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Hesiod and Theognis

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  2,524 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
Hesiod was an early Greek poet and rhapsode, who presumably lived around 700 BCE. His writings serve as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient timekeeping. Of the many works attributed to Hesiod, three survive complete and many more in fragmentary state. They include Alexandrian papyri, some dating from as early as the 1s ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 22nd 1973 by Penguin Classics (first published -750)
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One cannot compare Hesiod’s ‘Theogony’ with Homer’s ‘Illiad’ or Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ for that matter. Hesiod’s poem does not have the wit and irony of Ovid’s work nor the intriguing plot of an ‘Illiad’ or an ‘Odysseus’. It describes how the Greek universe with its gods came into existence and how Zeus gained sovereignty over the world as “father of gods and men”. I would not choose this as a bedside reading, unless you have difficulties with falling asleep: This is sometimes more a list than a ...more
Valentina Quiceno
El inicio de todo. Hermoso.
David Sarkies
Oct 24, 2012 David Sarkies rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love mythology
Recommended to David by: David Hester
Shelves: myth
The Greek Genesis
26 October 2012

There seems to be a debate as to the usefulness of this little text and I would pretty much fall into the category of not much. The reason that I say that is because if this book was lost then we would lose very little of our understanding of Greek Mythology. Everything that is contained in this little book is also contained in more expanded works such as the Library of Greek Mythology and Ovid. While it is a primary source, it is still something that we could pr
Jan 09, 2011 Jesse rated it really liked it
Hesiod was considered the equal of Homer by the ancients. Although this view is impossible for a modern to hold without being deceitful, there is still much to begrudgingly admire in Hesiod. For one, his creation myth is pretty standard for the time period, and so we get a glimpse into typical Greek piety and/or a typical Greek state ceremony as, we must remember, all myths are corporate PR campaigns, and the Theogony represents a classic of the genre. Homer, we recall, was private, after-hours ...more
Sonia M
Aug 03, 2016 Sonia M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic
Σημαντικό για να ξεδιπλώσει κάποιος το κουβάρι της ελληνικής μυθολογίας, βαρετό και χωρίς φαντασία σαν ποίημα. Ο Ησίοδος δίνει μεν το γενεαλογικό δέντρο θεών και ηρώων, αλλά το δίνει λες και αριθμεί ονόματα σε στήλες με ελάχιστες λεπτομέρειες για το καθένα. Πολλά από τα κοσμητικά επίθετα επαναλαμβάνονται π.χ. όταν περιγράφει τον Δία με τις αστραπές. Ο Ησίοδος δεν ήταν Όμηρος. Ευτυχώς, όμως, συγκέντρωσε τους μύθους, το συλλογικό ασυνείδητο του ελληνικού λαού εκείνης της εποχής και τους κατέγραψε ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Helmut rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arma deumque cano
Es ist schon peinlich - da kommen im Fernsehen diese amerikanischen Blockbuster "Kampf der Titanen" und "Zorn der Götter" und so weiter, und man wird für einen klugen, gebildeten Menschen gehalten und daher gefragt, was nun dieser oder jener Gott so für Eigenschaften hat und ob nun Athene mit Zeus verwandt ist und wer der langhaarige, dauerflüsternde Bursche ist, der so viel Unheil plant. Und dann steht man da und ist stellenweise ratlos, weil man selbst kaum durch die von sich
Jul 12, 2014 Ananthu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic, mythology
Theogony traces the creation of the cosmos and the genealogy of the Greek gods. There’s a cornucopia of nasty stuff here: patricide, incest, blatant misogyny, swallowing up one's own progeny and whatnot. Typical Greek mythology stuff! I was expecting a fascinating encounter but it turned out be dry and monotonous, and failed to grab my attention. Being an oratory work, I guess we do miss its purported impact when read in print. I would have been delighted if there was an Ian Mckellen rendering; ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Serena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hesiod, I think, has been shoved too often as being a misogynist because of the lines below.

"And Zeus who thunders on high was stung in spirit, and his dear heart was angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire. Forthwith he made an evil thing for men as the price of fire; for the very famous Limping God formed of earth the likeness of a shy maiden as the son of Cronos willed. And the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her with silvery raiment, and down from her head she
Ioan Suhov
Oct 31, 2016 Ioan Suhov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is certainly the most chauvinistic of the variations of the Grecian creation myths that I have read. It displays a psychology where women are highlighted only through marriage, physical consumption/cannibalism or by the children they produce. Females outside of this dynamic, such as Artemis are barely ever mentioned. Given, this might be because Hesiod wrote another volume entitled the "Catalogue of Women", and therefor decided not to highlight them here. But the specific use of language at ...more
Apr 03, 2015 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations, epics
There is, unfortunately, very little value in this poem outside of its academic worth. Of course, it is incredibly noteworthy as an epic predecessor of Homer's works (I myself have an unhealthy academic interest in epic literature), and gives an interesting alternative view of some of the myths we treat as canonical today (the titans are listed as gargantuan grotesques having fifty heads each; Medusa appears fated differently; and Hecate, ever viewed as the grand mistress of Hell, is actually me ...more
Jun 10, 2011 Marta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes. One of the oldest books ever written, maybe 700 B.C. I can't say much about how it's written because I think it was translated countless times and probably it's not even near to the original, but still it was a little difficult to read at the beginning but only few pages later you get used to it and you can fully concentrate on the "story".

Of course it's helpful if you have some basic knowledge in mythology, otherwise it can be a little confusing o.O
In my opinion it was too short. I've rea
حسين إسماعيل
Sep 09, 2015 حسين إسماعيل rated it really liked it
هذا الكتاب عظيم.
Sep 19, 2015 Jesus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poesía muy bien hecha y la historia de la mitología griega es increíble.
Erica Zahn
Jul 20, 2015 Erica Zahn rated it it was ok
Shelves: classical, poetry
This would average to a 2.5 overall.

Although Hesiod was given a similar status to Homer in Greek society, it seems pretty clear that they are not really on the same level, whichever of the two poems of either you compare. At first, confusingly, I thought the introduction was trying to claim that the Theogony and Works and Days were written by two different people (which is entirely plausible, and the introduction does at least bring this up and discuss it), hence the dual authorship in the title
Jul 05, 2014 sabisteb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Hesiods Thogenie ist… speziell. Obwohl Hesiod ein Zeitgenosse Homers ist, ist die Theogenie wahrlich nicht so unterhaltsam, was wohl an ihrem Sinn und Zweck in Kombination mit ihren Stil liegt.
Erzählt wird die Schöpfungsgeschichte der alten Griechen.

Am Anfang waren Chaos, Gaia, Tartaros, Eros, Erebos und Nyx. Gaia und Eros bekommen Uranos, den Himmel und noch ein paar mehr nachkommen. Danach verpaart sich Gaia mit ihrem Kind Uranos und bekommt noch ein paar Nachkommen, bis es Uranos reicht und e
Christopher Rush
Nov 26, 2013 Christopher Rush rated it liked it
It's good to finally have read Hesiod, even if only in translation. He definitely is far more supportive of Zeus than Homer is. Strangely enough, I was reading this while also reading Samuel Butler's Homer (that's not too strange, I suppose) and also while playing through the God of War series again: three quite different perspectives on the gods all at the same time made for an interesting week. Theognis was all right, but aside from some interesting couplets here and there, it mostly boils dow ...more
This review pertains to the Kindle version.

As someone very familiar with Greek mythology, this was my first reading of Hesiod and "Theogony". While I have read Fagles' translations of Homer and Virgil, I've never ventured into the classics of Greek or Roman mythology. I have read other translated histories or philosophical writings from the Classical era and have to say I found the translation difficult for a few reasons. First, the source material is laced with implied information that would n
Jackson Cyril
It's really cool to read a poem written over 2000 years ago and realize that the poet and you share many similarities. Hesiod's description of beautiful women correspond to women I'd consider beautiful today, shapely bodies and big breasts, and his ideal men are strong and heroic ( similar to today) I guess society really hasn't changed many of its ideals much. Some slight background on the guy: Hesiod was one of the earliest Greek poets and Theogony is his tale of how the gods came to be. We've ...more
Not the translation I needed for my Ancient Greek course but a great translation just the same. I love Hesiod's "Theogony". His "Works and Days" is also included in this volume and while not as superior as the Theogony, is still a delight to read.

These are followed by Theognis' Elegies, which is mainly focused on the changes in the Greek society of the day and was written approximately 200 years after Hesiod's works.

Theogony charts the Greek Creation myths, about the beginning of the reign of
Jun 15, 2015 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, greece
Hesiod's works are classics among classics (and will teach you the detailed rules for taking a piss in ancient Greece!) but Theognis was a big surprise. He writes a number of brilliantly whiny and almost hilariously cynical sayings and short pieces, and his voice is really something different than my (meager) experience with the ancient Greeks thus far. I'd compare it more to Job in the Bible, or possibly even the bleakest classical Chinese poets. The obvious inspiration he had on Nietzsche is a ...more
Rita	 Marie
Jan 05, 2013 Rita Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-nonfiction
I can't compare this to any other translation of version of Hesiod's Theogony since I've only read the one, but it seemed okay -- flowed well, readable, and, of course, interesting.

One minor quibble -- it was a little over-annotated for me. Not just explanatory notes about the gods, stories, etc., but comparisons to how Hesiod handled them as compared with Homer, Ovid, and a host of other authors. Anyone who desires all that info would love this book.

On the plus side, the appendices were quite
This is supposed to be one of the oldest stories (700 BC?) about the genealogy of Greek gods. Quite a difficult read though one can't really complain since it must've been passed on in oral form. It contains lots and lots of lists about who was born to whom and I kept skipping them. Contains some very gruesome tales about Gods killing their children and vice versa. Hesiod loves Zeus and it shows from the way he takes him to the supreme seat in the universe.

Though it's understandable that this i
Syahira Sharif
Theogony are basically the list of geneology of greek gods and goddesses. Frankly theres very little plot in this hesiod poem except for... Lists of names. Weird. Basically it told a story from the beginning of time with Chasm and Kronos eventual defeat by his son Zeus, the captivity of titans, more names and athena's birth. I will read Theogony again in other translation but generally, its like a summary more than a telling. Review much later
Saif Ali
I'm divided as to how to rate this. The Theogony is a boring read. Even as someone who enjoys mythology, it is not particularly exciting. It reads likes the genealogical record of the divine family tree that it is. However, its importance to our understanding of Greek myth and religion is immeasurable.
Salah Sameh
رغم أي تناقض في السرد بس هي دي قصة الخلق اليونانية, أصل الآلهة أو أنسابها. من أول الخواء Chaos لحد ولادة أطفال أوديسيوس.
نص مُهم في الديانة اليونانية القديمة وبينتمي للشعر التعليمي فلا هو غنائي ذاتي ولا هو ملحمي تاريخي. ومع أي محاولة للاندماج في خضم النص يفصلك هسيود بأسماء جديدة ويجب عليك تدوينها ونسيان متعة النص الغائبة تقريباً.
A.L. Butcher
Quite slow going and hard work. I was reading this for a course or I'd probably have stopped. Not nearly as lyrical and interesting as many of the other classics of the ancient world.

The misogyny got annoying after a while too.

It is, however to be valued as an account of the ancient Greeks and their beliefs, a work of mythology and as such an old text.

Kathy B
I liked it, as it was a different take on the stories of the gods than Homer, but didn't find his prose flowed as well as Homer. Trying the Homeric poems next to see if those are more readable.
Feb 04, 2016 Turkish rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Урану отрезали член.
Muath Aziz
Jul 14, 2015 Muath Aziz rated it really liked it
It seems that Hesiod was appreciated by Alexandrian critics over Homer for his peaceful tone in Works and Days. The didactic tone in Works and Days and many mythical aspects seem to be influenced by Near East (Mesopotamia, Hebrew prophets) according to Martin Litchfield West and many others. Below I comment on the similarity between the poem and Islam (Abrahamic religion that descended from Hebrew and Christianity), I wrote it mostly in Arabic for quoting from Quran and Muhammad’s (pbuh) teachin ...more
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  • The Poems
  • Homeric Hymns
  • Bellum Catilinae
  • Women of Trachis
  • Alessandro, Cesare
  • A History of My Times
  • Guide to Greece: Central Greece (Guide to Greece, #1)
  • The Athenian Constitution
  • Poems
  • Greek Art
  • Herakles
  • Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age
  • The Library of Greek Mythology
  • The Comedies
  • Theophrastus: Characters
  • Menander: The Plays and Fragments
  • Ancient Mystery Cults
  • The Greek Myths: Vol. 2
Hesiod, the father of Greek didactic poetry, probably flourished during the 8th century BC. Hesiod's earliest poem, the famous Works and Days, and according to Boeotian testimony the only genuine one, embodies the experiences of his daily life and work, and, interwoven with episodes of fable, allegory, and personal history, forms a sort of Boeotian shepherd's calendar. The other poem attributed to ...more
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“When quarrel and strife arose among the immortals, if one of them that dwells on Olympus speaks false, Zeus sends Iris to bring the gods' great oath from far off in a golden jug, the celebrated golden water that drops from a high, sheer cliff and, far below the wide-pathed earth, flows from the holy river through dark night, a branch of Oceanus. A tenth part is her share: nine parts Oceanus winds round the earth and the broad back of the sea with his silver eddies, and falls into the brine, while that one part issues forth from the cliff, a great bane to the gods.” 0 likes
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