Minor Divinities (page 150, with art)

Chapter 3: Olympos, the Underworld, and Minor Divinities

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Homeric Hymn to Hermes 4.552-63

There are certain holy ones, sisters born —three virgins gifted with wings: their heads are besprinkled with white meal, and they dwell under a ridge of Parnassus. These are teachers of divination apart from me, the art which I practised while yet a boy following herds, though my father paid no heed to it. From their home they fly now here, now there, feeding on honey-comb and bringing all things to pass. And when they are inspired through eating yellow honey, they are willing to speak truth; but if they be deprived of the gods’ sweet food, then they speak falsely, as they swarm in and out together.  Greek Text

Pherekydes 3F49 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 75, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Alkman 1.96-98 PMGPoetae Melici Graeci, p. 5, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Alkman 30 PMGPoetae Melici Graeci, p. 43, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Homer, Odyssey 12.39-46

To the Sirens first shalt thou come, who beguile all men whosoever comes to them. Whoso in ignorance draws near to them and hears the Sirens’ voice, he nevermore returns, that his wife and little children may stand at his side rejoicing, but the Sirens beguile him with their clear-toned song, as they sit in a meadow, and about them is a great heap of bones of mouldering men, and round the bones the skin is shrivelling.  Greek Text

Homer, Odyssey 12.184-91

‘Come hither, as thou farest, renowned Odysseus, great glory of the Achaeans; stay thy ship that thou mayest listen to the voice of us two. For never yet has any man rowed past this isle in his black ship until he has heard the sweet voice from our lips. Nay, he has joy of it, and goes his way a wiser man. For we know all the toils that in wide Troy the Argives and Trojans endured through the will of the gods, and we know all things that come to pass upon the fruitful earth.’  Greek Text

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 01.8100: Late Corinthian aryballos, Odysseus bound to mast sailing past three Seirenes on rock; two large birds hover over Odysseus’ ship with its helmeted rowers; beyond Seirenes on the right, structure that may be palace of Kirke

E. Pfuhl, Malerei und Zeichnung der Griechen vol. 3 (1923) pl. 40 fig. 173

Museum of Fine Arts

Digital LIMC (no photo)

New York, Callimanopoulos Collection (no longer Stockholm, Medelhavsmuseum): Attic black-figure oinochoe with three Seirenes (one playing pipes and one lyre) and Odysseus bound to ship

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Berlin, Antikensammlung 3283: Attic black-figure skyphos with Seirenes on rocks


Beazley Archive Pottery Database (not illustrated)

Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautica 4.895-96

Them [the Seirenes] lovely Terpsichore, one of the Muses, bare, united with Achelous.  Greek Text

ApB 1.3.4 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

and Melpomene had by Achelous the Sirens.  Greek Text

Simonides 607 PMGPoetae Melici Graeci, p. 307, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Hesiod, Theogony 360

….Eudora, and Tyche, Amphirho, and Ocyrrhoe, and Styx who is the chiefest of them all. These are the eldest daughters that sprang from Ocean and Tethys.  Greek Text

Homeric Hymn to Demeter 2.420

and Melobosis and Tyche and Ocyrhoe, fair as a flower  Greek Text

Alkman 64 PMGPoetae Melici Graeci, p. 54, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Archilochos 16 W – Iambi et Elegi Graeci, vol. 1, p. 7, ed. M. L. West. Oxford 1971.

Far-famed Tyche and Moira give all things to men  (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

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#Kirke, #Odysseus, #Seirenes

Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, December 2017.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2021

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