Might, Cunning and Order in Hesiod’s Theogony

Thomas's Rant

Is the narrative of the unfolding cosmos in Hesiod’s Theogony an explanation of the contemporary world of the Ancient Greeks?

Hesiod’s Theogony, one of the earliest extant ancient Greek texts, charts the creation and evolution of the cosmos and the genealogy of the gods up to the reigning supremacy of Zeus. The text, full of divergent narratives and genealogical minutiae, is not easy to interpret. As an explanation of the contemporary world of the Greeks it is particularly troublesome, not only in light of limited archeological evidence and scant contemporary literature, but the very nature of its mythology makes historical evaluation largely a matter of supposition. Saying this, there are some general reflections that can be made on the basis of the text, especially concerning the importance of power and intelligence in shaping the burgeoning social order; yet such reflections are hardly explanations in the usual sense of the…

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