These lively narrative poems, attributed in antiquity to Homer, are works of great charm. Composed for recitation at festivals in honour of the gods, they tell of Apollo's birth on the island of Delos and his foundation of the Delphic oracle; Hermes' invention of the lyre and theft of his brother Apollo's cattle; and Aphrodite's love affair with the mortal Anchises. This edition offers a new text of these poems. The Introduction discusses among other things the nature and purpose of the poems in general, their origins, their structure and themes. The Commentary brings out the individual character of each Hymn, by analyzing in depth its language and literary qualities, and also its religious and historical aspects. The aim is to make these Hymns more accessible to students of Greek literature, and help them to appreciate the poems more fully as major works of early Greek poetry.
Nicholas Richardson is an Emeritus Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. His previous work includes an edition of The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (1974); The Illiad: A Commentary. Volume VI: Books 21-24 (Cambridge University Press, 1993); and Hesperos: Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday (co-edited with P. J. Finglass and C. Collard, 2007).