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The Homeric Hymns

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Chapter Summary

As a text corpus, the Homeric hymns are characterized by the juxtaposition of subsequent singulative narration with the much less common mode of simultaneous iterative narration, probably due to the hymns’ subject matter. The passages in singulative narration show a similar preference, though on a much smaller scale than the Homeric epics, for a single momentous event(s), leading to a story whose time span is comparatively short. This preference results in a generally ‘slow’ narration, which still manages to show more noticeable changes of speed than the Homeric epics. Overall, the hymns’ temporal structure is straightforward: narrated in roughly chronological order, there are few anachronies in the form of narratorial analepses or prolepses. With only one storyline in each case, the problem of dealing with simultaneous events does not arise. The chronological details of the narrative are mostly vague, except for the unparalleled specificity of the Hymn to Hermes.

Keywords: analepses; Homeric Hymns; Hymn to Aphrodite; Hymn to Apollo; Hymn to Hermes; prolepses; singulative narration



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