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Theogony and Works and Days. Hesiod Translated with Introduction and Notes by M. L. West. Oxford World’s Classics. A new, fully-annotated. Hesiod, who lived in Boetia in the late eighth century BC, is one of the oldest known, and possibly the oldest of Greek poets. His Theogony contains a systematic. THE CLASSICAL REVIEW. journey to Hades. He also shows how in both the tales there is allusion to the potential danger of eating the local food when the.

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It is written in the Epic dialect of Ancient Greek. Hesiod’s Theogony is a large-scale synthesis of a vast variety of local Greek traditions concerning the gods, organized as a narrative that tells how they came to be and how they established permanent control over the Cosmos. It is the first known Greek mythical cosmogony. The initial state of the universe is chaosa dark indefinite void considered a divine primordial condition from which everything else appeared.

Theogonies are a part of Greek mythology which embodies the desire to articulate reality as a theoogny this universalizing impulse was fundamental for the first later projects of speculative theorizing. Further, in the “Kings and Singers” passage 80— [3] Hesiod appropriates to himself the authority usually reserved to sacred kingship.

The poet declares that it is he, where we might have expected m.l.wedt king instead, upon whom the Muses have bestowed the two gifts of a hesid and an authoritative voice Hesiod, Theogony 30—3which are the visible signs of kingship.

Theogony and Works and Days – Paperback – Hesiod, M. L. West – Oxford University Press

It is not that this gesture is meant to make Hesiod a king. Rather, the point is that the authority of kingship now belongs to the poetic voice, the voice that is declaiming the Theogony. Although it is often used as a sourcebook for Greek mythology[4] the Theogony is both more and less than that. In formal terms it is a hymn invoking Zeus and the Muses: It is necessary to see the Theogony not as the definitive source of Greek mythology, but rather as a snapshot of a dynamic tradition that happened to crystallize when Hesiod formulated the myths he knew—and to remember that the traditions have continued evolving since that time.

The written form of the Theogony was established in the 6th century BCE. Even some conservative editors have concluded that the Typhon episode —68 is an interpolation. Hesiod was probably influenced by some Near-Eastern traditions, such as the Babylonian Dynasty of Dunnum[6] which were mixed with local traditions, but they are more likely to be lingering traces from the Mycenaean tradition than the result of oriental contacts in Hesiod’s own time.


The decipherment of Hittite mythical texts, notably the Kingship in Heaven text first presented inwith its castration mytheme, offers in the figure of Kumarbi an Anatolian parallel to Hesiod’s Uranus-Cronus conflict. One of the principal components of the Theogony is the presentation of the “Succession Myth”. Uranus produced many children with Gaia the Titans, the Cyclopesand the Hecatoncheiresbut hating them, [9] he hid them away somewhere inside Gaia.

Only her son Cronus, the youngest Titan, was willing to do so. Cronus, having taken control of the Cosmos, wanted to ensure that he maintained power. Uranus and Gaia prophesied to him that one of his children would overthrow him, so when he married Rhea, he made sure to swallow each of the children she birthed: So they sent Rhea to Crete to bear Zeus and Gaia took the newborn Zeus to raise, hiding him deep in a cave beneath the Aegean Mountains.

Rhea gave Cronus a huge stone wrapped in baby’s clothes which he swallowed thinking that it was another of Rhea’s children. Tricked by Gaia the Theogony does not detail howCronus regurgitated his other five children. Zeus then released his uncles the Cyclopes, who provided Zeus with his great weapons, the thunderbolts.


In the tenth year of the war, following Gaia’s counsel, Zeus released the Hecatoncheireswho joined the war against the Titans, allowing Zeus to gain the upper hand. Zeus cast the fury of his thunderbolts at the Titans, defeating them and throwing them into Tartarus. A final threat to Zeus’ power was to come in the form of the monster Typhonson of Gaia and Tartarus. Zeus with his thunderbolts was quickly victorious, and Typhon was also imprisoned in Tartarus.

Zeus, by Gaia’s advice, was elected king of the gods, and he apportioned various honors among the gods. And so Zeus managed to end the cycle of succession and secure his eternal rule over the cosmos. The world began with the spontaneous generation of four beings: Uranus mated with Gaia, and she gave birth to the twelve Titans: Cottus, Briareos, and Gyges.

Theogony and Works and Days

When Cronus castrated J.l.west, from Uranus’ blood which splattered onto the earth, came the Theogomy Furiesthe Giantsand the Meliai. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the sea, around which foam developed and transformed into the goddess Aphrodite. Meanwhile, Nyx Night alone produced children: After Uranus’s castration, Gaia mated with her son Pontus Sea producing a descendent line consisting primarily of sea deities, sea nymphs, and hybrid monsters.

Their second child Thaumasmarried Electra, another Oceanid, and their offspring were Iris Rainbow and the two Harpies: Gaia and Pontus’ third and fourth children, Phorcys and Cetomarried each other and produced the two Graiae: Pemphredo and Enyoand the three Gorgons: SthennoEuryaleand Medusa.

Poseidon mated with Medusa and two m.lw.est, the winged horse Pegasus and the warrior Chrysaorwere born when the hero Perseus cut off Medusa’s head. Chrysaor married Callirhoeanother Oceanid, and they produced the three-headed Geryon.

Gaia also mated with Tartarus to produce Typhon[48] whom Echidna married, producing several monstrous descendants. Next comes the Chimera whose mother is unclear, either Echidna or the Hydra.

From Eos and Astraios came the winds: ZephyrusBoreas and NotosEosphoros Dawn-bringer, i. Venusthe Morning Starand the Stars. Zeus married seven wives. His first wife was the Oceanid Metiswhom he impregnated with Athenathen, on the advice of Gaia and Uranus, swallowed Metis so that no son of his by Metis would overthrow him, as had been foretold. Zeus then married his third wife, another Oceanid, Eurynomewho bore the three Charites Graces: Zeus’ fourth wife was his sister, Demeterwho bore Persephone.

The fifth wife of Zeus was another aunt, the Titan Mnemosynefrom whom came the nine Muses: His sixth wife was a third aunt, the Titan Letowho gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. Zeus’ seventh and final wife was his sister Herathe mother by Zeus of HebeAresand Eileithyia. Zeus finally “gave birth” himself to Athenafrom his head, which angered Hera so much that she produced, by herself, her own son Hephaestusgod of fire and blacksmiths.

Zeus, with Atlas ‘s daughter Maiaproduced Hermesand with the mortal Alcmeneproduced the hero Heracleswho m.l.sest Hebe. Theogojy and the mortal Semeledaughter of Harmonia and Cadmusthe founder and hesiodd king of Thebesproduced Dionysuswho married Ariadnedaughter of Minosking of Crete. The goddess Demeter joined with the mortal Iasion to produce Plutus. Medea with hfsiod mortal Jasonproduced Mediusthe Nereid Psamathe with the mortal Aeacusproduced the hero Phocusthe Nereid Thetiswith Peleus produced the great warrior Achillesand the goddess Aphrodite with the mortal Anchises produced the Trojan hero Aeneas.

The Theogonyafter listing the offspring of the Titan Iapetus and the Oceanid Clymeneas AtlasMenoitiosPrometheusand Epimetheusand telling briefly what happened to each, tells the story of Prometheus.

Slaughtering an ox, he took the valuable fat and meat, and covered it with the ox’s stomach. Prometheus then took the bones and hid them with a thin glistening layer of fat. Prometheus asked Zeus’ opinion on which offering pile he found more desirable, hoping to trick the god into selecting the less hesior portion.

Though Zeus saw through the trick, he chose the fat covered bones, and so it was established that ever after men would burn the bones as sacrifice to the gods, keeping the choice meat and fat for themselves.


But in punishment for this trick, an angry Zeus decided to deny mankind the use of fire. But Prometheus m.l.wewt fire inside a fennel stalk, and gave it to humanity. Zeus then ordered the creation of the first woman Pandora as a new punishment for mankind.

And Prometheus was chained to a cliff, where an eagle fed on his yheogony liver every day, until eventually Zeus’ son Heracles came to free him. The heritage of Greek mythology already embodied the desire to articulate reality as a whole, and this universalizing impulse was fundamental for the first projects of speculative theorizing. It appears that the order of being was first imaginatively visualized before it was abstractly thought.

Hesiod, impressed by necessity governing the ordering of things, discloses a definite pattern in the genesis and appearance of the gods. These ideas made something like cosmological speculation possible. The earliest rhetoric of reflection all centers about two interrelated things: In the Theogonythe origin arche is Chaosa divine primordial condition, and there are the roots and the ends of the earth, sky, m.l.wezt, and Tartarus.

Pherecydes of Syros 6th century BCbelieved that there were hrsiod pre-existent divine principles and called the water also Chaos.

If a thing is to be well established or founded, its arche or static point must be secure, and the most secure foundations are those provided by the gods: In ancient Greek philosophyarche is the element or first principle of all things, a permanent nature or substance which is conserved in the generation of the rest of it. From this, all things come to be, and into it they are resolved in a final state. Thales 7th — 6th century BCthe first Greek philosopher, claimed that the first principle of all things is water.

Anaximander 6th century BC was the first philosopher who used the term arche for that which writers from Aristotle on call the “substratum”. The lower limit of earth reaches down to the unlimited i. In the Theogony the initial state of the universe, or the origin arche is Chaosa gaping void abyss considered as a divine primordial condition, from which appeared everything that exists.

Then came Gaia EarthTartarus the cave-like space under the earth; the later-born Erebus is the m.l.wet in this spaceand Eros representing sexual desire – the urge to reproduce – instead of the emotion of love as is the common misconception.

Hesiod made an abstraction because his original chaos is something completely indefinite. By contrast, in the Orphic cosmogony the unaging Chronos produced Aether and Chaos and made a silvery egg in divine Aether. From it appeared the androgynous god Phanesidentified by the Orphics as Eros, who becomes the creator of the world. Some similar ideas appear in the Vedic and Hindu cosmologies. In the Vedic cosmology the universe is created from nothing by the great heat.

His seed produced the universal germ Hiranyagarbhafrom which everything else appeared. From it emerged two primary gods, the male Apsu and female Tiamatand a third deity who is the maker Mummu and his power for the progression of cosmogonic births to begin. Norse mythology also describes Ginnungagap as the primordial abyss from which sprang the first living creatures, including the giant Ymir whose body eventually became the world, whose blood became the seas, and so on; another version describes the hfsiod of the world as a result of the fiery and cold parts throgony Hel colliding.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Transactions of the American Philological Association. Solmsen, Hesiod and Aeschylus Ithaca: Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 30 Exactly which children, it is meant that Uranus hated is unclear, perhaps just thdogony Cyclopes and Hecatoncheires Hundred-Handersbut perhaps all his children, Gantz, p.

Cyclopes and Hundred-Handers are meant” and not the twelve Titans, Westp.