The Classical Quarterly

Research Article

The Homeric Hymns

T. L. Agara1

a1 Manchester

These lines conclude the account of Hermes inventing the primitive method of producing fire by friction, and it is evident that the writer had in mind σ 308:

περ δ ξλα κγχανα θ;καν,

αxs1F56α πλαι περκηλα, νον κεκεασμνα χαλκxs1FF7,

cf. also ε 240. Gemoll accordingly in his edition (1886) read αxs1F56α λαβxs1F7Dν, and for so doing was rebuked by Messrs. S. and A. in their best dogmatic manner: ‘Gemoll's αxs1F56α cannot be accepted; οxs1F56λα is sound, though the meaning is not certain.’ In other words: ‘Whether οxs1F56λα makes sense or nonsense, it is right.’ Finally, they say that οxs1F56λα probably means ‘whole’, and this translation is, I think, confirmed by l. 137; but then it follows that the hymn-writer was flatly contradicting the κεκεασμνα in Homer's line, and knew no more about fire-lighting than these trenchant editors. Ignition fuel has a character of its own, and from this point of view Gemoll has the advantage.