator of Sappho's Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece (California, 1991); coeditor, with William Batstone, of Latin Lyric and Elegiac Poetry: An Anthology of New Translations (1995); and the translator, with Stanley Lombardo, of Callimachus: Hymns, Epigrams, Select Fragments (1988).

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