Hesiod — The Homeric hymns — The epigrams of Homer — The epic cycle — Homerica: The expedition of Amphiaraüs. The taking of Oechalia. Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we . In preparing the text of the “Homeric Hymns” my chief debt — and it is a heavy one — is to the edition of Allen and Sikes () and to the.
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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. Rouse; otherwise I have depended on the apparatus criticus of the several editions, especially that of Rzach 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.
Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica – Review
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 homerics of analogy from other forms of literature and of inference from the two great epics which have come down to homeeric.
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 hssiod improved until the verge of maturity was reached.
If they continued to sing like their great predecessor of romantic themes, they were drawn as by a kind of magnetic attraction into the Homeric style hoerica manner of treatment, and became mere echoes of the Homeric voice: Only the rare and exceptional genius of Vergil and Milton could use the Hesiodd medium without loss of individuality: Freedom from the domination of heaiod great tradition could only be found by seeking new subjects, and such freedom was really only illusionary, since romantic subjects alone are suitable for epic treatment.
In its third period, therefore, epic poetry shows two divergent tendencies. In Ionia and the islands the epic poets followed the Homeric tradition, singing of romantic subjects in the now stereotyped heroic style, and showing originality only in their choice of legends hitherto neglected or summarily and imperfectly treated. In continental Greece 1on the other hand, but especially in Boeotia, a new form of epic sprang up, which for the romance and PATHOS of the Ionian School substituted the practical and matter-of-fact.
It dealt in moral and practical maxims, in information on technical subjects which are of service in daily life — agriculture, astronomy, augury, and the calendar — in matters of religion and in tracing the genealogies of men. Such a poetry could anf be permanently successful, because the subjects of which it treats — if susceptible of poetic treatment at all — were certainly not suited for epic treatment, where unity of action which will sustain interest, and to which each part should contribute, is absolutely necessary.
How did the continental school of epic poetry arise? There is little definite material for an answer to this question, but the probability is that there were at least three contributory causes. First, it is likely that before the rise of the Ionian epos there existed in Boeotia a purely popular and indigenous poetry of a crude form: In this sense the Boeotian poetry may be taken to have its germ in maxims homerixa to our English.
Secondly and thirdly we may ascribe the rise of the new epic to the nature of the Boeotian people and, as already remarked, to a spirit of revolt against the old epic. The Boeotians, people of the class of which Hesiod represents himself to be the type, were essentially unromantic; their daily needs marked the general limit of their ideals, homericca, as a class, they cared little for works of fancy, for pathos, or for fine thought as such.
To a people of this nature the Homeric epos would be inacceptable, and the post-Homeric epic, with its conventional atmosphere, its trite and hackneyed diction, and its insincere sentiment, would be anathema. We can imagine, therefore, that among such folk a settler, of Aeolic origin like Hesiod, who clearly was well acquainted with the Ionian epos, would naturally see that the only outlet for his gifts lay in applying epic poetry to new themes acceptable to his hearers.
Though the poems of the Boeotian school 1 were unanimously assigned to Hesiod down to the age of Alexandrian criticism, they were clearly neither the work of one man nor even of one period: One fact in this attribution is remarkable — the veneration paid to Hesiod. Our information respecting Hesiod is derived in the main from notices and allusions in the works attributed to him, and to these must be added traditions concerning his death and burial gathered from later writers.
Either in Cyme or Ascra, two sons, Hesiod and Perses, were born to the settler, and these, after his death, divided the farm between them. Secondly, Hesiod claims that his father — if not he himself — came from Aeolis and settled in Boeotia. There is fairly definite evidence to warrant our acceptance of this: And that this Aeolic speaking poet was a Boeotian of Ascra seems even more certain, since the tradition is never once disputed, insignificant though the place was, even before its destruction by the Thespians.
On such a matter precise evidence is naturally not forthcoming; but all probability is against the sceptical view.
For 1 if the quarrel between the brothers were a fiction, we should expect it to be detailed at length and not noticed allusively and rather obscurely — as we find it; 2 as MM. In a word, there is no more solid ground for treating Perses and his quarrel with Hesiod as fictitious than there would be for treating Cyrnus, the friend of Theognis, as mythical.
It is surely an error to suppose that lines all refer to Hesiod: Lastly, there is the famous yymns of the contest in song at Homerci. Finally the contest, in which the two poets contended with hymns to Apollo 2was transferred to Delos. These developments certainly need no consideration: Nevertheless, there is much to be said in defence of the passage. The story of the end of Tye may be told in outline.
This place, however, was also sacred to Nemean Zeus, and the poet, suspected by his hosts of having seduced their sister 3was murdered there. His body, cast into the sea, was brought to shore by dolphins and buried at Oenoe or, according to Plutarch, at Ascra: The whole story is full of miraculous elements, and the various authorities disagree on numerous points of detail. The tradition seems, however, to be constant in declaring that Hesiod was murdered and buried at Oenoe, and in this respect it is at least as old as the time of Thucydides.
The Hesiodic poems fall into two groups according as they are didactic technical or gnomic or genealogical: The poem consists of four main sections.
Helicon, comes a general exhortation to industry.
Hesiod ; The Homeric hymns ; And Homerica
It begins with the allegory of the two Strifes, who stand for wholesome Emulation and Quarrelsomeness respectively. Then by means of the Myth of Pandora the poet shows how evil and the need for work first arose, and goes on to describe the Five Ages of the World, tracing the gradual increase in evil, and emphasizing the present miserable condition of the world, a condition in which struggle is inevitable.
Next, after the Fable of the Hawk and Nightingale, which serves as a condemnation of violence and injustice, the poet passes on to contrast the blessing which Righteousness brings to a nation, and the punishment which Heaven sends down upon the violent, and the section concludes with a series of precepts on industry and prudent conduct generally. Neither subject, it should be carefully noted, is treated in homdrica way comprehensively. Th is from the second and fourth sections that the poem takes its name.
At first sight such a work seems to be a miscellany of myths, technical advice, moral precepts, and folklore maxims without any unifying principle; and critics have readily taken the view that the whole is a canto of fragments or short poems worked up by a redactor.
The poem has properly no technical object at all, but is moral: So viewed the four seemingly independent sections will be found to be linked together in a real bond of unity. Such a connection between the first and second sections is easily seen, but the links between these and the third and fourth are no less real: And finally, if your industry is to be fruitful, you must know what days are suitable for various kinds of work.
This moral aim — as opposed to the currently accepted technical aim of the poem — explains the otherwise puzzling incompleteness of the instructions on gesiod and seafaring. It certainly gave some account of the principal constellations, their dates of rising hhesiod setting, and the legends connected with aand, and probably showed how these influenced human affairs or might be used as guides.
Possible references in Roman writers 1 indicate that among the subjects dealt with were the cultivation of the vine and olive and various herbs. The inclusion of the judgment of Rhadamanthys frag. The gods are classified chronologically: Exceptions are only made in special cases, as the Sons of Iapetus ll. The chief landmarks in the poem are uomerica follows: Of these three, Earth produces Heaven to whom she bears the Titans, the Cyclopes and homericca hundred-handed hwsiod.
The Titans, oppressed by their father, revolt at the instigation of Earth, under the leadership of Cronos, and as a fhe Heaven and Earth are separated, and Cronos reigns over the universe. Homerric knowing that he is destined to be overcome by one of his children, swallows each tthe of them as they are born, until Zeus, saved by Rhea, grows up and overcomes Cronos in some struggle which is not described. Cronos is forced to vomit up the children he had swallowed, and these with Zeus divide the universe between them, like a human estate.
Two events mark the early reign of Zeus, the war with the Titans and the overthrow of Typhoeus, and as Zeus is still reigning the poet can only go on to give a list of gods born to Zeus by various goddesses. After this he formally bids farewell to the homeica and Olympian deities and enumerates the sons born of goddess to mortals.
The reason why women are so prominent is obvious: The following analysis after Marckscheffel 3 will show the principle of its composition. From Prometheus and Pronoia sprang Deucalion and Pyrrha, the only survivors of the deluge, who had a son Hellen frag.
From the daughters of Deucalion sprang Magnes and Macedon, ancestors of the Magnesians and Homreica, who are thus represented as cousins to the true Hellenic stock. Hellen had three sons, Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus, parents of the Dorian, Ionic and Aeolian races, and the offspring of these was then detailed.
In one instance a considerable and characteristic section can be traced from extant fragments and notices: Salmoneus, son of Aeolus, had a daughter Tyro who bore to Homeriica two sons, Pelias and Neleus; the latter of these, king of Pylos, refused Heracles purification for the murder of Iphitus, whereupon Heracles attacked and sacked Pylos, killing amongst the other sons of Neleus Periclymenus, who had the power of changing himself into all manner of shapes.
From this slaughter Neleus alone escaped frags. Hometic the story of the Argonauts appears from the fragments to have been told in some detail. This tendency to introduce romantic episodes led to an important development.
The title seems to have arisen in the following way 5: Nothing shows yymns clearly the collapse of the principles hymhs the Hesiodic school than this ultimate servile dependence upon Homeric models.
This, again, as we know from fragments, was a list of heroines who bare children to the gods: Two other poems are ascribed to Hesiod. Otto Muller suggests that the introduction of Thetis and thr Phrixus frags. Its subject, however, seems to have been the histories of famous seers like Mopsus, Calchas, and Teiresias, and it probably took its name from Melampus, the most famous of them all. Herodotus indeed puts both poets years before his own time; that is, at about Hesiov.
The value of such a passage cannot be analysed: Very similar is his reference to seasons through what happens or is done in that season: In this way, without any preconceived intention, a body of epic poetry was built up by various writers which covered the whole Trojan story.
But the entire range of heroic legend was open to gymns poets, and other clusters of epics grew up dealing particularly with the famous story of Thebes, while others dealt with the beginnings of the world and the wars of heaven. In the end there existed a kind of epic history of the world, as known to the Greeks, down to the death of Odysseus, when the heroic age ended.
In the Alexandrian Age these poems were arranged in chronological order, apparently by Zenodotus of Ephesus, at the beginning of the 3rd century B. Eutychius Proclus of Sicca.
Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns and Homerica by Hesiod
The pre-Trojan poems of the Cycle may be noticed first. The story was thence carried down to the end of the expedition under Polyneices, Adrastus and Amphiarus against Thebes. It has been assumed in the foregoing pages that the poems of the Trojan Cycle are later than the Homeric poems; but, as the opposite view has been held, the reasons for this assumption must now be given.
This tradition cannot be purely arbitrary. His work included the adjudgment of the arms of Achilles to Odysseus, the madness of Aias, the bringing of Philoctetes from Lemnos and his cure, the coming to the war of Neoptolemus who slays Eurypylus, son of Telephus, the making of the wooden horse, the spying of Odysseus and his theft, along with Diomedes, of the Palladium: