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Greek Mythology > People, Places, & Things > Hesiod
H to Helike Helikon to Hexa Hieroglyphics to Holy Twain Homados to Hystaspes 2
Hesiod is the Greek poet who shares the distinction of one of the two oldest sources of Greek literature.
Hesiod is thought to have lived in the eighth century BCE and to have composed classic poems such as Theogony and Works and Days; he is also, rightly or wrongly, credited with a variety of other poems such as the Shield of Herakles, the Astronomy and Eoiae.
The poem, Works and Days, reveals the only “facts” by which we have to judge Hesiod; he apparently lived the life of a farmer until his brother unfairly claimed his dead father’s inheritance; in the poem, Works and Days, Hesiod said that his family originated in the city of Kyme (Cyme) in Aeolis and that his father later moved to a wretched village named Askra (Ascra) near Mount Helikon (Helicon).
The Muse of Mount Helikon inspired Hesiod and he made his only sea journey to the city of Khalkis (Chalcis) to win honors with one of his songs; after that success, and the blessings of the Muse, Hesiod presumably earned his living through his artistic talents but, other than his own autobiographical statements, we really don’t know any significant details about his life or death.
Like Homer, Hesiod was given many honors and attributes long after his death by people and cities attempting to “cash in” on his reputation; even though The Iliad and The Odyssey, by Homer, are far more ambitious than Hesiod’s works, Hesiod’s contribution to ancient Greek literature is profound; his poem, Theogony, is considered to be the last word on the genealogy of the Greek gods and goddesses; there are several excellent books that include Hesiod’s poems and I personally recommend Hesiod, translated by Richmond Lattimore (ISBN 0472439030 clothbound and 0472081616 paper bound) or the Loeb Classical Library volume 57 (ISBN 0674990633).
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