Hesiod is an epic poet from the late 8th/early 7th century B.C. His exact date is dubious, and there is disagreement over whether Homer or Hesiod wrote first. They are certainly, however, linked closely, as can be seen in the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, a work of the 4th century B.C. Unlike Homer, however, we know a few details about the life of Hesiod. He claimed to be from Ascra (Works and Days 640), a town near Mount Helikon, where he served at least some of his life as a shepherd (Theogony 22ff). His father owned a farm there, which formed the centre of an argument with his brother Perses with regard to inheritance (the main subject of the Works and Days).
His main works consist of the Theogony, a hexameter poem of about 1000 lines documenting the genealogy of all deities and their interactions down to Zeus’ reign. His Works and Days is a didactic poem (the earliest Greek didactic poem we possess) of about 800 lines, detailing practical advice, such as crop planting and sailing, and also detailing the famous story of Pandora and the Myth of Ages. Another two of his well known works include The Shield of Heracles and The Catalogue of Women (the latter surviving only in fragments).
Sarah Cassidy, Postgraduate Student at Edinburgh University
Theogony 22-34 | Hesiod and the Muses
Contributed by Sarah Cassidy
Works and Days
Works and Days 54-105 | Pandora
Contributed by Emanuele Pezzani