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Hesiod: The Works and Days/Theogony/The Shield of Herakles (LibriVox Audiobook)

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Three epic poems by Hesiod, the 'other' great epic poet of ancient Greece (along with Homer, his near-contemporary). Constituting some of the earliest known works of literature in European history, the poems of Hesiod describe the creation of the cosmos, the history of the gods, the life & concerns of a simple shepherd in rural Greece, and agricultural knowledge and techniq Three epic poems by Hesiod, the 'other' great epic poet of ancient Greece (along with Homer, his near-contemporary). Constituting some of the earliest known works of literature in European history, the poems of Hesiod describe the creation of the cosmos, the history of the gods, the life & concerns of a simple shepherd in rural Greece, and agricultural knowledge and techniques, and all, as scholar Robert Lamberton wrote, in a voice that is "idiosyncratic, ironic, self-conscious…appropriating proverbial wisdom…and transforming it into a discourse that is as much an account of poetry as it is an account of the world." [Robert Lamberton, Hesiod, Yale Univ. Press]


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Three epic poems by Hesiod, the 'other' great epic poet of ancient Greece (along with Homer, his near-contemporary). Constituting some of the earliest known works of literature in European history, the poems of Hesiod describe the creation of the cosmos, the history of the gods, the life & concerns of a simple shepherd in rural Greece, and agricultural knowledge and techniq Three epic poems by Hesiod, the 'other' great epic poet of ancient Greece (along with Homer, his near-contemporary). Constituting some of the earliest known works of literature in European history, the poems of Hesiod describe the creation of the cosmos, the history of the gods, the life & concerns of a simple shepherd in rural Greece, and agricultural knowledge and techniques, and all, as scholar Robert Lamberton wrote, in a voice that is "idiosyncratic, ironic, self-conscious…appropriating proverbial wisdom…and transforming it into a discourse that is as much an account of poetry as it is an account of the world." [Robert Lamberton, Hesiod, Yale Univ. Press]

30 review for Hesiod: The Works and Days/Theogony/The Shield of Herakles (LibriVox Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Jerpe

    If you are going to tackle Hesiod this is the way to do it. The author provides an excellent introduction to each poem and the first two are so thoroughly annotated that the notes exceed the length of the poems. Athanassakis also interpolates some observations from modern rural Greece which are always fitting and did much to enhance my appreciation of the ancient texts. I came to Hesiod for Theogony and I was prepared for a slog. The divine genealogy is very dense but with the aid of the notes I If you are going to tackle Hesiod this is the way to do it. The author provides an excellent introduction to each poem and the first two are so thoroughly annotated that the notes exceed the length of the poems. Athanassakis also interpolates some observations from modern rural Greece which are always fitting and did much to enhance my appreciation of the ancient texts. I came to Hesiod for Theogony and I was prepared for a slog. The divine genealogy is very dense but with the aid of the notes I came to really enjoy it. I read this poem slowly over the course of several days and felt it was time well spent. The Shield of Heracles was a welcome surprise. It is a rollicking battle scene of short story length. There are no annotations for Shield but these are not missed. The poem is easily read, it is more or less a straightforward tale of blood and thunder. I came to Works and Days with less enthusiasm than the others. It is a didactic poem having less to do with mythology than with planting grain or managing oxen. I found it fascinating nonetheless. There are lots of insights with respect to constellations, and the Five Races of Man is a very interesting theme. There are even some bits about sailing. Athanassakis has done a similar book for the Homeric Hymns. In light of this treatment of Hesiod I look forward to reading it soon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    I have reviewed each of these three works separately. But still, I think it worth reading. All three are outstanding reads! S stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    James Murphy

    Well, I was unaware of Hesiod until recently. Maybe I was blinded by the radiance of Homer. Now I know Hesiod may have been a contemporary of his. I'd had his work recommended and given to me, and I found it much like Homer's and much to my liking. Hesiod reads like Homer. Works and Days, with its instructions intended as a guide for everyday agricultural and social activities, seems less about the gods than the other 2 works in the volume, though their influence is certainly important and the c Well, I was unaware of Hesiod until recently. Maybe I was blinded by the radiance of Homer. Now I know Hesiod may have been a contemporary of his. I'd had his work recommended and given to me, and I found it much like Homer's and much to my liking. Hesiod reads like Homer. Works and Days, with its instructions intended as a guide for everyday agricultural and social activities, seems less about the gods than the other 2 works in the volume, though their influence is certainly important and the catalogue of them included in the work is almost as all-inclusive as the begats of Genesis. Theogony and The Shield of Heracles concern the more epic histories and adventures of those immortals. I wonder if these were originally poems. My Dover edition is prose, but it all reads like the epic poetry we associate with Homer. It's prose, though, that sings and trips through the mind like the sunlight brightening and shading those bare hills where an ancient people may have once used Hesiod's Works and Days, my favorite here, to help regulate their lives. For anyone interested in ancient Greece, as I am, this would seem to be reading as essential as Homer, and I'm glad of my introduction to it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Myra

    I don't know how to rate this - so I didn't en up giving it a rating. I also do not know how to review it... So, here's some quick comments. I read this for a class I am taking, it was interesting... Yeah that's about everything. I don't know how to rate this - so I didn't en up giving it a rating. I also do not know how to review it... So, here's some quick comments. I read this for a class I am taking, it was interesting... Yeah that's about everything.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hunter McClure

    "Works and Days" is a fantastic poem and I look forward to thinking more about it alongside early Greek political philosophy, both in the narrow sense of philosophy as Plato and Aristotle, and in the broader sense of the ideas which undergird "Antigone" and other Greek literature. I found the "Theogony" difficult if only because it constantly approaches being a catalogue of names. "The Shield of Herakles" is a nice little attempt to mimic Homer's earlier description of the Shield of Achilles, but "Works and Days" is a fantastic poem and I look forward to thinking more about it alongside early Greek political philosophy, both in the narrow sense of philosophy as Plato and Aristotle, and in the broader sense of the ideas which undergird "Antigone" and other Greek literature. I found the "Theogony" difficult if only because it constantly approaches being a catalogue of names. "The Shield of Herakles" is a nice little attempt to mimic Homer's earlier description of the Shield of Achilles, but it certainly cannot compare to its Homeric predecessor.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    A contemporary of Homer's, Hesiod is a fascinating read even though it lacks the narrative drive of the Iliad and the Odyssey. It is largely a genealogy of the Gods of the Ancient Greeks, with a compulsive depth to these lists. Luckily, the translator Powell has created handy family trees on every other page that clarify everything. Also, the color prints of the beautiful red and black pottery art of these myths are worth the book in itself. A contemporary of Homer's, Hesiod is a fascinating read even though it lacks the narrative drive of the Iliad and the Odyssey. It is largely a genealogy of the Gods of the Ancient Greeks, with a compulsive depth to these lists. Luckily, the translator Powell has created handy family trees on every other page that clarify everything. Also, the color prints of the beautiful red and black pottery art of these myths are worth the book in itself.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    These poems are more than poems, they're stories that are beautifully written and lyrical. I loved reading all of them. These poems are more than poems, they're stories that are beautifully written and lyrical. I loved reading all of them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anand

    I'm pleased to have gotten to who was perhaps the greatest Greek epic poet that was not Homer - his Works and Days, and Theogony, the story of the origins of the Greek gods. I feel that with Hesiod, I got some great background into Greek myth - of the golden age, the silver age, the Bronze Age, the heroic age, the Iron Age, the Great War between the Titans and the Olympians, some interesting origin stories - like the grisly Hesiodic version of Aphrodite's origin, which contrasts with Homer's more I'm pleased to have gotten to who was perhaps the greatest Greek epic poet that was not Homer - his Works and Days, and Theogony, the story of the origins of the Greek gods. I feel that with Hesiod, I got some great background into Greek myth - of the golden age, the silver age, the Bronze Age, the heroic age, the Iron Age, the Great War between the Titans and the Olympians, some interesting origin stories - like the grisly Hesiodic version of Aphrodite's origin, which contrasts with Homer's more benign version. Works and Days was pretty compelling - mixing pedagogy with some truly mythic content, with an overriding conceit of legal deception and bribery. The Theogony is quite good, readable in Lattimore's translation. I'd highly recommend it. I'll have to read Ovid's Metamorphoses to get the "classic" myths that the West, and artists, have taken inspiration from. But Theogony, and the Homeric epics, are no less viable as sources of myth

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cymru Roberts

    In terms of a didactic poem Works and Days has a lot of character. It isn’t tedious, the explaining is eloquent and it gives one a firm background on ancient Greek beliefs. Homer, for example, is enriched in light of this explanation. The explaining of sacrifices (thigh bones wrapped in fat comes from Prometheus) is instructive. I also really liked the description of the different ages of Man. It puts events like the Trojan War in a greater perspective. It should be said that this perspective is In terms of a didactic poem Works and Days has a lot of character. It isn’t tedious, the explaining is eloquent and it gives one a firm background on ancient Greek beliefs. Homer, for example, is enriched in light of this explanation. The explaining of sacrifices (thigh bones wrapped in fat comes from Prometheus) is instructive. I also really liked the description of the different ages of Man. It puts events like the Trojan War in a greater perspective. It should be said that this perspective is flat out brutal. Zeus is a harsh overlord, with a marked contempt for mankind. Even the ones he likes can easily fall out of his favor. He’s capricious, but he can afford to be, he’s the strongest being in the cosmos… FOR NOW. Theogony, while not being as awesome as I anticipated, was still fantastic. Here we see a primary motif in Greek Mythology, one that has lasted into the present day: The Overthrow of the Father. The battles between the Olympians and the Titans read like Shakespeare with a dose of added castration, with balls that must have been like frickin’ meteors crashing into the sea from which out of the oozing jizz comes the goddess of Love and Desire who for all intents and purposes just causes a lot of trouble (see: Paris). SOUND FAMILIAR?! Shield of Herakles is like a mini-Iliad (not the mini-Iliad). With ancient lore you don’t get a start-to-finish chronological, linear story. You get pieces here and there and things generally explain themselves over the years and countless re-readings. So it is with SoH. Herakles’ conception was a new one on me, I didn’t know he had a twin bro, but it glosses over a ton of his life. The shield, and the idea of describing a shield in such a way, is almost like a video advertisement on Facebook except within it one gleans the destructive will of the universe. FANTASTICHE! All in all, this is an important compilation and necessary for people interested in Ancient Greece. I don’t think everyone will “like” it or “approve” of it. But guess what? Zeus doesn’t give a FUCK. The belief system is not kind to women and has an unquenchable thirst for blood. It is precisely because of this brutal backdrop that emotion and sensitivity finds such value and is so important

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    Works And Days, Theogony, And The Shield Of Hercules (Prose), by Hesiod, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White As part of my personal project to read what is available of Greek classics in translation, at least to better understand the classical inheritance in contemporary culture and understanding, I got two versions of the same work by Hesiod.  This particular one was translated into prose and serves as a very short and to-the-point discussion of Greek mythology that makes for one of the most impo Works And Days, Theogony, And The Shield Of Hercules (Prose), by Hesiod, translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White As part of my personal project to read what is available of Greek classics in translation, at least to better understand the classical inheritance in contemporary culture and understanding, I got two versions of the same work by Hesiod.  This particular one was translated into prose and serves as a very short and to-the-point discussion of Greek mythology that makes for one of the most important sources about Greek heathen religion available to us.  Hesiod is less well-known than Homer, his rough contemporary, but these three works are the ultimate source of a great deal of what is known about the Greek gods and goddesses by contemporaries who know anything about such matters.  I myself made use, somewhat indirectly, of these works as early as my freshman year of high school when I wrote a short play where the Greek heathen deities were ineffective characters in a play I wrote for world history class.  So, while this book is not one that many people would automatically look for, the subject material in this book is something that is well known through those that popularize the author's writings in different form. This book is about seventy pages long and is divided into three parts.  The first part is, at least to me, the most interesting, "Works And Days," which posits a theory as to how mankind and God became estranged, looks at four descending ages of man from gold to iron (using the same metals and order as the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2), and gives an idea of a conservative and pious Greek seeking how to live well--work hard, marry and acquire some wealth, be devout and avoid gossip and greed, and it also has a lot of superstitions I feel less positively about, even if it has considerable value.  After this comes the Theogony, which is a catalog of various gods and titans and their origins, all of which bears a very strong relationship to the immoral behavior of the polytheistic deities of Babylon and Egypt that likely helped inspire the work and the worldview behind it.  The third story is the shield of Heracles, which reads a lot like the bloody tales in the Aneid and also includes a certain aspect of cataloging items (namely the eponymous shield) and its importance to some bloody fight with a warlike being. In reading this books I was deeply struck by the contexts in which these books can be found as well as the way in which they resonate with other writings.  It would have been nice if, growing up, I had been more familiar with the raw material of the myths that were written about and passed on by more contemporary popular writers who did not always give credit to the sources of their myths.  These myths are rather prosaic and mostly familiar, and it is interesting to note the connection between these stories, which are thought to spring from Thebes and its surrounding area, and the other myths that we are familiar with from the ancient world, as well as the historical account of the Hebrew scriptures.  In life we are presented with a series of mysteries, and it is unsurprising if people should imagine the gods to have been people like themselves and to have wondered why it is that the being who had created us was now estranged from us--there must have been some fault involved.  Figuring out what to do that is a task no less important in our own times than it was in Hesiod's time. Works And Days, Theogony, And The Shield Of Heracles (Poetry), translated by Richmond Lattimore From time to time I like to engage in various syntopical reading projects [1], where I will read multiple books on the same subject to see the differences and distinctions between them.  I found it very intriguing, for example, that my local library system had two versions of what appeared to be the exact same material, and one of them was more than three times the length of the other.  Having previously read a translation from this eminent classicist, I was prepared for this book having some dry and humorous commentary as well as some scholarly depth, and I was not disappointed.  The translator dealt with the question of authorship, made a reasonable (if unproven) speculation about Hesiod being a younger contemporary of Homer, but not by much, and commented on the parallel traditions of Homer and Hesiod in preserving older stories for a contemporary audience.  In reading this book I could understand why this version was so much longer than the prose version, not least because while the stories told were the same, the translator preserved the poetic nature of the text, pointing out what it was that allowed these poems to endure for generations, even if their author is not as famous as many other ones. Like the prose version, this book is divided into three parts, in the same order, of the same documents.  What differences exist between the prose and poems?  For one, the translator chose to poet the poem for the Works And Days on the right side of the book and some very brief explanations on the left side.  The advice is still generally sound, the superstitions still present, and Hesiod shows himself to be rather harsh to Perses, his intended audience, telling him to work hard and marry around 30.  All things considered the advice is definitely pointed, and that comes off in the poetry a bit easier than in the prose version, which seemed to make it more mild.  Other than that, the Theogony and the Shield of Heracles are similar to the prose account, if a bit less succinct because of the nature of poetry.  At the end of the book there is an attempt to provide a family tree of the Greek gods, which is a nice touch if you are into heathen and imaginary genealogies. Overall, this is not a book that will likely present difficulties to those who are familiar with the body of Greek myth and especially the greater body of Greek and Near Eastern mythology that forms the larger context for this work.  The translator is himself a very learned scholar and one that is well worth reading, and his comments are entertaining and frequently thought-provoking.  All of this makes for a better reading experience, such that I think it can safely be said that I am interested in reading whatever I find from this person in the future.  A Richmond Lattimore work about the classics appears like a safe bet to enjoy, although I do not know how common such works are these days.  Having read and researched a bit about him, I am aware that he is a noted translator of the Iliad and even the New Testament, I am definitely going to have to keep a close eye on his works in the future.  It may not be necessary to read two translations of Hesiod, but if you only want to read one, and you want to get a sense of how Hesoid wrote, at least as it can best be transmitted in translation, this is a very good option to choose for your reading. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaila

    1) Slightly cheating on this as we're not reading the last 30 pages or so, The Shield of Herakles. 2) Hesiod hates women. Poor guy obviously didn't appreciate sex. It's pretty funny, he gives advice like: "Get yourself an oxen for plowing and also a woman." "Do not let any sweet-talking woman beguile your good sense with the fascinations of her shape. It's your barn she's after." 3) The myths of Pandora and Prometheus are much better in their original form than I had come to expect from cultural osm 1) Slightly cheating on this as we're not reading the last 30 pages or so, The Shield of Herakles. 2) Hesiod hates women. Poor guy obviously didn't appreciate sex. It's pretty funny, he gives advice like: "Get yourself an oxen for plowing and also a woman." "Do not let any sweet-talking woman beguile your good sense with the fascinations of her shape. It's your barn she's after." 3) The myths of Pandora and Prometheus are much better in their original form than I had come to expect from cultural osmosis. These were the best parts of The Works and Days and Theogony, but they were relatively small compared to how many lines these poems are.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    The Theogony gets 5 stars for its brilliance, Shield of Herakles gets 4 for its readability (even if not really Hesiod's work), and Works and Days gets 3--5 for the early part, about the ages of man, but 1 for the extremely boring middle and most of the end, which are all about farming. Hesiod, like Homer, was a brilliant writer and thinker, but it's hard to get as excited about ancient farming as it is about the Greek gods. The Theogony gets 5 stars for its brilliance, Shield of Herakles gets 4 for its readability (even if not really Hesiod's work), and Works and Days gets 3--5 for the early part, about the ages of man, but 1 for the extremely boring middle and most of the end, which are all about farming. Hesiod, like Homer, was a brilliant writer and thinker, but it's hard to get as excited about ancient farming as it is about the Greek gods.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daphne

    Still loved this collection. I listened to the audio version this time from Librivox, and the narrator was great. I'd read Works and Days and Theogony many times before, but this was the first time I'd gotten to experience The Shield of Herakles. Still loved this collection. I listened to the audio version this time from Librivox, and the narrator was great. I'd read Works and Days and Theogony many times before, but this was the first time I'd gotten to experience The Shield of Herakles.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    If you enjoyed Mythos by Stephen Fry and wanted to explore an accessible translation of the ancient sources utilised by Fry, then may I suggest R. Lattimore’s translations of the major Greek poets Homer and Hesiod. Lattimore’s translations have been a constant companion through my own academic odyssey into the ancient Greek World and I found them to be a great introduction to the deep and complex world of Ancient Greece, particularly the rich mythological and poetic worlds of the Homeric and Hes If you enjoyed Mythos by Stephen Fry and wanted to explore an accessible translation of the ancient sources utilised by Fry, then may I suggest R. Lattimore’s translations of the major Greek poets Homer and Hesiod. Lattimore’s translations have been a constant companion through my own academic odyssey into the ancient Greek World and I found them to be a great introduction to the deep and complex world of Ancient Greece, particularly the rich mythological and poetic worlds of the Homeric and Hesiodic poems. Yes, Lattimore’s Hesiod translations are pretty foreignized, in that they keep to the original Greek names (e.g. Herakles not Hercules), terms and concepts but do not be put off, as any odyssey into the full ancient Greek world has to be started somewhere, it can’t always be risible anachronistic humour, as entertaining as Fry’s Mythos is! This Ann Arbour Paperbacks edition brings together the three Hesiodic poems, The Works and Days, Theogony and The Shield of Herakles, with a brief introduction to Homeric and Boiotian Epic, Hesiod and the Hesiodic Poems giving some context to the poet, the poetry and the culture from which he arose. At the back of the book there are Genealogical tables, useful for following the Titan and Olympian relationships within the Theogony as well as a glossary for names and turns. Interspersed between the sections of the book is some stylised illustrations of Greek art that represent the content and form of the poems, agriculture for The Work and Days, Olympians for Theogony and Herakles and foes for The Shield of Herakles, it is a nice visual touch that helps to bring the poetic to visual life. The poems themselves cover aspects of the Greek world that the Hesiod poet inhabited and offer a poetic glimpse at the community and culture, its values and politics, they also provide some of the bedrock for our modern interpretations of the classical Greek myths, such as the myth of Pandora and the Titonmachy. The Works and Days describes an almost bucolic idyll of rural life, except for its deteriorationist streak and misogynistic view of women (this is where we meet the woman Pandora, the cause of all ills). It takes the form of a ‘how to guide’ informing the audience on how to life a proper rural life as a farmer, how to work the land, how to be a merchant and sail (if you really must!) and how to pick a good wife (one that knows her place). It is a fascinating insight into an ancient culture, despite the idealisation of suffrage and Hesiod’s poetic licence. The Theogony is the most overtly mythical of the Hesiodic Poems and forms the basis for the modern interpretations of the Olympians, Titans and the Ancient Greek mythical world. The Theogony of Hesiod catalogues the names and positions of the Titans and Olympians, their special functions and appearances. The Theogony charts the creation of the mythical universe, the birth of the Titans, their Olympian progeny and their subsequent battles for supremacy. It is at times a quite brutal and bloodthirsty affair, Kronus uses a giant sickle to geld his father Ouranus before eating his own children in a vain attempt to avoid being smited by his own son Zeus. It seems at the beginning of the Greek mythical world, there was a lot of anger, fear and envy of power. It is perhaps the most exciting and unnerving catalogue I’ve ever read. The Shield of Herakles is the most Homeric of the Hesiodic poems, narrating the heroic antics of the hero Herakles and his nephew Iolaos. The poem depicts the imagery contained on the shield of Herakles, a poetic motif in the same vein as the Iliad’s shield of Akilleus. The shield shows the epic battle between Herakles and Kyknos the son of the War god Ares, like many heroically masculine tales, the protagonist and antagonist mirror each and a vein of masculine insecurities (a bit like mythological WWE wrestling) runs throughout. Potentially The Shield of Herakles represents inter-city state warfare conducted poetically though its state heroes, which at least implies some insecurities instigated the poems creation. Together the Hesiodic poems, as translated by Richard Lattimore help bring to life the rich mythological world of Ancient Greece, and while a full commentary would have been welcomed I do not think the lack would necessarily hinder a reader’s enjoyment. On the whole I think the book makes a perfect starting point for anyone who is interested in exploring Hesiod his poetic world.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kieran Earley

    Hesiod’s ‘Theogony‘ which centres on the origins and genealogy of the gods is possibly not for the faint hearted. In fact ‘Works and Days and ‘The Shield of Heracles’ can be seen in a similar vane. The latter traces the challenges faced by Heracles as he passes through Thessaly. And it is whilst on this momentous journey that Heracles is challenged by Cycnus, the son of Ares to mortal combat. ‘Works and Days’ is effectively a farmers almanac instilled with moral advice to a brother on how he sho Hesiod’s ‘Theogony‘ which centres on the origins and genealogy of the gods is possibly not for the faint hearted. In fact ‘Works and Days and ‘The Shield of Heracles’ can be seen in a similar vane. The latter traces the challenges faced by Heracles as he passes through Thessaly. And it is whilst on this momentous journey that Heracles is challenged by Cycnus, the son of Ares to mortal combat. ‘Works and Days’ is effectively a farmers almanac instilled with moral advice to a brother on how he should live a dutiful life! These works, it may be said are complex in their content, unless of course one is well versed in the history and language of the ancient world. Nevertheless Hesiod’s poems are still worth reading for those searching for antediluvian ideas. Assistance is provided through explanatory notes when grasping the underlying theme of Theogony. However, there is no such accommodation with ‘The Shield of Heracles’, though one can easily acclimatise to its fast moving linguistics. Hesiod’s poetry contains structure and content, both of which in my estimation are examples of writing at its best. In fact one could easily imagine literary talents, such as Shakespeare himself borrowing excerpts of works like these to enhance their own endeavours. These works might not as antiquity dictates be part of our everyday vernacular. Nevertheless one should thoroughly enjoy the maelstrom that is Hesiod’s work!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt Pelto

    Hesiod, while interesting, understandably plays second fiddle to his contemporary, Homer. While his Theogony is interesting as a historical reference point on Greek Mythology, it does end up being, for a large part, a series of family rosters dozens of names long. While it would be easy the characterize Work and Days as a passive aggressive note to Hesiod's brother along the lines of "Mom said you have to give me turn with the Gamecube," it is actually an interesting example of Eastern Wisdom li Hesiod, while interesting, understandably plays second fiddle to his contemporary, Homer. While his Theogony is interesting as a historical reference point on Greek Mythology, it does end up being, for a large part, a series of family rosters dozens of names long. While it would be easy the characterize Work and Days as a passive aggressive note to Hesiod's brother along the lines of "Mom said you have to give me turn with the Gamecube," it is actually an interesting example of Eastern Wisdom literature following the tradition of the biblical books Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The Shield of Herakles is an interesting echo of Book 18 of the Iliad in giving a presentation of the cosmos in the form of a divinely wrought shield. Hesiod's poetry may not have the soul of Homer's, but nevertheless, the information of view of morality that he provides make him a valuable addition to the Western Canon.

  17. 4 out of 5

    George Simopoulos

    A quite nice edition that includes all poems of Hesiod. The first one, talking about an epic battle, is very illustrative and vivid, so I would like to hear it with some kind of ancient music. It would make a great hymn. The second one is about the genealogical tree of Gods, and therefore Cosmos itself, according to the ancient Greek mythology and traditions. Very informative and interesting, especially if you are into this stuff. The third and final part is a bit boring, full of details on what A quite nice edition that includes all poems of Hesiod. The first one, talking about an epic battle, is very illustrative and vivid, so I would like to hear it with some kind of ancient music. It would make a great hymn. The second one is about the genealogical tree of Gods, and therefore Cosmos itself, according to the ancient Greek mythology and traditions. Very informative and interesting, especially if you are into this stuff. The third and final part is a bit boring, full of details on what you should do according to each month and what generally happens in the nature in each month. But I think it is really wonderful that through all these works of Hesiod, a vast amount of knowledge of the really ancient Greek world is survived and passed on to us, who can enjoy it and inspire from it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fabio

    Maybe not as fun as other classics like the Odyssey because Hesiod is not about round complete finite narratives, but just as great in other ways. Hesiod is the ultimate incompleteness, what Eco would call the infinity of lists. The number of gods and nymphs in here is definitely overwhelming but there is something trance-like in reading the genealogy of gods out loud. Also, flourishes of language and thought in describing the grandiosity of the gods are extremely enjoyable. For example, describ Maybe not as fun as other classics like the Odyssey because Hesiod is not about round complete finite narratives, but just as great in other ways. Hesiod is the ultimate incompleteness, what Eco would call the infinity of lists. The number of gods and nymphs in here is definitely overwhelming but there is something trance-like in reading the genealogy of gods out loud. Also, flourishes of language and thought in describing the grandiosity of the gods are extremely enjoyable. For example, describing how deep Tartarus is Hesiod says: if an anvil drops from earth for nine whole days, in the tenth it it would reach Hades. Awesome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Second time reading Works and days, probably 4th times reading Theogony and first time reading The Shield of Herakles. Listened to the audiobook version this time, and I can't really recommend it. The narrator (Charlton Griffin) did a good job and all but hearing him go on and on listing names in the earlier parts of Theogony was pretty damn mind numbing. If I hadn't already read it I would probably not have gotten much out of it seeing as I kept losing focus for most of the first half. Second time reading Works and days, probably 4th times reading Theogony and first time reading The Shield of Herakles. Listened to the audiobook version this time, and I can't really recommend it. The narrator (Charlton Griffin) did a good job and all but hearing him go on and on listing names in the earlier parts of Theogony was pretty damn mind numbing. If I hadn't already read it I would probably not have gotten much out of it seeing as I kept losing focus for most of the first half.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

    Masterful work, and an excellent annotated edition, which includes The Shield of Herakles, often left out of popular Hesiod presentations. I would recommend, at least for the Theogony, that you check out Charlton Griffin's phenomenal audiobook narration in tandem. There are dozens if not hundreds of names whose pronunciation is not always obvious (or easy). Masterful work, and an excellent annotated edition, which includes The Shield of Herakles, often left out of popular Hesiod presentations. I would recommend, at least for the Theogony, that you check out Charlton Griffin's phenomenal audiobook narration in tandem. There are dozens if not hundreds of names whose pronunciation is not always obvious (or easy).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Iana Gutnik

    Really a spectacular read. "Works and Days" was an interesting snapshot into daily ancient Grecian life and Hesiod's thoughts. "Theogeny", though admittedly takes a little time was interesting and fun. "Shield of Herakles" was probably my favorite because of its action-packed battle scene (which is similar to Homer's "The Iliad" shield and battle description) Really a spectacular read. "Works and Days" was an interesting snapshot into daily ancient Grecian life and Hesiod's thoughts. "Theogeny", though admittedly takes a little time was interesting and fun. "Shield of Herakles" was probably my favorite because of its action-packed battle scene (which is similar to Homer's "The Iliad" shield and battle description)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lloyd

    Good resource for learning about the spirit of ancient Greece I am by no means a classicist, but I have always had a fondness and fascination with the ancient world. I'm glad I read Hesiod, I found his works beautiful in many parts, as his works seemed to combine the mundane things in life and suffuse them with beauty and wonder as he related them to the gods. Good resource for learning about the spirit of ancient Greece I am by no means a classicist, but I have always had a fondness and fascination with the ancient world. I'm glad I read Hesiod, I found his works beautiful in many parts, as his works seemed to combine the mundane things in life and suffuse them with beauty and wonder as he related them to the gods.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Advice on agriculture and a chronicle of the gods. If that sounds boring to you, I don’t blame you. But give Hesiod the chance and he just may charm you, especially if you get Lattimore’s translation, which is the one I read (can’t speak for the others). There is wisdom and grace in Hesiod’s advice that’s both on the surface and under the healthy layer of loam.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lis

    While these were important works, Theogony especially was tedious to read. Had to admit my eyes glazed over at the list of 50 Nereids. When I reached the bit about 3,000 Oceanids, I was afraid he was going to list all of them. Of them it would be hard for a mortal man to tell all the names Thank Zeus. Still, I enjoyed them, especially Works and Days.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mephistopheles

    So dreamy and fascinating and atmospheric. If you only know the summary of the myths you don't get the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is what's so evocative about them! Read the original stories! Read this! So dreamy and fascinating and atmospheric. If you only know the summary of the myths you don't get the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is what's so evocative about them! Read the original stories! Read this!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alastair Parker

    Works and days => never wasted time reading the classics - but found this one difficult. The misogyny shone through a bit more than the norm in ancient texts - about on par with the old testament. Theogony => Cool to have the gods spelled out in detail... I do wonder where he got his sources!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barry Cunningham

    Important, but tedious His main surviving works, “Theogony” and “Works and Days”, are unrelieved by any semblance of plot. Nevertheless, the “Theogony” is particularly important historically for its genealogy of the Greek gods around the time of Homer.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ciaran

    Beautiful translation as you would expect from Lattimore, but Hesiod is no Homer, you have to love lists to really enjoy him. I do, but not enough!

  29. 4 out of 5

    arissa

    3.5 stars

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    lifehack: make a classicist very happy, refer to pandora's box as 'pandora's jar' instead lifehack: make a classicist very happy, refer to pandora's box as 'pandora's jar' instead

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