Menander Rhetor, Treatise 1

LCL 539: 50-51




3401. Περὶ δὲ τῶν γενεαλογικῶν ἓν μὲν ἤδη τοσοῦτον εἴρηται, ὡς τοὺς αὐτοὺς ᾠήθησαν ἔνιοι τοῖς μυθικοῖς, ἐν ᾧ καὶ τὴν διαφορὰν προσετίθεμεν· ἕτερον δὲ τοσοῦτον εἰρήσεται, ὡς σπανίως ἔστιν ὕμνον εὑρεῖν θεῶν, ἐν ᾧ τὸ γενεαλογικὸν μόνον φέρεται, πλὴν εἴ τις ὑπολαμβάνοι τὰς θεογονίας ὕμνους εἶναι τῶν θεῶν, ὡς τὰ πολλὰ δὲ ἢ τοῖς μυθικοῖς παρεμπλέκονται ἢ ἄλλοις γε τῶν ὕμνων εἴδεσιν ἢ ἑνὶ ἢ καὶ πλείοσι. γραῶδες γὰρ καὶ δεινῶς μειρακιῶδες, ὕμνον Διὸς προελόμενον πραγματείαν, μόνον <γονὰς>1 ἐκλέξασθαι.2

2. Ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ εὕρηται καὶ τοῦτο τὸ εἶδος τῶν ὕμνων παρὰ τοῖς ἀρχαίοις, καὶ ἤδη τινὲς καὶ Διονύσου γονὰς ὕμνησαν, καὶ Ἀπόλλωνος ἕτεροι, καὶ Ἀλκαῖος Ἡφαίστου καὶ πάλιν Ἑρμοῦ, καὶ τοῦτ’ ἀποτετμήμεθα τὸ μέρος. χρὴ τοίνυν, εἰ μὲν παρεμπεπλεγμένον εἴη τοῖς ἄλλοις εἴδεσιν, εἰδέναι, ὅτι καὶ μῆκος προσίεται, εἰ δὲ καθ’ αὑτὸ εἴη τὸ μέρος, ὅτι βραχείας δεῖται διατριβῆς·




1. One point has already been made about genealogical hymns (genealogikoi), that some have considered them the same as mythical hymns; we there posited a distinction between them.1 A second point needs to be made, that one can rarely find a hymn to the gods in which the genealogical element alone exists. For unless one considers theogonies to be hymns to the gods, genealogies are usually embedded in mythical hymns or in one or more of the other hymnic genres. It would be inane and utterly puerile2 to propose a hymn to Zeus for treatment and then select only his birth.

2. But since this genre of hymn is found in archaic poets, and in fact some have sung of Dionysus’ birth,3 others of Apollo’s,4 and Alcaeus of Hephaestus’ birth and again of Hermes’,5 we have differentiated this type as well. It is necessary, then, to understand that if it is embedded in other genres, it allows for lengthy treatment, but if it

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.menander_rhetor-treatise_1.2019