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He viewed the world from outside the charmed circle of aristocratic rulers, protesting against their injustices in a tone of voice that has been described as having a "grumpy quality redeemed by a gaunt dignity" [32] but, as stated in the biography section, he could also change to suit the audience. He seems in this case to be catering to two different world-views, one epic and aristocratic, the other unsympathetic to the heroic traditions of the aristocracy.

The Theogony is commonly considered Hesiod's earliest work. Despite the different subject matter between this poem and the Works and Days , most scholars, with some notable exceptions, believe that the two works were written by the same man. West writes, "Both bear the marks of a distinct personality: a surly, conservative countryman, given to reflection, no lover of women or life, who felt the gods' presence heavy about him.

The Theogony concerns the origins of the world cosmogony and of the gods theogony , beginning with Chaos , Gaia , Tartarus and Eros , and shows a special interest in genealogy. Embedded in Greek myth , there remain fragments of quite variant tales, hinting at the rich variety of myth that once existed, city by city; but Hesiod's retelling of the old stories became, according to Herodotus , the accepted version that linked all Hellenes.

This cultural crossover would have occurred in the eighth and ninth century Greek trading colonies such as Al Mina in North Syria. The Works and Days is a poem of over lines which revolves around two general truths: labour is the universal lot of Man, but he who is willing to work will get by. Scholars have interpreted this work against a background of agrarian crisis in mainland Greece , which inspired a wave of documented colonisations in search of new land.

This poem is one of the earliest known musings on economic thought. This work lays out the five Ages of Man , as well as containing advice and wisdom, prescribing a life of honest labour and attacking idleness and unjust judges like those who decided in favour of Perses as well as the practice of usury. It describes immortals who roam the earth watching over justice and injustice. In addition to the Theogony and Works and Days , numerous other poems were ascribed to Hesiod during antiquity. Modern scholarship has doubted their authenticity, and these works are generally referred to as forming part of the "Hesiodic Corpus" whether or not their authorship is accepted.

Book Review of Theogony by Hesiod

It was a mythological catalogue of the mortal women who had mated with gods, and of the offspring and descendants of these unions. In addition to these works, the Suda lists an otherwise unknown "dirge for Batrachus, [Hesiod's] beloved". It has been identified by Gisela Richter as an imagined portrait of Hesiod. In fact, it has been recognized since that the bust was not of Seneca, when an inscribed herma portrait of Seneca with quite different features was discovered.

Most scholars now follow Richter's identification. Hesiod employed the conventional dialect of epic verse, which was Ionian. Comparisons with Homer, a native Ionian, can be unflattering. Hesiod's handling of the dactylic hexameter was not as masterful or fluent as Homer's and one modern scholar refers to his "hobnailed hexameters". All three poets, for example, employed digamma inconsistently, sometimes allowing it to affect syllable length and meter, sometimes not. The extent of variation depends on how the evidence is collected and interpreted but there is a clear trend, revealed for example in the following set of statistics.

Hesiod does not observe digamma as often as the others do. That result is a bit counter-intuitive since digamma was still a feature of the Boeotian dialect that Hesiod probably spoke, whereas it had already vanished from the Ionic vernacular of Homer. This anomaly can be explained by the fact that Hesiod made a conscious effort to compose like an Ionian epic poet at a time when digamma was not heard in Ionian speech, while Homer tried to compose like an older generation of Ionian bards, when it was heard in Ionian speech.

Oral Narration and Ancient Greek Instrumentation

Though typical of epic, his vocabulary features some significant differences from Homer's. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the ancient Greek poet.

Hesiod - Theogony

For the computer application, see Hesiod name service. For the crater, see Hesiod crater. For the asteroid, see Hesiodos. The bust was identified for a very long time with the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger , but it may actually represent Hesiod. Main article: Theogony. Main article: Works and Days. Rhapsodes in post-Homeric times are often shown carrying either a laurel staff or a lyre but in Hesiod's earlier time, the staff seems to indicate that he was not a rhapsode, a professional minstrel.

Hesiod was certainly open to oriental influences, as is clear in the myths presented by him in Theogony. Theognis of Megara is the source of a similar sentiment "Even the fault-finder praises one whom the gods honour" but without attribution. See also fr. London: Phaidon , I, p. West, Hesiod: Theogony , p.

Genuine works.

Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. Boardman, J. Griffin and O. Easterling and B. Knox eds , Cambridge University Press , p.

Murray eds , Oxford University Press , pp. Lloyd , p.

Bibliography

Symonds, Studies of the Greek Poets , p. Spawforth eds , third revised edition, Oxford , p. They watch both justice and injustice, robed in mist, roaming abroad upon the earth. Cingano Pergamon und Hesiod in German. Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern. Theogony Works and Days Shield of Heracles. Ancient Greece. History Geography.

City states Politics Military. Apella Ephor Gerousia. Synedrion Koinon. List of ancient Greeks.

And Zeus dwelled in the highest of mansions, on Mount Olympus — the Greeks like others seeing mountains as mysterious and divine places. Hesiod described the gods as givers of blessings.

Before Orthodoxy

He described the Greeks as having descended from a golden race that lived in idle luxury before Zeus was Lord, when Kronos was king. Writes Hesiod:. Men then lived like gods, with carefree heart, without toil and misery. Neither did old age affect them They enjoyed themselves in feasting, beyond all illness, and they died as if overcome by sleep. All good things were theirs. The grain-giving soil bore its fruits in unstinted plenty, while at their leisure and in contentment they harvested their fields amid abundance.

According to Hesiod this golden race of men was punished by Zeus and fell to a lesser breed. Zeus was angry that they had not offered honor to the gods on Mount Olympus and had not made sacrifices on the sacred altars. An angry Zeus summoned his subordinate gods to a conference at his heavenly palace.

The gods traveled across the Milky Way, and at his palace they decided to destroy humankind and to provide the earth with a new race of mortals more worthy of life and more reverent to them. Zeus feared that the destruction of humankind by fire might set heaven itself aflame, so he called for assistance from a god of the sea, and man was instead swept away by a great flood. To further explain the fall of men, Hesiod writes of the god Prometheus.