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HesperosStudies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday$
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P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, and N. J. Richardson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199285686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199285686.001.0001

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The Homeric Hymn to Hermes

The Homeric Hymn to Hermes

(p.83) 6 The Homeric Hymn to Hermes

N. J. Richardson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that a closer analysis of Hymn to Hermes reveals that the central theme, Hermes' cattle theft, is framed by the two episodes of the invention of the lyre, and his appeasement of Apollo by its music and gift of the instrument to him. Both include songs by Hermes, about his own birth (54-61), and the origin of the gods in general (424-33). Both of these evoke comparison with songs of young men at feasts (55-6, 453-4). This simple structure is complicated by the last episode, concerning the arts of prophecy (526-68), which looks like an addition. It is shown that the themes of music and prophecy are closely interlinked.

Keywords:   Greek poetry, Hymn to Hermes, cattle theft, music, prophecy

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