Athénaios Athenaíou (Athenios son of Athenios): Second Delphic Hymn to Apollo

Today I am starting the A-to-Z challenge.  The goal is to blog every day (excepting Sundays) on a theme that starts with the letter of the alphabet for that day’s post.  There are 26 days in April, excluding Sundays.  So on the first day I start with a theme starting with A, on the second day the themes is B and so on.

So why not go back to the beginning and start with Athénaios Athenaíou’s “First Delphic Hymn to Apollo?”

According to Wikipedia, it was written in 138 BC for the Pythian Festival.  I can’t find much on the festival except that it was held every 10 years and the subsequent one, in 128 BC, gave birth to the Second Delphic Hymn to Apollo.

The hymn was inscribed in stone and the meter and notation allowed scholars to decode the melody.  It sounds so old but also not too different than pentatonic or Chinese music.  The words are:

“Hear me, you who posses deep-wooded Helicon,
fair-armed daughters of Zeus the magnificent!
Fly to beguile with your accents your brother,
golden-tressed Phoebus who, on the twin peak of this rock of Parnassus,
escorted by illustrius maidens of Delphi,
sets out for the limpid strams of Castalia, traversing,
on the Delphic promontory, the prophetic pinnacle.
Behold glorious Attica, nation of the great city which,
thanks to the prayers of the Tritonid warrior,
occupies a hillside sheltered from all harm.
On the holy alters Hephaestos cosumes the thighs of young bullocks,
mingled with the flames, the Arabian vapor rises towards Olympos.
The shrill rustling lotus murmurs its swelling song, and the golden kithara,
the sweet-sounding kithara, answers the voice of men.
And all the host of poets, dwellers in Attica, sing your glory, God,
famed for playing the kithara, son of great Zeus,
beside this snow-crowned peak, oh you who reveal to all mortals
the eternal and infallible oracles.
They sing how you conquered the prophetic tripod
guarded by a fierce dragon when, with your darts
you pierced the gaudy, tortuously coiling monster,
so that, uttering many fearful hisses, the beast expired.
They sing too, . . . .”


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

5 Responses to Athénaios Athenaíou (Athenios son of Athenios): Second Delphic Hymn to Apollo

  1. Kevyn Knox says:

    I truly know nothing about Classical music (something that I would love to remedy at some point) but I do know what I like, and I was just mesmerized by this piece. Fantastic. I don’t want to sound too corny or cliche, but it truly is haunting.

    I’ll be seeing you in the A to Z Challenge. Check me out: All Things Kevyn.


  2. filcampbell says:

    wow, what an interesting piece ..


  3. kvennarad says:

    I’m not musically-trained at all, but although this sounds ‘oriental’, I’m guessing it’s in a recognisable mode. Any idea which one? Or am I wrong?


  4. kurtnemes says:

    I’m not musically trained either, so let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:


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