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HESTIA is here invoked to make her home, with Zeus, in a building, the nature of which cannot be determined. According to Baumeister, it was probably a private house or a palace, in which rhapsodists recited epic at a feast. But there is weight in Gemoll's criticism, that Hestia and Zeus would not be invoked into a private house with so much solemnity. The occasion is rather to be sought in the dedication of a temple.

No stress can be laid on the words “Πυθοῖ ἐν ἠγαθέῃ”, which certainly need not imply that the hymn was Delphian; the reference is, as often, literary, being due to the fame of Hestia's connexion with Delphi and the Pythian Apollo. There was a Hearth at Delphi in the Prytaneum, at which a perpetual fire was kept up by widows (see references in Frazer on Paus.viii. 53. 9). The allusion in the present passage is, however, to a hearth actually in the temple at Delphi, which is frequently mentioned; cf. Choeph. 1038; Eum.282; O. T. 965; Eur. Ion462; Paus.x. 24. 4 etc.

In view of the abrupt style, many commentators believe it to be a fragment from a longer hymn; Matthiae marks a lacuna after 3. A lacuna is also probable after 4; but we need not suppose that the original form of the hymn was widely different from the present tradition.

Ἑστίη: for the form see on h. Aphr. 22 (Solmsen p. 213 f.). “Ἱστίη” is of course correct for true Ionic; but the pseudo-Ionic “Ἑστίη” (influenced by the common “Ἑστία”) may be allowed to stand in the present hymn, and in xxix. Compare “ἱστίη” in the Odyssey with “ἐφέστιος, γ 234, η 248, ψ” 55.

[2] Cf. orac.ed. Hendess 32. 2 “Πυθώ τ᾽ ἠγαθέην” (quoted by Ephorus) and 45. 1 “ὃς ἐμὸν δόμον ἀμφιπολεύει. ἠγάθεος” is common with “Πυθώ”; cf. Od. 8.80, Theog. 499, “Πυθοῖ ἐν ἠγαθέῃ”, Pind. Pyth.ix. 77, Bacchyl.iii. 62Bacchyl., v. 41.

[3] ἀΠολείβεται ὑΓρὸν ἔλαιον=Od. 7.107 (also with genitive). For the transference of the Greek use of unguents to the gods the editors compare

αἱ δὲ κόμαι θυόεντα πέδῳ λείβουσιν ἔλαια:
οὐ λίπος Ἀπόλλωνος ἀποστάζουσιν ἔθειραι,
ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὴν πανάκειαν

. It is improbable that the present passage suggested itself to Callimachus, who at all events gives a less material significance to the oil (as “πανάκειαν”).

The line is abrupt and frigid, unless there was some peculiar propriety in the mention of the oil. Baumeister thinks that the reference may be to an actual statue of Hestia, which was sprinkled with oil by the worshippers. Oil was often poured on sacred stones; cf. Paus.x. 24. 6, Lucian Alexand. 30, Flor. 1. 1 etc. In the case of a statue, a dressing of oil was part of the “κόσμος”, like the decoration with jewels etc.; cf. oneir. ii. 33 “θεῶν ἀγάλματα . . . ἀλείφειν”. There were statues of Hestia (e.g. in the Prytaneum at Athens Paus.i. 18. 3), but as a rule her cult was aniconic, at least in early times. Possibly the line is merely an anthropomorphic description of a sacred hearth or lamp, which maintained a perpetual oil-fed flame (“αἰεί”). Probably every Greek city had a perpetual fire in its Prytaneum; this was sometimes in a lamp (Theocr. xxx. 36, Athen. xv. 700 D; see Frazer on Paus.viii. 53. 9 and his article in J. P. xiv. p. 145 f.).

[4] ἐΠέρχεο θυμὸν ἔχουσα: since “θυμὸν ἔχουσα” is meaningless, at least in regard to Hestia, an epithet to “θυμόν” must be supplied; cf. h. Aphr. 102 (“εὔφρονα”), vii. 49 (“σαόφρονα”), xxii. 7 (“εὐμενὲς ἦτορ ἔχων”) etc. It is usual to assume that “ἐπέρχεο” is corrupt, and conceals “ἐΰφρονα” or the like. As the adjective in this formulaic expression seems regularly to precede “θυμόν”, very probably this view is correct. On the other hand “ἐπέρχεο” would be sound, if a lacuna were made after the line. The repetition of the verb has force, and the compound following the simple verb has many parallels ( Soph. El.850, Iph. T. 984, Ran. 369, Anth. Pal. v. 161. 3 “οἴχομ᾽ ἔρωτος ὄλωλα διοίχομαι”. Byz. Steph. s.v. “Σύβαρις” quotes “εὐδαίμων, Συβαρῖτα, πανευδαίμων σὺ μὲν αἰεί”).

[5] χάριν δ᾽ ἅμ᾽ ὄπασσον ἀοιδῇ: the words do not necessarily imply that a rhapsody is to follow; Gemoll remarks that “ἀοιδῇ” may refer to the present hymn.

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hide References (15 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (15):
    • Aeschylus, Eumenides, 282
    • Bacchylides, Epinicians, 3
    • Bacchylides, Epinicians, 5
    • Euripides, Ion, 462
    • Homer, Odyssey, 7.107
    • Homer, Odyssey, 8.80
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 5 to Aphrodite, 102
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 5 to Aphrodite, 22
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.24.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.24.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.18.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.53.9
    • Pindar, Pythian, 9
    • Sophocles, Electra, 850
    • Theocritus, Idylls, 30
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