OLEN, a semi-legendary Greek bard and seer, and writer of hymns. He is said to have been the first priest of Apollo, his connexion with whom is indicated by his traditional birthplaceLycia or the land of the Hyperboreans, favourite haunts of the god. The Delphian poetess Boeo attributed to him the introducion of the cult of Apollo and the invention of the epic metre. Many hymns, nomes (simple songs to accompany the circular dance of the chorus), and oracles, attributed to Olen, were preserved in Delos. In his hymns he celebrated Opis and Arge, two Hyperborean maidens who founded the cult of Apollo in Delos, and in the hymn to Eilythyia the birth of Apollo and Artemis and the foundation of the Delian sanctuary. His reputed Lycian origin corroborates the view that the cult of Apollo was an importation from Asia to Greece. His poetry generally was of the kind called hieratic.
See Callimachus, Hymn to Delos, 305; Pausanias i. 18; ii. 13; V. 7; ix. 27; x. 5; Herodotus iv. 35.
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