Callimachus’ Hymn to Artemis and the Tradition of Rhapsodic Hymn

TitleCallimachus’ Hymn to Artemis and the Tradition of Rhapsodic Hymn
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsFain, GL
Ancient AuthorsCallimachus Philol. (TLG 0533)
JournalBulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies

Callimachus' Hymns were written in the tradition of the rhapsodic Homeric Hymns and make constant, though usually oblique and often amusing, reference to these archaic poems. This allusion is particularly extensive in the Hymn to Artemis, the only Callimachus Hymn to proceed like most longer Homeric Hymns, with brief introduction and prolonged narration. Then, just as the poem seems to end, it begins anew, not once but over and over again. The middle of the poem is clearly based on the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, which also begins anew at the Delian/Pythian transition. The correspondences are so great that Callimachus must have had this poem in much the form we do. The choice of the Apollo Hymn as model reflects the theme of sibling rivalry that pervades the Artemis Hymn: even in her own poem, Artemis can't escape the influence of her brother. [;jsessionid=AD3F21E4B5B0868DA8CAEBB4402480B4.f03t04]