The Homeric Hymns in Late Antiquity: Proclus and the Hymn to Ares

TitleThe Homeric Hymns in Late Antiquity: Proclus and the Hymn to Ares
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
Authorsvan den Berg, RM
EditorVergados, A, Schwab, A, Faulkner, A
Ancient AuthorsProclus Atheniensis Phil. (TLG 4036), Plato Phil. (TLG 0059), Porphyrius Phil. (TLG 2034), Hymni Homerici Hymn. (TLG 0013)
Book TitleThe Reception of the Homeric Hymns
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN9780198728788 (print)

This contribution examines the reception of the Homeric Hymns by the Neoplatonist Proclus against the background of his metaphysical, religious, and literary theories. For Proclus, hymn-singing coincides with the reversion of the human soul on its metaphysical, that is divine cause (epistrophê). It is therefore part of theurgy, that is the special rituals that the Neoplatonists used to attract divine assistance. The so-called symbola play an important role in theurgy. These are things that are somehow related to the gods invoked and may include objects such as animals, plants, and stones but also bits of inspired poetry. For this reason, Proclus inserts quotations from the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, which he reads allegorically, in his own hymn to Aphrodite (Hymn 2). The late Homeric Hymn to Ares lacks any discernible Neoplatonic element and hence should not be ascribed to Proclus (or Porphyry). []


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