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Works and Days and Theogony

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  11,472 ratings  ·  360 reviews
"Robert Lamberton's Introduction is an excellent, concise exposition of current scholarly debate: his notes are informative and helpful. . . . Those who want a translation that captures something of the spirit of an ancient Greek poetic voice and its cultural milieu and transmits it in an appealing, lively, and accessible style will now turn to Lombardo." --M. A. Katz, Wes ...more
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (first published -700)
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Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theogony is on the dullish side. It moves along at a fine, brisk pace, but it's mostly just genealogy, with a few stories interspersed. I can see how it's important, as a sort of “myth central,” but Hesiod is narrowly focused here on names, and parentage, and he's so reverent about “loud-thundering” Zeus that he can list page after page of the women Zeus slept with and the children he sired without ever giving a hint of the dramas or jealousies usually involved in these stories. Zeus comes acros ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find Hesiod's works quite interesting. I had started studying them around the time when I was seriously studying the Book of Enoch. The parallels between the two are rather striking. It seems obvious that they were drawing from a common stream of traditions. Scholars that have postulated that Hesiod was influenced by Middle Eastern myth are almost certainly correct. A Phoenician provenance is likely.

The Book of Enoch was a kind of midrash, or expansion, on the account of the Sons of God marry
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to read original texts of Greek Mythology, not just modern retellings.
"Hesiod is a less familiar name to the general reader than Homer, Aeschylus, or Plato, and no one would claim that he is as great a writer as they."
I'm relieved that the introduction says this because I found Theogony and Works and Days somewhat dull. I picked it up because I have a personal project to read ancient sources of mythology (and I actually like doing so) and wanted to read Hesiod in preparation for reading Ovid. I'm glad I read it and it's interesting overall, but I can't lie, I fel
Deserving to be read on its own merits as a classic, my immediate purpose for reading Hesiod was to get a refresher on the origins of the Olympian gods and goddesses. An overview of the pantheon seemed sensible as Greco-Roman history and philosophy is going to be a constant thread in my reading this year. Although lesser known, Hesiod stands alongside Homer in fashioning the Greek worldview of Olympia.

M.L. West prefaces his translation with an excellent introduction giving context both to Hesiod
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite often, when reading texts from the Roman and Classical Greek world, one encounters references to the poetry of Homer and Hesiod. They're often mentioned in the same breath. I think most people - even those who have no interest at all in reading books - have heard of Homer, even if only for his yellow namesake.

Hesiod, on the other hand, is now much less famous. His poems have a sort of dusty obscurity. There are two of his works still extant. Theogony is a poem describing the genealogy of
David Sarkies
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy lovers
Recommended to David by: David Hester
Shelves: philosophy
Advice on living a prosperous life
26 October 2012

Okay, this book is both the Theogony and The Works and Days, but I simply want to write about the Works and Days here simply because I cannot find the book under a single listing (unlike the Theogony). Anyway, this is also the version of Hesiod that I own (though I believe it was given to me by a friend when I studied Classical Studies way back in the mists of history).
The Works and Days is advice on how to live the life of a farmer, and is writ
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The root of written Greek mythology, these epic poems along with Homer's works are the foundation of their creative stories. I was happy to find a written source for these myths and that they thoroughly covered the pantheon in such a short work. Being unaware of Hesiod until a few days ago I had been wondering if the Greek myths were all in fact oral tradition only or if there were an older written source. If I understand properly, though Hesiod is the earliest written account of the myths, his ...more
I am not a fan of Hesiod. I realized this last year when I was supposed to read this for class. Needless to say, I didn't do it. But, as a classics major, I felt like I needed to read this even if I hated it.

Theogony wasn't too bad. I love genealogy and learning about the gods, so with the help of those I was somewhat able to ignore Hesiod's arrogance. However, I was not able to do the same when reading Works and Days. I can only take so much hatred towards women before I have to quit the book.
David Lentz
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many readers focus on the Theogony, which is the ancient Greeks Creation Story, and which Hesiod articulated masterfully. The descriptions of the battles between Zeus and the Titans made for vivid and stirring oration in the hands of a great speaker, as he boasts that he was by citing his awards. However, I was more intrigued by Works and Days. The advice of Hesiod was, indeed, sagacious: "It is good to take from what is available, but sorrow to the heart to be wanting what is not." And I liked ...more
1st book - Theogony
This work is a poem of 1022 verses that can be structured as follows: 1 to 115 introduction, which dedicated to presenting the Muses, their characteristics and their way of acting. From verse 116 to 125 deals with the original or elemental beings (Kaos, Gea, and Eros), these being the first divine generation. In the middle of verses 126 and 239 deals the second generation of gods also their decency, here wherever we find that famous account concerning Uranus's castration at Ch
Mike Anastasia
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Theogony, along with The Iliad & Odyssey and The Aeneid represent the three greatest pieces of Classical lore (with regards to historical intentions) in western literature and this is the definitive translation (also see Dr. Fagles') assigned to college students. All three of these stories have taken on lives of their own and have influenced western society in more ways than I could ever convey. Other seminal works include The Oresteia, Oedipus Rex/Antigone, Jason & the Argonauts and Medea, ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, theology
"Theogony" was, quite predictably, utterly dry and boring. Almost every creation story I've read is equally as dry and boring, though the parallels between them all can lend you some amusement as you're reading (assuming you're moderately familiar with multiple creation myths). "Works and Days" was the highlight for me. If nothing else, I loved it because it was so delightfully snarky. Reading as Hesiod continuously tells his brother what a waste of space he is just made me giggle, and is a nice ...more
Chad Gibbons
If you're fascinated by Greek Mythology, don't read a book ABOUT it, read the ACTUAL stuff. Reading Hesiod, Homer, Apollodorus, and Ovid will cover about 90% of everything you'll need.

Theogony itself is dry as dust, but it sets the requisite genealogy and origin stories in place for everything that comes after it.
Czarny Pies
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eighteen year olds who are fed up with getting advice from big brother.
Shelves: greek-and-roman
I first read the "Works and Days" 45 yeas ago for an undergraduate course in the history of Classical Greece. The poem which contains in its essence is the argument of one brother attempting to convince him that happiness in life comes from hard work and honesty not idleness and dishonesty has an obvious relevance to young people of every generation given that each generation of young people spend the first the forty years of their lives listening to family members and friends telling them how t ...more
Nostalgia Reader
3.5 stars.

Theogony: 4 stars
Works & Days: 2.5 stars
Both Introductions taken as a whole: 4 stars
"The Psychology of the Succession Myth": 3.5 stars
Anwen Hayward
This is one of those books that are incredibly hard to ascribe a star rating to. Did I enjoy reading it? I mean, there were bits that I enjoyed - the list of superstitions at the end of Works and Days, for example - and there were bits that I had to trudge through like I was wading through soup. Of course, much of that is because I'm coming at this text as a modern reader, used to reading fast paced novels, with nuanced characters and intricate plots. Hesiod, being very much not a modern writer, ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Concepts and ideas will be explored through this review. What the Greeks worried about, how they thought, etc.

The Translation

Weinfield and Schlegel do an excellent job in capturing the essence of the poem by using the English fourteener. Flexible and capacious, the Greek rhyme can be expressed, allowing for varied rhyming, something which would not be possible if they had used the iambic hexameter.

"Now Zeus no longer curbed his strength; at once his breast was filled
With vigor, and all
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hesiod is probably the only person who can simultaneously write one of the most famous works in ancient history and, in the process, insult his brother.
But who knows, maybe there are other writers with such skill?

"What have you achieved? Nothing.
So now do you come to me. You've done nothing.
And so I will give you nothing.
One more cup of nothing is all I will loan you,
Perses you dumb child!"

To be fair to Perses, Hesiod was only inventing a situation to show him what would happen if he were to rem
M.G. Bianco
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was not exactly an interesting read. It wasn't boring either, but not interesting.

Hesiod's Theogony is the genesis account of the Greek gods. He basically recounts who begat whom, intermingled with the stories of gods overthrowing gods, and gods (Prometheus, a Titan) aiding and abetting humans against the gods, and the gods responding in kind against the humans (Pandora's jar).

There are some interesting parallels (usually contrasting parallels, though) between Theogony and Genesis. Pet
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A reread. While Hesiod is not a great book to read for entertainment, it is fascinating as a historical work. Lombardo's translation is alternately charming and irritating.
Paul Dobson
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great stage-setting classical reading for Greek myth. Short, sweet and to the point, yet keeps your interest. After this book, you have a foundation for any further reading in this branch of Classics.
Chris J
I read only Works and Days from this twin bill. Here, Hesiod tries (no doubt in vain) to instruct his poor bastard brother, Perses, how to keep from being a burden on his fellow man and a complete loser. Hesiod's instructions are largely practical and run the gambit from the sublime ("wealth's better not grabbed but given by the gods") to the mundane (rivers - "don't ever shit in them").

My favorite line is his description of his hometown:

"bad in winter, godawful in summer, nice never."
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as the translation goes, I think M.L. West did a great job. I was particularly impressed with the fact that rather than Chaos, he used the name Chasm. Many translations use the name Chaos because the ancient Greek word LOOKS most like Chaos (χαος). The literal translation does not actually mean disorder though, rather it means empty space, which is where the author gets Chasm.

Theogony: The story being told here is an interesting one. It is the equivalent to Genesis in the Bible. It is the
Daniel Chaikin
28. Theogony and Works and Days by Hesiod, translated by M. L. West
composition: c ~725 bce
format: 96 page Oxford World Classic Paperback
acquired: July 2015
read: May 23-25
rating: 3 stars

(My first book after Gravity's Rainbow)....Hesiod's two surviving complete texts are very short and, while interesting, I did not find them terribly fascinating. They were maybe a bit light. West translated the work into prose. I would have preferred a poetic translation.

Theogony: Essentially a list, this serve
And I quote: "Do not urinate standing turned towards the sun; and after sunset and until sunrise, bear in mind, do not urinate either on the road or off the road walking, nor uncovered: the nights belong to the blessed ones. The godly man of sound sense does it squatting, or going to the wall of the courtyard enclosure. And when your private parts are stained with semen indoors, do not let them be seen as you go near the hearth-fire, but avoid it."

Hahahahahaha, this is hilarious. In another par
Theogony is an important foundational work of Greek myth and religion because it lays out the the genealogy of the gods, moving from the cthonic ancient gods, through the Titans, to the Olympians. It also provides lists of sexual encounters and (more rarely) marriages, with lists of children, which helps establish some of the relationships between the gods.

Works and Days is an important poem for what it tells us about Greek material culture and wisdom/ethics. It's add
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I reread this anticipating a dry and dull reading experience, irrelevant to my life. It's true that Hesiod's writing is far from what people produce these days -- no New Yorker-esque politically intertextual submessages -- but it's full of beauty nonetheless. I especially like Works and Days, which is a kind of guide to farming and practical work. It's neat to think of Hesiod toiling away with his goats and vinyards and then recording his earthy wisdom with the new skill of writing. And it struc ...more
Read for a course I took in ancient literature way back in college. Interesting to read some of the actual "religion" of the ancient Greeks, as opposed to the fantasy mythology version moderns are familiar with. Zeus is a lot like Yahweh of the Old Testament: sometimes he's all benevolent and wise and a friend of mankind, other times he's a real asshole.
This was interesting to read but certainly not mind-blowing. I can understand why Hesiod is not very famous. However, I read it because I wanted to read the original Greek myths and that's what I got, so I'm happy.
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Way more exciting creation myth than Genesis, I tell you whhhat.
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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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