Author: Athanassios Vergados
Author info: Assistant Professor of Classics
Publication Date: September 2012
Publisher: de Gruyter
Synopsis: The Hymn to Hermes, while surely the most amusing of the so-called Homeric Hymns, also presents an array of challenging problems. In just 580 lines, the newborn god invents the lyre and sings a hymn to himself, travels from Cyllene to Pieria to steal Apollo’s cattle, organizes a feast at the river Alpheios where he serves the meat of two of the stolen animals, cunningly defends his innocence, and is finally reconciled to Apollo, to whom he gives the lyre in exchange for the cattle. This book provides the first detailed commentary devoted specifically to this unusual poem since Radermacher’s 1931 edition. The commentary pays special attention to linguistic, philological, and interpretive matters. It is preceded by a detailed introduction that addresses the hymn’s ideas on poetry and music, its humor, its relation to other archaic hexameter literature both in thematic and technical aspects, its reception in later literature, its structure, the issue of its date and place of composition, and the question of its transmission.