Search Results for Hesiod
Hesiod was an 8th-century BCE Greek poet, thought to be active from 750 and 650 BCE. Scholars still debate whether Hesiod lived before or after Homer.
Hesiod’s Works and Days is the tale of a simple but wise rural man who blends ancient myth with practical advice, such as who and when to marry. He also says that women should plow with oxen, and that men should never urinate while standing and facing the sun.
In addition, Hesiod says Gossip is a goddess, and warns against the ills of greedy profit. And he outlines a prophetic vision about passing out of the Iron Age, not unlike the New Testament Book of Revelation.
Yet here also there shall be some good things mixed with the evils. But Zeus will destroy this generation of mortals also/in the time when children, as they are born, grow grey on the temples, When the father no longer agrees with the children, nor children with their father.¹
The eye of Zeus sees everything. His mind understands all. He is watching us right now, if he wishes to, nor does he fail to see what kind of justice this community keeps inside it.²
The close of Works and Days provides an account of Goddesses joining sexually with mortal men, a theme which Mircea Eliade points out is present in some forms of shamanism.³
Hesiod’s Theogany and Shield of Heracles are closer to the Homeric style and less sociological but nonetheless full of vivid mythological tales, many of which could be adapted for contemporary film and TV fantasy.
¹ Cited in Lattimore, Richmond (trans.). Hesiod. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959, line 179-182.
² Ibid., line 267-272.
³ Mircea Eliade, Shamanism, trans. Willard R. Trask, Princeton, N.J.: 1964.
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Blessed Isles, or Isles of the Blessed – According to Hesiod, this is the afterlife paradise for the dead favored by the Greek gods.
Some believe the idea was influenced by optimistic Minoan beliefs. Previously in Greece the next world had been predominantly conceived of as Hades, a sort of gloomy underworld.
In Homer‘s epic verse the Elysian Plain is filled with supreme joy, located at the end of the world, aside the River Oceanus. In early times, only heroes blessed by the gods gained the immortality of Elysium. But for Hesiod, Elysium is for all blessed dead—as opposed to the cursed.
Pindar too believes that all the righteous on earth achieve this happy abode, while Plutarch clearly links the Blessed Isles to the Elysian Fields.
Where the air was never extreme, which for rain had a little silver dew, which of itself and without labour, bore all pleasant fruits to their happy dwellers, till it seemed to him that these could be no other than the Fortunate Islands, the Elysian Fields.¹
Plato sees it as a region where the good soul awaits its next incarnation. In the general poetic sense, Elysium or the Elysian fields refers to a place or mindset filled with wonder, lasting contentment and bliss.
Ptolemy mentions the Blessed Isles as reference points in his discussion about longitude. And right up to the Middle Ages they continued to figure in texts concerning the Prime Meridian.
Wikipedia lists related Isles, in several mythic frameworks, where the dead may live for an extended period or for eternity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortunate_Isles
¹ Plutarch, Life of Sertorius, ch. viii., cited at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortunate_Isles.
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Cyclops [Greek cyclops: round-eyed] – In Greek mythology, the Cyclopes are one-eyed giants, often employed as smiths and associated with volcanoes.
The cyclops appear in several ancient literature sources. In Homer‘s Odyssey, the Cyclops Polyphemus is tricked and eventually blinded by Odysseus. In anger Polyphemus tries to destroy Odysseus’ crew by tossing huge rocks at their ship during their narrow escape.
Although they have one eye, the cyclops should not be confused with the Asian idea of the “third eye” or, for that matter, with the Christian idea of the “single eye.”¹ Not to say that these ideas are identical. They’re not. The Hindu Siva, for example, burns his enemies to ashes with a heat ray that emanates from this third eye.² By way of contrast, Jesus Christ never advocates this kind of violence. Even if they’re not the same, these two images of the single eye, Hindu and Christian, do share the connotation of some kind of privileged spiritual perspective.
By way of contrast, Wikipedia says this about the cyclops:
They were giants with a single eye in the middle of their forehead and a foul disposition. According to Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of emotion”. Collectively they eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry.³
This clearly isn’t about spiritual insight. However, the cyclops do fashion thunderbolts (as weapons) for Zeus’ purposes. But they’re just the tool makers. It’s Zeus who decides how his thunderbolts should be used in the cosmic battleground.
² Many Hindus, of course, would argue that Siva’s death ray is only aimed at the inferior deities, these symbolizing the inferior aspects of the self. An excellent book about Siva in Hindu mythology is Siva: The Erotic Ascetic by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty http://books.google.ca/books/about/Siva.html?id=dnfZ_MBErlQC&redir_esc=y
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As the god of romantic love he is praised in Hesiod‘s hymns as the most beautiful of all the gods. In popular myth and classical art he’s depicted as shooting arrows of love into the hearts of soon-to-be lovers. The Orphic mystery cults deemed his creative powers great enough to regard him as the creator of the world. Hesiod wrote that Eros sprung from Chaos, representing instinctual, sexual and creative energy.
Sigmund Freud hypothesized a general life instinct which he called eros, in contrast to an opposing death insinct, thanatos (Greek = death). C. S. Lewis and many others use the term eros to describe emotional romantic love as opposed to Agape, or selfless love.
Plato used the term eros to signify a desire to seek the transcendental beauty of the eternal Forms, which is partially recognized in particular instances within this changing world of becoming.
Eros is paralleled by the Roman god Cupid and in Latin is Amor.
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Homer is an Ancient Greek poet (Homeros) of uncertain identity.
He or she was believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to have authored the classic epics of the Odyssey and Illiad around the 8th-7th centuries BCE, the former epic likely predating the latter. Today, most people will tell you that Homer is the outstanding author of the Odyssey and Illiad but, in reality, this authorship isn’t solidly established.
Not unlike the uncertainty concerning the originality and authorship of some of the works of Shakespeare, Homer probably borrowed from existing mythological tales which were transmitted through oral tradition. And with a particular poetic genius, he or she depicted the enduring characters of the Olympic pantheon.
Contemporary scholars say that the two Homeric classics may have been authored by several persons.
The ancient Greeks saw Homer as an impoverished, blind minstrel. And a contemporary minority view suggests that Homer was a woman. Regardless of the poet’s gender, his or her lasting impact on Western culture is undeniable.
The 33 Homeric Hymns, likely written after the two epics, are no longer attributed to Homer.
In more recent times, a Homeric strain is arguably discernible in the works of the Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen, who took up residence in Greece during his formative years.
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Hephaestus was a master blacksmith. In his giant forge at Mount Olympus he fashioned the armor and shield of Achilles, as well as Cupid’s arrows and Jupiter’s thunderbolts. He is the only Greek god depicted as lame and his offspring were usually ugly.
The reasons for his lameness might be related to the ancient belief that certain gifts were bestowed on those with disabilities.
To add to his woes, his consort Aphrodite often cheated on him (with gods and men), but Hephaestus is also depicted with another consort.
According to most versions, Hephaestus’s consort is Aphrodite, who cheats on him with a number of gods and mortals, including the god Ares. However, in Homer’s Iliad, the consort of Hephaestus is a lesser Aphrodite, Charis “the grace” or Aglaia “the glorious”, the youngest of the Graces, as Hesiod calls her.¹
Hephaestus is also interesting as a figure who undergoes a massive fall from and subsequent return to grace. Hera flung him from Olympus but he won his return by fashioning a giant golden throne which, when she sat on it, couldn’t get out of.
Some stories say that the act of Hera throwing him out of Olympus caused his lameness, others say he was rejected because of it. In any case, Hephaestus was eventually asked back in order to free Hera from being stuck on her throne. His triumphant return is depicted in pottery paintings in Attica and Corinth.
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Not unlike the much larger Indian epic, the Mahabharata, this Greek tale involves a grand-scale war between two opposing factions. Divine gods and goddesses often appear and, like the Indian story, offer their assistance to favored mortals.
Together with the Odyssey, the Illiad is one of the pillars of existing Greek myth.
Rather than my trying to summarize the story, it’s better to leave that to an expert. For an excellent outline with commentary and original Greek terms, see Sir Paul Harvey’s work, freely available at http://www.archive.org/details/oxfordcompaniont006050mbp (PDF, page 220).
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The protagonist Odysseus must face terrible perils on his return home from the Trojan wars. Gods and goddesses, especially Athena, frequently provide otherworldly assistance. The Greek pantheon is depicted as residing at Mount Olympus, a godly abode.
On his return, and after numerous near-death adventures with frightening and bewitching creatures such as the Cyclops and the sirens,¹ Odysseus outwits a slothful pack of suitors who had considered him dead while pestering Penelope, his ever-faithful wife.
Odysseus ends up killing them all with the help of his son Telemachus.
¹ The illustration (right) shows Odysseus strapped to the mast of his ship, as he sails past the dangerous bird-women called the sirens. He’d instructed his crew to bind him tight so that he would not be enticed by the sirens’ irresistible song. For once a sailor gets too close to the sirens, there’s no return and death is assured.
Search Think Free » Hermes, Hesiod
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In Greek myth Tartarus is a deity, son of Aither (Sky) and Gaia (Earth).
Additionally, the philosopher Plato wrote of Tartarus as a terrible place of afterlife punishment.
Over time Tartarus came to be spoken of as the lowest abyss in Hades.
The Greek poets say that Ixion and Tantalus were condemned to Tartarus for offending the gods. The evil Titans also were sent there for punishment.
Interestingly, Tantalus was the name of a Penal Colony in the original Star Trek TV series, where people’s minds were blanked out as part of their psychiatric treatment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagger_of_the_Mind).
Digital Dame adds:
Another ST tie-in for Tantalus: In the episode “Mirror, Mirror” where they transposed with their evil counterparts in an alternate universe, Mirror-Kirk’s girlfriend, Marlena, shows good Kirk the Tantalus Device, or Tantalus Field, that vaporizes his enemies. » See in context
David Sacks, A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World, Oxford 1995, pp. 8-9.
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Uranus (Gk: Ouranos)
In astronomy Uranus is the 7th planet orbiting our sun, lying between Saturn and Neptune.
In Greek myth Uranus personifies the sky or the Greek view of Heaven.
Although Uranus’ cultic worship is rare, Hesiod makes ample reference to him in the Theogony. With Gaia his offspring are the Titans, the Cyclops and the Hecatonchires.
Not exactly the best father, he generally despised his offspring and thrust them into Tartarus, a dark and gloomy underworld.
Uranus was later overpowered and castrated by his son Cronus, on the urging of Gaia. This act separated Heaven and Earth. Some variants of the myth say that Uranus’ castration by Cronus led to the birth of Aphrodite when his genitals fell to and churned up the sea.
Pierre Grimal notes that another variant of the Uranus tradition is recorded by Diodorus Siculus. Here Uranus is portrayed as the first king of the Atlantes.
The Atlantes apparently were a fair, God-fearing race living on the shores by an ocean. This Uranus was also a skilled astronomer who devised the first calendar that predicted major events. After being given divine honors at his death and siring 45 children, he eventually came to be identified with the sky.†
» Aphrodite, Aquarius, Athena, Furies, Hesiod, Titans
† Pierre Grimal, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology p. 463.
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