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Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns

Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns

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The early Greek epic--that is, poetry as a natural and popular, and not
(as it became later) an artificial and academic literary form--passed
through the usual three phases, of development, of maturity, and of

No fragments which can be identified as belonging to the first period
survive to give us even a general idea of the history of the earliest
epic, and we are therefore thrown back upon the evidence of analogy
from other forms of literature and of inference from the two great
epics which have come down to us. So reconstructed, the earliest period
appears to us as a time of slow development in which the characteristic
epic metre, diction, and structure grew up slowly from crude elements
and were improved until the verge of maturity was reached.

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