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(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.


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



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.


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.


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.



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


The name server of the Athena project.

References in periodicals archive ?
Epimenides has retained the abusive and largely physiological tone of the Hesiodic text but subordinates the physiological insults to a moral criticism: Cretans do not tell the truth, and for this reason they deserve the epithets "nasty beasts" and "lazy stomachs.
23) Lobel originally assigned the fragment to the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, and, with the exception of Merkelbach-West, this placement has been accepted.
Both stomach (gaster) and womb (hystera), symbolized by Pandora's pithos, arc in the mythic or at least Hesiodic imagination the motivation for woman's "prodigality": she will take wh at is man's to fill her stomach and give ambiguous goods (children) from tier womb to him.
This would not be the only Hesiodic allusion in the ode.
Aphrodite is called the "child of Zeus," thus indicating that this is not the Hesiodic goddess "born of foam," but the Homeric Aphrodite, who was a somewhat more personal goddess.
For instance, in his chronicle De Novo Orbe, which included a series of reports or narratives called "Decas" [Decades], describing the trans-Atlantic explorations of Columbus and other Spanish explorers, the Italian-born Spanish historian and humanist Peter Martyr d'Anghiera described the natives of Hispaniola in the way that not only pointed to Columbus's own accounts but also brought to the fore a social and political meaning with Hesiodic or mythical allusions:
Poetry in Fragments: Studies on the Hesiodic Corpus and Its Afterlife
Something similar happens in the Hesiodic "Catalogue of Women," where women are defined by the sons they gave birth.
As with Thales, Anaximander's claim to have unproblematic access to a unified [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of all things necessitates a denial of this Hesiodic distinction, so that--again, as with Thales--divine providence gives way to human.
His examples here are ritual Orphic and Hesiodic mysteries as well as mystical cults of the Pythagoreans that were dedicated to the origins of the gods and to their deeds.
Scylla's limitation--the fact that to escape from her is possible--already suggests that she is not exactly of the same mold as the Hesiodic monster.
For instance, in Pagano's interpretation of the Hesiodic fable of the Giants struck by Jupiter, primitive man signified a terrific earthquake that destroyed Italy, reducing it to brute conditions.