Theogony and Works and Days by Hesiod

The Consolation of Reading

Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya

The poet “often mentioned in the same breath as Homer” serves as our “other main representative of the early [Greek] world-view.” Not exactly the most inspiring material in the world, Hesiod presents the cosmogony of the world as genealogy, providing us with the birth of three hundred plus gods and goddesses into the world. Since the gods and goddesses are almost all abstractions of nature (the sea, the earth, the wind), this genealogy of the deities is also the literal creation of the world.

Within the structure of the genealogical narrative we have the birth of Mother Earth from the Chasm (often translated as Chaos in English, but the concept is really more void than it is disorderly). Earth mates with Uranos (the sky) and gives birth to the Titans. Uranos prevents the Earth from giving birth, leaving her groaning in perpetual pregnancy. Eventually Mother…

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