- Jenny Strauss Clay
Hesiod, epic poet from Ascra in Boeotia, usually considered later than Homer, is author of the Theogony and the Works and Days (Erga); other works attributed to him in antiquity include the Catalogue of Women and the Shield of Heracles (Aspis). The Theogony recounts the origins of the cosmos and the genealogy of the gods from the beginning to the establishment of the Olympian order; it is prefaced by a lengthy proem that recounts Hesiod’s meeting with the Muses and a hymn to the goddesses. The genealogical catalogues are interrupted by narratives of the Succession Myth, with antecedents from the Near East. The Works and Days, which also has Near Eastern parallels, is addressed to Hesiod’s brother Perses and advises him how to live in the world Zeus has established for human beings by pursuing justice and practicing agriculture; it also includes advice on sailing, social behavior, and lucky and unlucky days. Famous and influential passages include Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses, the Prometheus-Pandora story, and the Myth of the Five Races.