Offering primarily a straightforward, line-by-line translation, Athanassakis makes no attempt to masquerade the gods or to modernize the hymns. On the theory that the worst disservice the translator can do is to make what he translates “relevant” by refashioning it to fit the latest literary craze, the author has studiously avoided intrusion. He preserves the priceless plainness that exists both in the Homeric epics and the Homeric hymns, rendering verbatim typically recurrent words, phrases, sentences, and even whole passages. Reliable, imaginative, but free of stylistic contortions, and above all unpretentiously elegant and clear, this new translation is bound to remain for a long time to come the Greekless reader’s next best thing to the original.
The Homeric Hymns, Apostolos N. Athanassakis, The John Hopkins University Press, 1982