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Homeric Hymn #28 to Athena

 
 
Reply Wed 9 Apr, 2008 12:13 pm
I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious Goddess, bright-eyed,
inventive, unbending of heart,
pure virgin, saviour of cities,
courageous, Tritogeneia. Wise Zeus himself bare her
from his awful head, arrayed in warlike arms
of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed.
But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head
and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis,
shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly
at the might of the bright-eyed Goddess,
and earth round about cried fearfully,

and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves,
while foam burst forth suddenly:
the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders.
And wise Zeus was glad.

And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis!
Now I will remember you and another song as well.


Notes:


illustrious goddess with sharp grey eyes... This term (glaukopis) is an epithet of Athena throughout Homeric literature and is found in later sources as well. Often it is simply rendered "grey-eyed." However, the sense of the word may refer less to the color of the eyes as to their glare or opacity owing to the gemstones used for the eyes of statues of Athena.

modest Virgin, Protectress of the city... "Virgin" is parthenos, for which the Parthenon is named.

The valiant Tritogeneia was roused... Although Tritogeneia ranks with Pallas as an ancient epithet of Athena, its exact meaning is now unknown. "Born of the Triton" and "triple born" are typical suggestions.

Zeus, master of the aegis... The aegis was a magical shield in the property of Zeus. The Homeric Hymn twice refers to Zeus as "aegis-holder."
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