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Lecture 7

HUMA 1105 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Lyric Poetry, Hellikon, Epic Poetry

Course Code
HUMA 1105
Loredana Kun

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Lecture 7 October 22nd 2015
Hesiod’s Theogony, Works and Days and Genesis
Background of Hesiod
oLived around 700 BC (not everyone agrees on this date)
oHis name means “one who produces a voice”
oHe was able to get his thoughts across through poetry
oHis father was a merchant, lost his fortune, and migrated from Asia Minor to Boeotia, in
northern Greece
oHe had a brother named Perses (who is frequently mentioned in Works and Days)
oHis brother was not poetic, and the brothers were not very close
oHesiod was a shepherd until one day on Mount Hellikon, he encountered the Muses who
breathed poetry into him
oAfter his death, his body was retrieved by dolphins
oHis poems show how life was back in his time
oHe is the first in the Western culture to name himself
oMuses: Goddesses of arts, daughters of Zeus and the Mnemosyne (Goddess of
Memory). There are 9 muses, and each covers a specific
oClito: History
oEuterpe: Flutes
oThalia: Comedy
oMelopmene: Tragedy
oTerpsichore: Lyric poetry and dance
oErato: Lyric poetry and hymns
oPolyhymnia: Mime
oOurania: Astronomy
oKalliope: Epic poetry
oHesiod prays to the Muses in his works because they came to him on Mount Hellikon
and they spoke directly to him
oLethe: The river in the underworld (when people die, they get forgotten) If you cross the
river in the underworld, you are forgotten
The Theogony
oTheogony is a family tree or genealogy of the Gods and Goddesses
oTheon Genos: Succession of the Gods
oA Prologue (line 1-115) Invocation to the Muses and Zeus, also an outline of the poem
oFirst Gods and their offspring (line 116-338)
oGaia: Earth, Ouranos: Heaven
oThe castration of Ouranos leads to the birth of Aphrodite
oIn the beginning there was Chaos and Abyss
oSecond generation of the Gods, and the rise of Zeus to power (line 339-885)
oThe story of the second generation of Gods includes: Hymn to Hekate, the story of
Prometheus (how he stole fire and gave it to mortals), and Pandora
oPandora: Had a box of “gifts”, she opened the jar/box and miseries escaped and cursed
oThird generation of the Gods (line 886-969)
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