The Theogony, Works and Days, and The Shield of Heracles by Hesiod

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Contained in this volume are the three best-known works of the ancient Greek poet Hesiod. Hesiod's "The Theogony" concerns the origins of the world and of the gods and forms a foundation for all Greek mythology. In "Works and Days", Hesiod argues that labor is a fundamental condition of human existence and to those who are willing to work success will most surely be achieved. Additionally in this volume is "The Shield of Heracles" in which is described the conflict between Heracles and Cycnus while passing near Itonus. Presented here is the Hugh G. Evelyn-White translation of three important works that are generally attributed to Hesiod.

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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). Homer is the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two greatest Greek epic poems. Nothing is known about Homer personally; it is not even known for certain whether there is only one true author of these two works. Homer is thought to have been an Ionian from the 9th or 8th century B.C. While historians argue over the man, his impact on literature, history, and philosophy is so significant as to be almost immeasurable. The Iliad relates the tale of the Trojan War, about the war between Greece and Troy, brought about by the kidnapping of the beautiful Greek princess, Helen, by Paris. It tells of the exploits of such legendary figures as Achilles, Ajax, and Odysseus. The Odyssey recounts the subsequent return of the Greek hero Odysseus after the defeat of the Trojans. On his return trip, Odysseus braves such terrors as the Cyclops, a one-eyed monster; the Sirens, beautiful temptresses; and Scylla and Charybdis, a deadly rock and whirlpool. Waiting for him at home is his wife who has remained faithful during his years in the war. Both the Iliad and the Odyssey have had numerous adaptations, including several film versions of each.
Published December 10, 2009 by 82 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

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