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Theogony and Works and Days Paperback – 11 December 2008
This is a very welcome publication, an authoritative translation of a major greek author at a reasonable price. Essential reading for classicists.--J. G. Hourie, Dept. of Classics, University of Edinburgh
Readers who have no previous knowledge of Hesoid will find this an extremely accessible book, written in such a way that the non-specialist will be able to read, follow and enjoy these works. This is in part due to Professor West's excellent translations and partly due to his real and profound
interest in his subject, which is further reflectd by a most informative and useful introduction.--The Greek Rreview
So much better than the corresponding Penguin translation of Hesiod. The introduction is splendid.--P. Walcot, University College, Cardiff
...An edition with a stimulating Introduction, a very readable translation.--JACT Review
- Publisher : Oxford University Press UK; Reissue edition (11 December 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 112 pages
- ISBN-10 : 019953831X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0199538317
- Reading age : 13 years and up
- Dimensions : 19.05 x 1.02 x 12.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 139,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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'Theogony' is about the gods and how they came to be; West notes in his introduction that the account appears to derive from southwest Asian influence rather than an Indo-European precedent, and was actually somewhat abhorrent to later Greeks of the classical period for its presentation of warfare between the gods. 'Works and Days' is advice given, ostensibly, to Hesiod's brother, Perses, about such matters as putting to sea, growing grain, and finding a wife. This is by far the more readable and interesting work for those who aren't 8th century BCE Boeotians. Economy, agriculture, astronomy - Hesiod can't be seen as the originator of all of these subjects by any means, but the germs of ideas are clearly present in this poem, germs that, through the fertilising effect of cross-cultural transmission, grew into the flowerings we now know as the classical and Hellenistic ages. There might perhaps have been no Empedocles or Democritus without Hesiod. Who can say how the history of Greece or the world, or even of philosophy, might have developed had Hesiod's poems not been present?
These are superb translations. Anyone interested in the early Greeks, or in the origins of philosophy in the region, should give them a read, and not expect more than startlingly familiar (because influential) poems on themes wantonly mixing the domestic and the theological. Anthropologists might also benefit from reading them, and seeing the fundamental similarities between the works and, for instance, Popol Vuh.
"Theogony" is a summary of 700bc ancient Greek pagan theology, myths about the origins of their Gods, the Universe and pre-Christian, pre-scientific ideas. How ancient Greeks attempted to make sense of the "natural" world around them and the obvious fact that it is the product of Creative Intelligence.
Work and Days gives a clear insight into Hesiod's background and a sense of what 'ordinary', agricultural life was like. Hesiod is giving advice to his audience, who he seems familiar with, about how to live well - to be hardworking, efficient, and devoted to the Gods.