The ancient Greek hymnic tradition translated beautifully and accessibly.
The hymn—as poetry, as craft, as a tool for worship and philosophy—was a vital art form throughout antiquity. Although the Homeric Hymns have long been popular, other equally important collections have not been readily accessible to students eager to learn about ancient religion. Unlike their epic counterparts the Iliad and the Odyssey, hymns are songs in praise of the gods, but just as the gods have a prominent role in epic, so too do humans and their earthly concerns play an important role in hymns. In reading them, we gain valuable insight into life in the classical world. Alongside early Homeric Hymns of uncertain authorship sit the carefully wrought paeans of the great Hellenistic poet and courtier, Callimachus; the mystical body of writings attributed to the legendary poet Orpheus, written down as Christianity began to take over the ancient world; and finally, the hymns of Proclus, the last great pagan philosopher of antiquity, from the fifth century AD, whose intellectual influence throughout the history of the west was profound.
Greek Poems to the Gods brings together over a thousand years of the ancient Greek hymnic tradition into a single volume. Acclaimed translator Barry B. Powell brings these fabulous texts to life in English, hewing closely to the poetic beauty of the original Greek. His superb introductions and notes give readers essential context for reading each hymn, making each work equally accessible to a beginner approaching them for the first time as to an advanced student continuing to explore their secrets.