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The Poetry of the Theogony

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Chapter Summary

The first nine lines of the proem Theogony explain in what way the religious material of the text becomes a poetic event and "foregrounds" its poetic nature. The Theogony tells its story through the special Pan-Hellenic language that is the diction of the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Homeric Hymns. Episodes of war, edifying death, storms at sea, adultery, divine trickery or praise of the gods employ the same language, and a similar sublime tone. The style of the Theogony is more concrete, rapid and abstract. Friedlander recognized in the proem some features of form and content traits that are characteristic of the hymnic literature known through the collection of the Homeric Hymns. The text of the Theogony, in the manuscript tradition, reaches line 1022, but scholars have been skeptical of the authenticity of the whole or at least of large sections of the final portion.

Keywords: God; hymnic literature; Pan-Hellenic language; Theogony

10.1163/9789047440758_004
/content/books/b9789047440758s004
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