Play occurs in the «Homeric Hymn to Hermes» with several forms and meanings. This is not surprising since Hermes is depicted in the whole poem as a newborn baby with the qualities typical of his age. The whole story, which comprises two episodes in the life of the god (the construction of the lyre and the theft of Apollo’s cattle) has a playful tone which assumes an initiatic character since it establishes Hermes’ role in the gods’ pantheon. Hermes’ favourite toy (athyrma) is the lyre, which he makes from a tortoise shell: the ambivalence between the playful and the musical sphere is consistent with the double meaning of the terms athyrma/athyro in the Greek language. Furthermore, Hermes sings with the new lyre a song that talks about the encounter between Zeus and his mother Maia. This licentious song is compared to the sympotic games which included tricks and jokes.

(2013). Il gioco nell’Inno omerico a Ermes . Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/150782

Il gioco nell’Inno omerico a Ermes

Nobili, Cecilia
2013-01-01

Abstract

Play occurs in the «Homeric Hymn to Hermes» with several forms and meanings. This is not surprising since Hermes is depicted in the whole poem as a newborn baby with the qualities typical of his age. The whole story, which comprises two episodes in the life of the god (the construction of the lyre and the theft of Apollo’s cattle) has a playful tone which assumes an initiatic character since it establishes Hermes’ role in the gods’ pantheon. Hermes’ favourite toy (athyrma) is the lyre, which he makes from a tortoise shell: the ambivalence between the playful and the musical sphere is consistent with the double meaning of the terms athyrma/athyro in the Greek language. Furthermore, Hermes sings with the new lyre a song that talks about the encounter between Zeus and his mother Maia. This licentious song is compared to the sympotic games which included tricks and jokes.
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