Although many legends have accumulated around Hesiod, it is possible to piece together his biography from the poem itself. He was from Boeotia and had a small farm there. The Works and Days is directed at Hesiod's brother, Perses, who has instituted a corrupt lawsuit in order to wrest their father's land away. In this magnificent poem, Hesiod attempts to explain to his brother why his action is wicked, the importance of hard work, and the methods and timing necessary to the success of farm labor...the "works" and "days".
Essentially, the poem revolves about two general truths: those who are willing to work honestly will get by, and hard labor is the eternal lot of mankind. Hesiod urges his brother to work hard, honor the gods, and avoid idleness. In the process the poem delves into fascinating episodes of Greek mythology and also contains the first known Greek fable.
Two other poems accompany this piece: "Theogony" and "The Shield of Heracles", both attributed to Hesiod, not without dispute. "Theogony" concerns the origins of the world (Gaia), the genealogy of the gods, and how they came to rule from Olympus. "The Shield of Heracles" tells of the expedition of Heracles and Iolaus against Cycnus, though the main delight is the amazing description of the shield Heracles carries.
© and (P)2007 Audio Connoisseur
This audiobook is short, but well worth the listen. Charlton Griffin may not be to the liking of all, but I think his clear pronunciation mixed with his occasional (and a bit comical) forays into the dramatic are well done. The Theogony is a great outline-style primer on Greek myth. All around a fun read, or well...listen.
Hesiod is one of those ancient names that has been in my "wish list" for a long time, but he was nothing but a name since I had no familiarity at all with his works. So I was very glad to download this recording read by a reader I respect always enjoy tremendously. "Finally, here I go: Hesiod!"
So as you can see, I really wanted to love this recording ... but found that I could only like it.
I really TRIED to love it, even giving it a second go-round as soon as I finished it, but I could not help thinking very often as I listened that Hesiod is a second-tier poet who falls VERY far short of Homer, Ovid, and Virgil (among others). Of course it's not fair to compare him to these greats (esp. considering the fact that two of them had the benefit of a luxurious Roman education plus several additional centuries' worth of culture); but so be it: call me unfair.
Though I have no other translations to compare this one to, I thought it was fine. As was Griffin's reading. The problem, for me, is with the original text. It certainly has many points of interest, and I am glad I now have Hesiod under my belt, but I will not be revisiting this recording any time soon.
All that said, I do recommend that you listen to it eventually: once you've run out of better stuff.
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