hesiod

hesiod

[hee-see-uhd, hes-ee-]

Ancient records indicate that Hesiod, an ancient Greek scholar, was born sometime around the seventh century BC. He is most famous for his Theogony, wherein he compiled numerous Greek myths and fables into a single cosmogony. In it, he attempts to describe the origin of the Earth and Universe through a number of different deities and supernatural elements. Hesiod's Theogony bear a number of elements common to a wide variety of other cosmological mythologies as well. For example, he expresses the notion that the world was created out of chaos or a void of darkness. Following the creation of the Earth, Gaia, the sky, or Ouranous was brought into existence and from their procreation came the other deities, such as Zeus and Athena. What is interesting about this poem is Hesiod's careful attention to lineage and phylogeny, as he carefully describes the ancestry of the gods, goddesses and deities that populate the Earth.

Like nearly all poets and artists of this time period, Hesiod invokes the blessing of the Muses in his works, holding that his creativity is a derivation from their divine wisdom. Aside from his Theogony, Hesiod is also widely famous for writing an 800 stanza poem titled, Works and Days. This poem outlines the necessity for strong work ethic and ambition and takes on a number of philosophical and moral questions. In a similar fashion to his Theogony, Hesiod delves into superstition in this piece as well. He describes the nature of good and bad luck and also provides a chronology for the history of mankind, detailing the fall to hedonism and sloth. One of the only other famous Greek poets from around this time period is Homer. He is distinguished from his epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. These are still read today by most high school or middle school students and frequently used as an introduction to classics in higher education.

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