Pindar and the Renaissance Hymn-Ode, 1450-1700

By Stella P. Revard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Hymns to the Gods

It is one matter for a Renaissance poet to invoke the Muses to inspire him or even to address an ode “Ad Musas”; it is another for him to compose a hymn to a pagan god—Apollo or Athene or Bacchus or Pan or even Aphrodite. Yet spurred on by the examples of classical hymn and ode that became available in manuscripts and early printed texts, those very Italian poets—Marullo, Pontano, and Crinito—who courted Pindar's Muses and responded to the cult in art and literature of poetry's patron Apollo began to compose hymns and odes to other pagan deities. Their hymns in turn became models for later Italian poets and inspired the secular hymns of the Pléiade in France. Ronsard and his followers both imitated earlier humanist poets and extended the range of classical hymn, thereby influencing Spenser and the English poets who followed him. Under the thin veil of allegorical representation, Christian humanists invoked pagan gods and goddesses of the Olympian pantheon. Besides addressing hymn-odes to the Olympian divinities, fifteenth- and sixteenth-century humanist poets also invoked abstract deities—Hope, Fortune, Health, and deities associated with natural phenomena—Night, Dawn, the Seasons. These very same humanist poets, moreover, also began to compose hymns to the Christian God, Christ, or the saints on the model of the classical literary hymn and so to replace the older liturgical models with Christian hymns based on classical patterns.

In the Renaissance as in antiquity the genre of hymn-ode covered a wide range of types. It found its classical precedents not only in cult hymns—Homeric and Orphic Hymns—but also in those literary hymns that included the Greek hymns of Callimachus, the Latin odes of

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Pindar and the Renaissance Hymn-Ode, 1450-1700
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medievae and Renaissance Texts and Studies ii
  • Title Page v
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Pindar: Man and Poet 9
  • Chapter 2 - Pindar and His Muses 51
  • Chapter 3 - Hymns to the Gods 121
  • Chapter 4 - Classical Hymn in the Renaissance 181
  • Chapter 5 - Pindar and the Christian Hymn-Ode 222
  • Chapter 6 - The Graces in Their Merriment: Pindar and the Light Ode 277
  • Chapter 7 - The Philosophical Ode in the Seventeenth Century 318
  • Epilogue 339
  • Bibliography 341
  • Index 361
  • Mrts 385
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