Homeric Hymns

Trees and wood | Part 1: Homer and Hesiod

Having come across across references to trees and to wooden construction in the Iliad and Odyssey, my curiosity was piqued, and I decided to gather a few examples where wood and trees were mentioned, to try and better understand what these meant in Homeric and Hesiodic poetry. Are there any special associations with trees or using wood? What kinds of trees are mentioned? There are a number of similes with… Read more

Selene and Semele

Semele and Selene, one was born a mortal and the other a goddess. Both have enchanting and melodious names in ancient Greek with the same type of resonance. No wonder we sometimes confuse one for the other. However their stories are very dissimilar and poles apart. Selene – also known as Menē in Pindar1 and in the Hymn to Selene2 – is a goddess and spends her days driving her… Read more

Book Club | March 2022: Homeric Hymns to Apollo and Hermes

How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight. Homeric Hymn… Read more

Artemis, pourer of arrows

As a complement to the post on the two shorter Homeric Hymns to Aphrodite, this time I wanted to look at the two short Homeric Hymns to Artemis, #9 and #27. Unlike those for Aphrodite, there is not a longer Hymn to Artemis. As before, I want to think about what kind of narrative or myth might have accompanied either of these Hymns, if we take them as prooemia, and… Read more

Aphrodite who excites desire

I was familiar with some of the longer Homeric Hymns, which are available in the Text Library in translations by Gregory Nagy[1], but I had not previously paid much attention to the shorter Homeric Hymns. Gregory Nagy, in “The Earliest Phases in the Reception of the Homeric Hymns,”[2] has explained that the setting for the Homeric Hymns were festivals; and that they started with a prooemium. He also points out… Read more