Guide FRAGMENTS & WORKS AND DAYS (Two Books With Active Table of Contents)

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A fourth date, 1,,, years from the beginning of the lcalpa a. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. ZIJ Z 1. Thirdly, there is the passage in the "Theogony" relating to Hesiod and the Muses. It is surely an error to suppose that lines all refer to Hesiod: rather, the author of the "Theogony" tells the story of his own inspiration by the same Muses who once taught Hesiod glorious song.

The lines are therefore a very early piece of tradition about Hesiod, and though the appearance of Muses must be treated as a graceful fiction, we find that a writer, later than the "Works and Days" by perhaps no more than three-quarters of a century, believed in the actuality of Hesiod and in his life as a farmer or shepherd.

Lastly, there is the famous story of the contest in song at Chalcis. In later times the modest version in the "Works and Days" was elaborated, first by making Homer the opponent whom Hesiod conquered, while a later period exercised its ingenuity in working up the story of the contest into the elaborate form in which it still survives. Finally the contest, in which the two poets contended with hymns to Apollo , was transferred to Delos. These developments certainly need no consideration: are we to say the same of the passage in the "Works and Days"?

Critics from Plutarch downwards have almost unanimously rejected the lines , on the ground that Hesiod's Amphidamas is the hero of the Lelantine Wars between Chalcis and Eretria, whose death may be placed circa B. Nevertheless, there is much to be said in defence of the passage. Hesiod's claim in the "Works and Days" is modest, since he neither pretends to have met Homer, nor to have sung in any but an impromptu, local festival, so that the supposed interpolation lacks a sufficient motive.

And there is nothing in the context to show that Hesiod's Amphidamas is to be identified with that Amphidamas whom Plutarch alone connects with the Lelantine War: the name may have been borne by an earlier Chalcidian, an ancestor, perhaps, of the person to whom Plutarch refers. The story of the end of Hesiod may be told in outline. After the contest at Chalcis, Hesiod went to Delphi and there was warned that the 'issue of death should overtake him in the fair grove of Nemean Zeus.

This place, however, was also sacred to Nemean Zeus, and the poet, suspected by his hosts of having seduced their sister , was murdered there. His body, cast into the sea, was brought to shore by dolphins and buried at Oenoe or, according to Plutarch, at Ascra : at a later time his bones were removed to Orchomenus. The whole story is full of miraculous elements, and the various authorities disagree on numerous points of detail. The tradition seems, however, to be constant in declaring that Hesiod was murdered and buried at Oenoe, and in this respect it is at least as old as the time of Thucydides.

In conclusion it may be worth while to add the graceful epigram of Alcaeus of Messene "Palatine Anthology", vii The Hesiodic poems fall into two groups according as they are didactic technical or gnomic or genealogical: the first group centres round the "Works and Days", the second round the "Theogony". The poem consists of four main sections. Helicon, comes a general exhortation to industry. It begins with the allegory of the two Strifes, who stand for wholesome Emulation and Quarrelsomeness respectively.

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Then by means of the Myth of Pandora the poet shows how evil and the need for work first arose, and goes on to describe the Five Ages of the World, tracing the gradual increase in evil, and emphasizing the present miserable condition of the world, a condition in which struggle is inevitable. Next, after the Fable of the Hawk and Nightingale, which serves as a condemnation of violence and injustice, the poet passes on to contrast the blessing which Righteousness brings to a nation, and the punishment which Heaven sends down upon the violent, and the section concludes with a series of precepts on industry and prudent conduct generally.

Neither subject, it should be carefully noted, is treated in any way comprehensively. It is from the second and fourth sections that the poem takes its name.


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At first sight such a work seems to be a miscellany of myths, technical advice, moral precepts, and folklore maxims without any unifying principle; and critics have readily taken the view that the whole is a canto of fragments or short poems worked up by a redactor. Very probably Hesiod used much material of a far older date, just as Shakespeare used the "Gesta Romanorum", old chronicles, and old plays; but close inspection will show that the "Works and Days" has a real unity and that the picturesque title is somewhat misleading.

The poem has properly no technical object at all, but is moral: its real aim is to show men how best to live in a difficult world. So viewed the four seemingly independent sections will be found to be linked together in a real bond of unity. Such a connection between the first and second sections is easily seen, but the links between these and the third and fourth are no less real: to make life go tolerably smoothly it is most important to be just and to know how to win a livelihood; but happiness also largely depends on prudence and care both in social and home life as well, and not least on avoidance of actions which offend supernatural powers and bring ill-luck.

And finally, if your industry is to be fruitful, you must know what days are suitable for various kinds of work. This moral aim—as opposed to the currently accepted technical aim of the poem—explains the otherwise puzzling incompleteness of the instructions on farming and seafaring. Of the Hesiodic poems similar in character to the "Works and Days", only the scantiest fragments survive. One at least of these, the "Divination by Birds", was, as we know from Proclus, attached to the end of the "Works" until it was rejected by Apollonius Rhodius: doubtless it continued the same theme of how to live, showing how man can avoid disasters by attending to the omens to be drawn from birds.

It is possible that the "Astronomy" or "Astrology" as Plutarch calls it was in turn appended to the "Divination".

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It certainly gave some account of the principal constellations, their dates of rising and setting, and the legends connected with them, and probably showed how these influenced human affairs or might be used as guides. The "Precepts of Chiron" was a didactic poem made up of moral and practical precepts, resembling the gnomic sections of the "Works and Days", addressed by the Centaur Chiron to his pupil Achilles.

Even less is known of the poem called the "Great Works": the title implies that it was similar in subject to the second section of the "Works and Days", but longer. Possible references in Roman writers indicate that among the subjects dealt with were the cultivation of the vine and olive and various herbs. The inclusion of the judgment of Rhadamanthys frag. It is therefore possible that another lost poem, the "Idaean Dactyls", which dealt with the discovery of metals and their working, was appended to, or even was a part of the "Great Works", just as the "Divination by Birds" was appended to the "Works and Days".

The only complete poem of the genealogical group is the "Theogony", which traces from the beginning of things the descent and vicissitudes of the families of the gods. Like the "Works and Days" this poem has no dramatic plot; but its unifying principle is clear and simple. The gods are classified chronologically: as soon as one generation is catalogued, the poet goes on to detail the offspring of each member of that generation. Exceptions are only made in special cases, as the Sons of Iapetus ll.

The chief landmarks in the poem are as follows: after the first lines, which contain at least three distinct preludes, three primeval beings are introduced, Chaos, Earth, and Eros—here an indefinite reproductive influence.

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Of these three, Earth produces Heaven to whom she bears the Titans, the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed giants. The Titans, oppressed by their father, revolt at the instigation of Earth, under the leadership of Cronos, and as a result Heaven and Earth are separated, and Cronos reigns over the universe.

Cronos knowing that he is destined to be overcome by one of his children, swallows each one of them as they are born, until Zeus, saved by Rhea, grows up and overcomes Cronos in some struggle which is not described. Cronos is forced to vomit up the children he had swallowed, and these with Zeus divide the universe between them, like a human estate. Two events mark the early reign of Zeus, the war with the Titans and the overthrow of Typhoeus, and as Zeus is still reigning the poet can only go on to give a list of gods born to Zeus by various goddesses.

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After this he formally bids farewell to the cosmic and Olympian deities and enumerates the sons born of goddess to mortals. The poem closes with an invocation of the Muses to sing of the 'tribe of women'. This conclusion served to link the "Theogony" to what must have been a distinct poem, the "Catalogues of Women". This work was divided into four Suidas says five books, the last one or two of which was known as the "Eoiae" and may have been again a distinct poem: the curious title will be explained presently.

The "Catalogues" proper were a series of genealogies which traced the Hellenic race or its more important peoples and families from a common ancestor. The reason why women are so prominent is obvious: since most families and tribes claimed to be descended from a god, the only safe clue to their origin was through a mortal woman beloved by that god; and it has also been pointed out that 'mutterrecht' still left its traces in northern Greece in historical times.

The following analysis after Marckscheffel will show the principle of its composition. From Prometheus and Pronoia sprang Deucalion and Pyrrha, the only survivors of the deluge, who had a son Hellen frag. From the daughters of Deucalion sprang Magnes and Macedon, ancestors of the Magnesians and Macedonians, who are thus represented as cousins to the true Hellenic stock. Hellen had three sons, Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus, parents of the Dorian, Ionic and Aeolian races, and the offspring of these was then detailed.

In one instance a considerable and characteristic section can be traced from extant fragments and notices: Salmoneus, son of Aeolus, had a daughter Tyro who bore to Poseidon two sons, Pelias and Neleus; the latter of these, king of Pylos, refused Heracles purification for the murder of Iphitus, whereupon Heracles attacked and sacked Pylos, killing amongst the other sons of Neleus Periclymenus, who had the power of changing himself into all manner of shapes.

From this slaughter Neleus alone escaped frags. This summary shows the general principle of arrangement of the "Catalogues": each line seems to have been dealt with in turn, and the monotony was relieved as far as possible by a brief relation of famous adventures connected with any of the personages—as in the case of Atalanta and Hippomenes frag. Similarly the story of the Argonauts appears from the fragments to have been told in some detail.

This tendency to introduce romantic episodes led to an important development. Several poems are ascribed to Hesiod, such as the "Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis", the "Descent of Theseus into Hades", or the "Circuit of the Earth" which must have been connected with the story of Phineus and the Harpies, and so with the Argonaut-legend , which yet seem to have belonged to the "Catalogues".

It is highly probable that these poems were interpolations into the "Catalogues" expanded by later poets from more summary notices in the genuine Hesiodic work and subsequently detached from their contexts and treated as independent. This is definitely known to be true of the "Shield of Heracles", the first 53 lines of which belong to the fourth book of the "Catalogues", and almost certainly applies to other episodes, such as the "Suitors of Helen" , the "Daughters of Leucippus", and the "Marriage of Ceyx", which last Plutarch mentions as 'interpolated in the works of Hesiod.

To the "Catalogues", as we have said, was appended another work, the "Eoiae". The title seems to have arisen in the following way : the "Catalogues" probably ended ep. A large fragment of the "Eoiae" is extant at the beginning of the "Shield of Heracles", which may be mentioned here. The "supplement" ll. Nothing shows more clearly the collapse of the principles of the Hesiodic school than this ultimate servile dependence upon Homeric models.

At the close of the "Shield" Heracles goes on to Trachis to the house of Ceyx, and this warning suggests that the "Marriage of Ceyx" may have come immediately after the 'Or such as was' of Alcmena in the "Eoiae": possibly Halcyone, the wife of Ceyx, was one of the heroines sung in the poem, and the original section was 'developed' into the "Marriage", although what form the poem took is unknown. Next to the "Eoiae" and the poems which seemed to have been developed from it, it is natural to place the "Great Eoiae". This, again, as we know from fragments, was a list of heroines who bare children to the gods: from the title we must suppose it to have been much longer that the simple "Eoiae", but its extent is unknown.

Lehmann, remarking that the heroines are all Boeotian and Thessalian while the heroines of the "Catalogues" belong to all parts of the Greek world , believes the author to have been either a Boeotian or Thessalian. Two other poems are ascribed to Hesiod. Of these the "Aegimius" also ascribed by Athenaeus to Cercops of Miletus , is thought by Valckenaer to deal with the war of Aegimus against the Lapithae and the aid furnished to him by Heracles, and with the history of Aegimius and his sons. Otto Muller suggests that the introduction of Thetis and of Phrixus frags.

The remaining poem, the "Melampodia", was a work in three books, whose plan it is impossible to recover. Its subject, however, seems to have been the histories of famous seers like Mopsus, Calchas, and Teiresias, and it probably took its name from Melampus, the most famous of them all. There is no doubt that the "Works and Days" is the oldest, as it is the most original, of the Hesiodic poems.

It seems to be distinctly earlier than the "Theogony", which refers to it, apparently, as a poem already renowned. Two considerations help us to fix a relative date for the "Works". Herodotus indeed puts both poets years before his own time; that is, at about B. The "Theogony" might be tentatively placed a century later; and the "Catalogues" and "Eoiae" are again later, but not greatly later, than the "Theogony": the "Shield of Heracles" may be ascribed to the later half of the seventh century, but there is not evidence enough to show whether the other 'developed' poems are to be regarded as of a date so low as this.