The Homeric Hymns honour the Greek gods. They are called 'Homeric' because the ancients attributed them to Homer; it is now accepted that they were composed by later poets working in the same tradition, probably during the seventh and sixth centuries BC. Four of them (Hymns 2-5) stand out by reason of their length and quality. The Hymn to Demeter tells what happened when Hades, lord of the dead, abducted Persephone, Demeter's daughter (this storyy is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries, which offered the Greeks the hope of a better lot in the afterlife). The Hymn to Apollo recounts Apollo's birth and the foundation of his Delphic oracle. In the Hymn to Hermes Apollo's cattle are stolen by a felonious infant-Hermes, god of thieves. In the Hymn to Aphrodite the goddess of love herself becomes infatuated with a mortal man, the Trojan prince Ankhises (their son is Aineias, the hero of Virgil's Aeneid). This volume offers a faithful verse translation of all the hymns, Explanatory Notes, and a Glossary of Names.