collection of 34 ancient Greek poems in heroic hexameters, all addressed to gods. Though ascribed in antiquity to Homer, the poems actually differ widely in date and are of unknown authorship. Most end with an indication that the singer intends to begin another song, therefore suggesting the preludes used by rhapsodists in beginning their recitals of heroic poetry. The collection is incomplete; it contains major hymns to Demeter, Apollo, Hermes, and Aphrodite but only short pieces to Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Artemis, Hephaestus, and Ares; the opening hymn to Dionysus is severely mutilated at the beginning. (See also Homer.
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