Homeric Hymn to Apollo
Study and Discussion Questions

Analysis of the Hymn

1. What impression of the god to we get as he enters the house of Zeus in the first thirteen lines of the hymn? How does that impression compare with your/modern views of god?

2. How is the relationship between Apollo and his mother Leto developed in the first fifteen lines of the hymn? What is your view of such a mother/son divine relationship?

3. What is the relationship between Apollo and song (see lines 20-25, especially). How does is fit with your/modern views of god?

4. How does the singer link all the places listed in lines 30-44 to both Apollo and to Leto?

5. Describe the relationship between Leto and Delos in lines 51-65. How is this relationship anthropomorphic?

6. What is Delos' attitude toward Apollo and how does Leto respond to it? (lines 67-88) How does this attitude fit with the description of Apollo in the first lines of the hymn?

7. Who is Eileithyia and why does she have to be persuaded to come to Delos? (lines 90--116). What does this part of the birth story add to the picture of Apollo?

8. What details stand out in the description of Apollo's birth (lines 115-129)?

9. How do the Ionians worship Apollo on Delos? How do they feel as a result (lines 146-164)?

10. What elements of prayer appear in lines 165-178)?

11. Compare the human condition to the description of the gods in lines 188-207.

12. What concern does the singer have in lines 207-215? What does this suggest about his relationship with Apollo?

13. How does the land of Telephousa persuade Apollo not to build a temple there? (lines 257-274)? Why does Apollo agree? What does this suggest about Apollo as a god?

14. How does the description of Delphi in lines 281-299 suggest that it is a holy place? What makes a place holy?

15. Why does Hera give birth to Typhaon? (lines 311-352)

16. Hera gives Typhaon to the she-dragon (Python), whom Apollo slays. (lines 355-374). How does the relationship between Typhaon and Python parallel that of Apollo and Leto? How do Delphi and Apollo commemorate the slaying of Python?

17. Why does Apollo return in anger to Telephousa in lines 377-387?

18. Describe the encounter of Apollo with the Cretan sailors in lines 391-543. What does this suggest about Apollo as a god? About his relationship with humans? How would you react to a similar experience with a god?

This material was placed on the web by Professor Thomas J. Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois). If you have any questions, you can contact him at toms@monm.edu.

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