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Callimachus and Contemporary Religion: The Hymn to Apollo

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Chapter Summary

This paper aims to illustrate the significance of contemporary religious practices for Callimachus’ poetry, by focusing on his Hymn to Apollo and reading it in the context of metrical and prose sacred regulations such as programmata, oracular responses, the Cyrenaean purity regulation, and the inscriptional hymns of Isyllus and Philodamos from Scarpheia. Each of these classes of text resonates in Callimachus’ poetry and contributes to its rich tapestry of influences and allusions. Finally, the paper considers the Cyrenaean context of Callimachus’ Hymn to Apollo as well as the connection of Callimachus’ family to the cult of Apollo in Cyrene, arguing that the personal relationship Callimachus forges with Apollo in this hymn resembles the subscriptions accompanying hymns inscribed in sanctuaries. These texts also record divine approbation of the poets and list and various honors the sanctuaries have bestowed on them.

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