Greek Mythology can be a pain to understand at times, but it’s important to know what kind of philosophy/mythology was taught amongst Greeks back then, so then we can have an idea from where our modern things and thinking originally came from. *Disclaimer: what I’ll discuss in this essay is purely the author’s POV here, and the stuff I say is not meant to be taken seriously.* I personally will never be able to understand Greek mythology (so confusing yet interesting), but I take the time to learn it for the sake of knowing what the Greeks believed in. That’s all for I had to say for the intro now let’s begin the topic.
Hesiod was an author that wrote the poem Works and Days at around 700 B.C. He loses his father’s inheritance to his brother, Perses, so this poem was dedicated to Perses and scaring him into giving their father’s inheritance to him. His poem mainly consisted of practical advice, specifically about the importance of farming. One of main points were that by earning wealth in working hard rather than winning a case in the court was the way to go. That’s basically the reason why he encouraged Perses to be a farmer.
The main focus of this poem was to go into more detail about Zeus’s revenge against men and how they were cursed. One of the gods by the name of Prometheus, had rebelled against Zeus and was punished. After he was freed, he tricked Zeus and had taken fire as a gift for men. To get even with the men Zeus sent the men a Pandora in which when it was opened out came some of the evils in the world which was sickness and death. Pandora was supposed to represent a woman.
Hesiod then explains about the 5 generations/ ‘races’ of humanity that Zeus had created. The races were Gold, Silver, Bronze, Demi-gods, and Iron. The first one was Gold, which were these ‘perfect’ beings that lived long before the evils of the world. They walked alongside with the gods and became living spirits after death. Zeus then created the Silver race, which were shameless and pure bitter. Zeus has to punish them for their sins by wiping the race out completely. To replace Silver he created the Bronze race, which were as equally bad, this race was also very strong and were wiped out by a plaque called the black death. Next were the Demi-gods, this race was basically the same a the Gold race in the sense of being righteous. They were heroes existing during the times of trojan war. Then the last race was created, the Iron race, Hesiod claims that this generation were of his times, people who don’t rest from labor and disobey parents by doing evil things.
Hesiod claims that Zeus would then wipe out that race as well. His point was that Perses should still be determined to work harder nonetheless, because Zeus will create a good era.
Hesiod’s views on the past and future was basically that you can’t escape Zeus’s will. Every generation will be worse then the previous. He says that the best thing to do is to work hard, obey parents and the gods, follow omens and moral laws.
Thanks for reading this essay. Like I said you don’t have to take his poem and writing seriously but what you should do is to understand what the Greeks thought about morality and ethics and how we could follow them.