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IT is evident that this hymn is quite removed from the style and tone of the other hymns in the collection. Ruhnken, Hermann, and a large majority of the older scholars assigned it a place among the Orphic poems. Matthiae, indeed, thought it to be nearer akin to the philosophic works of Cleanthes and Proclus; and parts of the hymn seem to shew the influence of the latter poet (see on 6, 10). Recent students of the Orphica refuse to class it in the Orphic category (Maass Orpheus p. 198, Abel Hom. Hymns p. 91, who dates it as “in or after the age of Nonnus,” Adami p. 223 f.). The accumulation of epithets is of course a marked characteristic of the Orphic school; but it is pointed out that this feature is not confined to the Orphica (Maass and Adami, l.c.; see on h. Dem. 18). There is, however, little or nothing in the hymn to distinguish it from the acknowledged works of the Orphics; as Gemoll remarks, the first half is exactly in their style, and the prayer that Ares may remove “κακότης” is really a prayer for peace, similar to that in Orph. h. lxv (see on 12, 16). The inference is that the writer, if not a genuine “Orphic,” was at least steeped in the literature of that sect.

The cause which led to the inclusion of this hymn among “Homeric” poems is by no means evident. According to one view, the compiler of the collection was ignorant of the very plain distinction between an Orphic and an Homeric hymn. In this case Gemoll argues that the present form of the collection must belong to a very late age; for the Alexandrines, who knew some of the short hymns, would have had more critical acumen than to confuse the two kinds of hymns, even if the hymn to Ares were not later than the Alexandrine period. According to another theory, the presence of the hymn is caused by the juxtaposition of Homeric and Orphic poems in a manuscript, which led to the misplacement of one hymn.

If the presence of the hymn is not due to this purely accidental cause, the compiler of the collection must have had some reason for the choice of this particular hymn. It may be suggested that he was influenced by mythological considerations. The cult of Ares was of so little importance, that it would not be surprising if no genuine Homeric prelude in honour of the god were ready to hand. The compiler, however, may have been anxious that his collection should not lack mythological completeness; he was therefore compelled to search further afield for recognition of Ares' claims. On this supposition, it is not necessary to argue that he was destitute of critical ability; he may have allowed a sense of religious obligation to outweigh literary fitness.

βρισάρματε: of Ares, Scut. 441.

[4] Νίκης: in Theog. 384, Apollod.i. 2. 4(cf. Bacchyl. fr. 71. 1), she is daughter of Styx and Pallas. Gemoll well remarks that Ares' connexion with Nike and Themis is here not mythological, but purely symbolical.

[5] δικαιοτάτων ἀΓὲ φωτῶν: there may be a verbal reminiscence of Il. 13.6 δικαιοτάτων ἀνθρώπων”, but there cannot be any mythological allusion to the Scythians, as Baumeister thinks; Ares is simply the “Lord of the Just. ”

[6] Ἠνορέης σκηΠτοῦχε: there is perhaps no parallel for this use in early Greek; cf. Orph. h. 55. 11 “θεῶν σκηπτοῦχε”.

Πυραυγέα κύκλον κτλ.”, “wheeling thy red orb among the bodies that move in the sevenfold paths of heaven.” The passage closely resembles Proclus h. iv.17 “εἴτε καὶ ἑπτὰ κύκλων ὑπὲρ ἄντυγας αἰθέρα ναίεις” (quoted by Matthiae). In “πυραυγέα” there is an allusion to the distinctive redness of the planet Mars, which was called “ πυρόεις”; Mund. vi. 18, often in Manetho, Maximus “περὶ καταρχῶν” 298, 398, Io. Lydus Mens.ii. 8, N. D. ii. 20.

[8] τριτάτης: this passage is to be explained by the periodic times of the planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, etc.), see the reviewer of Maass' die Tagesgötter in Rom etc., Class. Rev. 1903, p. 87.

[9] εὐθηλέος, “thriving,” more appropriate to “ἥβης” than “εὐθαρσέος”, although the latter is not impossible. Gemoll's correction of “εὐθαλέος” is necessary, as the Doric form of “εὐθηλής” cannot stand; the error doubtless arose from confusion with “εὐθα^λής”. Cf. xxx. 13 “εὐφροσύνῃ νεοθηλέϊ”.

[10] κλῦθι καταστίλβων: i.e. “κλῦθι καὶ κατάστιλβε”; Matthiae compares Orph. h. iv. 9, xxviii. 11, xxxiv. 27.

βιότητα: the form is rare and late, but may be retained in this hymn; cf. C.I.G. 6206, 6290, both inscriptions from imperial times. For the general sense of 10 f. Matthiae compares Proclus h. iv.21 “πολύμοχθον ἐμὴν βιότοιο πορείην

ἰθύνοις σέο, πότνα, δικαιοτάτοισι βελέμνοις”.
οὐχ ὁσίων παύουσα πόθων κρυόεσσαν ἐρωήν”.

[12] κακότητα: the “baseness” is further explained by “ψυχῆς ἀπατηλὸν ὁρμήν”; the poet prays for freedom from the passions which deceive the mind and incite to bloodshed.

[16] Ares is similarly prayed to stay the strife and give peace in Orph. h. lxv. 6 “στῆσον ἔριν λυσσῶσαν”; cf. ib. 9 “εἰρήνην ποθέων”. So Hephaestus, as the god of fire, is asked to stay the rage of fire, Orph. h. lxvi. 12. The principle is that expressed by the proverbial “ τρώσας καὶ ἰάσεται”.

[17] βιαίους: for the termination Baumeister compares Plat. Rep.iii. 399A, Leg.x. 885A.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.2.4
    • Homer, Iliad, 13.6
    • Homeric Hymns, Hymn 2 to Demeter, 18
    • Plato, Laws, 10.885a
    • Plato, Republic, 3.399a
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