The Hercules and Cacus Episode in Augustan Literature: Engaging the Homeric Hymn to Hermes in Light of Callimachus’ and Apollonius’ Reception

TitleThe Hercules and Cacus Episode in Augustan Literature: Engaging the Homeric Hymn to Hermes in Light of Callimachus’ and Apollonius’ Reception
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsClauss, JJ
EditorVergados, A, Schwab, A, Faulkner, A
Ancient AuthorsHymni Homerici Hymn. (TLG 0013), Callimachus Philol. (TLG 0533), Publius Vergilius Maro (PHI 0690), Sextus Propertius (PHI 0620), Titus Livius (PHI 0914), Apollonius Rhodius Epic. (TLG 0001), Publius Ovidius Naso (PHI 0959)
Book TitleThe Reception of the Homeric Hymns
PublisherOxford University Press
CityOxford
ISBN9780198728788 (print)
Abstract

The Homeric Hymn to Hermes was popular among Hellenistic poets. Apart from its humour, what appears to have caught their attention is the underlying mytheme of cattle as a symbol of power. Employing the Hermes hymn as part of the intertextual landscape has the potential to engage this theme. In his Hymn to Zeus Callimachus alludes to the archaic poem in the context of Ptolemy Philadelphus’ ascension to the throne of Egypt and Apollonius in the Argonautica turns to the same source in a narrative that involves the throne of Iolcus. Not surprisingly, Roman epigonoi engage the same hymn in the context of royal power: in the account of Hercules’ sojourn in Rome, Virgil, Livy, Propertius, and Ovid have Cacus steal the cattle by dragging them backwards. This, in addition to other subtle shared details, leads to the Homeric Hymn and in each case we find Augustus in the background. [http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728788.001.0001/acprof-9780198728788-chapter-3]

DOI10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728788.003.0003

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