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Hesiod

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Hesiod and the Muse

Hesiod and the Muse by Gustav Moreau via Wikipedia

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

Not unlike the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Bhagavad Gita, Old Testament or Koran, Hesiod writes:

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.

Related Posts » Aesculapius, Blessed Isles, Eros, Hercules, Orpheus, Uranus

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