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Orality and textual criticism: The homeric hymns

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Chapter Summary

Our Medieval manuscripts hold several doublets, but since the archetype of our tradition goes back to the late Middle Ages, the copies circulating through the ancient world certainly contained a very much greater number of double readings. This chapter attempts to establish the classes into which doublets could be arranged. The author accepts that what in our Medieval tradition is transmitted as a single Hymn to Apollo is indeed, as David Ruhnken first supposed in 1782, a fusion of two originally separate poems: a Delian hymn, concerned with Apollo’s birth on Delos, which ends at line 176 or 178, and a Pythian hymn, concerned with the arrival of Apollo at Delphi and his establishment there. The author suggests that textual streams derive from the same spring, namely from the copy or the copies made in view of the performance at the Delian-Pythian festival.

Keywords: Apollo’s birth; Delian hymn; Delian-Pythian festival; Delphi; Homeric Hymns; medieval manuscripts; Orality; textual streams



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