The Hymn to Hermes and the Athenian Altar of the Twelve Gods

TitleThe Hymn to Hermes and the Athenian Altar of the Twelve Gods
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsJohnston, RW, Mulroy, D
Ancient AuthorsHymni Homerici Hymn. (TLG 0013)
JournalClassical World

Newly observed congruencies between Homeric Hymn (4) to Hermes and circumstances in Peisistratid Athens lend credence to Norman O. Brown's hypothesis that the hymn was motivated by the establishment of the Altar of the Twelve Gods in Athens in 522/521 B.C. Relevant details in the hymn include the use by Hermes of a gluphanos, a sculptor's chisel, his unmotivated journey to Pylos, and the location of his sacrifice on the banks of the Alpheios River. The last two details seemed designed to conjure up a connection between the cult of the Twelve Gods and the ancient Neleids, Peisistratus' supposed ancestors. []


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