Hesiod: Testimonia

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Harvard University Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 308 pages
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Hesiod describes himself as a Boeotian shepherd who heard the Muses call upon him to sing about the gods. His exact dates are unknown, but he has often been considered a younger contemporary of Homer. This volume of the new Loeb Classical Library edition offers a general introduction, a fluid translation facing an improved Greek text of Hesiod's two extant poems, and a generous selection of testimonia from a wide variety of ancient sources regarding Hesiod's life, works, and reception.

In Theogony Hesiod charts the history of the divine world, narrating the origin of the universe and the rise of the gods, from first beginnings to the triumph of Zeus, and reporting on the progeny of Zeus and of goddesses in union with mortal men. In Works and Days Hesiod shifts his attention to the world of men, delivering moral precepts and practical advice regarding agriculture, navigation, and many other matters; along the way he gives us the myths of Pandora and of the Golden, Silver, and other Races of Men.

 

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User Review  - humdog - LibraryThing

i love this book because it says that somebody castrated his father, and aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty was the result. i am enchanted with that notion, relative to aesthetics. it makes freud look, well, PALE. Read full review

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Vol.1

Contents

Acknowledgments
vii
Theogony
3
Works and Days
87
Testimonia
154
Testimonia Concordance
283
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About the author (2006)

The poet Hesiod tells us that his father gave up sea-trading and moved from Ascra to Boeotia, that as he himself tended sheep on Mount Helicon the Muses commanded him to sing of the gods, and that he won a tripod for a funeral song at Chalcis. The poems credited to him with certainty are: the Theogony, an attempt to bring order into the otherwise chaotic material of Greek mythology through genealogies and anecdotes about the gods; and The Works and Days, a wise sermon addressed to his brother Perses as a result of a dispute over their dead father's estate. This latter work presents the injustice of the world with mythological examples and memorable images, and concludes with a collection of folk wisdom. Uncertain attributions are the Shield of Heracles and the Catalogue of Women. Hesiod is a didactic and individualistic poet who is often compared and contrasted with Homer, as both are representative of early epic style. "Hesiod is earth-bound and dun colored; indeed part of his purpose is to discredit the brilliance and the ideals of heroism glorified in the homeric tradition. But Hesiod, too, is poetry, though of a different order. . . " (Moses Hadas, N.Y. Times).

Glenn W. Most is Professor of Greek Philology, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, and Professor of Social Thought, University of Chicago.

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