Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Page: 37


Fragment #1—Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth. vi. 19: 'And now, pray, mark all these things well in a wise heart. First, whenever you come to your house, offer good sacrifices to the eternal gods.'

Fragment #2—Plutarch Mor. 1034 E: 'Decide no suit until you have heard both sides speak.'

Fragment #3—Plutarch de Orac. defectu ii. 415 C: 'A chattering crow lives out nine generations of aged men, but a stag's life is four times a crow's, and a raven's life makes three stags old, while the phoenix outlives nine ravens, but we, the rich-haired Nymphs, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder, outlive ten phoenixes.'

Fragment #4—Quintilian, i. 15: Some consider that children under the age of seven should not receive a literary education... That Hesiod was of this opinion very many writers affirm who were earlier than the critic Aristophanes; for he was the first to reject the "Precepts", in which book this maxim occurs, as a work of that poet.

THE GREAT WORKS (fragments)

Fragment #1—Comm. on Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. v. 8: The verse, however (the slaying of Rhadamanthys), is in Hesiod in the "Great Works" and is as follows: 'If a man sow evil, he shall reap evil increase; if men do to him as he has done, it will be true justice.'

Fragment #2—Proclus on Hesiod, Works and Days, 126: Some believe that the Silver Race (is to be attributed to) the earth, declaring that in the "Great Works" Hesiod makes silver to be of the family of Earth.


Fragment #1—Pliny, Natural History vii. 56, 197: Hesiod says that those who are called the Idaean Dactyls taught the smelting and tempering of iron in Crete.

Fragment #2—Clement, Stromateis i. 16. 75: Celmis, again, and Damnameneus, the first of the Idaean Dactyls, discovered iron in Cyprus; but bronze smelting was discovered by Delas, another Idaean, though Hesiod calls him Scythes 1501.

THE THEOGONY (1,041 lines)

(ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin to sing, who hold the great and holy mount of Helicon, and dance on soft feet about the deep-blue spring and the altar of the almighty son of Cronos, and, when they have washed their tender bodies in Permessus or in the Horse's Spring or Olmeius, make their fair, lovely dances upon highest Helicon and move with vigorous feet. Thence they arise and go abroad by night, veiled in thick mist, and utter their song with lovely voice, praising Zeus the aegis-holder and queenly Hera of Argos who walks on golden sandals and the daughter of Zeus the aegis-holder bright-eyed Athene, and Phoebus Apollo, and Artemis who delights in arrows, and Poseidon the earth-holder who shakes the earth, and reverend Themis and quick-glancing 1601 Aphrodite, and Hebe with the crown of gold, and fair Dione, Leto, Iapetus, and Cronos the crafty counsellor, Eos and great Helius and bright Selene, Earth too, and great Oceanus, and dark Night, and the holy race of all the other deathless ones that are for ever. And one day they taught Hesiod glorious song while he was shepherding his lambs under holy Helicon, and this word first the goddesses said to me—the Muses of Olympus, daughters of Zeus who holds the aegis:

(ll. 26-28) 'Shepherds of the wilderness, wretched things of shame, mere bellies, we know how to speak many false things as though they were true; but we know, when we will, to utter true things.'

(ll. 29-35) So said the ready-voiced daughters of great Zeus, and they plucked and gave me a rod, a shoot of sturdy laurel, a marvellous thing, and breathed into me a divine voice to celebrate things that shall be and things there were aforetime; and they bade me sing of the race of the blessed gods that are eternally, but ever to sing of themselves both first and last. But why all this about oak or stone? 1602

(ll. 36-52) Come thou, let us begin with the Muses who gladden the great spirit of their father Zeus in Olympus with their songs, telling of things that are and that shall be and that were aforetime with consenting voice. Unwearying flows the sweet sound from their lips, and the house of their father Zeus the loud-thunderer is glad at the lily-like voice of the goddesses as it spread abroad, and the peaks of snowy Olympus resound, and the homes of the immortals. And they uttering their immortal voice, celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from the beginning, those whom Earth and wide Heaven begot, and the gods sprung of these, givers of good things. Then, next, the goddesses sing of Zeus, the father of gods and men, as they begin and end their strain, how much he is the most excellent among the gods and supreme in power. And again, they chant the race of men and strong giants, and gladden the heart of Zeus within Olympus,—the Olympian Muses, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder.