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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather joyous, November 10, 2012
By 
krebsman (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
The so-called "Homeric Hymns" were songs of praise to ancient Greek deities. They were intended to be used as part of specific rituals of worship. They were not written by Homer, but by people who obviously admired Homer and wanted to honor him by emulating his style. Most of them are brief and follow a definite formula, but some of the longer ones have strong narrative lines that are quite engrossing. The Hymn to Hermes is our prime source for the story of the infant Hermes stealing the cattle of Apollo. (I found this hymn in particular to be delightful.) The Hymn to Demeter is probably the most valuable to people interested in the ancient Greek culture and religion. It tells a detailed story that gives tantalizing hints about the Eleusian rituals. I had never heard of the Homeric Hymns despite a lifelong interest in myth and ancient history. They really should be better known. This particular translation is extremely clear and unambiguous in addition to being, in some cases, extraordinarily beautiful poetry. I was very impressed with the way translator Sarah Ruden was able to switch voices for the different hymns. She takes a saucily flirtatious tone with the Hymn to Aphrodite that I found especially pleasing.

My only quibble, however minor it may seem to some people, is that the glossary and notes are not very helpful at all. For example, there will be a footnote for Hera, who is probably familiar to anyone studying mythology. But then when some really obscure name occurs, there is no footnote. A glossary lists most of the names of characters, but ignores place names. The word you need to know the meaning of may turn out to be a place instead of a person. One of the frequently used devices is a listing of all the famous shrines to the deity being addressed. Good luck figuring out what's being talked about. I hope there will be a new edition that would have an improved glossary and perhaps a map denoting the many places mentioned. But this is more than made up for by the really excellent introduction by Sheila Murnaghan. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Spin on Familiar Stories, January 26, 2014
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This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
Required reading for Greek and Roman Mythology, but I'm happy about it. It seems to be an excellent and enjoyable translation, with good notes to clarify meanings and identities. If you're into Greek Mythology, the hymns here definitely add a bit of depth to the experience. The stories aren't new, but they're told with a different flow to them, and so are just as fun to read again as they were the first time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, October 23, 2012
By 
S. Harris (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
This book takes you away to a different time and place. Actually, it takes you to a different world! Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!, October 23, 2012
By 
ellenlong13 (Chapel Hill, NC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
I needed this book for a class I am taking. Another online book company wanted way, way WAY, more for it. It is what I needed for a GREAT price.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 10, 2014
This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
The book was in excellent condition.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More complete than another title I'll explain below..., August 5, 2013
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This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
To the importance of writers and readers knowing their pastime's heritage, and feeling less ravaged both by time's erosion and man's destructive habits, it is a pleasure to the aesthetic intellect that some important narratives from the ancient world are extant (survived) fairly complete, or atleast so that we can fill in the gaps. One rougher, but patience-eliciting book you may want to have in your collection came out surprisingly enough not too long ago of previously undiscovered works of the playwright who held the most esteem and civil positions as well at Athen's height of glory, though he impressed the divinity-inclined public with works that included man's issues as equally important to that of the gods: namely, Sophocles; the book contains some eighty fragments of plays mentioned in related records, but thought not to have been extant, and is entitled The Lost Sophocles. I'm sure Amazon can get you a copy. It feels good to get more of the overall picture of the classical eras, doesn't it? Homeric Hymns fills my need I first garnered after reading his Iliad Odyssey. Also, ironically enough, a couple years back, as the result of an artifact thief originally, Poetry Magazine from Chicago's Poetry Foundation was able to print the missing parts of Anaeus's run from the enflamed streets of Troy, his offspring in his arms, and the elaboration of the death of his wife and her appearance to him to give a more complete prelude to the prophetic theme Virgil intended about the coming of Rome, and that empire's original wish to have no higherarchies and simply be the common man's eternal keeper of world peace. Yet, though the book of Homeric Hymns is still slim, and easily enough read in translation for today's youth and their growing interest in these kinds of literature, and yet leaves the body of work that we ascribe to having been written by whoever Homer was, it is completely satisfying, as well as being what Homer obviously intended it to be: a short, understandably focused approach to the combination culture of religion, rule and intent, and art -- namely the first somewhat near cursive, definitely written language and the further launching of that early literature, telling history as the Greeks saw it, poetry, for choralizing, singing, speaking, teaching, etc. Communication, the essential music to our relating and surviving. Play a game with yourself when reading these, and that is to look for contrasts in irony; that was an integral element in the origins of literature... -- Tom Lee...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 5, 2014
This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
Received within a week.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, June 1, 2013
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This review is from: Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) (Paperback)
Just a fascinating look at the origins of some of our best known and and not so well known myths. This was religion back then folks! Though the greek myths are now regarded as just myth, its funny to realize that other myths, such as those of the middle east (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim), are still being practiced as religion.
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Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics)
Homeric Hymns (Hackett Classics) by Homer (Paperback - September 13, 2005)
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