November 1, 2010
1. What doubts surround the authorship of Hesiod?
2. In Hesiod's Theogony, how did Kronos gain dominance?
3. Why did Zeus punish Prometheus?
Lecture five: Hesiod
Homework for next week CK Hera, Poseidon, Demeter article on Greek
Anthropomorphism article on the nature of myth five monolithic theories;
and myths as products of the psyche
Minoan (3300-1200BCE): fluid lines, love of nature, egalitarian, unfortified
`palaces`; artisans, traders
Mycenaeans: Love of battle; hero-cults; fortified cities
Greek “Dark” Age: about 1200 to 750BCE
Drastic population decline;
Loss of writing;
Abandonment of cultic activity and city centers
Migrations of peoples
Communities mostly disorganized
750BCE rediscovery of writing; new pottery
Geometric Style 900-700BCE
Geometric art: note chariots, stick figures, repetition, rhythmic design
Mourning figures (women)
Awakening from “Dark” Ages
Greek alphabet: Hesiod and Homer!
New interpretations of Mycenaean artifacts, tombs, citadels About half Mycenaean gods and goddesses survive (Zeus, Poseidon,
Dionysos, Ares, Hermes, Hera, Artemis, Apollo, Athena
Archaic Art 630-480BCE: Kouros and Kore
Zeus emerging as dominant god
Hesiod’s Works (700BCE?)
Theogony: geneology of gods
Works and Days: agricultural wisdom poetry
“Hesiod” may be a name given to a source of tradition, rather than an
individual poet; an honorific title bound to poetry genre
Why is his work important?
First Known Source for Greek genealogy and cosmogony
Literary value: one of the first examples; personal style; geographic
specificity; poetic conventions;
Historical value: reflect contemporary religious though and practice? How
much is invention?
Who was Hesiod?
Humble shepherd from a little village in Boeotia? But then how did he know
Personal confessional voice developed by preliterate bards?
“learned from Muses” meaning inspiration? Self-taught? Following
Nine Muses of the Arts (Hesiod’s invention?): Mnemosyne (Memory is
mother of Muses
Inspired by Muses (becomes convention)
Literature: importance of memory
Theogony: genealogy of gods
Shows influence from Babylonian and Hittite: is a Succession Myth,
(Ouranos, Kronos, Zeus) No one book of myths; (note Apollodorus)
Myths are malleable; used/modified by artists (visual and literary)
Literary record may not cohere with actual cultic activity (i.e. Hera,
Aphrodite, Artemis minor in Homer but very popular cults)
Hesiod’s Invocation of the Muses
Practice of beginning and ending with invocation of muses
They dance sing with “soft feet round the violet-dark spring”
Sing of Aegis bearing” Zeus, and a few other Olympians
Less known deities like Themis, Dione, Leto, and primeval deities Kronos,
Moon, Sun, Earth, Night
Prologue to Theogony Muses speak of the nature of art
Know how to lie and to si