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Course Hero. "Homeric Hymns Study Guide." January 31, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Homeric-Hymns/.
Course Hero, "Homeric Hymns Study Guide," January 31, 2020, accessed February 20, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Homeric-Hymns/.
c. 7th to 6th century BCE
As some of the earliest written epic-style poetry on record, the Homeric Hymns have traditionally been attributed to epic poet Homer himself. However, they were probably composed by poets imitating his style in later centuries, mostly around 700–500 BCE. The Homeric Hymns is a varied and incomplete collection of 33 tributes to the gods of ancient Greece. It ends with an additional poem, which is not a hymn but a plea that hosts remember their duties to the poets who perform the hymns. The hymns vary in length, the longest being placed first in the collection. Some are fragmentary, and many consist of little more than a greeting and farewell to the god being addressed. These, scholars believe, were originally intended to introduce and conclude longer poems or hymns that have now been lost. Some of the hymns share similar language or nearly `identical phrases, suggesting they may share authorship. The hymns to the Greek gods contain moral lessons useful for human beings. They explore the universal concerns of immortality, love, family, honor, virtue, and the wonder and mystery of existence.
A hymn is a song of praise to a deity or deities. The 33 hymns in this collection honor the 12 major Greek gods, some demigods, and one or two human beings. In ancient Greece these hymns were said to have been written by the Greek poet Homer (c. 9th or 8th century BCE). More likely several anonymous poets composed the work in Homer's epic style. Many of the hymns may, in actuality, be prologues and epilogues to longer speeches, songs, or other types of performances.
This study guide for Homer's Homeric Hymns offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.