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Reconsidering Zeus’ Order: The Reconciliation of Apollo and Hermes

From: Classical World
Volume 105, Number 4, Summer 2012
pp. 443-469 | 10.1353/clw.2012.0029



This paper argues that the Homeric Hymn to Hermes explores competing ways of approaching the world through the figures of Hermes and Apollo. Apollo’s reliance on the established world, partially marked by the knowledge of εἰδέναι, is insufficient in understanding Hermes, who aligns himself with the flexible capacity of νόος. Whereas Apollo eliminates his rivals in order to establish himself permanently, Hermes exploits unexplored potentials in order to create space alongside the established gods in the Olympian order. Ultimately, the newly forged friendship of Apollo and Hermes helps us understand the nature of Zeus more fully.

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