Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica
Homer and Hesiod
This volume contains practically all that remains of the post-Homeric and pre-academic epic poetry.
I have for the most part formed my own text. In the case of Hesiod I have been able to use independent collations of several MSS. by Dr. W.H.D. Rouse; otherwise I have depended on the apparatus criticus of the several editions, especially that of Rzach (1902). The arrangement adopted in this edition, by which the complete and fragmentary poems are restored to the order in which they would probably have appeared had the Hesiodic corpus survived intact, is unusual, but should not need apology; the true place for the "Catalogues" (for example), fragmentary as they are, is certainly after the "Theogony".
The early Greek epic—that is, poetry as a natural and popular, and not (as it became later) an artificial and academic literary form—passed through the usual three phases, of development, of maturity, and of decline.
No fragments which can be identified as belonging to the first period survive to give us even a general idea of the history of the earliest epic, and we are therefore thrown back upon the evidence of analogy from other forms of literature and of inference from the two great epics which have come down to us. So reconstructed, the earliest period appears to us as a time of slow development in which the characteristic epic metre, diction, and structure grew up slowly from crude elements and were improved until the verge of maturity was reached.
The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three anonymous ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are "Homeric" in the sense that they employ the same epic meter—dactylic hexameter—as the Iliad and Odyssey, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect. They were uncritically attributed to Homer himself in antiquity—from the earliest written reference to them, Thucydides (iii.104)—and the label has stuck. "The whole collection, as a collection, is Homeric in the only useful sense that can be put upon the word;" A. W. Verrall noted in 1894, "that is to say, it has come down labeled as 'Homer' from the earliest times of Greek book-literature."
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About the Author
The ancient Greek poet Homer established the gold standard for heroic quests and sweeping journeys with his pair of classic epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Crowded with characters, both human and non-human, and bursting with action, the epic tales detail the fabled Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus as he struggles to return home. Homer’s epics have inspired countless books and works of art throughout their long history.