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Olympians Titans Other Gods Myths Online Books


By Hesiod

Translated by H.G. Eveyln-White

Part 8 (713-806)

(ll. 713-735) And amongst the foremost Cottus and Briareos and
Gyes insatiate for war raised fierce fighting: three hundred
rocks, one upon another, they launched from their strong hands
and overshadowed the Titans with their missiles, and buried them
beneath the wide-pathed earth, and bound them in bitter chains
when they had conquered them by their strength for all their
great spirit, as far beneath the earth to Tartarus.  For a brazen
anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach
the earth upon the tenth: and again, a brazen anvil falling from
earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth.
Round it runs a fence of bronze, and night spreads in triple line
all about it like a neck-circlet, while above grow the roots of
the earth and unfruitful sea.  There by the counsel of Zeus who
drives the clouds the Titan gods are hidden under misty gloom, in
a dank place where are the ends of the huge earth. And they may
not go out; for Poseidon fixed gates of bronze upon it, and a
wall runs all round it on every side.  There Gyes and Cottus and
great-souled Obriareus live, trusty warders of Zeus who holds the

(ll. 736-744) And there, all in their order, are the sources and
ends of gloomy earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea
and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor.

It is a great gulf, and if once a man were within the gates, he
would not reach the floor until a whole year had reached its end,
but cruel blast upon blast would carry him this way and that.
And this marvel is awful even to the deathless gods.

(ll. 744-757) There stands the awful home of murky Night wrapped
in dark clouds.  In front of it the son of Iapetus (22) stands
immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying
hands, where Night and Day draw near and greet one another as
they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is
about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door.

And the house never holds them both within; but always one is
without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays
at home and waits until the time for her journeying come; and the
one holds all-seeing light for them on earth, but the other holds
in her arms Sleep the brother of Death, even evil Night, wrapped
in a vaporous cloud.

(ll. 758-766) And there the children of dark Night have their
dwellings, Sleep and Death, awful gods.  The glowing Sun never
looks upon them with his beams, neither as he goes up into
heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven.  And the former of them
roams peacefully over the earth and the sea's broad back and is
kindly to men; but the other has a heart of iron, and his spirit
within him is pitiless as bronze: whomsoever of men he has once
seized he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the deathless

(ll. 767-774) There, in front, stand the echoing halls of the god
of the lower-world, strong Hades, and of awful Persephone. A
fearful hound guards the house in front, pitiless, and he has a
cruel trick. On those who go in he fawns with his tail and both
is ears, but suffers them not to go out back again, but keeps
watch and devours whomsoever he catches going out of the gates of
strong Hades and awful Persephone.

(ll. 775-806) And there dwells the goddess loathed by the
deathless gods, terrible Styx, eldest daughter of back-flowing
(23) Ocean.  She lives apart from the gods in her glorious house
vaulted over with great rocks and propped up to heaven all round
with silver pillars. Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas, swift-
footed Iris, come to her with a message over the sea's wide back.

But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods, and
when any of them who live in the house of Olympus lies, then Zeus
sends Iris to bring in a golden jug the great oath of the gods
from far away, the famous cold water which trickles down from a
high and beetling rock.  Far under the wide-pathed earth a branch
of Oceanus flows through the dark night out of the holy stream,
and a tenth part of his water is allotted to her.  With nine
silver-swirling streams he winds about the earth and the sea's
wide back, and then falls into the main (24); but the tenth flows
out from a rock, a sore trouble to the gods. For whoever of the
deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympus pours a
libation of her water is forsworn, lies breathless until a full
year is completed, and never comes near to taste ambrosia and
nectar, but lies spiritless and voiceless on a strewn bed: and a
heavy trance overshadows him.  But when he has spent a long year
in his sickness, another penance and an harder follows after the
first. For nine years he is cut off from the eternal gods and
never joins their councils of their feasts, nine full years. But
in the tenth year he comes again to join the assemblies of the
deathless gods who live in the house of Olympus. Such an oath,
then, did the gods appoint the eternal and primaeval water of
Styx to be: and it spouts through a rugged place.

Hesiod - Theogony Table of Contents

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