Hesiod


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Hesiod

(hē`sēəd, hĕs`–), fl. 8th cent.? B.C., Greek poet. He is thought to have lived later than Homer, but there is no absolute certainty about the dates of his life. Hesiod portrays himself as a Boeotian farmer. Little is known of his life, however, except for the few scant references he makes to his family's origin and to a quarrel over property with his brother. His most famous poem, the didactic Works and Days, is an epic of Greek rural life, filled with caustic advice for his brother and maxims for farmers to pursue. The "days" are days lucky or unlucky for particular tasks. Works and Days discourses on the mythic "five races" (i.e., the five ages) of humans; the Golden Age, ruled by Kronos, a period of serenity, peace, and eternal spring; the Silver Age, ruled by Zeus, less happy, but with luxury prevailing; the Bronze Age, a period of strife; the Heroic Age of the Trojan War; and the Iron Age, the present, when justice and piety had vanished. Hesiod's systemization, especially the idealized Golden Age, became deeply entrenched in the Western imagination and was expanded upon by Ovid. Also ascribed to him are the Theogony, a genealogy of the gods, and the first 56 lines of The Shield of Heracles. He gave his name to the Hesiodic school of poets, rivals of the Homeric school. Homer and Hesiod codified and preserved the myths of many of the Greek gods of the classical pantheon.

Bibliography

See translations by Lattimore (1959, 1991), and R. Lamberton, Hesiod (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hesiod

 

Dates of birth and death unknown. Ancient Greek poet of the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.

Hesiod’s didactic narrative poems Works and Days and Theogony (Genealogy of the Gods) have been preserved intact. They reflect the view of life held by the Greeks at the time when class society was taking form. In Works and Days, the social attitudes of working farmers, oppressed by the clan aristocracy, are voiced. This is the source of the poem’s denunciation of social inequality, its elevation of justice to the status of highest ethical principle, and the celebration of labor as the basis of life. Along with practical advice on agricultural matters, expressing the life experience and superstitions of rural people, the work contains vivid descriptions of nature, apt proverbs, and parables. The Theogony is a forerunner of ancient Greek philosophy, the first attempt by the Greeks at a systematization not only of the genealogy of the gods but of the origin of the world. The poem concludes with a genealogy of Greek heroines, setting the pattern for the genealogical trend in ancient Greek literature.

WORKS

Hesiodi carmina. Edited by A. Rzach. Leipzig, 1913.
Théogonia. Text verified and translated by P. Mason. Paris, 1951.
Theogony. Edited by M. L. West. Oxford, 1966.
Fragmenta Hesiodea. Edited by R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford, 1967.
In Russian translation:
In Ellinskie poety v perevodakh V. V. Veresaeva. Moscow, 1963.

REFERENCES

Trencsényi-Waldapfel, I. Gomer i Gesiod. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from Hungarian.)
Radtsig, S. I. Istoriia drevnegrecheskoi literatury, 2nd ed. [Moscow] 1959.
Burn, A. R. The World of Hesiod. London, 1936.
Solmsen, F. Hesiod and Aeschylus. [New York] 1949.
Hésiode et son influence. Geneva-Paris, 1960.

T. V. POPOVA

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Hesiod

8th century bc, Greek poet and the earliest author of didactic verse. His two complete extant works are the Works and Days, dealing with the agricultural seasons, and the Theogony, concerning the origin of the world and the genealogies of the gods
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Hesiod

(project)
The name server of the Athena project.

This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
References in periodicals archive ?
1815, from an album of 37 drawings Illustrating Hesiod's Works and Days and Theogony, John Flaxman (1755-1826), pen and grey ink over graphite, 19.9x33cm (drawing).
The breakdown in Hesiod illustrates merely one perspective, differing from others explaining the same phenomenon with the same data and comparable sources, all part of the multiregional oral tradition in circulation at the time.
For with these Milesian thinkers, man relied no longer on the traditional stories told of our beginnings and of the structure of the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]--on the tales told by Hesiod, in particular--but on what was accessible to human reason alone.
Hesiod's use of personal pronouns is notoriously opaque in the section of the Theogony's catalogue of monsters where Echidna is described.
His Imagini followed five years later, a work of true mythography rather than an emblem book: instead of merely recording, it interprets classical mythology according to a tradition anciently established by Hesiod and continued (among many others) by Plato, the sixth-century scholar Fulgentius, and the Vatican mythographers--the anonymous authors of twelfth-century manuscripts based on the holdings of the Vatican library.
They examine theories (such as those of foreignness by Homer and Hesiod, genealogies and origins, environmental theories, genetic theories, and custom or culture theories), and present the composition of the peoples of the ancient world (Egypt, Libya, Carthage and Numidia, Ethiopia, Persia, the Parthians, Judea and the Jewish diaspora, and China and the edge of the world), then analyze Europe's Black Sea region, Gaul, Germany and Britain.
Ranging down through the halls of history from Homer and Hesiod, to Sophocles, Plato, and Aristotle, to Philon of Larissa and Cicero of Rome, to Josephus, Plutarch and Justinian, to Dante Aligheiri, William of Ockham, and Petrarch, to Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther, and Copernicus, to Queen Elizabeth, William Shakespeare, and Locke, and so many more, we are treated to a wealth of historical personalities, their lives, accomplishments and influences.
The literary antecedents to his version of Agrarianism were Hesiod's Works and Days, Virgil's Georgics, and the Old Testament.
Many are less acquainted with the Theogony of Hesiod, and still fewer with the works of Fulgentius, Servius, Hyginus, and the Vatican mythographers.
"Poetic Heroes" (chapter 1) treats traditional heroes in Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar.