Thursday, October 18, 2007


Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica
This file contains translations of the following works:
Hesiod: "Works and Days", "The Theogony", fragments of "The
Catalogues of Women and the Eoiae", "The Shield of Heracles"
(attributed to Hesiod), and fragments of various works attributed
to Hesiod.
Homer: "The Homeric Hymns", "The Epigrams of Homer" (both
attributed to Homer).
Various: Fragments of the Epic Cycle (parts of which are
sometimes attributed to Homer), fragments of other epic poems
attributed to Homer, "The Battle of Frogs and Mice", and "The
Contest of Homer and Hesiod".
This file contains only that portion of the book in English;
Greek texts are excluded. Where Greek characters appear in the
original English text, transcription in CAPITALS is substituted.
In order to make this file more accessable to the average
computer user, the preparer has found it necessary to re-arrange
some of the material. The preparer takes full responsibility for
his choice of arrangement.
A few endnotes have been added by the preparer, and some
additions have been supplied to the original endnotes of Mr.
Evelyn-White's. Where this occurs I have noted the addition with
my initials "DBK". Some endnotes, particularly those concerning
textual variations in the ancient Greek text, are here ommitted.
This volume contains practically all that remains of the post-
Homeric and pre-academic epic poetry.
I have for the most part formed my own text. In the case of
Hesiod I have been able to use independent collations of several
MSS. by Dr. W.H.D. Rouse; otherwise I have depended on the
apparatus criticus of the several editions, especially that of
Rzach (1902). The arrangement adopted in this edition, by which
the complete and fragmentary poems are restored to the order in
which they would probably have appeared had the Hesiodic corpus
survived intact, is unusual, but should not need apology; the
true place for the "Catalogues" (for example), fragmentary as
they are, is certainly after the "Theogony".
In preparing the text of the "Homeric Hymns" my chief debt -- and
it is a heavy one -- is to the edition of Allen and Sikes (1904)
and to the series of articles in the "Journal of Hellenic
Studies" (vols. xv.sqq.) by T.W. Allen. To the same scholar and
to the Delegates of the Clarendon Press I am greatly indebted for
permission to use the restorations of the "Hymn to Demeter",
lines 387-401 and 462-470, printed in the Oxford Text of 1912.
Of the fragments of the Epic Cycle I have given only such as
seemed to possess distinct importance or interest, and in doing
so have relied mostly upon Kinkel's collection and on the fifth
volume of the Oxford Homer (1912).
The texts of the "Batrachomyomachia" and of the "Contest of Homer
and Hesiod" are those of Baumeister and Flach respectively: where
I have diverged from these, the fact has been noted.
Hugh G. Evelyn-White,
Rampton, NR. Cambridge.
Sept. 9th, 1914.
The early Greek epic -- that is, poetry as a natural and popular,
and not (as it became later) an artificial and academic literary
form -- passed through the usual three phases, of development, of
maturity, and of decline.
No fragments which can be identified as belonging to the first
period survive to give us even a general idea of the history of
the earliest epic, and we are therefore thrown back upon the
evidence of analogy from other forms of literature and of
inference from the two great epics which have come down to us.
So reconstructed, the earliest period appears to us as a time of
slow development in which the characteristic epic metre, diction,
and structure grew up slowly from crude elements and were
improved until the verge of maturity was reached.
The second period, which produced the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey",
needs no description here: but it is very important to observe
the effect of these poems on the course of post-Homeric epic. As
the supreme perfection and universality of the "Iliad" and the
"Odyssey" cast into oblivion whatever pre-Homeric poets had
essayed, so these same qualities exercised a paralysing influence
over the successors of Homer. If they continued to sing like
their great predecessor of romantic themes, they were drawn as by
a kind of magnetic attraction into the Homeric style and manner
of treatment, and became mere echoes of the Homeric voice: in a
word, Homer had so completely exhausted the epic genre, that
after him further efforts were doomed to be merely conventional.
Only the rare and exceptional genius of Vergil and Milton could
use the Homeric medium without loss of individuality: and this
quality none of the later epic poets seem to have possessed.
Freedom from the domination of the great tradition could only be
found by seeking new subjects, and such freedom was really only
illusionary, since romantic subjects alone are suitable for epic
In its third period, therefore, epic poetry shows two divergent
tendencies. In Ionia and the islands the epic poets followed the
Homeric tradition, singing of romantic subjects in the now
stereotyped heroic style, and showing originality only in their
choice of legends hitherto neglected or summarily and imperfectly
treated. In continental Greece (1), on the other hand, but
especially in Boeotia, a new form of epic sprang up, which for
the romance and PATHOS of the Ionian School substituted the
practical and matter-of-fact. It dealt in moral and practical
maxims, in information on technical subjects which are of service
in daily life -- agriculture, astronomy, augury, and the calendar
-- in matters of religion and in tracing the genealogies of men.
Its attitude is summed up in the words of the Muses to the writer
of the "Theogony": `We can tell many a feigned tale to look like
truth, but we can, when we will, utter the truth' ("Theogony"
26-27). Such a poetry could not be permanently successful,
because the subjects of which it treats -- if susceptible of
poetic treatment at all -- were certainly not suited for epic
treatment, where unity of action which will sustain interest, and
to which each part should contribute, is absolutely necessary.
While, therefore, an epic like the "Odyssey" is an organism and
dramatic in structure, a work such as the "Theogony" is a merely
artificial collocation of facts, and, at best, a pageant. It is
not surprising, therefore, to find that from the first the
Boeotian school is forced to season its matter with romantic
episodes, and that later it tends more and more to revert (as in
the "Shield of Heracles") to the Homeric tradition.
The Boeotian School
How did the continental school of epic poetry arise? There is
little definite material for an answer to this question, but the
probability is that there were at least three contributory
causes. First, it is likely that before the rise of the Ionian
epos there existed in Boeotia a purely popular and indigenous
poetry of a crude form: it comprised, we may suppose, versified
proverbs and precepts relating to life in general, agricultural
maxims, weather-lore, and the like. In this sense the Boeotian
poetry may be taken to have its germ in maxims similar to our
`Till May be out, ne'er cast a clout,'
`A rainbow in the morning
Is the Shepherd's warning.'
Secondly and thirdly we may ascribe the rise of the new epic to
the nature of the Boeotian people and, as already remarked, to a
spirit of revolt against the old epic. The Boeotians, people of
the class of which Hesiod represents himself to be the type, were
essentially unromantic; their daily needs marked the general
limit of their ideals, and, as a class, they cared little for
works of fancy, for pathos, or for fine thought as such. To a
people of this nature the Homeric epos would be inacceptable, and
the post-Homeric epic, with its conventional atmosphere, its
trite and hackneyed diction, and its insincere sentiment, would
be anathema. We can imagine, therefore, that among such folk a
settler, of Aeolic origin like Hesiod, who clearly was well
acquainted with the Ionian epos, would naturally see that the
only outlet for his gifts lay in applying epic poetry to new
themes acceptable to his hearers.
Though the poems of the Boeotian school (2) were unanimously
assigned to Hesiod down to the age of Alexandrian criticism, they
were clearly neither the work of one man nor even of one period:
some, doubtless, were fraudulently fathered on him in order to
gain currency; but it is probable that most came to be regarded
as his partly because of their general character, and partly
because the names of their real authors were lost. One fact in
this attribution is remarkable -- the veneration paid to Hesiod.
Life of Hesiod
Our information respecting Hesiod is derived in the main from
notices and allusions in the works attributed to him, and to
these must be added traditions concerning his death and burial
gathered from later writers.
Hesiod's father (whose name, by a perversion of "Works and Days",
299 PERSE DION GENOS to PERSE, DION GENOS, was thought to have
been Dius) was a native of Cyme in Aeolis, where he was a
seafaring trader and, perhaps, also a farmer. He was forced by
poverty to leave his native place, and returned to continental
Greece, where he settled at Ascra near Thespiae in Boeotia
("Works and Days", 636 ff.). Either in Cyme or Ascra, two sons,
Hesiod and Perses, were born to the settler, and these, after his
death, divided the farm between them. Perses, however, who is
represented as an idler and spendthrift, obtained and kept the
larger share by bribing the corrupt `lords' who ruled from
Thespiae ("Works and Days", 37-39). While his brother wasted his
patrimony and ultimately came to want ("Works and Days", 34 ff.),
Hesiod lived a farmer's life until, according to the very early
tradition preserved by the author of the "Theogony" (22-23), the
Muses met him as he was tending sheep on Mt. Helicon and `taught
him a glorious song' -- doubtless the "Works and Days". The only
other personal reference is to his victory in a poetical contest
at the funeral games of Amphidamas at Chalcis in Euboea, where he
won the prize, a tripod, which he dedicated to the Muses of
Helicon ("Works and Days", 651-9).
Before we go on to the story of Hesiod's death, it will be well
to inquire how far the "autobiographical" notices can be treated
as historical, especially as many critics treat some, or all of
them, as spurious. In the first place attempts have been made to
show that "Hesiod" is a significant name and therefore
fictitious: it is only necessary to mention Goettling's
derivation from IEMI to ODOS (which would make `Hesiod' mean the
`guide' in virtues and technical arts), and to refer to the
pitiful attempts in the "Etymologicum Magnum" (s.v. ESIODUS),
to show how prejudiced and lacking even in plausibility such
efforts are. It seems certain that `Hesiod' stands as a proper
name in the fullest sense. Secondly, Hesiod claims that his
father -- if not he himself -- came from Aeolis and settled in
Boeotia. There is fairly definite evidence to warrant our
acceptance of this: the dialect of the "Works and Days" is shown
by Rzach (3) to contain distinct Aeolisms apart from those which
formed part of the general stock of epic poetry. And that this
Aeolic speaking poet was a Boeotian of Ascra seems even more
certain, since the tradition is never once disputed,
insignificant though the place was, even before its destruction
by the Thespians.
Again, Hesiod's story of his relations with his brother Perses
have been treated with scepticism (see Murray, "Anc. Gk.
Literature", pp. 53-54): Perses, it is urged, is clearly a mere
dummy, set up to be the target for the poet's exhortations. On
such a matter precise evidence is naturally not forthcoming; but
all probability is against the sceptical view. For 1) if the
quarrel between the brothers were a fiction, we should expect it
to be detailed at length and not noticed allusively and rather
obscurely -- as we find it; 2) as MM. Croiset remark, if the poet
needed a lay-figure the ordinary practice was to introduce some
mythological person -- as, in fact, is done in the "Precepts of
Chiron". In a word, there is no more solid ground for treating
Perses and his quarrel with Hesiod as fictitious than there would
be for treating Cyrnus, the friend of Theognis, as mythical.
Thirdly, there is the passage in the "Theogony" relating to
Hesiod and the Muses. It is surely an error to suppose that
lines 22-35 all refer to Hesiod: rather, the author of the
"Theogony" tells the story of his own inspiration by the same
Muses who once taught Hesiod glorious song. The lines 22-3 are
therefore a very early piece of tradition about Hesiod, and
though the appearance of Muses must be treated as a graceful
fiction, we find that a writer, later than the "Works and Days"
by perhaps no more than three-quarters of a century, believed in
the actuality of Hesiod and in his life as a farmer or shepherd.
Lastly, there is the famous story of the contest in song at
Chalcis. In later times the modest version in the "Works and
Days" was elaborated, first by making Homer the opponent whom
Hesiod conquered, while a later period exercised its ingenuity in
working up the story of the contest into the elaborate form in
which it still survives. Finally the contest, in which the two
poets contended with hymns to Apollo (4), was transferred to
Delos. These developments certainly need no consideration: are
we to say the same of the passage in the "Works and Days"?
Critics from Plutarch downwards have almost unanimously rejected
the lines 654-662, on the ground that Hesiod's Amphidamas is the
hero of the Lelantine Wars between Chalcis and Eretria, whose
death may be placed circa 705 B.C. -- a date which is obviously
too low for the genuine Hesiod. Nevertheless, there is much to
be said in defence of the passage. Hesiod's claim in the "Works
and Days" is modest, since he neither pretends to have met Homer,
nor to have sung in any but an impromptu, local festival, so that
the supposed interpolation lacks a sufficient motive. And there
is nothing in the context to show that Hesiod's Amphidamas is to
be identified with that Amphidamas whom Plutarch alone connects
with the Lelantine War: the name may have been borne by an
earlier Chalcidian, an ancestor, perhaps, of the person to whom
Plutarch refers.
The story of the end of Hesiod may be told in outline. After the
contest at Chalcis, Hesiod went to Delphi and there was warned
that the `issue of death should overtake him in the fair grove of
Nemean Zeus.' Avoiding therefore Nemea on the Isthmus of
Corinth, to which he supposed the oracle to refer, Hesiod retired
to Oenoe in Locris where he was entertained by Amphiphanes and
Ganyetor, sons of a certain Phegeus. This place, however, was
also sacred to Nemean Zeus, and the poet, suspected by his hosts
of having seduced their sister (5), was murdered there. His
body, cast into the sea, was brought to shore by dolphins and
buried at Oenoe (or, according to Plutarch, at Ascra): at a later
time his bones were removed to Orchomenus. The whole story is
full of miraculous elements, and the various authorities disagree
on numerous points of detail. The tradition seems, however, to
be constant in declaring that Hesiod was murdered and buried at
Oenoe, and in this respect it is at least as old as the time of
Thucydides. In conclusion it may be worth while to add the
graceful epigram of Alcaeus of Messene ("Palatine Anthology", vii
"When in the shady Locrian grove Hesiod lay dead, the Nymphs
washed his body with water from their own springs, and
heaped high his grave; and thereon the goat-herds sprinkled
offerings of milk mingled with yellow-honey: such was the
utterance of the nine Muses that he breathed forth, that old
man who had tasted of their pure springs."
The Hesiodic Poems
The Hesiodic poems fall into two groups according as they are
didactic (technical or gnomic) or genealogical: the first group
centres round the "Works and Days", the second round the
I. "The Works and Days":
The poem consists of four main sections. a) After the prelude,
which Pausanias failed to find in the ancient copy engraved on
lead seen by him on Mt. Helicon, comes a general exhortation to
industry. It begins with the allegory of the two Strifes, who
stand for wholesome Emulation and Quarrelsomeness respectively.
Then by means of the Myth of Pandora the poet shows how evil and
the need for work first arose, and goes on to describe the Five
Ages of the World, tracing the gradual increase in evil, and
emphasizing the present miserable condition of the world, a
condition in which struggle is inevitable. Next, after the Fable
of the Hawk and Nightingale, which serves as a condemnation of
violence and injustice, the poet passes on to contrast the
blessing which Righteousness brings to a nation, and the
punishment which Heaven sends down upon the violent, and the
section concludes with a series of precepts on industry and
prudent conduct generally. b) The second section shows how a man
may escape want and misery by industry and care both in
agriculture and in trading by sea. Neither subject, it should be
carefully noted, is treated in any way comprehensively. c) The
third part is occupied with miscellaneous precepts relating
mostly to actions of domestic and everyday life and conduct which
have little or no connection with one another. d) The final
section is taken up with a series of notices on the days of the
month which are favourable or unfavourable for agricultural and
other operations.
It is from the second and fourth sections that the poem takes its
name. At first sight such a work seems to be a miscellany of
myths, technical advice, moral precepts, and folklore maxims
without any unifying principle; and critics have readily taken
the view that the whole is a canto of fragments or short poems
worked up by a redactor. Very probably Hesiod used much material
of a far older date, just as Shakespeare used the "Gesta
Romanorum", old chronicles, and old plays; but close inspection
will show that the "Works and Days" has a real unity and that the
picturesque title is somewhat misleading. The poem has properly
no technical object at all, but is moral: its real aim is to show
men how best to live in a difficult world. So viewed the four
seemingly independent sections will be found to be linked
together in a real bond of unity. Such a connection between the
first and second sections is easily seen, but the links between
these and the third and fourth are no less real: to make life go
tolerably smoothly it is most important to be just and to know
how to win a livelihood; but happiness also largely depends on
prudence and care both in social and home life as well, and not
least on avoidance of actions which offend supernatural powers
and bring ill-luck. And finally, if your industry is to be
fruitful, you must know what days are suitable for various kinds
of work. This moral aim -- as opposed to the currently accepted
technical aim of the poem -- explains the otherwise puzzling
incompleteness of the instructions on farming and seafaring.
Of the Hesiodic poems similar in character to the "Works and
Days", only the scantiest fragments survive. One at least of
these, the "Divination by Birds", was, as we know from Proclus,
attached to the end of the "Works" until it was rejected by
Apollonius Rhodius: doubtless it continued the same theme of how
to live, showing how man can avoid disasters by attending to the
omens to be drawn from birds. It is possible that the
"Astronomy" or "Astrology" (as Plutarch calls it) was in turn
appended to the "Divination". It certainly gave some account of
the principal constellations, their dates of rising and setting,
and the legends connected with them, and probably showed how
these influenced human affairs or might be used as guides. The
"Precepts of Chiron" was a didactic poem made up of moral and
practical precepts, resembling the gnomic sections of the "Works
and Days", addressed by the Centaur Chiron to his pupil Achilles.
Even less is known of the poem called the "Great Works": the
title implies that it was similar in subject to the second
section of the "Works and Days", but longer. Possible references
in Roman writers (6) indicate that among the subjects dealt with
were the cultivation of the vine and olive and various herbs.
The inclusion of the judgment of Rhadamanthys (frag. 1): `If a
man sow evil, he shall reap evil,' indicates a gnomic element,
and the note by Proclus (7) on "Works and Days" 126 makes it
likely that metals also were dealt with. It is therefore
possible that another lost poem, the "Idaean Dactyls", which
dealt with the discovery of metals and their working, was
appended to, or even was a part of the "Great Works", just as the
"Divination by Birds" was appended to the "Works and Days".
II. The Genealogical Poems:
The only complete poem of the genealogical group is the
"Theogony", which traces from the beginning of things the descent
and vicissitudes of the families of the gods. Like the "Works
and Days" this poem has no dramatic plot; but its unifying
principle is clear and simple. The gods are classified
chronologically: as soon as one generation is catalogued, the
poet goes on to detail the offspring of each member of that
generation. Exceptions are only made in special cases, as the
Sons of Iapetus (ll. 507-616) whose place is accounted for by
their treatment by Zeus. The chief landmarks in the poem are as
follows: after the first 103 lines, which contain at least three
distinct preludes, three primeval beings are introduced, Chaos,
Earth, and Eros -- here an indefinite reproductive influence. Of
these three, Earth produces Heaven to whom she bears the Titans,
the Cyclopes and the hundred-handed giants. The Titans,
oppressed by their father, revolt at the instigation of Earth,
under the leadership of Cronos, and as a result Heaven and Earth
are separated, and Cronos reigns over the universe. Cronos
knowing that he is destined to be overcome by one of his
children, swallows each one of them as they are born, until Zeus,
saved by Rhea, grows up and overcomes Cronos in some struggle
which is not described. Cronos is forced to vomit up the
children he had swallowed, and these with Zeus divide the
universe between them, like a human estate. Two events mark the
early reign of Zeus, the war with the Titans and the overthrow of
Typhoeus, and as Zeus is still reigning the poet can only go on
to give a list of gods born to Zeus by various goddesses. After
this he formally bids farewell to the cosmic and Olympian deities
and enumerates the sons born of goddess to mortals. The poem
closes with an invocation of the Muses to sing of the `tribe of
This conclusion served to link the "Theogony" to what must have
been a distinct poem, the "Catalogues of Women". This work was
divided into four (Suidas says five) books, the last one (or two)
of which was known as the "Eoiae" and may have been again a
distinct poem: the curious title will be explained presently.
The "Catalogues" proper were a series of genealogies which traced
the Hellenic race (or its more important peoples and families)
from a common ancestor. The reason why women are so prominent is
obvious: since most families and tribes claimed to be descended
from a god, the only safe clue to their origin was through a
mortal woman beloved by that god; and it has also been pointed
out that `mutterrecht' still left its traces in northern Greece
in historical times.
The following analysis (after Marckscheffel) (8) will show the
principle of its composition. From Prometheus and Pronoia sprang
Deucalion and Pyrrha, the only survivors of the deluge, who had a
son Hellen (frag. 1), the reputed ancestor of the whole Hellenic
race. From the daughters of Deucalion sprang Magnes and Macedon,
ancestors of the Magnesians and Macedonians, who are thus
represented as cousins to the true Hellenic stock. Hellen had
three sons, Dorus, Xuthus, and Aeolus, parents of the Dorian,
Ionic and Aeolian races, and the offspring of these was then
detailed. In one instance a considerable and characteristic
section can be traced from extant fragments and notices:
Salmoneus, son of Aeolus, had a daughter Tyro who bore to
Poseidon two sons, Pelias and Neleus; the latter of these, king
of Pylos, refused Heracles purification for the murder of
Iphitus, whereupon Heracles attacked and sacked Pylos, killing
amongst the other sons of Neleus Periclymenus, who had the power
of changing himself into all manner of shapes. From this
slaughter Neleus alone escaped (frags. 13, and 10-12). This
summary shows the general principle of arrangement of the
"Catalogues": each line seems to have been dealt with in turn,
and the monotony was relieved as far as possible by a brief
relation of famous adventures connected with any of the
personages -- as in the case of Atalanta and Hippomenes (frag.
14). Similarly the story of the Argonauts appears from the
fragments (37-42) to have been told in some detail.
This tendency to introduce romantic episodes led to an important
development. Several poems are ascribed to Hesiod, such as the
"Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis", the "Descent of Theseus into
Hades", or the "Circuit of the Earth" (which must have been
connected with the story of Phineus and the Harpies, and so with
the Argonaut-legend), which yet seem to have belonged to the
"Catalogues". It is highly probable that these poems were
interpolations into the "Catalogues" expanded by later poets from
more summary notices in the genuine Hesiodic work and
subsequently detached from their contexts and treated as
independent. This is definitely known to be true of the "Shield
of Heracles", the first 53 lines of which belong to the fourth
book of the "Catalogues", and almost certainly applies to other
episodes, such as the "Suitors of Helen" (9), the "Daughters of
Leucippus", and the "Marriage of Ceyx", which last Plutarch
mentions as `interpolated in the works of Hesiod.'
To the "Catalogues", as we have said, was appended another work,
the "Eoiae". The title seems to have arisen in the following way
(10): the "Catalogues" probably ended (ep. "Theogony" 963 ff.)
with some such passage as this: `But now, ye Muses, sing of the
tribes of women with whom the Sons of Heaven were joined in love,
women pre-eminent above their fellows in beauty, such as was
Niobe (?).' Each succeeding heroine was then introduced by the
formula `Or such as was...' (cp. frags. 88, 92, etc.). A large
fragment of the "Eoiae" is extant at the beginning of the "Shield
of Heracles", which may be mentioned here. The "supplement" (ll.
57-480) is nominally Heracles and Cycnus, but the greater part is
taken up with an inferior description of the shield of Heracles,
in imitation of the Homeric shield of Achilles ("Iliad" xviii.
478 ff.). Nothing shows more clearly the collapse of the
principles of the Hesiodic school than this ultimate servile
dependence upon Homeric models.
At the close of the "Shield" Heracles goes on to Trachis to the
house of Ceyx, and this warning suggests that the "Marriage of
Ceyx" may have come immediately after the `Or such as was' of
Alcmena in the "Eoiae": possibly Halcyone, the wife of Ceyx, was
one of the heroines sung in the poem, and the original section
was `developed' into the "Marriage", although what form the poem
took is unknown.
Next to the "Eoiae" and the poems which seemed to have been
developed from it, it is natural to place the "Great Eoiae".
This, again, as we know from fragments, was a list of heroines
who bare children to the gods: from the title we must suppose it
to have been much longer that the simple "Eoiae", but its extent
is unknown. Lehmann, remarking that the heroines are all
Boeotian and Thessalian (while the heroines of the "Catalogues"
belong to all parts of the Greek world), believes the author to
have been either a Boeotian or Thessalian.
Two other poems are ascribed to Hesiod. Of these the "Aegimius"
(also ascribed by Athenaeus to Cercops of Miletus), is thought by
Valckenaer to deal with the war of Aegimus against the Lapithae
and the aid furnished to him by Heracles, and with the history of
Aegimius and his sons. Otto Muller suggests that the
introduction of Thetis and of Phrixus (frags. 1-2) is to be
connected with notices of the allies of the Lapithae from
Phthiotis and Iolchus, and that the story of Io was incidental to
a narrative of Heracles' expedition against Euboea. The
remaining poem, the "Melampodia", was a work in three books,
whose plan it is impossible to recover. Its subject, however,
seems to have been the histories of famous seers like Mopsus,
Calchas, and Teiresias, and it probably took its name from
Melampus, the most famous of them all.
Date of the Hesiodic Poems
There is no doubt that the "Works and Days" is the oldest, as it
is the most original, of the Hesiodic poems. It seems to be
distinctly earlier than the "Theogony", which refers to it,
apparently, as a poem already renowned. Two considerations help
us to fix a relative date for the "Works". 1) In diction,
dialect and style it is obviously dependent upon Homer, and is
therefore considerably later than the "Iliad" and "Odyssey":
moreover, as we have seen, it is in revolt against the romantic
school, already grown decadent, and while the digamma is still
living, it is obviously growing weak, and is by no means
uniformly effective.
2) On the other hand while tradition steadily puts the Cyclic
poets at various dates from 776 B.C. downwards, it is equally
consistent in regarding Homer and Hesiod as `prehistoric'.
Herodotus indeed puts both poets 400 years before his own time;
that is, at about 830-820 B.C., and the evidence stated above
points to the middle of the ninth century as the probable date
for the "Works and Days". The "Theogony" might be tentatively
placed a century later; and the "Catalogues" and "Eoiae" are
again later, but not greatly later, than the "Theogony": the
"Shield of Heracles" may be ascribed to the later half of the
seventh century, but there is not evidence enough to show whether
the other `developed' poems are to be regarded as of a date so
low as this.
Literary Value of Homer
Quintillian's (11) judgment on Hesiod that `he rarely rises to
great heights... and to him is given the palm in the middle-class
of speech' is just, but is liable to give a wrong impression.
Hesiod has nothing that remotely approaches such scenes as that
between Priam and Achilles, or the pathos of Andromache's
preparations for Hector's return, even as he was falling before
the walls of Troy; but in matters that come within the range or
ordinary experience, he rarely fails to rise to the appropriate
level. Take, for instance, the description of the Iron Age
("Works and Days", 182 ff.) with its catalogue of wrongdoings and
violence ever increasing until Aidos and Nemesis are forced to
leave mankind who thenceforward shall have `no remedy against
evil'. Such occasions, however, rarely occur and are perhaps not
characteristic of Hesiod's genius: if we would see Hesiod at his
best, in his most natural vein, we must turn to such a passage as
that which he himself -- according to the compiler of the
"Contest of Hesiod and Homer" -- selected as best in all his
work, `When the Pleiades, Atlas' daughters, begin to rise...'
("Works and Days, 383 ff.). The value of such a passage cannot
be analysed: it can only be said that given such a subject, this
alone is the right method of treatment.
Hesiod's diction is in the main Homeric, but one of his charms is
the use of quaint allusive phrases derived, perhaps, from a pre-
Hesiodic peasant poetry: thus the season when Boreas blows is the
time when `the Boneless One gnaws his foot by his fireless hearth
in his cheerless house'; to cut one's nails is `to sever the
withered from the quick upon that which has five branches';
similarly the burglar is the `day-sleeper', and the serpent is
the `hairless one'. Very similar is his reference to seasons
through what happens or is done in that season: `when the Housecarrier,
fleeing the Pleiades, climbs up the plants from the
earth', is the season for harvesting; or `when the artichoke
flowers and the clicking grass-hopper, seated in a tree, pours
down his shrill song', is the time for rest.
Hesiod's charm lies in his child-like and sincere naivete, in his
unaffected interest in and picturesque view of nature and all
that happens in nature. These qualities, it is true, are those
pre-eminently of the "Works and Days": the literary values of the
"Theogony" are of a more technical character, skill in ordering
and disposing long lists of names, sure judgment in seasoning a
monotonous subject with marvellous incidents or episodes, and no
mean imagination in depicting the awful, as is shown in the
description of Tartarus (ll. 736-745). Yet it remains true that
Hesiod's distinctive title to a high place in Greek literature
lies in the very fact of his freedom form classic form, and his
grave, and yet child-like, outlook upon his world.
The Ionic School
The Ionic School of Epic poetry was, as we have seen, dominated
by the Homeric tradition, and while the style and method of
treatment are Homeric, it is natural that the Ionic poets
refrained from cultivating the ground tilled by Homer, and chose
for treatment legends which lay beyond the range of the "Iliad"
and "Odyssey". Equally natural it is that they should have
particularly selected various phases of the tale of Troy which
preceded or followed the action of the "Iliad" or "Odyssey". In
this way, without any preconceived intention, a body of epic
poetry was built up by various writers which covered the whole
Trojan story. But the entire range of heroic legend was open to
these poets, and other clusters of epics grew up dealing
particularly with the famous story of Thebes, while others dealt
with the beginnings of the world and the wars of heaven. In the
end there existed a kind of epic history of the world, as known
to the Greeks, down to the death of Odysseus, when the heroic age
ended. In the Alexandrian Age these poems were arranged in
chronological order, apparently by Zenodotus of Ephesus, at the
beginning of the 3rd century B.C. At a later time the term
"Cycle", `round' or `course', was given to this collection.
Of all this mass of epic poetry only the scantiest fragments
survive; but happily Photius has preserved to us an abridgment of
the synopsis made of each poem of the "Trojan Cycle" by Proclus,
i.e. Eutychius Proclus of Sicca.
The pre-Trojan poems of the Cycle may be noticed first. The
"Titanomachy", ascribed both to Eumelus of Corinth and to
Arctinus of Miletus, began with a kind of Theogony which told of
the union of Heaven and Earth and of their offspring the Cyclopes
and the Hundred-handed Giants. How the poem proceeded we have no
means of knowing, but we may suppose that in character it was not
unlike the short account of the Titan War found in the Hesiodic
"Theogony" (617 ff.).
What links bound the "Titanomachy" to the Theben Cycle is not
clear. This latter group was formed of three poems, the "Story
of Oedipus", the "Thebais", and the "Epigoni". Of the
"Oedipodea" practically nothing is known, though on the assurance
of Athenaeus (vii. 277 E) that Sophocles followed the Epic Cycle
closely in the plots of his plays, we may suppose that in outline
the story corresponded closely to the history of Oedipus as it is
found in the "Oedipus Tyrannus". The "Thebais" seems to have
begun with the origin of the fatal quarrel between Eteocles and
Polyneices in the curse called down upon them by their father in
his misery. The story was thence carried down to the end of the
expedition under Polyneices, Adrastus and Amphiarus against
Thebes. The "Epigoni" (ascribed to Antimachus of Teos) recounted
the expedition of the `After-Born' against Thebes, and the sack
of the city.
The Trojan Cycle
Six epics with the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" made up the Trojan
Cycle -- The "Cyprian Lays", the "Iliad", the "Aethiopis", the
"Little Illiad", the "Sack of Troy", the "Returns", the
"Odyssey", and the "Telegony".
It has been assumed in the foregoing pages that the poems of the
Trojan Cycle are later than the Homeric poems; but, as the
opposite view has been held, the reasons for this assumption must
now be given. 1) Tradition puts Homer and the Homeric poems
proper back in the ages before chronological history began, and
at the same time assigns the purely Cyclic poems to definite
authors who are dated from the first Olympiad (776 B.C.)
downwards. This tradition cannot be purely arbitrary. 2) The
Cyclic poets (as we can see from the abstract of Proclus) were
careful not to trespass upon ground already occupied by Homer.
Thus, when we find that in the "Returns" all the prominent Greek
heroes except Odysseus are accounted for, we are forced to
believe that the author of this poem knew the "Odyssey" and
judged it unnecessary to deal in full with that hero's
adventures. (12) In a word, the Cyclic poems are `written round'
the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey". 3) The general structure of these
epics is clearly imitative. As M.M. Croiset remark, the abusive
Thersites in the "Aethiopis" is clearly copied from the Thersites
of the "Iliad"; in the same poem Antilochus, slain by Memnon and
avenged by Achilles, is obviously modelled on Patroclus. 4) The
geographical knowledge of a poem like the "Returns" is far wider
and more precise than that of the "Odyssey". 5) Moreover, in the
Cyclic poems epic is clearly degenerating morally -- if the
expression may be used. The chief greatness of the "Iliad" is in
the character of the heroes Achilles and Hector rather than in
the actual events which take place: in the Cyclic writers facts
rather than character are the objects of interest, and events are
so packed together as to leave no space for any exhibition of the
play of moral forces. All these reasons justify the view that
the poems with which we now have to deal were later than the
"Iliad" and "Odyssey", and if we must recognize the possibility
of some conventionality in the received dating, we may feel
confident that it is at least approximately just.
The earliest of the post-Homeric epics of Troy are apparently the
"Aethiopis" and the "Sack of Ilium", both ascribed to Arctinus of
Miletus who is said to have flourished in the first Olympiad (776
B.C.). He set himself to finish the tale of Troy, which, so far
as events were concerned, had been left half-told by Homer, by
tracing the course of events after the close of the "Iliad". The
"Aethiopis" thus included the coming of the Amazon Penthesilea to
help the Trojans after the fall of Hector and her death, the
similar arrival and fall of the Aethiopian Memnon, the death of
Achilles under the arrow of Paris, and the dispute between
Odysseus and Aias for the arms of Achilles. The "Sack of Ilium"
(13) as analysed by Proclus was very similar to Vergil's version
in "Aeneid" ii, comprising the episodes of the wooden horse, of
Laocoon, of Sinon, the return of the Achaeans from Tenedos, the
actual Sack of Troy, the division of spoils and the burning of
the city.
Lesches or Lescheos (as Pausanias calls him) of Pyrrha or
Mitylene is dated at about 660 B.C. In his "Little Iliad" he
undertook to elaborate the "Sack" as related by Arctinus. His
work included the adjudgment of the arms of Achilles to Odysseus,
the madness of Aias, the bringing of Philoctetes from Lemnos and
his cure, the coming to the war of Neoptolemus who slays
Eurypylus, son of Telephus, the making of the wooden horse, the
spying of Odysseus and his theft, along with Diomedes, of the
Palladium: the analysis concludes with the admission of the
wooden horse into Troy by the Trojans. It is known, however
(Aristotle, "Poetics", xxiii; Pausanias, x, 25-27), that the
"Little Iliad" also contained a description of the sack of Troy.
It is probable that this and other superfluous incidents
disappeared after the Alexandrian arrangement of the poems in the
Cycle, either as the result of some later recension, or merely
through disuse. Or Proclus may have thought it unnecessary to
give the accounts by Lesches and Arctinus of the same incident.
The "Cyprian Lays", ascribed to Stasinus of Cyprus (14) (but also
to Hegesinus of Salamis) was designed to do for the events
preceding the action of the "Iliad" what Arctinus had done for
the later phases of the Trojan War. The "Cypria" begins with the
first causes of the war, the purpose of Zeus to relieve the
overburdened earth, the apple of discord, the rape of Helen.
Then follow the incidents connected with the gathering of the
Achaeans and their ultimate landing in Troy; and the story of the
war is detailed up to the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon
with which the "Iliad" begins.
These four poems rounded off the story of the "Iliad", and it
only remained to connect this enlarged version with the
"Odyssey". This was done by means of the "Returns", a poem in
five books ascribed to Agias or Hegias of Troezen, which begins
where the "Sack of Troy" ends. It told of the dispute between
Agamemnon and Menelaus, the departure from Troy of Menelaus, the
fortunes of the lesser heroes, the return and tragic death of
Agamemnon, and the vengeance of Orestes on Aegisthus. The story
ends with the return home of Menelaus, which brings the general
narrative up to the beginning of the "Odyssey".
But the "Odyssey" itself left much untold: what, for example,
happened in Ithaca after the slaying of the suitors, and what was
the ultimate fate of Odysseus? The answer to these questions was
supplied by the "Telegony", a poem in two books by Eugammon of
Cyrene (fl. 568 B.C.). It told of the adventures of Odysseus in
Thesprotis after the killing of the Suitors, of his return to
Ithaca, and his death at the hands of Telegonis, his son by
Circe. The epic ended by disposing of the surviving personages
in a double marriage, Telemachus wedding Circe, and Telegonus
The end of the Cycle marks also the end of the Heroic Age.
The Homeric Hymns
The collection of thirty-three Hymns, ascribed to Homer, is the
last considerable work of the Epic School, and seems, on the
whole, to be later than the Cyclic poems. It cannot be
definitely assigned either to the Ionian or Continental schools,
for while the romantic element is very strong, there is a
distinct genealogical interest; and in matters of diction and
style the influences of both Hesiod and Homer are well-marked.
The date of the formation of the collection as such is unknown.
Diodorus Siculus (temp. Augustus) is the first to mention such a
body of poetry, and it is likely enough that this is, at least
substantially, the one which has come down to us. Thucydides
quotes the Delian "Hymn to Apollo", and it is possible that the
Homeric corpus of his day also contained other of the more
important hymns. Conceivable the collection was arranged in the
Alexandrine period.
Thucydides, in quoting the "Hymn to Apollo", calls it PROOIMION,
which ordinarily means a `prelude' chanted by a rhapsode before
recitation of a lay from Homer, and such hymns as Nos. vi, xxxi,
xxxii, are clearly preludes in the strict sense; in No. xxxi, for
example, after celebrating Helios, the poet declares he will next
sing of the `race of mortal men, the demi-gods'. But it may
fairly be doubted whether such Hymns as those to "Demeter" (ii),
"Apollo" (iii), "Hermes" (iv), "Aphrodite" (v), can have been
real preludes, in spite of the closing formula `and now I will
pass on to another hymn'. The view taken by Allen and Sikes,
amongst other scholars, is doubtless right, that these longer
hymns are only technically preludes and show to what
disproportionate lengths a simple literacy form can be developed.
The Hymns to "Pan" (xix), to "Dionysus" (xxvi), to "Hestia and
Hermes" (xxix), seem to have been designed for use at definite
religious festivals, apart from recitations. With the exception
perhaps of the "Hymn to Ares" (viii), no item in the collection
can be regarded as either devotional or liturgical.
The Hymn is doubtless a very ancient form; but if no example of
extreme antiquity survive this must be put down to the fact that
until the age of literary consciousness, such things are not
First, apparently, in the collection stood the "Hymn to
Dionysus", of which only two fragments now survive. While it
appears to have been a hymn of the longer type (15), we have no
evidence to show either its scope or date.
The "Hymn to Demeter", extant only in the MS. discovered by
Matthiae at Moscow, describes the seizure of Persephone by Hades,
the grief of Demeter, her stay at Eleusis, and her vengeance on
gods and men by causing famine. In the end Zeus is forced to
bring Persephone back from the lower world; but the goddess, by
the contriving of Hades, still remains partly a deity of the
lower world. In memory of her sorrows Demeter establishes the
Eleusinian mysteries (which, however, were purely agrarian in
This hymn, as a literary work, is one of the finest in the
collection. It is surely Attic or Eleusinian in origin. Can we
in any way fix its date? Firstly, it is certainly not later than
the beginning of the sixth century, for it makes no mention of
Iacchus, and the Dionysiac element was introduced at Eleusis at
about that period. Further, the insignificance of Triptolemus
and Eumolpus point to considerable antiquity, and the digamma is
still active. All these considerations point to the seventh
century as the probable date of the hymn.
The "Hymn to Apollo" consists of two parts, which beyond any
doubt were originally distinct, a Delian hymn and a Pythian hymn.
The Delian hymn describes how Leto, in travail with Apollo,
sought out a place in which to bear her son, and how Apollo, born
in Delos, at once claimed for himself the lyre, the bow, and
prophecy. This part of the existing hymn ends with an encomium
of the Delian festival of Apollo and of the Delian choirs. The
second part celebrates the founding of Pytho (Delphi) as the
oracular seat of Apollo. After various wanderings the god comes
to Telphus, near Haliartus, but is dissuaded by the nymph of the
place from settling there and urged to go on to Pytho where,
after slaying the she-dragon who nursed Typhaon, he builds his
temple. After the punishment of Telphusa for her deceit in
giving him no warning of the dragoness at Pytho, Apollo, in the
form of a dolphin, brings certain Cretan shipmen to Delphi to be
his priests; and the hymn ends with a charge to these men to
behave orderly and righteously.
The Delian part is exclusively Ionian and insular both in style
and sympathy; Delos and no other is Apollo's chosen seat: but the
second part is as definitely continental; Delos is ignored and
Delphi alone is the important centre of Apollo's worship. From
this it is clear that the two parts need not be of one date --
The first, indeed, is ascribed (Scholiast on Pindar "Nem". ii, 2)
to Cynaethus of Chios (fl. 504 B.C.), a date which is obviously
far too low; general considerations point rather to the eighth
century. The second part is not later than 600 B.C.; for 1) the
chariot-races at Pytho, which commenced in 586 B.C., are unknown
to the writer of the hymn, 2) the temple built by Trophonius and
Agamedes for Apollo (ll. 294-299) seems to have been still
standing when the hymn was written, and this temple was burned in
548. We may at least be sure that the first part is a Chian
work, and that the second was composed by a continental poet
familiar with Delphi.
The "Hymn to Hermes" differs from others in its burlesque, quasicomic
character, and it is also the best-known of the Hymns to
English readers in consequence of Shelley's translation.
After a brief narrative of the birth of Hermes, the author goes
on to show how he won a place among the gods. First the new-born
child found a tortoise and from its shell contrived the lyre;
next, with much cunning circumstance, he stole Apollo's cattle
and, when charged with the theft by Apollo, forced that god to
appear in undignified guise before the tribunal of Zeus. Zeus
seeks to reconcile the pair, and Hermes by the gift of the lyre
wins Apollo's friendship and purchases various prerogatives, a
share in divination, the lordship of herds and animals, and the
office of messenger from the gods to Hades.
The Hymn is hard to date. Hermes' lyre has seven strings and the
invention of the seven-stringed lyre is ascribed to Terpander
(flor. 676 B.C.). The hymn must therefore be later than that
date, though Terpander, according to Weir Smyth (16), may have
only modified the scale of the lyre; yet while the burlesque
character precludes an early date, this feature is far removed,
as Allen and Sikes remark, from the silliness of the "Battle of
the Frogs and Mice", so that a date in the earlier part of the
sixth century is most probable.
The "Hymn to Aphrodite" is not the least remarkable, from a
literary point of view, of the whole collection, exhibiting as it
does in a masterly manner a divine being as the unwilling victim
of an irresistible force. It tells how all creatures, and even
the gods themselves, are subject to the will of Aphrodite, saving
only Artemis, Athena, and Hestia; how Zeus to humble her pride of
power caused her to love a mortal, Anchises; and how the goddess
visited the hero upon Mt. Ida. A comparison of this work with
the Lay of Demodocus ("Odyssey" viii, 266 ff.), which is
superficially similar, will show how far superior is the former
in which the goddess is but a victim to forces stronger than
herself. The lines (247-255) in which Aphrodite tells of her
humiliation and grief are specially noteworthy.
There are only general indications of date. The influence of
Hesiod is clear, and the hymn has almost certainly been used by
the author of the "Hymn to Demeter", so that the date must lie
between these two periods, and the seventh century seems to be
the latest date possible.
The "Hymn to Dionysus" relates how the god was seized by pirates
and how with many manifestations of power he avenged himself on
them by turning them into dolphins. The date is widely disputed,
for while Ludwich believes it to be a work of the fourth or third
century, Allen and Sikes consider a sixth or seventh century date
to be possible. The story is figured in a different form on the
reliefs from the choragic monument of Lysicrates, now in the
British Museum (17).
Very different in character is the "Hymn to Ares", which is
Orphic in character. The writer, after lauding the god by
detailing his attributes, prays to be delivered from feebleness
and weakness of soul, as also from impulses to wanton and brutal
The only other considerable hymn is that to "Pan", which
describes how he roams hunting among the mountains and thickets
and streams, how he makes music at dusk while returning from the
chase, and how he joins in dancing with the nymphs who sing the
story of his birth. This, beyond most works of Greek literature,
is remarkable for its fresh and spontaneous love of wild natural
The remaining hymns are mostly of the briefest compass, merely
hailing the god to be celebrated and mentioning his chief
attributes. The Hymns to "Hermes" (xviii), to the "Dioscuri"
(xvii), and to "Demeter" (xiii) are mere abstracts of the longer
hymns iv, xxxiii, and ii.
The Epigrams of Homer
The "Epigrams of Homer" are derived from the pseudo-Herodotean
"Life of Homer", but many of them occur in other documents such
as the "Contest of Homer and Hesiod", or are quoted by various
ancient authors. These poetic fragments clearly antedate the
"Life" itself, which seems to have been so written round them as
to supply appropriate occasions for their composition. Epigram
iii on Midas of Larissa was otherwise attributed to Cleobulus of
Lindus, one of the Seven Sages; the address to Glaucus (xi) is
purely Hesiodic; xiii, according to MM. Croiset, is a fragment
from a gnomic poem. Epigram xiv is a curious poem attributed on
no very obvious grounds to Hesiod by Julius Pollox. In it the
poet invokes Athena to protect certain potters and their craft,
if they will, according to promise, give him a reward for his
song; if they prove false, malignant gnomes are invoked to wreck
the kiln and hurt the potters.
The Burlesque Poems
To Homer were popularly ascribed certain burlesque poems in which
Aristotle ("Poetics" iv) saw the germ of comedy. Most
interesting of these, were it extant, would be the "Margites".
The hero of the epic is at once sciolist and simpleton, `knowing
many things, but knowing them all badly'. It is unfortunately
impossible to trace the plan of the poem, which presumably
detailed the adventures of this unheroic character: the metre
used was a curious mixture of hexametric and iambic lines. The
date of such a work cannot be high: Croiset thinks it may belong
to the period of Archilochus (c. 650 B.C.), but it may well be
somewhat later.
Another poem, of which we know even less, is the "Cercopes".
These Cercopes (`Monkey-Men') were a pair of malignant dwarfs who
went about the world mischief-making. Their punishment by
Heracles is represented on one of the earlier metopes from
Selinus. It would be idle to speculate as to the date of this
Finally there is the "Battle of the Frogs and Mice". Here is
told the story of the quarrel which arose between the two tribes,
and how they fought, until Zeus sent crabs to break up the
battle. It is a parody of the warlike epic, but has little in it
that is really comic or of literary merit, except perhaps the
list of quaint arms assumed by the warriors. The text of the
poem is in a chaotic condition, and there are many
interpolations, some of Byzantine date.
Though popularly ascribed to Homer, its real author is said by
Suidas to have been Pigres, a Carian, brother of Artemisia, `wife
of Mausonis', who distinguished herself at the battle of Salamis.
Suidas is confusing the two Artemisias, but he may be right in
attributing the poem to about 480 B.C.
The Contest of Homer and Hesiod
This curious work dates in its present form from the lifetime or
shortly after the death of Hadrian, but seems to be based in part
on an earlier version by the sophist Alcidamas (c. 400 B.C.).
Plutarch ("Conviv. Sept. Sap.", 40) uses an earlier (or at least
a shorter) version than that which we possess (18). The extant
"Contest", however, has clearly combined with the original
document much other ill-digested matter on the life and descent
of Homer, probably drawing on the same general sources as does
the Herodotean "Life of Homer". Its scope is as follows: 1) the
descent (as variously reported) and relative dates of Homer and
Hesiod; 2) their poetical contest at Chalcis; 3) the death of
Hesiod; 4) the wanderings and fortunes of Homer, with brief
notices of the circumstances under which his reputed works were
composed, down to the time of his death.
The whole tract is, of course, mere romance; its only values are
1) the insight it give into ancient speculations about Homer; 2)
a certain amount of definite information about the Cyclic poems;
and 3) the epic fragments included in the stichomythia of the
"Contest" proper, many of which -- did we possess the clue --
would have to be referred to poems of the Epic Cycle.
(1) sc. in Boeotia, Locris and Thessaly: elsewhere the movement
was forced and unfruitful.
(2) The extant collection of three poems, "Works and Days",
"Theogony", and "Shield of Heracles", which alone have come
down to us complete, dates at least from the 4th century
A.D.: the title of the Paris Papyrus (Bibl. Nat. Suppl. Gr.
1099) names only these three works.
(3) "Der Dialekt des Hesiodes", p. 464: examples are AENEMI (W.
and D. 683) and AROMENAI (ib. 22).
(4) T.W. Allen suggests that the conjured Delian and Pythian
hymns to Apollo ("Homeric Hymns" III) may have suggested
this version of the story, the Pythian hymn showing strong
continental influence.
(5) She is said to have given birth to the lyrist Stesichorus.
(6) See Kinkel "Epic. Graec. Frag." i. 158 ff.
(7) See "Great Works", frag. 2.
(8) "Hesiodi Fragmenta", pp. 119 f.
(9) Possibly the division of this poem into two books is a
division belonging solely to this `developed poem', which
may have included in its second part a summary of the Tale
of Troy.
(10) Goettling's explanation.
(11) x. 1. 52
(12) Odysseus appears to have been mentioned once only -- and
that casually -- in the "Returns".
(13) M.M. Croiset note that the "Aethiopis" and the "Sack" were
originally merely parts of one work containing lays (the
Amazoneia, Aethiopis, Persis, etc.), just as the "Iliad"
contained various lays such as the Diomedeia.
(14) No date is assigned to him, but it seems likely that he was
either contemporary or slightly earlier than Lesches.
(15) Cp. Allen and Sikes, "Homeric Hymns" p. xv. In the text I
have followed the arrangement of these scholars, numbering
the Hymns to Dionysus and to Demeter, I and II respectively:
to place "Demeter" after "Hermes", and the Hymn to Dionysus
at the end of the collection seems to be merely perverse.
(16) "Greek Melic Poets", p. 165.
(17) This monument was returned to Greece in the 1980's. -- DBK.
(18) Cp. Marckscheffel, "Hesiodi fragmenta", p. 35. The papyrus
fragment recovered by Petrie ("Petrie Papyri", ed. Mahaffy,
p. 70, No. xxv.) agrees essentially with the extant
document, but differs in numerous minor textual points.
HESIOD. -- The classification and numerations of MSS. here
followed is that of Rzach (1913). It is only necessary to add
that on the whole the recovery of Hesiodic papyri goes to confirm
the authority of the mediaeval MSS. At the same time these
fragments have produced much that is interesting and valuable,
such as the new lines, "Works and Days" 169 a-d, and the improved
readings ib. 278, "Theogony" 91, 93. Our chief gains from
papyri are the numerous and excellent fragments of the
Catalogues which have been recovered.
"Works and Days": --
S Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1090.
A Vienna, Rainer Papyri L.P. 21-9 (4th cent.).
B Geneva, Naville Papyri Pap. 94 (6th cent.).
C Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2771 (11th cent.).
D Florence, Laur. xxxi 39 (12th cent.).
E Messina, Univ. Lib. Preexistens 11 (12th-13th cent.).
F Rome, Vatican 38 (14th cent.).
G Venice, Marc. ix 6 (14th cent.).
H Florence, Laur. xxxi 37 (14th cent.).
I Florence, Laur. xxxii 16 (13th cent.).
K Florence, Laur. xxxii 2 (14th cent.).
L Milan, Ambros. G 32 sup. (14th cent.).
M Florence, Bibl. Riccardiana 71 (15th cent.).
N Milan, Ambros. J 15 sup. (15th cent.).
O Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2773 (14th cent.).
P Cambridge, Trinity College (Gale MS.), O.9.27 (13th-14th
Q Rome, Vatican 1332 (14th cent.).
These MSS. are divided by Rzach into the following families,
issuing from a common original: --
a = C
b = F,G,H
a = D
b = I,K,L,M
a = E
b = N,O,P,Q
"Theogony": --
N Manchester, Rylands GK. Papyri No. 54 (1st cent. B.C. - 1st
cent. A.D.).
O Oxyrhynchus Papyri 873 (3rd cent.).
A Paris, Bibl. Nat. Suppl. Graec. (papyrus) 1099 (4th-5th
B London, British Museam clix (4th cent.).
R Vienna, Rainer Papyri L.P. 21-9 (4th cent.).
C Paris, Bibl. Nat. Suppl. Graec. 663 (12th cent.).
D Florence, Laur. xxxii 16 (13th cent.).
E Florence, Laur., Conv. suppr. 158 (14th cent.).
F Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2833 (15th cent.).
G Rome, Vatican 915 (14th cent.).
H Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2772 (14th cent.).
I Florence, Laur. xxxi 32 (15th cent.).
K Venice, Marc. ix 6 (15th cent.).
L Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2708 (15th cent.).
These MSS. are divided into two families:
a = C,D
b = E,F
c = G,H,I
= K,L
"Shield of Heracles": --
P Oxyrhynchus Papyri 689 (2nd cent.).
A Vienna, Rainer Papyri L.P. 21-29 (4th cent.).
Q Berlin Papyri, 9774 (1st cent.).
B Paris, Bibl. Nat., Suppl. Graec. 663 (12th cent.).
C Paris, Bibl. Nat., Suppl. Graec. 663 (12th cent.).
D Milan, Ambros. C 222 (13th cent.).
E Florence, Laur. xxxii 16 (13th cent.).
F Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2773 (14th cent.).
G Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2772 (14th cent.).
H Florence, Laur. xxxi 32 (15th cent.).
I London, British Museaum Harleianus (14th cent.).
K Rome, Bibl. Casanat. 356 (14th cent.)
L Florence, Laur. Conv. suppr. 158 (14th cent.).
M Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2833 (15th cent.).
These MSS. belong to two families:
a = B,C,D,F
b = G,H,I
a = E
b = K,L,M
To these must be added two MSS. of mixed family:
N Venice, Marc. ix 6 (14th cent.).
O Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2708 (15th cent.).
Editions of Hesiod: --
Demetrius Chalcondyles, Milan (?) 1493 (?) ("editio princeps",
containing, however, only the "Works and Days").
Aldus Manutius (Aldine edition), Venice, 1495 (complete works).
Juntine Editions, 1515 and 1540.
Trincavelli, Venice, 1537 (with scholia).
Of modern editions, the following may be noticed: --
Gaisford, Oxford, 1814-1820; Leipzig, 1823 (with scholia: in
Poett. Graec. Minn II).
Goettling, Gotha, 1831 (3rd edition. Leipzig, 1878).
Didot Edition, Paris, 1840.
Schomann, 1869.
Koechly and Kinkel, Leipzig, 1870.
Flach, Leipzig, 1874-8.
Rzach, Leipzig, 1902 (larger edition), 1913 (smaller edition).
On the Hesiodic poems generally the ordinary Histories of Greek
Literature may be consulted, but especially the "Hist. de la
Litterature Grecque" I pp. 459 ff. of MM. Croiset. The summary
account in Prof. Murray's "Anc. Gk. Lit." is written with a
strong sceptical bias. Very valuable is the appendix to Mair's
translation (Oxford, 1908) on "The Farmer's Year in Hesiod".
Recent work on the Hesiodic poems is reviewed in full by Rzach in
Bursian's "Jahresberichte" vols. 100 (1899) and 152 (1911).
For the "Fragments" of Hesiodic poems the work of Markscheffel,
"Hesiodi Fragmenta" (Leipzig, 1840), is most valuable: important
also is Kinkel's "Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta" I (Leipzig, 1877)
and the editions of Rzach noticed above. For recently discovered
papyrus fragments see Wilamowitz, "Neue Bruchstucke d. Hesiod
Katalog" (Sitzungsb. der k. preuss. Akad. fur Wissenschaft, 1900,
pp. 839-851). A list of papyri belonging to lost Hesiodic works
may here be added: all are the "Catalogues".
1) Berlin Papyri 7497 (1) (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 7.
2) Oxyrhynchus Papyri 421 (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 7.
3) "Petrie Papyri" iii 3. -- Frag. 14.
4) "Papiri greci e latine", No. 130 (2nd-3rd cent.). -- Frag.
5) Strassburg Papyri, 55 (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 58.
6) Berlin Papyri 9739 (2nd cent.). -- Frag. 58.
7) Berlin Papyri 10560 (3rd cent.). -- Frag. 58.
8) Berlin Papyri 9777 (4th cent.). -- Frag. 98.
9) "Papiri greci e latine", No. 131 (2nd-3rd cent.). -- Frag.
10) Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1358-9.
The Homeric Hymns: --
The text of the Homeric hymns is distinctly bad in condition, a
fact which may be attributed to the general neglect under which
they seem to have laboured at all periods previously to the
Revival of Learning. Very many defects have been corrected by
the various editions of the Hymns, but a considerable number
still defy all efforts; and especially an abnormal number of
undoubted lacuna disfigure the text. Unfortunately no papyrus
fragment of the Hymns has yet emerged, though one such fragment
("Berl. Klassikertexte" v.1. pp. 7 ff.) contains a paraphrase of
a poem very closely parallel to the "Hymn to Demeter".
The mediaeval MSS. (2) are thus enumerated by Dr. T.W. Allen: --
A Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2763.
At Athos, Vatopedi 587.
B Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2765.
C Paris, Bibl. Nat. 2833.
Brussels, Bibl. Royale 11377-11380 (16th cent.).
D Milan, Amrbos. B 98 sup.
E Modena, Estense iii E 11.
G Rome, Vatican, Regina 91 (16th cent.).
H London, British Mus. Harley 1752.
J Modena, Estense, ii B 14.
K Florence, Laur. 31, 32.
L Florence, Laur. 32, 45.
L2 Florence, Laur. 70, 35.
L3 Florence, Laur. 32, 4.
M Leyden (the Moscow MS.) 33 H (14th cent.).
Mon. Munich, Royal Lib. 333 c.
N Leyden, 74 c.
O Milan, Ambros. C 10 inf.
P Rome, Vatican Pal. graec. 179.
Paris, Bibl. Nat. Suppl. graec. 1095.
Q Milan, Ambros. S 31 sup.
R1 Florence, Bibl. Riccard. 53 K ii 13.
R2 Florence, Bibl. Riccard. 52 K ii 14.
S Rome, Vatican, Vaticani graec. 1880.
T Madrid, Public Library 24.
V Venice, Marc. 456.
The same scholar has traced all the MSS. back to a common parent
from which three main families are derived (M had a separate
descent and is not included in any family): --
x1 = E,T
x2 = L,,(and more remotely) At,D,S,H,J,K.
y = E,L,,T (marginal readings).
p = A,B,C,,G,L2,L3,N,O,P,Q,R1,R2,V,Mon.
Editions of the Homeric Hymns, & c.: --
Demetrius Chalcondyles, Florence, 1488 (with the "Epigrams" and
the "Battle of the Frogs and Mice" in the "ed. pr." of
Aldine Edition, Venice, 1504.
Juntine Edition, 1537.
Stephanus, Paris, 1566 and 1588.
More modern editions or critical works of value are:
Martin (Variarum Lectionum libb. iv), Paris, 1605.
Barnes, Cambridge, 1711.
Ruhnken, Leyden, 1782 (Epist. Crit. and "Hymn to Demeter").
Ilgen, Halle, 1796 (with "Epigrams" and the "Battle of the Frogs
and Mice").
Matthiae, Leipzig, 1806 (with the "Battle of the Frogs and
Hermann, Berling, 1806 (with "Epigrams").
Franke, Leipzig, 1828 (with "Epigrams" and the "Battle of the
Frogs and Mice").
Dindorff (Didot edition), Paris, 1837.
Baumeister ("Battle of the Frogs and Mice"), Gottingen, 1852.
Baumeister ("Hymns"), Leipzig, 1860.
Gemoll, Leipzig, 1886.
Goodwin, Oxford, 1893.
Ludwich ("Battle of the Frogs and Mice"), 1896.
Allen and Sikes, London, 1904.
Allen (Homeri Opera v), Oxford, 1912.
Of these editions that of Messrs Allen and Sikes is by far the
best: not only is the text purged of the load of conjectures for
which the frequent obscurities of the Hymns offer a special
opening, but the Introduction and the Notes throughout are of the
highest value. For a full discussion of the MSS. and textual
problems, reference must be made to this edition, as also to Dr.
T.W. Allen's series of articles in the "Journal of Hellenic
Studies" vols. xv ff. Among translations those of J. Edgar
(Edinburgh), 1891) and of Andrew Lang (London, 1899) may be
The Epic Cycle: --
The fragments of the Epic Cycle, being drawn from a variety of
authors, no list of MSS. can be given. The following collections
and editions may be mentioned: --
Muller, Leipzig, 1829.
Dindorff (Didot edition of Homer), Paris, 1837-56.
Kinkel (Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta i), Leipzig, 1877.
Allen (Homeri Opera v), Oxford, 1912.
The fullest discussion of the problems and fragments of the epic
cycle is F.G. Welcker's "der epische Cyclus" (Bonn, vol. i, 1835:
vol. ii, 1849: vol. i, 2nd edition, 1865). The Appendix to
Monro's "Homer's Odyssey" xii-xxiv (pp. 340 ff.) deals with the
Cyclic poets in relation to Homer, and a clear and reasonable
discussion of the subject is to be found in Croiset's "Hist. de
la Litterature Grecque", vol. i.
On Hesiod, the Hesiodic poems and the problems which these offer
see Rzach's most important article "Hesiodos" in Pauly-Wissowa,
"Real-Encyclopadie" xv (1912).
A discussion of the evidence for the date of Hesiod is to be
found in "Journ. Hell. Stud." xxxv, 85 ff. (T.W. Allen).
Of translations of Hesiod the following may be noticed: -- "The
Georgicks of Hesiod", by George Chapman, London, 1618; "The Works
of Hesiod translated from the Greek", by Thomas Coocke, London,
1728; "The Remains of Hesiod translated from the Greek into
English Verse", by Charles Abraham Elton; "The Works of Hesiod,
Callimachus, and Theognis", by the Rev. J. Banks, M.A.; "Hesiod",
by Prof. James Mair, Oxford, 1908 (3).
(1) See Schubert, "Berl. Klassikertexte" v. 1.22 ff.; the other
papyri may be found in the publications whose name they
(2) Unless otherwise noted, all MSS. are of the 15th century.
(3) To this list I would also add the following: "Hesiod and
Theognis", translated by Dorothea Wender (Penguin Classics,
London, 1973). -- DBK.
WORKS AND DAYS (832 lines)
(ll. 1-10) Muses of Pieria who give glory through song, come
hither, tell of Zeus your father and chant his praise. Through
him mortal men are famed or un-famed, sung or unsung alike, as
great Zeus wills. For easily he makes strong, and easily he
brings the strong man low; easily he humbles the proud and raises
the obscure, and easily he straightens the crooked and blasts the
proud, -- Zeus who thunders aloft and has his dwelling most high.
Attend thou with eye and ear, and make judgements straight with
righteousness. And I, Perses, would tell of true things.
(ll. 11-24) So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife
alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a
man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the
other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature.
For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man
loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men
pay harsh Strife her honour due. But the other is the elder
daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and
dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she
is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil;
for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a
rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in
good order; and neighbour vies with is neighbour as he hurries
after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men. And potter is
angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is
jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel.
(ll. 25-41) Perses, lay up these things in your heart, and do not
let that Strife who delights in mischief hold your heart back
from work, while you peep and peer and listen to the wrangles of
the court-house. Little concern has he with quarrels and courts
who has not a year's victuals laid up betimes, even that which
the earth bears, Demeter's grain. When you have got plenty of
that, you can raise disputes and strive to get another's goods.
But you shall have no second chance to deal so again: nay, let us
settle our dispute here with true judgement divided our
inheritance, but you seized the greater share and carried it off,
greatly swelling the glory of our bribe-swallowing lords who love
to judge such a cause as this. Fools! They know not how much
more the half is than the whole, nor what great advantage there
is in mallow and asphodel (1).
(ll. 42-53) For the gods keep hidden from men the means of life.
Else you would easily do work enough in a day to supply you for a
full year even without working; soon would you put away your
rudder over the smoke, and the fields worked by ox and sturdy
mule would run to waste. But Zeus in the anger of his heart hid
it, because Prometheus the crafty deceived him; therefore he
planned sorrow and mischief against men. He hid fire; but that
the noble son of Iapetus stole again for men from Zeus the
counsellor in a hollow fennel-stalk, so that Zeus who delights in
thunder did not see it. But afterwards Zeus who gathers the
clouds said to him in anger:
(ll. 54-59) `Son of Iapetus, surpassing all in cunning, you are
glad that you have outwitted me and stolen fire -- a great plague
to you yourself and to men that shall be. But I will give men as
the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of
heart while they embrace their own destruction.'
(ll. 60-68) So said the father of men and gods, and laughed
aloud. And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth
with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind,
and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal
goddesses in face; and Athene to teach her needlework and the
weaving of the varied web; and golden Aphrodite to shed grace
upon her head and cruel longing and cares that weary the limbs.
And he charged Hermes the guide, the Slayer of Argus, to put in
her a shameless mind and a deceitful nature.
(ll. 69-82) So he ordered. And they obeyed the lord Zeus the son
of Cronos. Forthwith the famous Lame God moulded clay in the
likeness of a modest maid, as the son of Cronos purposed. And
the goddess bright-eyed Athene girded and clothed her, and the
divine Graces and queenly Persuasion put necklaces of gold upon
her, and the rich-haired Hours crowned her head with spring
flowers. And Pallas Athene bedecked her form with all manners of
finery. Also the Guide, the Slayer of Argus, contrived within
her lies and crafty words and a deceitful nature at the will of
loud thundering Zeus, and the Herald of the gods put speech in
her. And he called this woman Pandora (2), because all they who
dwelt on Olympus gave each a gift, a plague to men who eat bread.
(ll. 83-89) But when he had finished the sheer, hopeless snare,
the Father sent glorious Argus-Slayer, the swift messenger of the
gods, to take it to Epimetheus as a gift. And Epimetheus did not
think on what Prometheus had said to him, bidding him never take
a gift of Olympian Zeus, but to send it back for fear it might
prove to be something harmful to men. But he took the gift, and
afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood.
(ll. 90-105) For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote
and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring
the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the
woman took off the great lid of the jar (3) with her hands and
scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to
men. Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home within
under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door;
for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of
Aegis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest,
countless plagues, wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils
and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases come upon men
continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals
silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there
no way to escape the will of Zeus.
(ll. 106-108) Or if you will, I will sum you up another tale well
and skilfully -- and do you lay it up in your heart, -- how the
gods and mortal men sprang from one source.
(ll. 109-120) First of all the deathless gods who dwell on
Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of
Cronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods
without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief:
miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never
failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all
evils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with
sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth
unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They
dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things,
rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.
(ll. 121-139) But after earth had covered this generation -- they
are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly,
delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam
everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on
judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth; for this royal
right also they received; -- then they who dwell on Olympus made
a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far.
It was like the golden race neither in body nor in spirit. A
child was brought up at his good mother's side an hundred years,
an utter simpleton, playing childishly in his own home. But when
they were full grown and were come to the full measure of their
prime, they lived only a little time in sorrow because of their
foolishness, for they could not keep from sinning and from
wronging one another, nor would they serve the immortals, nor
sacrifice on the holy altars of the blessed ones as it is right
for men to do wherever they dwell. Then Zeus the son of Cronos
was angry and put them away, because they would not give honour
to the blessed gods who live on Olympus.
(ll. 140-155) But when earth had covered this generation also --
they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and,
though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also --
Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen
race, sprung from ash-trees (4); and it was in no way equal to
the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the
lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no
bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great
was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from
their shoulders on their strong limbs. Their armour was of
bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their
implements: there was no black iron. These were destroyed by
their own hands and passed to the dank house of chill Hades, and
left no name: terrible though they were, black Death seized them,
and they left the bright light of the sun.
(ll. 156-169b) But when earth had covered this generation also,
Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the
fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like
race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our
own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle
destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at sevengated
Thebe when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some,
when it had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy
for rich-haired Helen's sake: there death's end enshrouded a part
of them. But to the others father Zeus the son of Cronos gave a
living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the
ends of earth. And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands
of the blessed along the shore of deep swirling Ocean, happy
heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit
flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and
Cronos rules over them (5); for the father of men and gods
released him from his bonds. And these last equally have honour
and glory.
(ll. 169c-169d) And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another
generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth.
(ll. 170-201) Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of
the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born
afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest
from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and
the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding,
even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And
Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to
have grey hair on the temples at their birth (6). The father
will not agree with his children, nor the children with their
father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor
will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour
their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them,
chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing
the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the
cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man
will sack another's city. There will be no favour for the man
who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather
men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength
will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will
hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will
swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil,
with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all.
And then Aidos and Nemesis (7), with their sweet forms wrapped in
white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake
mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter
sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help
against evil.
(ll. 202-211) And now I will tell a fable for princes who
themselves understand. Thus said the hawk to the nightingale
with speckled neck, while he carried her high up among the
clouds, gripped fast in his talons, and she, pierced by his
crooked talons, cried pitifully. To her he spoke disdainfully:
`Miserable thing, why do you cry out? One far stronger than you
now holds you fast, and you must go wherever I take you,
songstress as you are. And if I please I will make my meal of
you, or let you go. He is a fool who tries to withstand the
stronger, for he does not get the mastery and suffers pain
besides his shame.' So said the swiftly flying hawk, the longwinged
(ll. 212-224) But you, Perses, listen to right and do not foster
violence; for violence is bad for a poor man. Even the
prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down
under it when he has fallen into delusion. The better path is to
go by on the other side towards justice; for Justice beats
Outrage when she comes at length to the end of the race. But
only when he has suffered does the fool learn this. For Oath
keeps pace with wrong judgements. There is a noise when Justice
is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and
give sentence with crooked judgements, take her. And she,
wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people,
weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have
driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her.
(ll. 225-237) But they who give straight judgements to strangers
and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just,
their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Peace, the
nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus
never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor
disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly
they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears
them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns
upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden
with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They
flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on
ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.
(ll. 238-247) But for those who practise violence and cruel deeds
far-seeing Zeus, the son of Cronos, ordains a punishment. Often
even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises
presumptuous deeds, and the son of Cronos lays great trouble upon
the people, famine and plague together, so that the men perish
away, and their women do not bear children, and their houses
become few, through the contriving of Olympian Zeus. And again,
at another time, the son of Cronos either destroys their wide
army, or their walls, or else makes an end of their ships on the
(ll. 248-264) You princes, mark well this punishment you also;
for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who
oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the
anger of the gods. For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice
ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep
watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in
mist, all over the earth. And there is virgin Justice, the
daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods
who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying
slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and
tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad
folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and
give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes,
and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put
crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.
(ll. 265-266) He does mischief to himself who does mischief to
another, and evil planned harms the plotter most.
(ll. 267-273) The eye of Zeus, seeing all and understanding all,
beholds these things too, if so he will, and fails not to mark
what sort of justice is this that the city keeps within it. Now,
therefore, may neither I myself be righteous among men, nor my
son -- for then it is a bad thing to be righteous -- if indeed
the unrighteous shall have the greater right. But I think that
all-wise Zeus will not yet bring that to pass.
(ll. 274-285) But you, Perses, lay up these things within you
heart and listen now to right, ceasing altogether to think of
violence. For the son of Cronos has ordained this law for men,
that fishes and beasts and winged fowls should devour one
another, for right is not in them; but to mankind he gave right
which proves far the best. For whoever knows the right and is
ready to speak it, far-seeing Zeus gives him prosperity; but
whoever deliberately lies in his witness and forswears himself,
and so hurts Justice and sins beyond repair, that man's
generation is left obscure thereafter. But the generation of the
man who swears truly is better thenceforward.
(ll. 286-292) To you, foolish Perses, I will speak good sense.
Badness can be got easily and in shoals: the road to her is
smooth, and she lives very near us. But between us and Goodness
the gods have placed the sweat of our brows: long and steep is
the path that leads to her, and it is rough at the first; but
when a man has reached the top, then is she easy to reach, though
before that she was hard.
(ll. 293-319) That man is altogether best who considers all
things himself and marks what will be better afterwards and at
the end; and he, again, is good who listens to a good adviser;
but whoever neither thinks for himself nor keeps in mind what
another tells him, he is an unprofitable man. But do you at any
rate, always remembering my charge, work, high-born Perses, that
Hunger may hate you, and venerable Demeter richly crowned may
love you and fill your barn with food; for Hunger is altogether a
meet comrade for the sluggard. Both gods and men are angry with
a man who lives idle, for in nature he is like the stingless
drones who waste the labour of the bees, eating without working;
but let it be your care to order your work properly, that in the
right season your barns may be full of victual. Through work men
grow rich in flocks and substance, and working they are much
better loved by the immortals (8). Work is no disgrace: it is
idleness which is a disgrace. But if you work, the idle will
soon envy you as you grow rich, for fame and renown attend on
wealth. And whatever be your lot, work is best for you, if you
turn your misguided mind away from other men's property to your
work and attend to your livelihood as I bid you. An evil shame
is the needy man's companion, shame which both greatly harms and
prospers men: shame is with poverty, but confidence with wealth.
(ll. 320-341) Wealth should not be seized: god-given wealth is
much better; for it a man take great wealth violently and
perforce, or if he steal it through his tongue, as often happens
when gain deceives men's sense and dishonour tramples down
honour, the gods soon blot him out and make that man's house low,
and wealth attends him only for a little time. Alike with him
who does wrong to a suppliant or a guest, or who goes up to his
brother's bed and commits unnatural sin in lying with his wife,
or who infatuately offends against fatherless children, or who
abuses his old father at the cheerless threshold of old age and
attacks him with harsh words, truly Zeus himself is angry, and at
the last lays on him a heavy requittal for his evil doing. But
do you turn your foolish heart altogether away from these things,
and, as far as you are able, sacrifice to the deathless gods
purely and cleanly, and burn rich meats also, and at other times
propitiate them with libations and incense, both when you go to
bed and when the holy light has come back, that they may be
gracious to you in heart and spirit, and so you may buy another's
holding and not another yours.
(ll. 342-351) Call your friend to a feast; but leave your enemy
alone; and especially call him who lives near you: for if any
mischief happen in the place, neighbours come ungirt, but kinsmen
stay to gird themselves (9). A bad neighbour is as great a
plague as a good one is a great blessing; he who enjoys a good
neighbour has a precious possession. Not even an ox would die
but for a bad neighbour. Take fair measure from your neighbour
and pay him back fairly with the same measure, or better, if you
can; so that if you are in need afterwards, you may find him
(ll. 352-369) Do not get base gain: base gain is as bad as ruin.
Be friends with the friendly, and visit him who visits you. Give
to one who gives, but do not give to one who does not give. A
man gives to the free-handed, but no one gives to the closefisted.
Give is a good girl, but Take is bad and she brings
death. For the man who gives willingly, even though he gives a
great thing, rejoices in his gift and is glad in heart; but
whoever gives way to shamelessness and takes something himself,
even though it be a small thing, it freezes his heart. He who
adds to what he has, will keep off bright-eyed hunger; for it you
add only a little to a little and do this often, soon that little
will become great. What a man has by him at home does not
trouble him: it is better to have your stuff at home, for
whatever is abroad may mean loss. It is a good thing to draw on
what you have; but it grieves your heart to need something and
not to have it, and I bid you mark this. Take your fill when the
cask is first opened and when it is nearly spent, but midways be
sparing: it is poor saving when you come to the lees.
(ll. 370-372) Let the wage promised to a friend be fixed; even
with your brother smile -- and get a witness; for trust and
mistrust, alike ruin men.
(ll. 373-375) Do not let a flaunting woman coax and cozen and
deceive you: she is after your barn. The man who trusts
womankind trust deceivers.
(ll. 376-380) There should be an only son, to feed his father's
house, for so wealth will increase in the home; but if you leave
a second son you should die old. Yet Zeus can easily give great
wealth to a greater number. More hands mean more work and more
(ll. 381-382) If your heart within you desires wealth, do these
things and work with work upon work.
(ll. 383-404) When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising
(10), begin your harvest, and your ploughing when they are going
to set (11). Forty nights and days they are hidden and appear
again as the year moves round, when first you sharpen your
sickle. This is the law of the plains, and of those who live
near the sea, and who inhabit rich country, the glens and dingles
far from the tossing sea, -- strip to sow and strip to plough and
strip to reap, if you wish to get in all Demeter's fruits in due
season, and that each kind may grow in its season. Else,
afterwards, you may chance to be in want, and go begging to other
men's houses, but without avail; as you have already come to me.
But I will give you no more nor give you further measure.
Foolish Perses! Work the work which the gods ordained for men,
lest in bitter anguish of spirit you with your wife and children
seek your livelihood amongst your neighbours, and they do not
heed you. Two or three times, may be, you will succeed, but if
you trouble them further, it will not avail you, and all your
talk will be in vain, and your word-play unprofitable. Nay, I
bid you find a way to pay your debts and avoid hunger.
(ll. 405-413) First of all, get a house, and a woman and an ox
for the plough -- a slave woman and not a wife, to follow the
oxen as well -- and make everything ready at home, so that you
may not have to ask of another, and he refuses you, and so,
because you are in lack, the season pass by and your work come to
nothing. Do not put your work off till to-morrow and the day
after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who
puts off his work: industry makes work go well, but a man who
putts off work is always at hand-grips with ruin.
(ll. 414-447) When the piercing power and sultry heat of the sun
abate, and almighty Zeus sends the autumn rains (12), and men's
flesh comes to feel far easier, -- for then the star Sirius
passes over the heads of men, who are born to misery, only a
little while by day and takes greater share of night, -- then,
when it showers its leaves to the ground and stops sprouting, the
wood you cut with your axe is least liable to worm. Then
remember to hew your timber: it is the season for that work. Cut
a mortar (13) three feet wide and a pestle three cubits long, and
an axle of seven feet, for it will do very well so; but if you
make it eight feet long, you can cut a beetle (14) from it as
well. Cut a felloe three spans across for a waggon of ten
palms' width. Hew also many bent timbers, and bring home a
plough-tree when you have found it, and look out on the mountain
or in the field for one of holm-oak; for this is the strongest
for oxen to plough with when one of Athena's handmen has fixed in
the share-beam and fastened it to the pole with dowels. Get two
ploughs ready work on them at home, one all of a piece, and the
other jointed. It is far better to do this, for if you should
break one of them, you can put the oxen to the other. Poles of
laurel or elm are most free from worms, and a share-beam of oak
and a plough-tree of holm-oak. Get two oxen, bulls of nine
years; for their strength is unspent and they are in the prime of
their age: they are best for work. They will not fight in the
furrow and break the plough and then leave the work undone. Let
a brisk fellow of forty years follow them, with a loaf of four
quarters (15) and eight slices (16) for his dinner, one who will
attend to his work and drive a straight furrow and is past the
age for gaping after his fellows, but will keep his mind on his
work. No younger man will be better than he at scattering the
seed and avoiding double-sowing; for a man less staid gets
disturbed, hankering after his fellows.
(ll. 448-457) Mark, when you hear the voice of the crane (17) who
cries year by year from the clouds above, for she give the signal
for ploughing and shows the season of rainy winter; but she vexes
the heart of the man who has no oxen. Then is the time to feed
up your horned oxen in the byre; for it is easy to say: `Give me
a yoke of oxen and a waggon,' and it is easy to refuse: `I have
work for my oxen.' The man who is rich in fancy thinks his
waggon as good as built already -- the fool! He does not know
that there are a hundred timbers to a waggon. Take care to lay
these up beforehand at home.
(ll. 458-464) So soon as the time for ploughing is proclaimed to
men, then make haste, you and your slaves alike, in wet and in
dry, to plough in the season for ploughing, and bestir yourself
early in the morning so that your fields may be full. Plough in
the spring; but fallow broken up in the summer will not belie
your hopes. Sow fallow land when the soil is still getting
light: fallow land is a defender from harm and a soother of
(ll. 465-478) Pray to Zeus of the Earth and to pure Demeter to
make Demeter's holy grain sound and heavy, when first you begin
ploughing, when you hold in your hand the end of the plough-tail
and bring down your stick on the backs of the oxen as they draw
on the pole-bar by the yoke-straps. Let a slave follow a little
behind with a mattock and make trouble for the birds by hiding
the seed; for good management is the best for mortal men as bad
management is the worst. In this way your corn-ears will bow to
the ground with fullness if the Olympian himself gives a good
result at the last, and you will sweep the cobwebs from your bins
and you will be glad, I ween, as you take of your garnered
substance. And so you will have plenty till you come to grey
(18) springtime, and will not look wistfully to others, but
another shall be in need of your help.
(ll. 479-492) But if you plough the good ground at the solstice
(19), you will reap sitting, grasping a thin crop in your hand,
binding the sheaves awry, dust-covered, not glad at all; so you
will bring all home in a basket and not many will admire you.
Yet the will of Zeus who holds the aegis is different at
different times; and it is hard for mortal men to tell it; for if
you should plough late, you may find this remedy -- when the
cuckoo first calls (20) in the leaves of the oak and makes men
glad all over the boundless earth, if Zeus should send rain on
the third day and not cease until it rises neither above an ox's
hoof nor falls short of it, then the late-plougher will vie with
the early. Keep all this well in mind, and fail not to mark grey
spring as it comes and the season of rain.
(ll 493-501) Pass by the smithy and its crowded lounge in winter
time when the cold keeps men from field work, -- for then an
industrious man can greatly prosper his house -- lest bitter
winter catch you helpless and poor and you chafe a swollen foot
with a shrunk hand. The idle man who waits on empty hope,
lacking a livelihood, lays to heart mischief-making; it is not an
wholesome hope that accompanies a need man who lolls at ease
while he has no sure livelihood.
(ll. 502-503) While it is yet midsummer command your slaves: `It
will not always be summer, build barns.'
(ll. 504-535) Avoid the month Lenaeon (21), wretched days, all of
them fit to skin an ox, and the frosts which are cruel when
Boreas blows over the earth. He blows across horse-breeding
Thrace upon the wide sea and stirs it up, while earth and the
forest howl. On many a high-leafed oak and thick pine he falls
and brings them to the bounteous earth in mountain glens: then
all the immense wood roars and the beasts shudder and put their
tails between their legs, even those whose hide is covered with
fur; for with his bitter blast he blows even through them
although they are shaggy-breasted. He goes even through an ox's
hide; it does not stop him. Also he blows through the goat's
fine hair. But through the fleeces of sheep, because their wool
is abundant, the keen wind Boreas pierces not at all; but it
makes the old man curved as a wheel. And it does not blow
through the tender maiden who stays indoors with her dear mother,
unlearned as yet in the works of golden Aphrodite, and who washes
her soft body and anoints herself with oil and lies down in an
inner room within the house, on a winter's day when the Boneless
One (22) gnaws his foot in his fireless house and wretched home;
for the sun shows him no pastures to make for, but goes to and
fro over the land and city of dusky men (23), and shines more
sluggishly upon the whole race of the Hellenes. Then the horned
and unhorned denizens of the wood, with teeth chattering
pitifully, flee through the copses and glades, and all, as they
seek shelter, have this one care, to gain thick coverts or some
hollow rock. Then, like the Three-legged One (24) whose back is
broken and whose head looks down upon the ground, like him, I
say, they wander to escape the white snow.
(ll. 536-563) Then put on, as I bid you, a soft coat and a tunic
to the feet to shield your body, -- and you should weave thick
woof on thin warp. In this clothe yourself so that your hair may
keep still and not bristle and stand upon end all over your body.
Lace on your feet close-fitting boots of the hide of a
slaughtered ox, thickly lined with felt inside. And when the
season of frost comes on, stitch together skins of firstling kids
with ox-sinew, to put over your back and to keep off the rain.
On your head above wear a shaped cap of felt to keep your ears
from getting wet, for the dawn is chill when Boreas has once made
his onslaught, and at dawn a fruitful mist is spread over the
earth from starry heaven upon the fields of blessed men: it is
drawn from the ever flowing rivers and is raised high above the
earth by windstorm, and sometimes it turns to rain towards
evening, and sometimes to wind when Thracian Boreas huddles the
thick clouds. Finish your work and return home ahead of him, and
do not let the dark cloud from heaven wrap round you and make
your body clammy and soak your clothes. Avoid it; for this is
the hardest month, wintry, hard for sheep and hard for men. In
this season let your oxen have half their usual food, but let
your man have more; for the helpful nights are long. Observe all
this until the year is ended and you have nights and days of
equal length, and Earth, the mother of all, bears again her
various fruit.
(ll. 564-570) When Zeus has finished sixty wintry days after the
solstice, then the star Arcturus (25) leaves the holy stream of
Ocean and first rises brilliant at dusk. After him the shrilly
wailing daughter of Pandion, the swallow, appears to men when
spring is just beginning. Before she comes, prune the vines, for
it is best so.
(ll. 571-581) But when the House-carrier (26) climbs up the
plants from the earth to escape the Pleiades, then it is no
longer the season for digging vineyards, but to whet your sickles
and rouse up your slaves. Avoid shady seats and sleeping until
dawn in the harvest season, when the sun scorches the body. Then
be busy, and bring home your fruits, getting up early to make
your livelihood sure. For dawn takes away a third part of your
work, dawn advances a man on his journey and advances him in his
work, -- dawn which appears and sets many men on their road, and
puts yokes on many oxen.
(ll. 582-596) But when the artichoke flowers (27), and the
chirping grass-hopper sits in a tree and pours down his shrill
song continually from under his wings in the season of wearisome
heat, then goats are plumpest and wine sweetest; women are most
wanton, but men are feeblest, because Sirius parches head and
knees and the skin is dry through heat. But at that time let me
have a shady rock and wine of Biblis, a clot of curds and milk of
drained goats with the flesh of an heifer fed in the woods, that
has never calved, and of firstling kids; then also let me drink
bright wine, sitting in the shade, when my heart is satisfied
with food, and so, turning my head to face the fresh Zephyr, from
the everflowing spring which pours down unfouled thrice pour an
offering of water, but make a fourth libation of wine.
(ll. 597-608) Set your slaves to winnow Demeter's holy grain,
when strong Orion (28) first appears, on a smooth threshing-floor
in an airy place. Then measure it and store it in jars. And so
soon as you have safely stored all your stuff indoors, I bid you
put your bondman out of doors and look out for a servant-girl
with no children; -- for a servant with a child to nurse is
troublesome. And look after the dog with jagged teeth; do not
grudge him his food, or some time the Day-sleeper (29) may take
your stuff. Bring in fodder and litter so as to have enough for
your oxen and mules. After that, let your men rest their poor
knees and unyoke your pair of oxen.
(ll. 609-617) But when Orion and Sirius are come into mid-heaven,
and rosy-fingered Dawn sees Arcturus (30), then cut off all the
grape-clusters, Perses, and bring them home. Show them to the
sun ten days and ten nights: then cover them over for five, and
on the sixth day draw off into vessels the gifts of joyful
Dionysus. But when the Pleiades and Hyades and strong Orion
begin to set (31), then remember to plough in season: and so the
completed year (32) will fitly pass beneath the earth.
(ll. 618-640) But if desire for uncomfortable sea-faring seize
you; when the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea (33) to escape
Orion's rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage. Then
keep ships no longer on the sparkling sea, but bethink you to
till the land as I bid you. Haul up your ship upon the land and
pack it closely with stones all round to keep off the power of
the winds which blow damply, and draw out the bilge-plug so that
the rain of heaven may not rot it. Put away all the tackle and
fittings in your house, and stow the wings of the sea-going ship
neatly, and hang up the well-shaped rudder over the smoke. You
yourself wait until the season for sailing is come, and then haul
your swift ship down to the sea and stow a convenient cargo in
it, so that you may bring home profit, even as your father and
mine, foolish Perses, used to sail on shipboard because he lacked
sufficient livelihood. And one day he came to this very place
crossing over a great stretch of sea; he left Aeolian Cyme and
fled, not from riches and substance, but from wretched poverty
which Zeus lays upon men, and he settled near Helicon in a
miserable hamlet, Ascra, which is bad in winter, sultry in
summer, and good at no time.
(ll. 641-645) But you, Perses, remember all works in their season
but sailing especially. Admire a small ship, but put your
freight in a large one; for the greater the lading, the greater
will be your piled gain, if only the winds will keep back their
harmful gales.
(ll. 646-662) If ever you turn your misguided heart to trading
and with to escape from debt and joyless hunger, I will show you
the measures of the loud-roaring sea, though I have no skill in
sea-faring nor in ships; for never yet have I sailed by ship over
the wide sea, but only to Euboea from Aulis where the Achaeans
once stayed through much storm when they had gathered a great
host from divine Hellas for Troy, the land of fair women. Then I
crossed over to Chalcis, to the games of wise Amphidamas where
the sons of the great-hearted hero proclaimed and appointed
prizes. And there I boast that I gained the victory with a song
and carried off an handled tripod which I dedicated to the Muses
of Helicon, in the place where they first set me in the way of
clear song. Such is all my experience of many-pegged ships;
nevertheless I will tell you the will of Zeus who holds the
aegis; for the Muses have taught me to sing in marvellous song.
(ll. 663-677) Fifty days after the solstice (34), when the season
of wearisome heat is come to an end, is the right time for me to
go sailing. Then you will not wreck your ship, nor will the sea
destroy the sailors, unless Poseidon the Earth-Shaker be set upon
it, or Zeus, the king of the deathless gods, wish to slay them;
for the issues of good and evil alike are with them. At that
time the winds are steady, and the sea is harmless. Then trust
in the winds without care, and haul your swift ship down to the
sea and put all the freight no board; but make all haste you can
to return home again and do not wait till the time of the new
wine and autumn rain and oncoming storms with the fierce gales of
Notus who accompanies the heavy autumn rain of Zeus and stirs up
the sea and makes the deep dangerous.
(ll. 678-694) Another time for men to go sailing is in spring
when a man first sees leaves on the topmost shoot of a fig-tree
as large as the foot-print that a cow makes; then the sea is
passable, and this is the spring sailing time. For my part I do
not praise it, for my heart does not like it. Such a sailing is
snatched, and you will hardly avoid mischief. Yet in their
ignorance men do even this, for wealth means life to poor
mortals; but it is fearful to die among the waves. But I bid you
consider all these things in your heart as I say. Do not put all
your goods in hallow ships; leave the greater part behind, and
put the lesser part on board; for it is a bad business to meet
with disaster among the waves of the sea, as it is bad if you put
too great a load on your waggon and break the axle, and your
goods are spoiled. Observe due measure: and proportion is best
in all things.
(ll. 695-705) Bring home a wife to your house when you are of the
right age, while you are not far short of thirty years nor much
above; this is the right age for marriage. Let your wife have
been grown up four years, and marry her in the fifth. Marry a
maiden, so that you can teach her careful ways, and especially
marry one who lives near you, but look well about you and see
that your marriage will not be a joke to your neighbours. For a
man wins nothing better than a good wife, and, again, nothing
worse than a bad one, a greedy soul who roasts her man without
fire, strong though he may be, and brings him to a raw (35) old
(ll. 706-714) Be careful to avoid the anger of the deathless
gods. Do not make a friend equal to a brother; but if you do, do
not wrong him first, and do not lie to please the tongue. But if
he wrongs you first, offending either in word or in deed,
remember to repay him double; but if he ask you to be his friend
again and be ready to give you satisfaction, welcome him. He is
a worthless man who makes now one and now another his friend; but
as for you, do not let your face put your heart to shame (36).
(ll. 715-716) Do not get a name either as lavish or as churlish;
as a friend of rogues or as a slanderer of good men.
(ll. 717-721) Never dare to taunt a man with deadly poverty which
eats out the heart; it is sent by the deathless gods. The best
treasure a man can have is a sparing tongue, and the greatest
pleasure, one that moves orderly; for if you speak evil, you
yourself will soon be worse spoken of.
(ll. 722-723) Do not be boorish at a common feast where there are
many guests; the pleasure is greatest and the expense is least
(ll. 724-726) Never pour a libation of sparkling wine to Zeus
after dawn with unwashen hands, nor to others of the deathless
gods; else they do not hear your prayers but spit them back.
(ll. 727-732) Do not stand upright facing the sun when you make
water, but remember to do this when he has set towards his
rising. And do not make water as you go, whether on the road or
off the road, and do not uncover yourself: the nights belong to
the blessed gods. A scrupulous man who has a wise heart sits
down or goes to the wall of an enclosed court.
(ll. 733-736) Do not expose yourself befouled by the fireside in
your house, but avoid this. Do not beget children when you are
come back from ill-omened burial, but after a festival of the
(ll. 737-741) Never cross the sweet-flowing water of ever-rolling
rivers afoot until you have prayed, gazing into the soft flood,
and washed your hands in the clear, lovely water. Whoever
crosses a river with hands unwashed of wickedness, the gods are
angry with him and bring trouble upon him afterwards.
(ll. 742-743) At a cheerful festival of the gods do not cut the
withered from the quick upon that which has five branches (38)
with bright steel.
(ll. 744-745) Never put the ladle upon the mixing-bowl at a wine
party, for malignant ill-luck is attached to that.
(ll. 746-747) When you are building a house, do not leave it
rough-hewn, or a cawing crow may settle on it and croak.
(ll. 748-749) Take nothing to eat or to wash with from uncharmed
pots, for in them there is mischief.
(ll. 750-759) Do not let a boy of twelve years sit on things
which may not be moved (39), for that is bad, and makes a man
unmanly; nor yet a child of twelve months, for that has the same
effect. A man should not clean his body with water in which a
woman has washed, for there is bitter mischief in that also for a
time. When you come upon a burning sacrifice, do not make a mock
of mysteries, for Heaven is angry at this also. Never make water
in the mouths of rivers which flow to the sea, nor yet in
springs; but be careful to avoid this. And do not ease yourself
in them: it is not well to do this.
(ll. 760-763) So do: and avoid the talk of men. For Talk is
mischievous, light, and easily raised, but hard to bear and
difficult to be rid of. Talk never wholly dies away when many
people voice her: even Talk is in some ways divine.
(ll. 765-767) Mark the days which come from Zeus, duly telling
your slaves of them, and that the thirtieth day of the month is
best for one to look over the work and to deal out supplies.
(ll. 769-768) (40) For these are days which come from Zeus the
all-wise, when men discern aright.
(ll. 770-779) To begin with, the first, the fourth, and the
seventh -- on which Leto bare Apollo with the blade of gold --
each is a holy day. The eighth and the ninth, two days at least
of the waxing month (41), are specially good for the works of
man. Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for
shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth
is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging
spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One (42),
gathers her pile. On that day woman should set up her loom and
get forward with her work.
(ll. 780-781) Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for
beginning to sow: yet it is the best day for setting plants.
(ll. 782-789) The sixth of the mid-month is very unfavourable for
plants, but is good for the birth of males, though unfavourable
for a girl either to be born at all or to be married. Nor is the
first sixth a fit day for a girl to be born, but a kindly for
gelding kids and sheep and for fencing in a sheep-cote. It is
favourable for the birth of a boy, but such will be fond of sharp
speech, lies, and cunning words, and stealthy converse.
(ll. 790-791) On the eighth of the month geld the boar and loudbellowing
bull, but hard-working mules on the twelfth.
(ll. 792-799) On the great twentieth, in full day, a wise man
should be born. Such an one is very sound-witted. The tenth is
favourable for a male to be born; but, for a girl, the fourth day
of the mid-month. On that day tame sheep and shambling, horned
oxen, and the sharp-fanged dog and hardy mules to the touch of
the hand. But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the
heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it
is a day very fraught with fate.
(ll. 800-801) On the fourth of the month bring home your bride,
but choose the omens which are best for this business.
(ll. 802-804) Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible.
On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of
Horcus (Oath) whom Eris (Strife) bare to trouble the forsworn.
(ll. 805-809) Look about you very carefully and throw out
Demeter's holy grain upon the well-rolled (43) threshing floor on
the seventh of the mid-month. Let the woodman cut beams for
house building and plenty of ships' timbers, such as are suitable
for ships. On the fourth day begin to build narrow ships.
(ll. 810-813) The ninth of the mid-month improves towards
evening; but the first ninth of all is quite harmless for men.
It is a good day on which to beget or to be born both for a male
and a female: it is never an wholly evil day.
(ll. 814-818) Again, few know that the twenty-seventh of the
month is best for opening a wine-jar, and putting yokes on the
necks of oxen and mules and swift-footed horses, and for hauling
a swift ship of many thwarts down to the sparkling sea; few call
it by its right name.
(ll. 819-821) On the fourth day open a jar. The fourth of the
mid-month is a day holy above all. And again, few men know that
the fourth day after the twentieth is best while it is morning:
towards evening it is less good.
(ll. 822-828) These days are a great blessing to men on earth;
but the rest are changeable, luckless, and bring nothing.
Everyone praises a different day but few know their nature.
Sometimes a day is a stepmother, sometimes a mother. That man is
happy and lucky in them who knows all these things and does his
work without offending the deathless gods, who discerns the omens
of birds and avoids transgressions.
(1) That is, the poor man's fare, like `bread and cheese'.
(2) The All-endowed.
(3) The jar or casket contained the gifts of the gods mentioned
in l.82.
(4) Eustathius refers to Hesiod as stating that men sprung `from
oaks and stones and ashtrees'. Proclus believed that the
Nymphs called Meliae ("Theogony", 187) are intended.
Goettling would render: `A race terrible because of their
(ashen) spears.'
(5) Preserved only by Proclus, from whom some inferior MSS. have
copied the verse. The four following lines occur only in
Geneva Papyri No. 94. For the restoration of ll. 169b-c see
"Class. Quart." vii. 219-220. (NOTE: Mr. Evelyn-White means
that the version quoted by Proclus stops at this point, then
picks up at l. 170. -- DBK).
(6) i.e. the race will so degenerate that at the last even a
new-born child will show the marks of old age.
(7) Aidos, as a quality, is that feeling of reverence or shame
which restrains men from wrong: Nemesis is the feeling of
righteous indignation aroused especially by the sight of the
wicked in undeserved prosperity (cf. "Psalms", lxxii. 1-19).
(8) The alternative version is: `and, working, you will be much
better loved both by gods and men; for they greatly dislike
the idle.'
(9) i.e. neighbours come at once and without making
preparations, but kinsmen by marriage (who live at a
distance) have to prepare, and so are long in coming.
(10) Early in May.
(11) In November.
(12) In October.
(13) For pounding corn.
(14) A mallet for breaking clods after ploughing.
(15) The loaf is a flattish cake with two intersecting lines
scored on its upper surface which divide it into four equal
(16) The meaning is obscure. A scholiast renders `giving eight
mouthfulls'; but the elder Philostratus uses the word in
contrast to `leavened'.
(17) About the middle of November.
(18) Spring is so described because the buds have not yet cast
their iron-grey husks.
(19) In December.
(20) In March.
(21) The latter part of January and earlier part of February.
(22) i.e. the octopus or cuttle.
(23) i.e. the darker-skinned people of Africa, the Egyptians or
(24) i.e. an old man walking with a staff (the `third leg' -- as
in the riddle of the Sphinx).
(25) February to March.
(26) i.e. the snail. The season is the middle of May.
(27) In June.
(28) July.
(29) i.e. a robber.
(30) September.
(31) The end of October.
(32) That is, the succession of stars which make up the full
(33) The end of October or beginning of November.
(34) July-August.
(35) i.e. untimely, premature. Juvenal similarly speaks of
`cruda senectus' (caused by gluttony).
(36) The thought is parallel to that of `O, what a goodly outside
falsehood hath.'
(37) The `common feast' is one to which all present subscribe.
Theognis (line 495) says that one of the chief pleasures of
a banquet is the general conversation. Hence the present
passage means that such a feast naturally costs little,
while the many present will make pleasurable conversation.
(38) i.e. `do not cut your finger-nails'.
(39) i.e. things which it would be sacrilege to disturb, such as
(40) H.G. Evelyn-White prefers to switch ll. 768 and 769, reading
l. 769 first then l. 768. -- DBK
(41) The month is divided into three periods, the waxing, the
mid-month, and the waning, which answer to the phases of the
(42) i.e. the ant.
(43) Such seems to be the meaning here, though the epithet is
otherwise rendered `well-rounded'. Corn was threshed by
means of a sleigh with two runners having three or four
rollers between them, like the modern Egyptian "nurag".
Proclus on Works and Days, 828:
Some make the "Divination by Birds", which Apollonius of Rhodes
rejects as spurious, follow this verse ("Works and Days", 828).
THE ASTRONOMY (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Athenaeus xi, p. 491 d:
And the author of "The Astronomy", which is attributed forsooth
to Hesiod, always calls them (the Pleiades) Peleiades: `but
mortals call them Peleiades'; and again, `the stormy Peleiades go
down'; and again, `then the Peleiades hide away....'
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. ii. 16:
The Pleiades.... whose stars are these: -- `Lovely Teygata, and
dark-faced Electra, and Alcyone, and bright Asterope, and
Celaeno, and Maia, and Merope, whom glorious Atlas begot....'
`In the mountains of Cyllene she (Maia) bare Hermes, the herald
of the gods.'
Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Aratus 254:
But Zeus made them (the sisters of Hyas) into the stars which are
called Hyades. Hesiod in his Book about Stars tells us their
names as follows: `Nymphs like the Graces (1), Phaesyle and
Coronis and rich-crowned Cleeia and lovely Phaco and long-robed
Eudora, whom the tribes of men upon the earth call Hyades.'
Fragment #3 --
Pseudo-Eratosthenes Catast. frag. 1: (2)
The Great Bear.] -- Hesiod says she (Callisto) was the daughter
of Lycaon and lived in Arcadia. She chose to occupy herself with
wild-beasts in the mountains together with Artemis, and, when she
was seduced by Zeus, continued some time undetected by the
goddess, but afterwards, when she was already with child, was
seen by her bathing and so discovered. Upon this, the goddess
was enraged and changed her into a beast. Thus she became a bear
and gave birth to a son called Arcas. But while she was in the
mountains, she was hunted by some goat-herds and given up with
her babe to Lycaon. Some while after, she thought fit to go into
the forbidden precinct of Zeus, not knowing the law, and being
pursued by her own son and the Arcadians, was about to be killed
because of the said law; but Zeus delivered her because of her
connection with him and put her among the stars, giving her the
name Bear because of the misfortune which had befallen her.
Comm. Supplem. on Aratus, p. 547 M. 8:
Of Bootes, also called the Bear-warden. The story goes that he
is Arcas the son of Callisto and Zeus, and he lived in the
country about Lycaeum. After Zeus had seduced Callisto, Lycaon,
pretending not to know of the matter, entertained Zeus, as Hesiod
says, and set before him on the table the babe which he had cut
Fragment #4 --
Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Catast. fr. xxxii:
Orion.] -- Hesiod says that he was the son of Euryale, the
daughter of Minos, and of Poseidon, and that there was given him
as a gift the power of walking upon the waves as though upon
land. When he was come to Chios, be outraged Merope, the
daughter of Oenopion, being drunken; but Oenopion when he learned
of it was greatly vexed at the outrage and blinded him and cast
him out of the country. Then he came to Lemnos as a beggar and
there met Hephaestus who took pity on him and gave him Cedalion
his own servant to guide him. So Orion took Cedalion upon his
shoulders and used to carry him about while he pointed out the
roads. Then he came to the east and appears to have met Helius
(the Sun) and to have been healed, and so returned back again to
Oenopion to punish him; but Oenopion was hidden away by his
people underground. Being disappointed, then, in his search for
the king, Orion went away to Crete and spent his time hunting in
company with Artemis and Leto. It seems that he threatened to
kill every beast there was on earth; whereupon, in her anger,
Earth sent up against him a scorpion of very great size by which
he was stung and so perished. After this Zeus, at one prayer of
Artemis and Leto, put him among the stars, because of his
manliness, and the scorpion also as a memorial of him and of what
had occurred.
Fragment #5 --
Diodorus iv. 85:
Some say that great earthquakes occurred, which broke through the
neck of land and formed the straits (3), the sea parting the
mainland from the island. But Hesiod, the poet, says just the
opposite: that the sea was open, but Orion piled up the
promontory by Peloris, and founded the close of Poseidon which is
especially esteemed by the people thereabouts. When he had
finished this, he went away to Euboea and settled there, and
because of his renown was taken into the number of the stars in
heaven, and won undying remembrance.
(1) This halt verse is added by the Scholiast on Aratus, 172.
(2) The "Catasterismi" ("Placings among the Stars") is a
collection of legends relating to the various
(3) The Straits of Messina.
Fragment #1 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth. vi. 19:
`And now, pray, mark all these things well in a wise heart.
First, whenever you come to your house, offer good sacrifices to
the eternal gods.'
Fragment #2 --
Plutarch Mor. 1034 E:
`Decide no suit until you have heard both sides speak.'
Fragment #3 --
Plutarch de Orac. defectu ii. 415 C:
`A chattering crow lives out nine generations of aged men, but a
stag's life is four times a crow's, and a raven's life makes
three stags old, while the phoenix outlives nine ravens, but we,
the rich-haired Nymphs, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder,
outlive ten phoenixes.'
Fragment #4 --
Quintilian, i. 15:
Some consider that children under the age of seven should not
receive a literary education... That Hesiod was of this opinion
very many writers affirm who were earlier than the critic
Aristophanes; for he was the first to reject the "Precepts", in
which book this maxim occurs, as a work of that poet.
THE GREAT WORKS (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Comm. on Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. v. 8:
The verse, however (the slaying of Rhadamanthys), is in Hesiod in
the "Great Works" and is as follows: `If a man sow evil, he shall
reap evil increase; if men do to him as he has done, it will be
true justice.'
Fragment #2 --
Proclus on Hesiod, Works and Days, 126:
Some believe that the Silver Race (is to be attributed to) the
earth, declaring that in the "Great Works" Hesiod makes silver to
be of the family of Earth.
Fragment #1 --
Pliny, Natural History vii. 56, 197:
Hesiod says that those who are called the Idaean Dactyls taught
the smelting and tempering of iron in Crete.
Fragment #2 --
Clement, Stromateis i. 16. 75:
Celmis, again, and Damnameneus, the first of the Idaean Dactyls,
discovered iron in Cyprus; but bronze smelting was discovered by
Delas, another Idaean, though Hesiod calls him Scythes (1).
(1) Or perhaps `a Scythian'.
THE THEOGONY (1,041 lines)
(ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin to sing, who
hold the great and holy mount of Helicon, and dance on soft feet
about the deep-blue spring and the altar of the almighty son of
Cronos, and, when they have washed their tender bodies in
Permessus or in the Horse's Spring or Olmeius, make their fair,
lovely dances upon highest Helicon and move with vigorous feet.
Thence they arise and go abroad by night, veiled in thick mist,
and utter their song with lovely voice, praising Zeus the aegisholder
and queenly Hera of Argos who walks on golden sandals and
the daughter of Zeus the aegis-holder bright-eyed Athene, and
Phoebus Apollo, and Artemis who delights in arrows, and Poseidon
the earth-holder who shakes the earth, and reverend Themis and
quick-glancing (1) Aphrodite, and Hebe with the crown of gold,
and fair Dione, Leto, Iapetus, and Cronos the crafty counsellor,
Eos and great Helius and bright Selene, Earth too, and great
Oceanus, and dark Night, and the holy race of all the other
deathless ones that are for ever. And one day they taught Hesiod
glorious song while he was shepherding his lambs under holy
Helicon, and this word first the goddesses said to me -- the
Muses of Olympus, daughters of Zeus who holds the aegis:
(ll. 26-28) `Shepherds of the wilderness, wretched things of
shame, mere bellies, we know how to speak many false things as
though they were true; but we know, when we will, to utter true
(ll. 29-35) So said the ready-voiced daughters of great Zeus, and
they plucked and gave me a rod, a shoot of sturdy laurel, a
marvellous thing, and breathed into me a divine voice to
celebrate things that shall be and things there were aforetime;
and they bade me sing of the race of the blessed gods that are
eternally, but ever to sing of themselves both first and last.
But why all this about oak or stone? (2)
(ll. 36-52) Come thou, let us begin with the Muses who gladden
the great spirit of their father Zeus in Olympus with their
songs, telling of things that are and that shall be and that were
aforetime with consenting voice. Unwearying flows the sweet
sound from their lips, and the house of their father Zeus the
loud-thunderer is glad at the lily-like voice of the goddesses as
it spread abroad, and the peaks of snowy Olympus resound, and the
homes of the immortals. And they uttering their immortal voice,
celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from
the beginning, those whom Earth and wide Heaven begot, and the
gods sprung of these, givers of good things. Then, next, the
goddesses sing of Zeus, the father of gods and men, as they begin
and end their strain, how much he is the most excellent among the
gods and supreme in power. And again, they chant the race of men
and strong giants, and gladden the heart of Zeus within Olympus,
-- the Olympian Muses, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder.
(ll. 53-74) Them in Pieria did Mnemosyne (Memory), who reigns
over the hills of Eleuther, bear of union with the father, the
son of Cronos, a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow. For
nine nights did wise Zeus lie with her, entering her holy bed
remote from the immortals. And when a year was passed and the
seasons came round as the months waned, and many days were
accomplished, she bare nine daughters, all of one mind, whose
hearts are set upon song and their spirit free from care, a
little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympus. There are
their bright dancing-places and beautiful homes, and beside them
the Graces and Himerus (Desire) live in delight. And they,
uttering through their lips a lovely voice, sing the laws of all
and the goodly ways of the immortals, uttering their lovely
voice. Then went they to Olympus, delighting in their sweet
voice, with heavenly song, and the dark earth resounded about
them as they chanted, and a lovely sound rose up beneath their
feet as they went to their father. And he was reigning in
heaven, himself holding the lightning and glowing thunderbolt,
when he had overcome by might his father Cronos; and he
distributed fairly to the immortals their portions and declared
their privileges.
(ll. 75-103) These things, then, the Muses sang who dwell on
Olympus, nine daughters begotten by great Zeus, Cleio and
Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene and Terpsichore, and Erato and
Polyhymnia and Urania and Calliope (3), who is the chiefest of
them all, for she attends on worshipful princes: whomsoever of
heaven-nourished princes the daughters of great Zeus honour, and
behold him at his birth, they pour sweet dew upon his tongue, and
from his lips flow gracious words. All the people look towards
him while he settles causes with true judgements: and he,
speaking surely, would soon make wise end even of a great
quarrel; for therefore are there princes wise in heart, because
when the people are being misguided in their assembly, they set
right the matter again with ease, persuading them with gentle
words. And when he passes through a gathering, they greet him as
a god with gentle reverence, and he is conspicuous amongst the
assembled: such is the holy gift of the Muses to men. For it is
through the Muses and far-shooting Apollo that there are singers
and harpers upon the earth; but princes are of Zeus, and happy is
he whom the Muses love: sweet flows speech from his mouth. For
though a man have sorrow and grief in his newly-troubled soul and
live in dread because his heart is distressed, yet, when a
singer, the servant of the Muses, chants the glorious deeds of
men of old and the blessed gods who inhabit Olympus, at once he
forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all; but
the gifts of the goddesses soon turn him away from these.
(ll. 104-115) Hail, children of Zeus! Grant lovely song and
celebrate the holy race of the deathless gods who are for ever,
those that were born of Earth and starry Heaven and gloomy Night
and them that briny Sea did rear. Tell how at the first gods and
earth came to be, and rivers, and the boundless sea with its
raging swell, and the gleaming stars, and the wide heaven above,
and the gods who were born of them, givers of good things, and
how they divided their wealth, and how they shared their honours
amongst them, and also how at the first they took many-folded
Olympus. These things declare to me from the beginning, ye Muses
who dwell in the house of Olympus, and tell me which of them
first came to be.
(ll. 116-138) Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next
wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all (4) the
deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim
Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love),
fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and
overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men
within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but
of Night were born Aether (5) and Day, whom she conceived and
bare from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bare starry
Heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be
an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods. And she brought
forth long Hills, graceful haunts of the goddess-Nymphs who dwell
amongst the glens of the hills. She bare also the fruitless deep
with his raging swell, Pontus, without sweet union of love. But
afterwards she lay with Heaven and bare deep-swirling Oceanus,
Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis
and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After
them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her
children, and he hated his lusty sire.
(ll. 139-146) And again, she bare the Cyclopes, overbearing in
spirit, Brontes, and Steropes and stubborn-hearted Arges (6), who
gave Zeus the thunder and made the thunderbolt: in all else they
were like the gods, but one eye only was set in the midst of
their fore-heads. And they were surnamed Cyclopes (Orb-eyed)
because one orbed eye was set in their foreheads. Strength and
might and craft were in their works.
(ll. 147-163) And again, three other sons were born of Earth and
Heaven, great and doughty beyond telling, Cottus and Briareos and
Gyes, presumptuous children. From their shoulders sprang an
hundred arms, not to be approached, and each had fifty heads upon
his shoulders on their strong limbs, and irresistible was the
stubborn strength that was in their great forms. For of all the
children that were born of Earth and Heaven, these were the most
terrible, and they were hated by their own father from the first.
And he used to hide them all away in a secret place of Earth so
soon as each was born, and would not suffer them to come up into
the light: and Heaven rejoiced in his evil doing. But vast Earth
groaned within, being straitened, and she made the element of
grey flint and shaped a great sickle, and told her plan to her
dear sons. And she spoke, cheering them, while she was vexed in
her dear heart:
(ll. 164-166) `My children, gotten of a sinful father, if you
will obey me, we should punish the vile outrage of your father;
for he first thought of doing shameful things.'
(ll. 167-169) So she said; but fear seized them all, and none of
them uttered a word. But great Cronos the wily took courage and
answered his dear mother:
(ll. 170-172) `Mother, I will undertake to do this deed, for I
reverence not our father of evil name, for he first thought of
doing shameful things.'
(ll. 173-175) So he said: and vast Earth rejoiced greatly in
spirit, and set and hid him in an ambush, and put in his hands a
jagged sickle, and revealed to him the whole plot.
(ll. 176-206) And Heaven came, bringing on night and longing for
love, and he lay about Earth spreading himself full upon her (7).
Then the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in
his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and
swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to
fall behind him. And not vainly did they fall from his hand; for
all the bloody drops that gushed forth Earth received, and as the
seasons moved round she bare the strong Erinyes and the great
Giants with gleaming armour, holding long spears in their hands
and the Nymphs whom they call Meliae (8) all over the boundless
earth. And so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and
cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept
away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around
them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden.
First she drew near holy Cythera, and from there, afterwards, she
came to sea-girt Cyprus, and came forth an awful and lovely
goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet.
Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and the foam-born goddess and
rich-crowned Cytherea, because she grew amid the foam, and
Cytherea because she reached Cythera, and Cyprogenes because she
was born in billowy Cyprus, and Philommedes (9) because sprang
from the members. And with her went Eros, and comely Desire
followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the
assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning,
and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying
gods, -- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with
sweet delight and love and graciousness.
(ll. 207-210) But these sons whom be begot himself great Heaven
used to call Titans (Strainers) in reproach, for he said that
they strained and did presumptuously a fearful deed, and that
vengeance for it would come afterwards.
(ll. 211-225) And Night bare hateful Doom and black Fate and
Death, and she bare Sleep and the tribe of Dreams. And again the
goddess murky Night, though she lay with none, bare Blame and
painful Woe, and the Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples
and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Ocean. Also she bare
the Destinies and ruthless avenging Fates, Clotho and Lachesis
and Atropos (10), who give men at their birth both evil and good
to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods:
and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they
punish the sinner with a sore penalty. Also deadly Night bare
Nemesis (Indignation) to afflict mortal men, and after her,
Deceit and Friendship and hateful Age and hard-hearted Strife.
(ll. 226-232) But abhorred Strife bare painful Toil and
Forgetfulness and Famine and tearful Sorrows, Fightings also,
Battles, Murders, Manslaughters, Quarrels, Lying Words, Disputes,
Lawlessness and Ruin, all of one nature, and Oath who most
troubles men upon earth when anyone wilfully swears a false oath.
(ll. 233-239) And Sea begat Nereus, the eldest of his children,
who is true and lies not: and men call him the Old Man because he
is trusty and gentle and does not forget the laws of
righteousness, but thinks just and kindly thoughts. And yet
again he got great Thaumas and proud Phoreys, being mated with
Earth, and fair-cheeked Ceto and Eurybia who has a heart of flint
within her.
(ll. 240-264) And of Nereus and rich-haired Doris, daughter of
Ocean the perfect river, were born children (11), passing lovely
amongst goddesses, Ploto, Eucrante, Sao, and Amphitrite, and
Eudora, and Thetis, Galene and Glauce, Cymothoe, Speo, Thoe and
lovely Halie, and Pasithea, and Erato, and rosy-armed Eunice, and
gracious Melite, and Eulimene, and Agaue, Doto, Proto, Pherusa,
and Dynamene, and Nisaea, and Actaea, and Protomedea, Doris,
Panopea, and comely Galatea, and lovely Hippothoe, and rosy-armed
Hipponoe, and Cymodoce who with Cymatolege (12) and Amphitrite
easily calms the waves upon the misty sea and the blasts of
raging winds, and Cymo, and Eione, and rich-crowned Alimede, and
Glauconome, fond of laughter, and Pontoporea, Leagore, Euagore,
and Laomedea, and Polynoe, and Autonoe, and Lysianassa, and
Euarne, lovely of shape and without blemish of form, and Psamathe
of charming figure and divine Menippe, Neso, Eupompe, Themisto,
Pronoe, and Nemertes (13) who has the nature of her deathless
father. These fifty daughters sprang from blameless Nereus,
skilled in excellent crafts.
(ll. 265-269) And Thaumas wedded Electra the daughter of deepflowing
Ocean, and she bare him swift Iris and the long-haired
Harpies, Aello (Storm-swift) and Ocypetes (Swift-flier) who on
their swift wings keep pace with the blasts of the winds and the
birds; for quick as time they dart along.
(ll 270-294) And again, Ceto bare to Phoreys the fair-cheeked
Graiae, sisters grey from their birth: and both deathless gods
and men who walk on earth call them Graiae, Pemphredo well-clad,
and saffron-robed Enyo, and the Gorgons who dwell beyond glorious
Ocean in the frontier land towards Night where are the clearvoiced
Hesperides, Sthenno, and Euryale, and Medusa who suffered
a woeful fate: she was mortal, but the two were undying and grew
not old. With her lay the Dark-haired One (14) in a soft meadow
amid spring flowers. And when Perseus cut off her head, there
sprang forth great Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus who is so
called because he was born near the springs (pegae) of Ocean; and
that other, because he held a golden blade (aor) in his hands.
Now Pegasus flew away and left the earth, the mother of flocks,
and came to the deathless gods: and he dwells in the house of
Zeus and brings to wise Zeus the thunder and lightning. But
Chrysaor was joined in love to Callirrhoe, the daughter of
glorious Ocean, and begot three-headed Geryones. Him mighty
Heracles slew in sea-girt Erythea by his shambling oxen on that
day when he drove the wide-browed oxen to holy Tiryns, and had
crossed the ford of Ocean and killed Orthus and Eurytion the
herdsman in the dim stead out beyond glorious Ocean.
(ll. 295-305) And in a hollow cave she bare another monster,
irresistible, in no wise like either to mortal men or to the
undying gods, even the goddess fierce Echidna who is half a nymph
with glancing eyes and fair cheeks, and half again a huge snake,
great and awful, with speckled skin, eating raw flesh beneath the
secret parts of the holy earth. And there she has a cave deep
down under a hollow rock far from the deathless gods and mortal
men. There, then, did the gods appoint her a glorious house to
dwell in: and she keeps guard in Arima beneath the earth, grim
Echidna, a nymph who dies not nor grows old all her days.
(ll. 306-332) Men say that Typhaon the terrible, outrageous and
lawless, was joined in love to her, the maid with glancing eyes.
So she conceived and brought forth fierce offspring; first she
bare Orthus the hound of Geryones, and then again she bare a
second, a monster not to be overcome and that may not be
described, Cerberus who eats raw flesh, the brazen-voiced hound
of Hades, fifty-headed, relentless and strong. And again she
bore a third, the evil-minded Hydra of Lerna, whom the goddess,
white-armed Hera nourished, being angry beyond measure with the
mighty Heracles. And her Heracles, the son of Zeus, of the house
of Amphitryon, together with warlike Iolaus, destroyed with the
unpitying sword through the plans of Athene the spoil-driver.
She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a
creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three
heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and
in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing
fire. Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay; but Echidna
was subject in love to Orthus and brought forth the deadly Sphinx
which destroyed the Cadmeans, and the Nemean lion, which Hera,
the good wife of Zeus, brought up and made to haunt the hills of
Nemea, a plague to men. There he preyed upon the tribes of her
own people and had power over Tretus of Nemea and Apesas: yet the
strength of stout Heracles overcame him.
(ll. 333-336) And Ceto was joined in love to Phorcys and bare her
youngest, the awful snake who guards the apples all of gold in
the secret places of the dark earth at its great bounds. This is
the offspring of Ceto and Phoreys.
(ll. 334-345) And Tethys bare to Ocean eddying rivers, Nilus, and
Alpheus, and deep-swirling Eridanus, Strymon, and Meander, and
the fair stream of Ister, and Phasis, and Rhesus, and the silver
eddies of Achelous, Nessus, and Rhodius, Haliacmon, and
Heptaporus, Granicus, and Aesepus, and holy Simois, and Peneus,
and Hermus, and Caicus fair stream, and great Sangarius, Ladon,
Parthenius, Euenus, Ardescus, and divine Scamander.
(ll. 346-370) Also she brought forth a holy company of daughters
(15) who with the lord Apollo and the Rivers have youths in their
keeping -- to this charge Zeus appointed them -- Peitho, and
Admete, and Ianthe, and Electra, and Doris, and Prymno, and
Urania divine in form, Hippo, Clymene, Rhodea, and Callirrhoe,
Zeuxo and Clytie, and Idyia, and Pasithoe, Plexaura, and
Galaxaura, and lovely Dione, Melobosis and Thoe and handsome
Polydora, Cerceis lovely of form, and soft eyed Pluto, Perseis,
Ianeira, Acaste, Xanthe, Petraea the fair, Menestho, and Europa,
Metis, and Eurynome, and Telesto saffron-clad, Chryseis and Asia
and charming Calypso, Eudora, and Tyche, Amphirho, and Ocyrrhoe,
and Styx who is the chiefest of them all. These are the eldest
daughters that sprang from Ocean and Tethys; but there are many
besides. For there are three thousand neat-ankled daughters of
Ocean who are dispersed far and wide, and in every place alike
serve the earth and the deep waters, children who are glorious
among goddesses. And as many other rivers are there, babbling as
they flow, sons of Ocean, whom queenly Tethys bare, but their
names it is hard for a mortal man to tell, but people know those
by which they severally dwell.
(ll. 371-374) And Theia was subject in love to Hyperion and bare
great Helius (Sun) and clear Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn) who
shines upon all that are on earth and upon the deathless Gods who
live in the wide heaven.
(ll. 375-377) And Eurybia, bright goddess, was joined in love to
Crius and bare great Astraeus, and Pallas, and Perses who also
was eminent among all men in wisdom.
(ll. 378-382) And Eos bare to Astraeus the strong-hearted winds,
brightening Zephyrus, and Boreas, headlong in his course, and
Notus, -- a goddess mating in love with a god. And after these
Erigenia (16) bare the star Eosphorus (Dawn-bringer), and the
gleaming stars with which heaven is crowned.
(ll. 383-403) And Styx the daughter of Ocean was joined to Pallas
and bare Zelus (Emulation) and trim-ankled Nike (Victory) in the
house. Also she brought forth Cratos (Strength) and Bia (Force),
wonderful children. These have no house apart from Zeus, nor any
dwelling nor path except that wherein God leads them, but they
dwell always with Zeus the loud-thunderer. For so did Styx the
deathless daughter of Ocean plan on that day when the Olympian
Lightener called all the deathless gods to great Olympus, and
said that whosoever of the gods would fight with him against the
Titans, he would not cast him out from his rights, but each
should have the office which he had before amongst the deathless
gods. And he declared that he who was without office and rights
as is just. So deathless Styx came first to Olympus with her
children through the wit of her dear father. And Zeus honoured
her, and gave her very great gifts, for her he appointed to be
the great oath of the gods, and her children to live with him
always. And as he promised, so he performed fully unto them all.
But he himself mightily reigns and rules.
(ll. 404-452) Again, Phoebe came to the desired embrace of Coeus.
Then the goddess through the love of the god conceived and
brought forth dark-gowned Leto, always mild, kind to men and to
the deathless gods, mild from the beginning, gentlest in all
Olympus. Also she bare Asteria of happy name, whom Perses once
led to his great house to be called his dear wife. And she
conceived and bare Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honoured
above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the
earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry
heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods. For
to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich
sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls
upon Hecate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers
the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him;
for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of
Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The
son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that
was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as
the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both
in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an
only child, the goddess receives not less honour, but much more
still, for Zeus honours her. Whom she will she greatly aids and
advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the
assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And
when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then
the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to
whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games,
for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he
who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize
easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is
good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose
business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to
Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious
goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon
as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to
increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats
and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a
few, or makes many to be less. So, then. albeit her mother's
only child (17), she is honoured amongst all the deathless gods.
And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after
that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So
from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her
(ll. 453-491) But Rhea was subject in love to Cronos and bare
splendid children, Hestia (18), Demeter, and gold-shod Hera and
strong Hades, pitiless in heart, who dwells under the earth, and
the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, and wise Zeus, father of gods and
men, by whose thunder the wide earth is shaken. These great
Cronos swallowed as each came forth from the womb to his mother's
knees with this intent, that no other of the proud sons of Heaven
should hold the kingly office amongst the deathless gods. For he
learned from Earth and starry Heaven that he was destined to be
overcome by his own son, strong though he was, through the
contriving of great Zeus (19). Therefore he kept no blind
outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children: and
unceasing grief seized Rhea. But when she was about to bear
Zeus, the father of gods and men, then she besought her own dear
parents, Earth and starry Heaven, to devise some plan with her
that the birth of her dear child might be concealed, and that
retribution might overtake great, crafty Cronos for his own
father and also for the children whom he had swallowed down. And
they readily heard and obeyed their dear daughter, and told her
all that was destined to happen touching Cronos the king and his
stout-hearted son. So they sent her to Lyetus, to the rich land
of Crete, when she was ready to bear great Zeus, the youngest of
her children. Him did vast Earth receive from Rhea in wide Crete
to nourish and to bring up. Thither came Earth carrying him
swiftly through the black night to Lyctus first, and took him in
her arms and hid him in a remote cave beneath the secret places
of the holy earth on thick-wooded Mount Aegeum; but to the
mightily ruling son of Heaven, the earlier king of the gods, she
gave a great stone wrapped in swaddling clothes. Then he took it
in his hands and thrust it down into his belly: wretch! he knew
not in his heart that in place of the stone his son was left
behind, unconquered and untroubled, and that he was soon to
overcome him by force and might and drive him from his honours,
himself to reign over the deathless gods.
(ll. 492-506) After that, the strength and glorious limbs of the
prince increased quickly, and as the years rolled on, great
Cronos the wily was beguiled by the deep suggestions of Earth,
and brought up again his offspring, vanquished by the arts and
might of his own son, and he vomited up first the stone which he
had swallowed last. And Zeus set it fast in the wide-pathed
earth at goodly Pytho under the glens of Parnassus, to be a sign
thenceforth and a marvel to mortal men (20). And he set free
from their deadly bonds the brothers of his father, sons of
Heaven whom his father in his foolishness had bound. And they
remembered to be grateful to him for his kindness, and gave him
thunder and the glowing thunderbolt and lightening: for before
that, huge Earth had hidden these. In them he trusts and rules
over mortals and immortals.
(ll. 507-543) Now Iapetus took to wife the neat-ankled mad
Clymene, daughter of Ocean, and went up with her into one bed.
And she bare him a stout-hearted son, Atlas: also she bare very
glorious Menoetius and clever Prometheus, full of various wiles,
and scatter-brained Epimetheus who from the first was a mischief
to men who eat bread; for it was he who first took of Zeus the
woman, the maiden whom he had formed. But Menoetius was
outrageous, and far-seeing Zeus struck him with a lurid
thunderbolt and sent him down to Erebus because of his mad
presumption and exceeding pride. And Atlas through hard
constraint upholds the wide heaven with unwearying head and arms,
standing at the borders of the earth before the clear-voiced
Hesperides; for this lot wise Zeus assigned to him. And readywitted
Prometheus he bound with inextricable bonds, cruel chains,
and drove a shaft through his middle, and set on him a longwinged
eagle, which used to eat his immortal liver; but by night
the liver grew as much again everyway as the long-winged bird
devoured in the whole day. That bird Heracles, the valiant son
of shapely-ankled Alcmene, slew; and delivered the son of Iapetus
from the cruel plague, and released him from his affliction --
not without the will of Olympian Zeus who reigns on high, that
the glory of Heracles the Theban-born might be yet greater than
it was before over the plenteous earth. This, then, he regarded,
and honoured his famous son; though he was angry, he ceased from
the wrath which he had before because Prometheus matched himself
in wit with the almighty son of Cronos. For when the gods and
mortal men had a dispute at Mecone, even then Prometheus was
forward to cut up a great ox and set portions before them, trying
to befool the mind of Zeus. Before the rest he set flesh and
inner parts thick with fat upon the hide, covering them with an
ox paunch; but for Zeus he put the white bones dressed up with
cunning art and covered with shining fat. Then the father of men
and of gods said to him:
(ll. 543-544) `Son of Iapetus, most glorious of all lords, good
sir, how unfairly you have divided the portions!'
(ll. 545-547) So said Zeus whose wisdom is everlasting, rebuking
him. But wily Prometheus answered him, smiling softly and not
forgetting his cunning trick:
(ll. 548-558) `Zeus, most glorious and greatest of the eternal
gods, take which ever of these portions your heart within you
bids.' So he said, thinking trickery. But Zeus, whose wisdom is
everlasting, saw and failed not to perceive the trick, and in his
heart he thought mischief against mortal men which also was to be
fulfilled. With both hands he took up the white fat and was
angry at heart, and wrath came to his spirit when he saw the
white ox-bones craftily tricked out: and because of this the
tribes of men upon earth burn white bones to the deathless gods
upon fragrant altars. But Zeus who drives the clouds was greatly
vexed and said to him:
(ll. 559-560) `Son of Iapetus, clever above all! So, sir, you
have not yet forgotten your cunning arts!'
(ll. 561-584) So spake Zeus in anger, whose wisdom is
everlasting; and from that time he was always mindful of the
trick, and would not give the power of unwearying fire to the
Melian (21) race of mortal men who live on the earth. But the
noble son of Iapetus outwitted him and stole the far-seen gleam
of unwearying fire in a hollow fennel stalk. And Zeus who
thunders on high was stung in spirit, and his dear heart was
angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire.
Forthwith he made an evil thing for men as the price of fire; for
the very famous Limping God formed of earth the likeness of a shy
maiden as the son of Cronos willed. And the goddess bright-eyed
Athene girded and clothed her with silvery raiment, and down from
her head she spread with her hands a broidered veil, a wonder to
see; and she, Pallas Athene, put about her head lovely garlands,
flowers of new-grown herbs. Also she put upon her head a crown
of gold which the very famous Limping God made himself and worked
with his own hands as a favour to Zeus his father. On it was
much curious work, wonderful to see; for of the many creatures
which the land and sea rear up, he put most upon it, wonderful
things, like living beings with voices: and great beauty shone
out from it.
(ll. 585-589) But when he had made the beautiful evil to be the
price for the blessing, he brought her out, delighting in the
finery which the bright-eyed daughter of a mighty father had
given her, to the place where the other gods and men were. And
wonder took hold of the deathless gods and mortal men when they
saw that which was sheer guile, not to be withstood by men.
(ll. 590-612) For from her is the race of women and female kind:
of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst
mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful
poverty, but only in wealth. And as in thatched hives bees feed
the drones whose nature is to do mischief -- by day and
throughout the day until the sun goes down the bees are busy and
lay the white combs, while the drones stay at home in the covered
skeps and reap the toil of others into their own bellies -- even
so Zeus who thunders on high made women to be an evil to mortal
men, with a nature to do evil. And he gave them a second evil to
be the price for the good they had: whoever avoids marriage and
the sorrows that women cause, and will not wed, reaches deadly
old age without anyone to tend his years, and though he at least
has no lack of livelihood while he lives, yet, when he is dead,
his kinsfolk divide his possessions amongst them. And as for the
man who chooses the lot of marriage and takes a good wife suited
to his mind, evil continually contends with good; for whoever
happens to have mischievous children, lives always with unceasing
grief in his spirit and heart within him; and this evil cannot be
(ll. 613-616) So it is not possible to deceive or go beyond the
will of Zeus; for not even the son of Iapetus, kindly Prometheus,
escaped his heavy anger, but of necessity strong bands confined
him, although he knew many a wile.
(ll. 617-643) But when first their father was vexed in his heart
with Obriareus and Cottus and Gyes, he bound them in cruel bonds,
because he was jealous of their exceeding manhood and comeliness
and great size: and he made them live beneath the wide-pathed
earth, where they were afflicted, being set to dwell under the
ground, at the end of the earth, at its great borders, in bitter
anguish for a long time and with great grief at heart. But the
son of Cronos and the other deathless gods whom rich-haired Rhea
bare from union with Cronos, brought them up again to the light
at Earth's advising. For she herself recounted all things to the
gods fully, how that with these they would gain victory and a
glorious cause to vaunt themselves. For the Titan gods and as
many as sprang from Cronos had long been fighting together in
stubborn war with heart-grieving toil, the lordly Titans from
high Othyrs, but the gods, givers of good, whom rich-haired Rhea
bare in union with Cronos, from Olympus. So they, with bitter
wrath, were fighting continually with one another at that time
for ten full years, and the hard strife had no close or end for
either side, and the issue of the war hung evenly balanced. But
when he had provided those three with all things fitting, nectar
and ambrosia which the gods themselves eat, and when their proud
spirit revived within them all after they had fed on nectar and
delicious ambrosia, then it was that the father of men and gods
spoke amongst them:
(ll. 644-653) `Hear me, bright children of Earth and Heaven, that
I may say what my heart within me bids. A long while now have
we, who are sprung from Cronos and the Titan gods, fought with
each other every day to get victory and to prevail. But do you
show your great might and unconquerable strength, and face the
Titans in bitter strife; for remember our friendly kindness, and
from what sufferings you are come back to the light from your
cruel bondage under misty gloom through our counsels.'
(ll. 654-663) So he said. And blameless Cottus answered him
again: `Divine one, you speak that which we know well: nay, even
of ourselves we know that your wisdom and understanding is
exceeding, and that you became a defender of the deathless ones
from chill doom. And through your devising we are come back
again from the murky gloom and from our merciless bonds, enjoying
what we looked not for, O lord, son of Cronos. And so now with
fixed purpose and deliberate counsel we will aid your power in
dreadful strife and will fight against the Titans in hard
(ll. 664-686) So he said: and the gods, givers of good things,
applauded when they heard his word, and their spirit longed for
war even more than before, and they all, both male and female,
stirred up hated battle that day, the Titan gods, and all that
were born of Cronos together with those dread, mighty ones of
overwhelming strength whom Zeus brought up to the light from
Erebus beneath the earth. An hundred arms sprang from the
shoulders of all alike, and each had fifty heads growing upon his
shoulders upon stout limbs. These, then, stood against the
Titans in grim strife, holding huge rocks in their strong hands.
And on the other part the Titans eagerly strengthened their
ranks, and both sides at one time showed the work of their hands
and their might. The boundless sea rang terribly around, and the
earth crashed loudly: wide Heaven was shaken and groaned, and
high Olympus reeled from its foundation under the charge of the
undying gods, and a heavy quaking reached dim Tartarus and the
deep sound of their feet in the fearful onset and of their hard
missiles. So, then, they launched their grievous shafts upon one
another, and the cry of both armies as they shouted reached to
starry heaven; and they met together with a great battle-cry.
(ll. 687-712) Then Zeus no longer held back his might; but
straight his heart was filled with fury and he showed forth all
his strength. From Heaven and from Olympus he came forthwith,
hurling his lightning: the bold flew thick and fast from his
strong hand together with thunder and lightning, whirling an
awesome flame. The life-giving earth crashed around in burning,
and the vast wood crackled loud with fire all about. All the
land seethed, and Ocean's streams and the unfruitful sea. The
hot vapour lapped round the earthborn Titans: flame unspeakable
rose to the bright upper air: the flashing glare of the thunderstone
and lightning blinded their eyes for all that there were
strong. Astounding heat seized Chaos: and to see with eyes and
to hear the sound with ears it seemed even as if Earth and wide
Heaven above came together; for such a mighty crash would have
arisen if Earth were being hurled to ruin, and Heaven from on
high were hurling her down; so great a crash was there while the
gods were meeting together in strife. Also the winds brought
rumbling earthquake and duststorm, thunder and lightning and the
lurid thunderbolt, which are the shafts of great Zeus, and
carried the clangour and the warcry into the midst of the two
hosts. An horrible uproar of terrible strife arose: mighty deeds
were shown and the battle inclined. But until then, they kept at
one another and fought continually in cruel war.
(ll. 713-735) And amongst the foremost Cottus and Briareos and
Gyes insatiate for war raised fierce fighting: three hundred
rocks, one upon another, they launched from their strong hands
and overshadowed the Titans with their missiles, and buried them
beneath the wide-pathed earth, and bound them in bitter chains
when they had conquered them by their strength for all their
great spirit, as far beneath the earth to Tartarus. For a brazen
anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach
the earth upon the tenth: and again, a brazen anvil falling from
earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth.
Round it runs a fence of bronze, and night spreads in triple line
all about it like a neck-circlet, while above grow the roots of
the earth and unfruitful sea. There by the counsel of Zeus who
drives the clouds the Titan gods are hidden under misty gloom, in
a dank place where are the ends of the huge earth. And they may
not go out; for Poseidon fixed gates of bronze upon it, and a
wall runs all round it on every side. There Gyes and Cottus and
great-souled Obriareus live, trusty warders of Zeus who holds the
(ll. 736-744) And there, all in their order, are the sources and
ends of gloomy earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea
and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor.
It is a great gulf, and if once a man were within the gates, he
would not reach the floor until a whole year had reached its end,
but cruel blast upon blast would carry him this way and that.
And this marvel is awful even to the deathless gods.
(ll. 744-757) There stands the awful home of murky Night wrapped
in dark clouds. In front of it the son of Iapetus (22) stands
immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying
hands, where Night and Day draw near and greet one another as
they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is
about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door.
And the house never holds them both within; but always one is
without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays
at home and waits until the time for her journeying come; and the
one holds all-seeing light for them on earth, but the other holds
in her arms Sleep the brother of Death, even evil Night, wrapped
in a vaporous cloud.
(ll. 758-766) And there the children of dark Night have their
dwellings, Sleep and Death, awful gods. The glowing Sun never
looks upon them with his beams, neither as he goes up into
heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven. And the former of them
roams peacefully over the earth and the sea's broad back and is
kindly to men; but the other has a heart of iron, and his spirit
within him is pitiless as bronze: whomsoever of men he has once
seized he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the deathless
(ll. 767-774) There, in front, stand the echoing halls of the god
of the lower-world, strong Hades, and of awful Persephone. A
fearful hound guards the house in front, pitiless, and he has a
cruel trick. On those who go in he fawns with his tail and both
is ears, but suffers them not to go out back again, but keeps
watch and devours whomsoever he catches going out of the gates of
strong Hades and awful Persephone.
(ll. 775-806) And there dwells the goddess loathed by the
deathless gods, terrible Styx, eldest daughter of back-flowing
(23) Ocean. She lives apart from the gods in her glorious house
vaulted over with great rocks and propped up to heaven all round
with silver pillars. Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas, swiftfooted
Iris, come to her with a message over the sea's wide back.
But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods, and
when any of them who live in the house of Olympus lies, then Zeus
sends Iris to bring in a golden jug the great oath of the gods
from far away, the famous cold water which trickles down from a
high and beetling rock. Far under the wide-pathed earth a branch
of Oceanus flows through the dark night out of the holy stream,
and a tenth part of his water is allotted to her. With nine
silver-swirling streams he winds about the earth and the sea's
wide back, and then falls into the main (24); but the tenth flows
out from a rock, a sore trouble to the gods. For whoever of the
deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympus pours a
libation of her water is forsworn, lies breathless until a full
year is completed, and never comes near to taste ambrosia and
nectar, but lies spiritless and voiceless on a strewn bed: and a
heavy trance overshadows him. But when he has spent a long year
in his sickness, another penance and an harder follows after the
first. For nine years he is cut off from the eternal gods and
never joins their councils of their feasts, nine full years. But
in the tenth year he comes again to join the assemblies of the
deathless gods who live in the house of Olympus. Such an oath,
then, did the gods appoint the eternal and primaeval water of
Styx to be: and it spouts through a rugged place.
(ll. 807-819) And there, all in their order, are the sources and
ends of the dark earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea
and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor.
And there are shining gates and an immoveable threshold of bronze
having unending roots and it is grown of itself (25). And
beyond, away from all the gods, live the Titans, beyond gloomy
Chaos. But the glorious allies of loud-crashing Zeus have their
dwelling upon Ocean's foundations, even Cottus and Gyes; but
Briareos, being goodly, the deep-roaring Earth-Shaker made his
son-in-law, giving him Cymopolea his daughter to wed.
(ll. 820-868) But when Zeus had driven the Titans from heaven,
huge Earth bare her youngest child Typhoeus of the love of
Tartarus, by the aid of golden Aphrodite. Strength was with his
hands in all that he did and the feet of the strong god were
untiring. From his shoulders grew an hundred heads of a snake, a
fearful dragon, with dark, flickering tongues, and from under the
brows of his eyes in his marvellous heads flashed fire, and fire
burned from his heads as he glared. And there were voices in all
his dreadful heads which uttered every kind of sound unspeakable;
for at one time they made sounds such that the gods understood,
but at another, the noise of a bull bellowing aloud in proud
ungovernable fury; and at another, the sound of a lion,
relentless of heart; and at anothers, sounds like whelps,
wonderful to hear; and again, at another, he would hiss, so that
the high mountains re-echoed. And truly a thing past help would
have happened on that day, and he would have come to reign over
mortals and immortals, had not the father of men and gods been
quick to perceive it. But he thundered hard and mightily: and
earth around resounded terribly and the wide heaven above, and
the sea and Ocean's streams and the nether parts of the earth.
Great Olympus reeled beneath the divine feet of the king as he
arose and earth groaned thereat. And through the two of them
heat took hold on the dark-blue sea, through the thunder and
lightning, and through the fire from the monster, and the
scorching winds and blazing thunderbolt. The whole earth
seethed, and sky and sea: and the long waves raged along the
beaches round and about, at the rush of the deathless gods: and
there arose an endless shaking. Hades trembled where he rules
over the dead below, and the Titans under Tartarus who live with
Cronos, because of the unending clamour and the fearful strife.
So when Zeus had raised up his might and seized his arms, thunder
and lightning and lurid thunderbolt, he leaped form Olympus and
struck him, and burned all the marvellous heads of the monster
about him. But when Zeus had conquered him and lashed him with
strokes, Typhoeus was hurled down, a maimed wreck, so that the
huge earth groaned. And flame shot forth from the thunderstricken
lord in the dim rugged glens of the mount (26), when he
was smitten. A great part of huge earth was scorched by the
terrible vapour and melted as tin melts when heated by men's art
in channelled (27) crucibles; or as iron, which is hardest of all
things, is softened by glowing fire in mountain glens and melts
in the divine earth through the strength of Hephaestus (28).
Even so, then, the earth melted in the glow of the blazing fire.
And in the bitterness of his anger Zeus cast him into wide
(ll. 869-880) And from Typhoeus come boisterous winds which blow
damply, except Notus and Boreas and clear Zephyr. These are a
god-sent kind, and a great blessing to men; but the others blow
fitfully upon the seas. Some rush upon the misty sea and work
great havoc among men with their evil, raging blasts; for varying
with the season they blow, scattering ships and destroying
sailors. And men who meet these upon the sea have no help
against the mischief. Others again over the boundless, flowering
earth spoil the fair fields of men who dwell below, filling them
with dust and cruel uproar.
(ll. 881-885) But when the blessed gods had finished their toil,
and settled by force their struggle for honours with the Titans,
they pressed far-seeing Olympian Zeus to reign and to rule over
them, by Earth's prompting. So he divided their dignities
amongst them.
(ll. 886-900) Now Zeus, king of the gods, made Metis his wife
first, and she was wisest among gods and mortal men. But when
she was about to bring forth the goddess bright-eyed Athene, Zeus
craftily deceived her with cunning words and put her in his own
belly, as Earth and starry Heaven advised. For they advised him
so, to the end that no other should hold royal sway over the
eternal gods in place of Zeus; for very wise children were
destined to be born of her, first the maiden bright-eyed
Tritogeneia, equal to her father in strength and in wise
understanding; but afterwards she was to bear a son of
overbearing spirit, king of gods and men. But Zeus put her into
his own belly first, that the goddess might devise for him both
good and evil.
(ll. 901-906) Next he married bright Themis who bare the Horae
(Hours), and Eunomia (Order), Dike (Justice), and blooming Eirene
(Peace), who mind the works of mortal men, and the Moerae (Fates)
to whom wise Zeus gave the greatest honour, Clotho, and Lachesis,
and Atropos who give mortal men evil and good to have.
(ll. 907-911) And Eurynome, the daughter of Ocean, beautiful in
form, bare him three fair-cheeked Charites (Graces), Aglaea, and
Euphrosyne, and lovely Thaleia, from whose eyes as they glanced
flowed love that unnerves the limbs: and beautiful is their
glance beneath their brows.
(ll. 912-914) Also he came to the bed of all-nourishing Demeter,
and she bare white-armed Persephone whom Aidoneus carried off
from her mother; but wise Zeus gave her to him.
(ll. 915-917) And again, he loved Mnemosyne with the beautiful
hair: and of her the nine gold-crowned Muses were born who
delight in feasts and the pleasures of song.
(ll. 918-920) And Leto was joined in love with Zeus who holds the
aegis, and bare Apollo and Artemis delighting in arrows, children
lovely above all the sons of Heaven.
(ll. 921-923) Lastly, he made Hera his blooming wife: and she was
joined in love with the king of gods and men, and brought forth
Hebe and Ares and Eileithyia.
(ll. 924-929) But Zeus himself gave birth from his own head to
bright-eyed Tritogeneia (29), the awful, the strife-stirring, the
host-leader, the unwearying, the queen, who delights in tumults
and wars and battles. But Hera without union with Zeus -- for
she was very angry and quarrelled with her mate -- bare famous
Hephaestus, who is skilled in crafts more than all the sons of
(ll. 929a-929t) (30) But Hera was very angry and quarrelled with
her mate. And because of this strife she bare without union with
Zeus who holds the aegis a glorious son, Hephaestus, who excelled
all the sons of Heaven in crafts. But Zeus lay with the faircheeked
daughter of Ocean and Tethys apart from Hera....
....deceiving Metis (Thought) although she was full wise. But he
seized her with his hands and put her in his belly, for fear that
she might bring forth something stronger than his thunderbolt:
therefore did Zeus, who sits on high and dwells in the aether,
swallow her down suddenly. But she straightway conceived Pallas
Athene: and the father of men and gods gave her birth by way of
his head on the banks of the river Trito. And she remained
hidden beneath the inward parts of Zeus, even Metis, Athena's
mother, worker of righteousness, who was wiser than gods and
mortal men. There the goddess (Athena) received that (31)
whereby she excelled in strength all the deathless ones who dwell
in Olympus, she who made the host-scaring weapon of Athena. And
with it (Zeus) gave her birth, arrayed in arms of war.
(ll. 930-933) And of Amphitrite and the loud-roaring Earth-Shaker
was born great, wide-ruling Triton, and he owns the depths of the
sea, living with his dear mother and the lord his father in their
golden house, an awful god.
(ll. 933-937) Also Cytherea bare to Ares the shield-piercer Panic
and Fear, terrible gods who drive in disorder the close ranks of
men in numbing war, with the help of Ares, sacker of towns: and
Harmonia whom high-spirited Cadmus made his wife.
(ll. 938-939) And Maia, the daughter of Atlas, bare to Zeus
glorious Hermes, the herald of the deathless gods, for she went
up into his holy bed.
(ll. 940-942) And Semele, daughter of Cadmus was joined with him
in love and bare him a splendid son, joyous Dionysus, -- a mortal
woman an immortal son. And now they both are gods.
(ll. 943-944) And Alemena was joined in love with Zeus who drives
the clouds and bare mighty Heracles.
(ll. 945-946) And Hephaestus, the famous Lame One, made Aglaea,
youngest of the Graces, his buxom wife.
(ll. 947-949) And golden-haired Dionysus made brown-haired
Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, his buxom wife: and the son of
Cronos made her deathless and unageing for him.
(ll. 950-955) And mighty Heracles, the valiant son of neat-ankled
Alemena, when he had finished his grievous toils, made Hebe the
child of great Zeus and gold-shod Hera his shy wife in snowy
Olympus. Happy he! For he has finished his great works and
lives amongst the dying gods, untroubled and unaging all his
(ll. 956-962) And Perseis, the daughter of Ocean, bare to
unwearying Helios Circe and Aeetes the king. And Aeetes, the son
of Helios who shows light to men, took to wife fair-cheeked
Idyia, daughter of Ocean the perfect stream, by the will of the
gods: and she was subject to him in love through golden Aphrodite
and bare him neat-ankled Medea.
(ll. 963-968) And now farewell, you dwellers on Olympus and you
islands and continents and thou briny sea within. Now sing the
company of goddesses, sweet-voiced Muses of Olympus, daughter of
Zeus who holds the aegis, -- even those deathless one who lay
with mortal men and bare children like unto gods.
(ll. 969-974) Demeter, bright goddess, was joined in sweet love
with the hero Iasion in a thrice-ploughed fallow in the rich land
of Crete, and bare Plutus, a kindly god who goes everywhere over
land and the sea's wide back, and him who finds him and into
whose hands he comes he makes rich, bestowing great wealth upon
(ll. 975-978) And Harmonia, the daughter of golden Aphrodite,
bare to Cadmus Ino and Semele and fair-cheeked Agave and Autonoe
whom long haired Aristaeus wedded, and Polydorus also in richcrowned
(ll. 979-983) And the daughter of Ocean, Callirrhoe was joined in
the love of rich Aphrodite with stout hearted Chrysaor and bare a
son who was the strongest of all men, Geryones, whom mighty
Heracles killed in sea-girt Erythea for the sake of his shambling
(ll. 984-991) And Eos bare to Tithonus brazen-crested Memnon,
king of the Ethiopians, and the Lord Emathion. And to Cephalus
she bare a splendid son, strong Phaethon, a man like the gods,
whom, when he was a young boy in the tender flower of glorious
youth with childish thoughts, laughter-loving Aphrodite seized
and caught up and made a keeper of her shrine by night, a divine
(ll. 993-1002) And the son of Aeson by the will of the gods led
away from Aeetes the daughter of Aeetes the heaven-nurtured king,
when he had finished the many grievous labours which the great
king, over bearing Pelias, that outrageous and presumptuous doer
of violence, put upon him. But when the son of Aeson had
finished them, he came to Iolcus after long toil bringing the
coy-eyed girl with him on his swift ship, and made her his buxom
wife. And she was subject to Iason, shepherd of the people, and
bare a son Medeus whom Cheiron the son of Philyra brought up in
the mountains. And the will of great Zeus was fulfilled.
(ll. 1003-1007) But of the daughters of Nereus, the Old man of
the Sea, Psamathe the fair goddess, was loved by Aeacus through
golden Aphrodite and bare Phocus. And the silver-shod goddess
Thetis was subject to Peleus and brought forth lion-hearted
Achilles, the destroyer of men.
(ll. 1008-1010) And Cytherea with the beautiful crown was joined
in sweet love with the hero Anchises and bare Aeneas on the peaks
of Ida with its many wooded glens.
(ll. 1011-1016) And Circe the daughter of Helius, Hyperion's son,
loved steadfast Odysseus and bare Agrius and Latinus who was
faultless and strong: also she brought forth Telegonus by the
will of golden Aphrodite. And they ruled over the famous
Tyrenians, very far off in a recess of the holy islands.
(ll. 1017-1018) And the bright goddess Calypso was joined to
Odysseus in sweet love, and bare him Nausithous and Nausinous.
(ll. 1019-1020) These are the immortal goddesses who lay with
mortal men and bare them children like unto gods.
(ll. 1021-1022) But now, sweet-voiced Muses of Olympus, daughters
of Zeus who holds the aegis, sing of the company of women.
(1) The epithet probably indicates coquettishness.
(2) A proverbial saying meaning, `why enlarge on irrelevant
(3) `She of the noble voice': Calliope is queen of Epic poetry.
(4) Earth, in the cosmology of Hesiod, is a disk surrounded by
the river Oceanus and floating upon a waste of waters. It
is called the foundation of all (the qualification `the
deathless ones...' etc. is an interpolation), because not
only trees, men, and animals, but even the hills and seas
(ll. 129, 131) are supported by it.
(5) Aether is the bright, untainted upper atmosphere, as
distinguished from Aer, the lower atmosphere of the earth.
(6) Brontes is the Thunderer; Steropes, the Lightener; and
Arges, the Vivid One.
(7) The myth accounts for the separation of Heaven and Earth.
In Egyptian cosmology Nut (the Sky) is thrust and held apart
from her brother Geb (the Earth) by their father Shu, who
corresponds to the Greek Atlas.
(8) Nymphs of the ash-trees, as Dryads are nymphs of the oaktrees.
Cp. note on "Works and Days", l. 145.
(9) `Member-loving': the title is perhaps only a perversion of
the regular PHILOMEIDES (laughter-loving).
(10) Cletho (the Spinner) is she who spins the thread of man's
life; Lachesis (the Disposer of Lots) assigns to each man
his destiny; Atropos (She who cannot be turned) is the `Fury
with the abhorred shears.'
(11) Many of the names which follow express various qualities or
aspects of the sea: thus Galene is `Calm', Cymothoe is the
`Wave-swift', Pherusa and Dynamene are `She who speeds
(ships)' and `She who has power'.
(12) The `Wave-receiver' and the `Wave-stiller'.
(13) `The Unerring' or `Truthful'; cp. l. 235.
(14) i.e. Poseidon.
(15) Goettling notes that some of these nymphs derive their names
from lands over which they preside, as Europa, Asia, Doris,
Ianeira (`Lady of the Ionians'), but that most are called
after some quality which their streams possessed: thus
Xanthe is the `Brown' or `Turbid', Amphirho is the
`Surrounding' river, Ianthe is `She who delights', and
Ocyrrhoe is the `Swift-flowing'.
(16) i.e. Eos, the `Early-born'.
(17) Van Lennep explains that Hecate, having no brothers to
support her claim, might have been slighted.
(18) The goddess of the hearth (the Roman "Vesta"), and so of the
house. Cp. "Homeric Hymns" v.22 ff.; xxxix.1 ff.
(19) The variant reading `of his father' (sc. Heaven) rests on
inferior MS. authority and is probably an alteration due to
the difficulty stated by a Scholiast: `How could Zeus, being
not yet begotten, plot against his father?' The phrase is,
however, part of the prophecy. The whole line may well be
spurious, and is rejected by Heyne, Wolf, Gaisford and
(20) Pausanias (x. 24.6) saw near the tomb of Neoptolemus `a
stone of no great size', which the Delphians anointed every
day with oil, and which he says was supposed to be the stone
given to Cronos.
(21) A Scholiast explains: `Either because they (men) sprang from
the Melian nymphs (cp. l. 187); or because, when they were
born (?), they cast themselves under the ash-trees, that is,
the trees.' The reference may be to the origin of men from
ash-trees: cp. "Works and Days", l. 145 and note.
(22) sc. Atlas, the Shu of Egyptian mythology: cp. note on line
(23) Oceanus is here regarded as a continuous stream enclosing
the earth and the seas, and so as flowing back upon himself.
(24) The conception of Oceanus is here different: he has nine
streams which encircle the earth and the flow out into the
`main' which appears to be the waste of waters on which,
according to early Greek and Hebrew cosmology, the disk-like
earth floated.
(25) i.e. the threshold is of `native' metal, and not artificial.
(26) According to Homer Typhoeus was overwhelmed by Zeus amongst
the Arimi in Cilicia. Pindar represents him as buried under
Aetna, and Tzetzes reads Aetna in this passage.
(27) The epithet (which means literally `well-bored') seems to
refer to the spout of the crucible.
(28) The fire god. There is no reference to volcanic action:
iron was smelted on Mount Ida; cp. "Epigrams of Homer", ix.
(29) i.e. Athena, who was born `on the banks of the river Trito'
(cp. l. 929l)
(30) Restored by Peppmuller. The nineteen following lines from
another recension of lines 889-900, 924-9 are quoted by
Chrysippus (in Galen).
(31) sc. the aegis. Line 929s is probably spurious, since it
disagrees with l. 929q and contains a suspicious reference
to Athens.
Fragment #1 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iii. 1086:
That Deucalion was the son of Prometheus and Pronoea, Hesiod
states in the first "Catalogue", as also that Hellen was the son
of Deucalion and Pyrrha.
Fragment #2 --
Ioannes Lydus (2), de Mens. i. 13:
They came to call those who followed local manners Latins, but
those who followed Hellenic customs Greeks, after the brothers
Latinus and Graecus; as Hesiod says: `And in the palace Pandora
the daughter of noble Deucalion was joined in love with father
Zeus, leader of all the gods, and bare Graecus, staunch in
Fragment #3 --
Constantinus Porphyrogenitus (3), de Them. 2 p. 48B:
The district Macedonia took its name from Macedon the son of Zeus
and Thyia, Deucalion's daughter, as Hesiod says:
`And she conceived and bare to Zeus who delights in the
thunderbolt two sons, Magnes and Macedon, rejoicing in horses,
who dwell round about Pieria and Olympus....
....And Magnes again (begot) Dictys and godlike Polydectes.'
Fragment #4 --
Plutarch, Mor. p. 747; Schol. on Pindar Pyth. iv. 263:
`And from Hellen the war-loving king sprang Dorus and Xuthus and
Aeolus delighting in horses. And the sons of Aeolus, kings
dealing justice, were Cretheus, and Athamas, and clever Sisyphus,
and wicked Salmoneus and overbold Perieres.'
Fragment #5 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 266:
Those who were descended from Deucalion used to rule over
Thessaly as Hecataeus and Hesiod say.
Fragment #6 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 482:
Aloiadae. Hesiod said that they were sons of Aloeus, -- called
so after him, -- and of Iphimedea, but in reality sons of
Poseidon and Iphimedea, and that Alus a city of Aetolia was
founded by their father.
Fragment #7 --
Berlin Papyri, No. 7497; Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 421 (4):
(ll. 1-24) `....Eurynome the daughter of Nisus, Pandion's son, to
whom Pallas Athene taught all her art, both wit and wisdom too;
for she was as wise as the gods. A marvellous scent rose from
her silvern raiment as she moved, and beauty was wafted from her
eyes. Her, then, Glaucus sought to win by Athena's advising, and
he drove oxen (5) for her. But he knew not at all the intent of
Zeus who holds the aegis. So Glaucus came seeking her to wife
with gifts; but cloud-driving Zeus, king of the deathless gods,
bent his head in oath that the.... son of Sisyphus should never
have children born of one father (6). So she lay in the arms of
Poseidon and bare in the house of Glaucus blameless Bellerophon,
surpassing all men in.... over the boundless sea. And when he
began to roam, his father gave him Pegasus who would bear him
most swiftly on his wings, and flew unwearying everywhere over
the earth, for like the gales he would course along. With him
Bellerophon caught and slew the fire-breathing Chimera. And he
wedded the dear child of the great-hearted Iobates, the
worshipful king....
lord (of)....
and she bare....'
Fragment #8 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodes, Arg. iv. 57:
Hesiod says that Endymion was the son of Aethlius the son of Zeus
and Calyee, and received the gift from Zeus: `(To be) keeper of
death for his own self when he was ready to die.'
Fragment #9 --
Scholiast Ven. on Homer, Il. xi. 750:
The two sons of Actor and Molione... Hesiod has given their
descent by calling them after Actor and Molione; but their father
was Poseidon.
Porphyrius (7), Quaest. Hom. ad Iliad. pert., 265:
But Aristarchus is informed that they were twins, not.... such as
were the Dioscuri, but, on Hesiod's testimony, double in form and
with two bodies and joined to one another.
Fragment #10 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 156:
But Hesiod says that he changed himself in one of his wonted
shapes and perched on the yoke-boss of Heracles' horses, meaning
to fight with the hero; but that Heracles, secretly instructed by
Athena, wounded him mortally with an arrow. And he says as
follows: `...and lordly Periclymenus. Happy he! For
earth-shaking Poseidon gave him all manner of gifts. At one time
he would appear among birds, an eagle; and again at another he
would be an ant, a marvel to see; and then a shining swarm of
bees; and again at another time a dread relentless snake. And he
possessed all manner of gifts which cannot he told, and these
then ensnared him through the devising of Athene.'
Fragment #11 --
Stephanus of Byzantium (8), s.v.:
`(Heracles) slew the noble sons of steadfast Neleus, eleven of
them; but the twelfth, the horsemen Gerenian Nestor chanced to be
staying with the horse-taming Gerenians.
Nestor alone escaped in flowery Gerenon.'
Fragment #12 --
Eustathius (9), Hom. 1796.39:
`So well-girded Polycaste, the youngest daughter of Nestor,
Neleus' son, was joined in love with Telemachus through golden
Aphrodite and bare Persepolis.'
Fragment #13 --
Scholiast on Homer, Od. xii. 69:
Tyro the daughter of Salmoneus, having two sons by Poseidon,
Neleus and Pelias, married Cretheus, and had by him three sons,
Aeson, Pheres and Amythaon. And of Aeson and Polymede, according
to Hesiod, Iason was born: `Aeson, who begot a son Iason,
shepherd of the people, whom Chiron brought up in woody Pelion.'
Fragment #14 --
Petrie Papyri (ed. Mahaffy), Pl. III. 3:
`....of the glorious lord
....fair Atalanta, swift of foot, the daughter of Schoeneus, who
had the beaming eyes of the Graces, though she was ripe for
wedlock rejected the company of her equals and sought to avoid
marriage with men who eat bread.'
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad xxiii. 683:
Hesiod is therefore later in date than Homer since he represents
Hippomenes as stripped when contending with Atalanta (10).
Papiri greci e latini, ii. No. 130 (2nd-3rd century) (11):
(ll. 1-7) `Then straightway there rose up against him the trimankled
maiden (Atalanta), peerless in beauty: a great throng
stood round about her as she gazed fiercely, and wonder held all
men as they looked upon her. As she moved, the breath of the
west wind stirred the shining garment about her tender bosom; but
Hippomenes stood where he was: and much people was gathered
together. All these kept silence; but Schoeneus cried and said:
(ll. 8-20) `"Hear me all, both young and old, while I speak as my
spirit within my breast bids me. Hippomenes seeks my coy-eyed
daughter to wife; but let him now hear my wholesome speech. He
shall not win her without contest; yet, if he be victorious and
escape death, and if the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus
grant him to win renown, verily he shall return to his dear
native land, and I will give him my dear child and strong, swiftfooted
horses besides which he shall lead home to be cherished
possessions; and may he rejoice in heart possessing these, and
ever remember with gladness the painful contest. May the father
of men and of gods (grant that splendid children may be born to
him)' (12)
(ll. 21-27) `on the right....
and he, rushing upon her,....
drawing back slightly towards the left. And on them was laid an
unenviable struggle: for she, even fair, swift-footed Atalanta,
ran scorning the gifts of golden Aphrodite; but with him the race
was for his life, either to find his doom, or to escape it.
Therefore with thoughts of guile he said to her:
(ll. 28-29) `"O daughter of Schoeneus, pitiless in heart, receive
these glorious gifts of the goddess, golden Aphrodite...'
(ll. 30-36) `But he, following lightly on his feet, cast the
first apple (13): and, swiftly as a Harpy, she turned back and
snatched it. Then he cast the second to the ground with his
hand. And now fair, swift-footed Atalanta had two apples and was
near the goal; but Hippomenes cast the third apple to the ground,
and therewith escaped death and black fate. And he stood panting
Fragment #15 --
Strabo (14), i. p. 42:
`And the daughter of Arabus, whom worthy Hermaon begat with
Thronia, daughter of the lord Belus.'
Fragment #16 --
Eustathius, Hom. 461. 2:
`Argos which was waterless Danaus made well-watered.'
Fragment #17 --
Hecataeus (15) in Scholiast on Euripides, Orestes, 872:
Aegyptus himself did not go to Argos, but sent his sons, fifty in
number, as Hesiod represented.
Fragment #18 -- (16)
Strabo, viii. p. 370:
And Apollodorus says that Hesiod already knew that the whole
people were called both Hellenes and Panhellenes, as when he says
of the daughters of Proetus that the Panhellenes sought them in
Apollodorus, ii. 2.1.4:
Acrisius was king of Argos and Proetus of Tiryns. And Acrisius
had by Eurydice the daughter of Lacedemon, Danae; and Proetus by
Stheneboea `Lysippe and Iphinoe and Iphianassa'. And these fell
mad, as Hesiod states, because they would not receive the rites
of Dionysus.
Probus (17) on Vergil, Eclogue vi. 48:
These (the daughters of Proetus), because they had scorned the
divinity of Juno, were overcome with madness, such that they
believed they had been turned into cows, and left Argos their own
country. Afterwards they were cured by Melampus, the son of
Suidas, s.v.: (18)
`Because of their hideous wantonness they lost their tender
Eustathius, Hom. 1746.7:
`....For he shed upon their heads a fearful itch: and leprosy
covered all their flesh, and their hair dropped from their heads,
and their fair scalps were made bare.'
Fragment #19A -- (19)
Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1358 fr. 1 (3rd cent. A.D.): (20)
(ll. 1-32) `....So she (Europa) crossed the briny water from afar
to Crete, beguiled by the wiles of Zeus. Secretly did the Father
snatch her away and gave her a gift, the golden necklace, the toy
which Hephaestus the famed craftsman once made by his cunning
skill and brought and gave it to his father for a possession.
And Zeus received the gift, and gave it in turn to the daughter
of proud Phoenix. But when the Father of men and of gods had
mated so far off with trim-ankled Europa, then he departed back
again from the rich-haired girl. So she bare sons to the
almighty Son of Cronos, glorious leaders of wealthy men -- Minos
the ruler, and just Rhadamanthys and noble Sarpedon the blameless
and strong. To these did wise Zeus give each a share of his
honour. Verily Sarpedon reigned mightily over wide Lycia and
ruled very many cities filled with people, wielding the sceptre
of Zeus: and great honour followed him, which his father gave
him, the great-hearted shepherd of the people. For wise Zeus
ordained that he should live for three generations of mortal men
and not waste away with old age. He sent him to Troy; and
Sarpedon gathered a great host, men chosen out of Lycia to be
allies to the Trojans. These med did Sarpedon lead, skilled in
bitter war. And Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, sent him
forth from heaven a star, showing tokens for the return of his
dear son.... ....for well he (Sarpedon) knew in his heart that
the sign was indeed from Zeus. Very greatly did he excel in war
together with man-slaying Hector and brake down the wall,
bringing woes upon the Danaans. But so soon as Patroclus had
inspired the Argives with hard courage....'
Fragment #19 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xii. 292:
Zeus saw Europa the daughter of Phoenix gathering flowers in a
meadow with some nymphs and fell in love with her. So he came
down and changed himself into a bull and breathed from his mouth
a crocus (21). In this way he deceived Europa, carried her off
and crossed the sea to Crete where he had intercourse with her.
Then in this condition he made her live with Asterion the king of
the Cretans. There she conceived and bore three sons, Minos,
Sarpedon and Rhadamanthys. The tale is in Hesiod and
Fragment #20 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. ii. 178:
But according to Hesiod (Phineus) was the son of Phoenix,
Agenor's son and Cassiopea.
Fragment #21 --
Apollodorus (22), iii. 14.4.1:
But Hesiod says that he (Adonis) was the son of Phoenix and
Fragment #22 --
Porphyrius, Quaest. Hom. ad Iliad. pert. p. 189:
As it is said in Hesiod in the "Catalogue of Women" concerning
Demodoce the daughter of Agenor: `Demodoce whom very many of men
on earth, mighty princes, wooed, promising splendid gifts,
because of her exceeding beauty.'
Fragment #23 --
Apollodorus, iii. 5.6.2:
Hesiod says that (the children of Amphion and Niobe) were ten
sons and ten daughters.
Aelian (23), Var. Hist. xii. 36:
But Hesiod says they were nine boys and ten girls; -- unless
after all the verses are not Hesiod but are falsely ascribed to
him as are many others.
Fragment #24 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xxiii. 679:
And Hesiod says that when Oedipus had died at Thebes, Argea the
daughter of Adrastus came with others to the funeral of Oedipus.
Fragment #25 --
Herodian (24) in Etymologicum Magnum, p. 60, 40:
Tityos the son of Elara.
Fragment #26 -- (25)
Argument: Pindar, Ol. xiv:
Cephisus is a river in Orchomenus where also the Graces are
worshipped. Eteoclus the son of the river Cephisus first
sacrificed to them, as Hesiod says.
Scholiast on Homer, Il. ii. 522:
`which from Lilaea spouts forth its sweet flowing water....'
Strabo, ix. 424:
`....And which flows on by Panopeus and through fenced Glechon
and through Orchomenus, winding like a snake.'
Fragment #27 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. vii. 9:
For the father of Menesthius, Areithous was a Boeotian living at
Arnae; and this is in Boeotia, as also Hesiod says.
Fragment #28 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
Onchestus: a grove (26). It is situate in the country of
Haliartus and was founded by Onchestus the Boeotian, as Hesiod
Fragment #29 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
There is also a plain of Aega bordering on Cirrha, according to
Fragment #30 --
Apollodorus, ii. 1.1.5:
But Hesiod says that Pelasgus was autochthonous.
Fragment #31 --
Strabo, v. p. 221:
That this tribe (the Pelasgi) were from Arcadia, Ephorus states
on the authority of Hesiod; for he says: `Sons were born to godlike
Lycaon whom Pelasgus once begot.'
Fragment #32 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
Pallantium. A city of Arcadia, so named after Pallas, one of
Lycaon's sons, according to Hesiod.
Fragment #33 --
`Famous Meliboea bare Phellus the good spear-man.'
Fragment #34 --
Herodian, On Peculiar Diction, p. 18:
In Hesiod in the second Catalogue: `Who once hid the torch (27)
Fragment #35 --
Herodian, On Peculiar Diction, p. 42:
Hesiod in the third Catalogue writes: `And a resounding thud of
feet rose up.'
Fragment #36 --
Apollonius Dyscolus (28), On the Pronoun, p. 125:
`And a great trouble to themselves.'
Fragment #37 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 45:
Neither Homer nor Hesiod speak of Iphiclus as amongst the
Fragment #38 --
`Eratosthenes' (29), Catast. xix. p. 124:
The Ram.] -- This it was that transported Phrixus and Helle. It
was immortal and was given them by their mother Nephele, and had
a golden fleece, as Hesiod and Pherecydes say.
Fragment #39 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. ii. 181:
Hesiod in the "Great Eoiae" says that Phineus was blinded because
he revealed to Phrixus the road; but in the third "Catalogue",
because he preferred long life to sight.
Hesiod says he had two sons, Thynus and Mariandynus.
Ephorus (30) in Strabo, vii. 302:
Hesiod, in the so-called Journey round the Earth, says that
Phineus was brought by the Harpies `to the land of milk-feeders
(31) who have waggons for houses.'
Fragment #40A -- (Cp. Fr. 43 and 44)
Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1358 fr. 2 (3rd cent. A.D.): (32)
((LACUNA -- Slight remains of 7 lines))
(ll. 8-35) `(The Sons of Boreas pursued the Harpies) to the lands
of the Massagetae and of the proud Half-Dog men, of the
Underground-folk and of the feeble Pygmies; and to the tribes of
the boundless Black-skins and the Libyans. Huge Earth bare these
to Epaphus -- soothsaying people, knowing seercraft by the will
of Zeus the lord of oracles, but deceivers, to the end that men
whose thought passes their utterance (33) might be subject to the
gods and suffer harm -- Aethiopians and Libyans and mare-milking
Scythians. For verily Epaphus was the child of the almighty Son
of Cronos, and from him sprang the dark Libyans, and high-souled
Aethiopians, and the Underground-folk and feeble Pygmies. All
these are the offspring of the lord, the Loud-thunderer. Round
about all these (the Sons of Boreas) sped in darting flight....
....of the well-horsed Hyperboreans -- whom Earth the allnourishing
bare far off by the tumbling streams of deep-flowing
Eridanus.... ....of amber, feeding her wide-scattered offspring
-- and about the steep Fawn mountain and rugged Etna to the isle
Ortygia and the people sprung from Laestrygon who was the son of
wide-reigning Poseidon. Twice ranged the Sons of Boreas along
this coast and wheeled round and about yearning to catch the
Harpies, while they strove to escape and avoid them. And they
sped to the tribe of the haughty Cephallenians, the people of
patient-souled Odysseus whom in aftertime Calypso the queenly
nymph detained for Poseidon. Then they came to the land of the
lord the son of Ares.... ....they heard. Yet still (the Sons of
Boreas) ever pursued them with instant feet. So they (the
Harpies) sped over the sea and through the fruitless air...'
Fragment #40 --
Strabo, vii. p. 300:
`The Aethiopians and Ligurians and mare-milking Scythians.'
Fragment #41 --
Apollodorus, i. 9.21.6:
As they were being pursued, one of the Harpies fell into the
river Tigris, in Peloponnesus which is now called Harpys after
her. Some call this one Nicothoe, and others Aellopus. The
other who was called Ocypete, or as some say Ocythoe (though
Hesiod calls her Ocypus), fled down the Propontis and reached as
far as to the Echinades islands which are now called because of
her, Strophades (Turning Islands).
Fragment #42 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. ii. 297:
Hesiod also says that those with Zetes (34) turned and prayed to
Zeus: `There they prayed to the lord of Aenos who reigns on
Apollonius indeed says it was Iris who made Zetes and his
following turn away, but Hesiod says Hermes.
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. ii. 296:
Others say (the islands) were called Strophades, because they
turned there and prayed Zeus to seize the Harpies. But according
to Hesiod... they were not killed.
Fragment #43 --
Philodemus (35), On Piety, 10:
Nor let anyone mock at Hesiod who mentions.... or even the
Troglodytes and the Pygmies.
Fragment #44 --
Strabo, i. p. 43:
No one would accuse Hesiod of ignorance though he speaks of the
Half-dog people and the Great-Headed people and the Pygmies.
Fragment #45 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 284:
But Hesiod says they (the Argonauts) had sailed in through the
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 259:
But Hesiod (says).... they came through the Ocean to Libya, and
so, carrying the Argo, reached our sea.
Fragment #46 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iii. 311:
Apollonius, following Hesiod, says that Circe came to the island
over against Tyrrhenia on the chariot of the Sun. And he called
it Hesperian, because it lies toward the west.
Fragment #47 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 892:
He (Apollonius) followed Hesiod who thus names the island of the
Sirens: `To the island Anthemoessa (Flowery) which the son of
Cronos gave them.'
And their names are Thelxiope or Thelxinoe, Molpe and Aglaophonus
Scholiast on Homer, Od. xii. 168:
Hence Hesiod said that they charmed even the winds.
Fragment #48 --
Scholiast on Homer, Od. i. 85:
Hesiod says that Ogygia is within towards the west, but Ogylia
lies over against Crete: `...the Ogylian sea and... ...the island
Fragment #49 --
Scholiast on Homer, Od. vii. 54:
Hesiod regarded Arete as the sister of Alcinous.
Fragment #50 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Ol. x. 46:
Her Hippostratus (did wed), a scion of Ares, the splendid son of
Phyetes, of the line of Amarynces, leader of the Epeians.
Fragment #51 --
Apollodorus, i. 8.4.1:
When Althea was dead, Oeneus married Periboea, the daughter of
Hipponous. Hesiod says that she was seduced by Hippostratus the
son of Amarynces and that her father Hipponous sent her from
Olenus in Achaea to Oeneus because he was far away from Hellas,
bidding him kill her.
`She used to dwell on the cliff of Olenus by the banks of wide
Fragment #52 --
Diodorus (37) v. 81:
Macareus was a son of Crinacus the son of Zeus as Hesiod says...
and dwelt in Olenus in the country then called Ionian, but now
Fragment #53 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. ii. 21:
Concerning the Myrmidons Hesiod speaks thus: `And she conceived
and bare Aeacus, delighting in horses. Now when he came to the
full measure of desired youth, he chafed at being alone. And the
father of men and gods made all the ants that were in the lovely
isle into men and wide-girdled women. These were the first who
fitted with thwarts ships with curved sides, and the first who
used sails, the wings of a sea-going ship.'
Fragment #54 --
Polybius, v. 2:
`The sons of Aeacus who rejoiced in battle as though a feast.'
Fragment #55 --
Porphyrius, Quaest. Hom. ad Iliad. pertin. p. 93:
He has indicated the shameful deed briefly by the phrase `to lie
with her against her will', and not like Hesiod who recounts at
length the story of Peleus and the wife of Acastus.
Fragment #56 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. iv. 95:
`And this seemed to him (Acastus) in his mind the best plan; to
keep back himself, but to hide beyond guessing the beautiful
knife which the very famous Lame One had made for him, that in
seeking it alone over steep Pelion, he (Peleus) might be slain
forthwith by the mountain-bred Centaurs.'
Fragment #57 --
Voll. Herculan. (Papyri from Herculaneum), 2nd Collection, viii.
The author of the "Cypria" (38) says that Thetis avoided wedlock
with Zeus to please Hera; but that Zeus was angry and swore that
she should mate with a mortal. Hesiod also has the like account.
Fragment #58 --
Strassburg Greek Papyri 55 (2nd century A.D.):
(ll. 1-13) `Peleus the son of Aeacus, dear to the deathless
gods, came to Phthia the mother of flocks, bringing great
possessions from spacious Iolcus. And all the people envied him
in their hearts seeing how he had sacked the well-built city, and
accomplished his joyous marriage; and they all spake this word:
"Thrice, yea, four times blessed son of Aeacus, happy Peleus!
For far-seeing Olympian Zeus has given you a wife with many gifts
and the blessed gods have brought your marriage fully to pass,
and in these halls you go up to the holy bed of a daughter of
Nereus. Truly the father, the son of Cronos, made you very preeminent
among heroes and honoured above other men who eat bread
and consume the fruit of the ground."'
Fragment #59 -- (39)
Origen, Against Celsus, iv. 79:
`For in common then were the banquets, and in common the seats of
deathless gods and mortal men.'
Fragment #60 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xvi. 175:
...whereas Hesiod and the rest call her (Peleus' daughter)
Fragment #61 --
Eustathius, Hom. 112. 44 sq:
It should be observed that the ancient narrative hands down the
account that Patroclus was even a kinsman of Achilles; for Hesiod
says that Menoethius the father of Patroclus, was a brother of
Peleus, so that in that case they were first cousins.
Fragment #62 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Ol. x. 83:
Some write `Serus the son of Halirrhothius', whom Hesiod
mentions: `He (begot) Serus and Alazygus, goodly sons.' And
Serus was the son of Halirrhothius Perieres' son, and of Alcyone.
Fragment #63 --
Pausanias (40), ii. 26. 7:
This oracle most clearly proves that Asclepius was not the son of
Arsinoe, but that Hesiod or one of Hesiod's interpolators
composed the verses to please the Messenians.
Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth. iii. 14:
Some say (Asclepius) was the son of Arsinoe, others of Coronis.
But Asclepiades says that Arsinoe was the daughter of Leucippus,
Perieres' son, and that to her and Apollo Asclepius and a
daughter, Eriopis, were born: `And she bare in the palace
Asclepius, leader of men, and Eriopis with the lovely hair, being
subject in love to Phoebus.'
And of Arsinoe likewise: `And Arsinoe was joined with the son of
Zeus and Leto and bare a son Asclepius, blameless and strong.'
Fragment #67 --
Scholiast on Euripides, Orestes 249:
Steischorus says that while sacrificing to the gods Tyndareus
forgot Aphrodite and that the goddess was angry and made his
daughters twice and thrice wed and deserters of their
husbands.... And Hesiod also says:
(ll. 1-7) `And laughter-loving Aphrodite felt jealous when she
looked on them and cast them into evil report. Then Timandra
deserted Echemus and went and came to Phyleus, dear to the
deathless gods; and even so Clytaemnestra deserted god-like
Agamemnon and lay with Aegisthus and chose a worse mate; and even
so Helen dishonoured the couch of golden-haired Menelaus.'
Fragment #68 -- (42)
Berlin Papyri, No. 9739:
(ll. 1-10) `....Philoctetes sought her, a leader of spearmen,
.... most famous of all men at shooting from afar and with the
sharp spear. And he came to Tyndareus' bright city for the sake
of the Argive maid who had the beauty of golden Aphrodite, and
the sparkling eyes of the Graces; and the dark-faced daughter of
Ocean, very lovely of form, bare her when she had shared the
embraces of Zeus and the king Tyndareus in the bright palace....
(And.... sought her to wife offering as gifts)
(ll. 11-15) ....and as many women skilled in blameless arts, each
holding a golden bowl in her hands. And truly Castor and strong
Polydeuces would have made him (43) their brother perforce, but
Agamemnon, being son-in-law to Tyndareus, wooed her for his
brother Menelaus.
(ll. 16-19) And the two sons of Amphiaraus the lord, Oecleus'
son, sought her to wife from Argos very near at hand; yet....
fear of the blessed gods and the indignation of men caused them
also to fail.
(l. 20) ...but there was no deceitful dealing in the sons of
(ll. 21-27) And from Ithaca the sacred might of Odysseus, Laertes
son, who knew many-fashioned wiles, sought her to wife. He never
sent gifts for the sake of the neat-ankled maid, for he knew in
his heart that golden-haired Menelaus would win, since he was
greatest of the Achaeans in possessions and was ever sending
messages (44) to horse-taming Castor and prize-winning
(ll. 28-30) And....on's son sought her to wife (and brought)
(ll. 31-33) horse-taming Castor and prize-winning
Polydeuces, desiring to be the husband of rich-haired Helen,
though he had never seen her beauty, but because he heard the
report of others.
(ll. 34-41) And from Phylace two men of exceeding worth sought
her to wife, Podarces son of Iphiclus, Phylacus' son, and Actor's
noble son, overbearing Protesilaus. Both of them kept sending
messages to Lacedaemon, to the house of wise Tyndareus, Oebalus'
son, and they offered many bridal-gifts, for great was the girl's
renown, brazen....
(l. 42) ...(desiring) to be the husband of rich-haired Helen.
(ll. 43-49) From Athens the son of Peteous, Menestheus, sought
her to wife, and offered many bridal-gifts; for he possessed very
many stored treasures, gold and cauldrons and tripods, fine
things which lay hid in the house of the lord Peteous, and with
them his heart urged him to win his bride by giving more gifts
than any other; for he thought that no one of all the heroes
would surpass him in possessions and gifts.
(ll. 50-51) There came also by ship from Crete to the house of
the son of Oebalus strong Lycomedes for rich-haired Helen's sake.
Berlin Papyri, No. 10560:
(ll. 52-54) ...sought her to wife. And after golden-haired
Menelaus he offered the greatest gifts of all the suitors, and
very much he desired in his heart to be the husband of Argive
Helen with the rich hair.
(ll. 55-62) And from Salamis Aias, blameless warrior, sought her
to wife, and offered fitting gifts, even wonderful deeds; for he
said that he would drive together and give the shambling oxen and
strong sheep of all those who lived in Troezen and Epidaurus near
the sea, and in the island of Aegina and in Mases, sons of the
Achaeans, and shadowy Megara and frowning Corinthus, and Hermione
and Asine which lie along the sea; for he was famous with the
long spear.
(ll. 63-66) But from Euboea Elephenor, leader of men, the son of
Chalcodon, prince of the bold Abantes, sought her to wife. And
he offered very many gifts, and greatly he desired in his heart
to be the husband of rich-haired Helen.
(ll. 67-74) And from Crete the mighty Idomeneus sought her to
wife, Deucalion's son, offspring of renowned Minos. He sent no
one to woo her in his place, but came himself in his black ship
of many thwarts over the Ogylian sea across the dark wave to the
home of wise Tyndareus, to see Argive Helen and that no one else
should bring back for him the girl whose renown spread all over
the holy earth.
(l. 75) And at the prompting of Zeus the all-wise came.
((LACUNA -- Thirteen lines lost.))
(ll. 89-100) But of all who came for the maid's sake, the lord
Tyndareus sent none away, nor yet received the gift of any, but
asked of all the suitors sure oaths, and bade them swear and vow
with unmixed libations that no one else henceforth should do
aught apart from him as touching the marriage of the maid with
shapely arms; but if any man should cast off fear and reverence
and take her by force, he bade all the others together follow
after and make him pay the penalty. And they, each of them
hoping to accomplish his marriage, obeyed him without wavering.
But warlike Menelaus, the son of Atreus, prevailed against them
all together, because he gave the greatest gifts.
(ll. 100-106) But Chiron was tending the son of Peleus, swiftfooted
Achilles, pre-eminent among men, on woody Pelion; for he
was still a boy. For neither warlike Menelaus nor any other of
men on earth would have prevailed in suit for Helen, if fleet
Achilles had found her unwed. But, as it was, warlike Menelaus
won her before.
II. (45)
(ll. 1-2) And she (Helen) bare neat-ankled Hermione in the
palace, a child unlooked for.
(ll. 2-13) Now all the gods were divided through strife; for at
that very time Zeus who thunders on high was meditating
marvellous deeds, even to mingle storm and tempest over the
boundless earth, and already he was hastening to make an utter
end of the race of mortal men, declaring that he would destroy
the lives of the demi-gods, that the children of the gods should
not mate with wretched mortals, seeing their fate with their own
eyes; but that the blessed gods henceforth even as aforetime
should have their living and their habitations apart from men.
But on those who were born of immortals and of mankind verily
Zeus laid toil and sorrow upon sorrow.
((LACUNA -- Two lines missing.))
(ll. 16-30) ....nor any one of men....
....should go upon black ships.... be strongest in the might of his hands....
....of mortal men declaring to all those things that were, and
those that are, and those that shall be, he brings to pass and
glorifies the counsels of his father Zeus who drives the clouds.
For no one, either of the blessed gods or of mortal men, knew
surely that he would contrive through the sword to send to Hades
full many a one of heroes fallen in strife. But at that time he
know not as yet the intent of his father's mind, and how men
delight in protecting their children from doom. And he delighted
in the desire of his mighty father's heart who rules powerfully
over men.
(ll. 31-43) From stately trees the fair leaves fell in abundance
fluttering down to the ground, and the fruit fell to the ground
because Boreas blew very fiercely at the behest of Zeus; the deep
seethed and all things trembled at his blast: the strength of
mankind consumed away and the fruit failed in the season consumed
away and the fruit failed in the season of spring, at that time
when the Hairless One (46) in a secret place in the mountains
gets three young every three years. In spring he dwells upon the
mountain among tangled thickets and brushwood, keeping afar from
and hating the path of men, in the glens and wooded glades. But
when winter comes on, he lies in a close cave beneath the earth
and covers himself with piles of luxuriant leaves, a dread
serpent whose back is speckled with awful spots.
(ll. 44-50) But when he becomes violent and fierce unspeakably,
the arrows of Zeus lay him low.... Only his soul is left on the
holy earth, and that fits gibbering about a small unformed den.
And it comes enfeebled to sacrifices beneath the broad-pathed
and it lies....'
((LACUNA -- Traces of 37 following lines.))
Fragment #69 --
Tzetzes (47), Exeg. Iliad. 68. 19H:
Agamemnon and Menelaus likewise according to Hesiod and Aeschylus
are regarded as the sons of Pleisthenes, Atreus' son. And
according to Hesiod, Pleisthenes was a son of Atreus and Aerope,
and Agamemnon, Menelaus and Anaxibia were the children of
Pleisthenes and Cleolla the daughter of Dias.
Fragment #70 --
Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles' Electra, 539:
`And she (Helen) bare to Menelaus, famous with the spear,
Hermione and her youngest-born, Nicostratus, a scion of Ares.'
Fragment #71 --
Pausanias, i. 43. 1:
I know that Hesiod in the "Catalogue of Women" represented that
Iphigeneia was not killed but, by the will of Artemis, became
Hecate (48).
Fragment #72 --
Eustathius, Hom. 13. 44. sq:
Butes, it is said, was a son of Poseidon: so Hesiod in the
Fragment #73 --
Pausanias, ii. 6. 5:
Hesiod represented Sicyon as the son of Erechtheus.
Fragment #74 --
Plato, Minos, p. 320. D:
`(Minos) who was most kingly of mortal kings and reigned over
very many people dwelling round about, holding the sceptre of
Zeus wherewith he ruled many.'
Fragment #75 --
Hesychius (49):
The athletic contest in memory of Eurygyes Melesagorus says that
Androgeos the son of Minos was called Eurygyes, and that a
contest in his honour is held near his tomb at Athens in the
Ceramicus. And Hesiod writes: `And Eurygyes (50), while yet a
lad in holy Athens...'
Fragment #76 --
Plutarch, Theseus 20:
There are many tales.... about Ariadne...., how that she was
deserted by Theseua for love of another woman: `For strong love
for Aegle the daughter of Panopeus overpowered him.' For Hereas
of Megara says that Peisistratus removed this verse from the
works of Hesiod.
Athenaeus (51), xiii. 557 A:
But Hesiod says that Theseus wedded both Hippe and Aegle
Fragment #77 --
Strabo, ix. p. 393:
The snake of Cychreus: Hesiod says that it was brought up by
Cychreus, and was driven out by Eurylochus as defiling the
island, but that Demeter received it into Eleusis, and that it
became her attendant.
Fragment #78 --
Argument I. to the Shield of Heracles:
But Apollonius of Rhodes says that it (the "Shield of Heracles")
is Hesiod's both from the general character of the work and from
the fact that in the "Catalogue" we again find Iolaus as
charioteer of Heracles.
Fragment #79 --
Scholiast on Soph. Trach., 266:
(ll. 1-6) `And fair-girdled Stratonica conceived and bare in the
palace Eurytus her well-loved son. Of him sprang sons, Didaeon
and Clytius and god-like Toxeus and Iphitus, a scion of Ares.
And after these Antiope the queen, daughter of the aged son of
Nauboius, bare her youngest child, golden-haired Iolea.'
Fragment #80 --
Herodian in Etymologicum Magnum:
`Who bare Autolyeus and Philammon, famous in speech.... All
things that he (Autolyeus) took in his hands, he made to
Fragment #81 --
Apollonius, Hom. Lexicon:
`Aepytus again, begot Tlesenor and Peirithous.'
Fragment #82 --
Strabo, vii. p. 322:
`For Locrus truly was leader of the Lelegian people, whom Zeus
the Son of Cronos, whose wisdom is unfailing, gave to Deucalion,
stones gathered out of the earth. So out of stones mortal men
were made, and they were called people.' (52)
Fragment #83 --
Tzetzes, Schol. in Exeg. Iliad. 126:
`...Ileus whom the lord Apollo, son of Zeus, loved. And he named
him by his name, because he found a nymph complaisant (53) and
was joined with her in sweet love, on that day when Poseidon and
Apollo raised high the wall of the well-built city.'
Fragment #84 --
Scholiast on Homer, Od. xi. 326:
Clymene the daughter of Minyas the son of Poseidon and of
Euryanassa, Hyperphas' daughter, was wedded to Phylacus the son
of Deion, and bare Iphiclus, a boy fleet of foot. It is said of
him that through his power of running he could race the winds and
could move along upon the ears of corn (54).... The tale is in
Hesiod: `He would run over the fruit of the asphodel and not
break it; nay, he would run with his feet upon wheaten ears and
not hurt the fruit.'
Fragment #85 --
Choeroboscus (55), i. 123, 22H:
`And she bare a son Thoas.'
Fragment #86 --
Eustathius, Hom. 1623. 44:
Maro (56), whose father, it is said, Hesiod relates to have been
Euanthes the son of Oenopion, the son of Dionysus.
Fragment #87 --
Athenaeus, x. 428 B, C:
`Such gifts as Dionysus gave to men, a joy and a sorrow both.
Who ever drinks to fullness, in him wine becomes violent and
binds together his hands and feet, his tongue also and his wits
with fetters unspeakable: and soft sleep embraces him.'
Fragment #88 --
Strabo, ix. p. 442:
`Or like her (Coronis) who lived by the holy Twin Hills in the
plain of Dotium over against Amyrus rich in grapes, and washed
her feet in the Boebian lake, a maid unwed.'
Fragment #89 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth. iii. 48:
`To him, then, there came a messenger from the sacred feast to
goodly Pytho, a crow (57), and he told unshorn Phoebus of secret
deeds, that Ischys son of Elatus had wedded Coronis the daughter
of Phlegyas of birth divine.
Fragment #90 --
Athenagoras (58), Petition for the Christians, 29:
Concerning Asclepius Hesiod says: `And the father of men and gods
was wrath, and from Olympus he smote the son of Leto with a lurid
thunderbolt and killed him, arousing the anger of Phoebus.'
Fragment #91 --
Philodemus, On Piety, 34:
But Hesiod (says that Apollo) would have been cast by Zeus into
Tartarus (59); but Leto interceded for him, and he became bondman
to a mortal.
Fragment #92 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth. ix. 6:
`Or like her, beautiful Cyrene, who dwelt in Phthia by the water
of Peneus and had the beauty of the Graces.'
Fragment #93 --
Servius on Vergil, Georg. i. 14:
He invoked Aristaeus, that is, the son of Apollo and Cyrene, whom
Hesiod calls `the shepherd Apollo.' (60)
Fragment #94 --
Scholiast on Vergil, Georg. iv. 361:
`But the water stood all round him, bowed into the semblance of a
mountain.' This verse he has taken over from Hesiod's "Catalogue
of Women".
Fragment #95 --
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad ii. 469:
`Or like her (Antiope) whom Boeotian Hyria nurtured as a maid.'
Fragment #96 --
Palaephatus (61), c. 42:
Of Zethus and Amphion. Hesiod and some others relate that they
built the walls of Thebes by playing on the lyre.
Fragment #97 --
Scholiast on Soph. Trach., 1167:
(ll. 1-11) `There is a land Ellopia with much glebe and rich
meadows, and rich in flocks and shambling kine. There dwell men
who have many sheep and many oxen, and they are in number past
telling, tribes of mortal men. And there upon its border is
built a city, Dodona (62); and Zeus loved it and (appointed) it
to be his oracle, reverenced by men.... ....And they (the doves)
lived in the hollow of an oak. From them men of earth carry away
all kinds of prophecy, -- whosoever fares to that spot and
questions the deathless god, and comes bringing gifts with good
Fragment #98 --
Berlin Papyri, No. 9777: (63)
(ll. 1-22) `....strife.... Of mortals who would have dared to
fight him with the spear and charge against him, save only
Heracles, the great-hearted offspring of Alcaeus? Such an one
was (?) strong Meleager loved of Ares, the golden-haired, dear
son of Oeneus and Althaea. From his fierce eyes there shone
forth portentous fire: and once in high Calydon he slew the
destroying beast, the fierce wild boar with gleaming tusks. In
war and in dread strife no man of the heroes dared to face him
and to approach and fight with him when he appeared in the
forefront. But he was slain by the hands and arrows of Apollo
(64), while he was fighting with the Curetes for pleasant
Calydon. And these others (Althaea) bare to Oeneus, Porthaon's
son; horse-taming Pheres, and Agelaus surpassing all others,
Toxeus and Clymenus and godlike Periphas, and rich-haired Gorga
and wise Deianeira, who was subject in love to mighty Heracles
and bare him Hyllus and Glenus and Ctesippus and Odites. These
she bare and in ignorance she did a fearful thing: when (she had
the poisoned robe that held black doom....'
Fragment #99A --
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad. xxiii. 679:
And yet Hesiod says that after he had died in Thebes, Argeia the
daughter of Adrastus together with others (cp. frag. 99) came to
the lamentation over Oedipus.
Fragment #99 -- (65)
Papyri greci e latine, No. 131 (2nd-3rd century): (66)
(ll. 1-10) `And (Eriphyle) bare in the palace Alcmaon (67),
shepherd of the people, to Amphiaraus. Him (Amphiaraus) did the
Cadmean (Theban) women with trailing robes admire when they saw
face to face his eyes and well-grown frame, as he was busied
about the burying of Oedipus, the man of many woes. ....Once the
Danai, servants of Ares, followed him to Thebes, to win
renown.... ....for Polynices. But, though well he knew from Zeus
all things ordained, the earth yawned and swallowed him up with
his horses and jointed chariot, far from deep-eddying Alpheus.
(ll. 11-20) But Electyron married the all-beauteous daughter of
Pelops and, going up into one bed with her, the son of Perses
begat.... ....and Phylonomus and Celaeneus and Amphimachus
and.... ....and Eurybius and famous.... All these the Taphians,
famous shipmen, slew in fight for oxen with shambling hoofs,.... ships across the sea's wide back. So Alcmena alone was
left to delight her parents.... ....and the daughter of
(l. 21) ....who was subject in love to the dark-clouded son of
Cronos and bare (famous Heracles).'
Fragment #100 --
Argument to the Shield of Heracles, i:
The beginning of the "Shield" as far as the 56th verse is current
in the fourth "Catalogue".
Fragment #101 (UNCERTAIN POSITION) --
Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1359 fr. 1 (early 3rd cent. A.D.):
((LACUNA -- Slight remains of 3 lines))
(ll. 4-17) `...if indeed he (Teuthras) delayed, and if he feared
to obey the word of the immortals who then appeared plainly to
them. But her (Auge) he received and brought up well, and
cherished in the palace, honouring her even as his own daughters.
And Auge bare Telephus of the stock of Areas, king of the
Mysians, being joined in love with the mighty Heracles when he
was journeying in quest of the horses of proud Laomedon -- horses
the fleetest of foot that the Asian land nourished, -- and
destroyed in battle the tribe of the dauntless Amazons and drove
them forth from all that land. But Telephus routed the spearmen
of the bronze-clad Achaeans and made them embark upon their black
ships. Yet when he had brought down many to the ground which
nourishes men, his own might and deadliness were brought low....'
Fragment #102 (UNCERTAIN POSITION) --
Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1359 fr. 2 (early 3rd cent. A.D.):
((LACUNA -- Remains of 4 lines))
(ll. 5-16) `....Electra....
was subject to the dark-clouded Son of Cronos and bare
and Eetion....
who once greatly loved rich-haired Demeter. And cloud-gathering
Zeus was wroth and smote him, Eetion, and laid him low with a
flaming thunderbolt, because he sought to lay hands upon richhaired
Demeter. But Dardanus came to the coast of the mainland
-- from him Erichthonius and thereafter Tros were sprung, and
Ilus, and Assaracus, and godlike Ganymede, -- when he had left
holy Samothrace in his many-benched ship.
Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1359 fr. 3 (early 3rd cent. A.D.):
(ll. 17-24) (68) ....Cleopatra
....the daughter of....
....But an eagle caught up Ganymede for Zeus because he vied with
the immortals in beauty.... Diomede; and she
bare Hyacinthus, the blameless one and strong.... ....whom, on a
time Phoebus himself slew unwittingly with a ruthless disk....
(1) A catalogue of heroines each of whom was introduced with the
words E OIE, `Or like her'.
(2) An antiquarian writer of Byzantium, c. 490-570 A.D.
(3) Constantine VII. `Born in the Porphyry Chamber', 905-959
(4) "Berlin Papyri", 7497 (left-hand fragment) and "Oxyrhynchus
Papyri", 421 (right-hand fragment). For the restoration see
"Class. Quart." vii. 217-8.
(5) As the price to be given to her father for her: so in
"Iliad" xviii. 593 maidens are called `earners of oxen'.
Possibly Glaucus, like Aias (fr. 68, ll. 55 ff.), raided the
cattle of others.
(6) i.e. Glaucus should father the children of others. The
curse of Aphrodite on the daughters of Tyndareus (fr. 67)
may be compared.
(7) Porphyry, scholar, mathematician, philosopher and historian,
lived 233-305 (?) A.D. He was a pupil of the neo-Platonist
(8) Author of a geographical lexicon, produced after 400 A.D.,
and abridged under Justinian.
(9) Archbishop of Thessalonica 1175-1192 (?) A.D., author of
commentaries on Pindar and on the "Iliad" and "Odyssey".
(10) In the earliest times a loin-cloth was worn by athletes, but
was discarded after the 14th Olympiad.
(11) Slight remains of five lines precede line 1 in the original:
after line 20 an unknown number of lines have been lost, and
traces of a verse preceding line 21 are here omitted.
Between lines 29 and 30 are fragments of six verses which do
not suggest any definite restoration. (NOTE: Line
enumeration is that according to Evelyn-White; a slightly
different line numbering system is adopted in the original
publication of this fragment. -- DBK)
(12) The end of Schoeneus' speech, the preparations and the
beginning of the race are lost.
(13) Of the three which Aphrodite gave him to enable him to
overcome Atalanta.
(14) The geographer; fl. c.24 B.C.
(15) Of Miletus, flourished about 520 B.C. His work, a mixture
of history and geography, was used by Herodotus.
(16) The Hesiodic story of the daughters of Proetus can be
reconstructed from these sources. They were sought in
marriage by all the Greeks (Pauhellenes), but having
offended Dionysus (or, according to Servius, Juno), were
afflicted with a disease which destroyed their beauty (or
were turned into cows). They were finally healed by
(17) Fl. 56-88 A.D.: he is best known for his work on Vergil.
(18) This and the following fragment segment are meant to be
read together. -- DBK.
(19) This fragment as well as fragments #40A, #101, and #102 were
added by Mr. Evelyn-White in an appendix to the second
edition (1919). They are here moved to the "Catalogues"
proper for easier use by the reader. -- DBK.
(20) For the restoration of ll. 1-16 see "Ox. Pap." pt. xi. pp.
46-7: the supplements of ll. 17-31 are by the Translator
(cp. "Class. Quart." x. (1916), pp. 65-67).
(21) The crocus was to attract Europa, as in the very similar
story of Persephone: cp. "Homeric Hymns" ii. lines 8 ff.
(22) Apollodorus of Athens (fl. 144 B.C.) was a pupil of
Aristarchus. He wrote a Handbook of Mythology, from which
the extant work bearing his name is derived.
(23) Priest at Praeneste. He lived c. 170-230 A.D.
(24) Son of Apollonius Dyscolus, lived in Rome under Marcus
Aurelius. His chief work was on accentuation.
(25) This and the next two fragment segments are meant to be
read together. -- DBK.
(26) Sacred to Poseidon. For the custom observed there, cp.
"Homeric Hymns" iii. 231 ff.
(27) The allusion is obscure.
(28) Apollonius `the Crabbed' was a grammarian of Alexandria
under Hadrian. He wrote largely on Grammar and Syntax.
(29) 275-195 (?) B.C., mathematician, astronomer, scholar, and
head of the Library of Alexandria.
(30) Of Cyme. He wrote a universal history covering the period
between the Dorian Migration and 340 B.C.
(31) i.e. the nomad Scythians, who are described by Herodotus as
feeding on mares' milk and living in caravans.
(32) The restorations are mainly those adopted or suggested in
"Ox. Pap." pt. xi. pp. 48 ff.: for those of ll. 8-14 see
"Class. Quart." x. (1916) pp. 67-69.
(33) i.e. those who seek to outwit the oracle, or to ask of it
more than they ought, will be deceived by it and be led to
ruin: cp. "Hymn to Hermes", 541 ff.
(34) Zetes and Calais, sons of Boreas, who were amongst the
Argonauts, delivered Phineus from the Harpies. The
Strophades (`Islands of Turning') are here supposed to have
been so called because the sons of Boreas were there turned
back by Iris from pursuing the Harpies.
(35) An Epicurean philosopher, fl. 50 B.C.
(36) `Charming-with-her-voice' (or `Charming-the-mind'), `Song',
and `Lovely-sounding'.
(37) Diodorus Siculus, fl. 8 B.C., author of an universal history
ending with Caesar's Gallic Wars.
(38) The first epic in the "Trojan Cycle"; like all ancient epics
it was ascribed to Homer, but also, with more probability,
to Stasinus of Cyprus.
(39) This fragment is placed by Spohn after "Works and Days" l.
(40) A Greek of Asia Minor, author of the "Description of Greece"
(on which he was still engaged in 173 A.D.).
(41) Wilamowitz thinks one or other of these citations belongs to
the Catalogue.
(42) Lines 1-51 are from Berlin Papyri, 9739; lines 52-106 with
B. 1-50 (and following fragments) are from Berlin Papyri,
10560. A reference by Pausanias (iii. 24. 10) to ll. 100
ff. proves that the two fragments together come from the
"Catalogue of Women". The second book (the beginning of
which is indicated after l. 106) can hardly be the second
book of the "Catalogues" proper: possibly it should be
assigned to the EOIAI, which were sometimes treated as part
of the "Catalogues", and sometimes separated from it. The
remains of thirty-seven lines following B. 50 in the Papyrus
are too slight to admit of restoration.
(43) sc. the Suitor whose name is lost.
(44) Wooing was by proxy; so Agamemnon wooed Helen for his
brother Menelaus (ll. 14-15), and Idomeneus, who came in
person and sent no deputy, is specially mentioned as an
exception, and the reasons for this -- if the restoration
printed in the text be right -- is stated (ll. 69 ff.).
(45) The Papyrus here marks the beginning of a second book ("B"),
possibly of the EOIAE. The passage (ll. 2-50) probably led
up to an account of the Trojan (and Theban?) war, in which,
according to "Works and Days" ll. 161-166, the Race of
Heroes perished. The opening of the "Cypria" is somewhat
similar. Somewhere in the fragmentary lines 13-19 a son of
Zeus -- almost certainly Apollo -- was introduced, though
for what purpose is not clear. With l. 31 the destruction
of man (cp. ll. 4-5) by storms which spoil his crops begins:
the remaining verses are parenthetical, describing the snake
`which bears its young in the spring season'.
(46) i.e. the snake; as in "Works and Days" l. 524, the "Boneless
One" is the cuttle-fish.
(47) c. 1110-1180 A.D. His chief work was a poem, "Chiliades",
in accentual verse of nearly 13,000 lines.
(48) According to this account Iphigeneia was carried by Artemis
to the Taurie Chersonnese (the Crimea). The Tauri
(Herodotus iv. 103) identified their maiden-goddess with
Iphigeneia; but Euripides ("Iphigeneia in Tauris") makes her
merely priestess of the goddess.
(49) Of Alexandria. He lived in the 5th century, and compiled a
Greek Lexicon.
(50) For his murder Minos exacted a yearly tribute of boys and
girls, to be devoured by the Minotaur, from the Athenians.
(51) Of Naucratis. His "Deipnosophistae" ("Dons at Dinner") is
an encyclopaedia of miscellaneous topics in the form of a
dialogue. His date is c. 230 A.D.
(52) There is a fancied connection between LAAS (`stone') and
LAOS (`people'). The reference is to the stones which
Deucalion and Pyrrha transformed into men and women after
the Flood.
(53) Eustathius identifies Ileus with Oileus, father of Aias.
Here again is fanciful etymology, ILEUS being similar to
ILEOS (complaisant, gracious).
(54) Imitated by Vergil, "Aeneid" vii. 808, describing Camilla.
(55) c. 600 A.D., a lecturer and grammarian of Constantinople.
(56) Priest of Apollo, and, according to Homer, discoverer of
wine. Maronea in Thrace is said to have been called after
(57) The crow was originally white, but was turned black by
Apollo in his anger at the news brought by the bird.
(58) A philosopher of Athens under Hadrian and Antonius. He
became a Christian and wrote a defence of the Christians
addressed to Antoninus Pius.
(59) Zeus slew Asclepus (fr. 90) because of his success as a
healer, and Apollo in revenge killed the Cyclopes (fr. 64).
In punishment Apollo was forced to serve Admetus as
herdsman. (Cp. Euripides, "Alcestis", 1-8)
(60) For Cyrene and Aristaeus, cp. Vergil, "Georgics", iv. 315
(61) A writer on mythology of uncertain date.
(62) In Epirus. The oracle was first consulted by Deucalion and
Pyrrha after the Flood. Later writers say that the god
responded in the rustling of leaves in the oaks for which
the place was famous.
(63) The fragment is part of a leaf from a papyrus book of the
4th century A.D.
(64) According to Homer and later writers Meleager wasted away
when his mother Althea burned the brand on which his life
depended, because he had slain her brothers in the dispute
for the hide of the Calydonian boar. (Cp. Bacchylides,
"Ode" v. 136 ff.)
(65) The fragment probably belongs to the "Catalogues" proper
rather than to the Eoiae; but, as its position is uncertain,
it may conveniently be associated with Frags. 99A and the
"Shield of Heracles".
(66) Most of the smaller restorations appear in the original
publication, but the larger are new: these last are highly
conjectual, there being no definite clue to the general
(67) Alcmaon (who took part in the second of the two heroic
Theban expeditions) is perhaps mentioned only incidentally
as the son of Amphiaraus, who seems to be clearly indicated
in ll. 7-8, and whose story occupies ll. 5-10. At l. 11 the
subject changes and Electryon is introduced as father of
(68) The association of ll. 1-16 with ll. 17-24 is presumed from
the apparent mention of Erichthonius in l. 19. A new
section must then begin at l. 21. See "Ox. Pap." pt. xi. p.
55 (and for restoration of ll. 5-16, ib. p. 53). ll. 19-20
are restored by the Translator.
(ll. 1-27) Or like here who left home and country and came to
Thebes, following warlike Amphitryon, -- even Alemena, the
daughter of Electyron, gatherer of the people. She surpassed the
tribe of womankind in beauty and in height; and in wisdom none
vied with her of those whom mortal women bare of union with
mortal men. Her face and her dark eyes wafted such charm as
comes from golden Aphrodite. And she so honoured her husband in
her heart as none of womankind did before her. Verily he had
slain her noble father violently when he was angry about oxen; so
he left his own country and came to Thebes and was suppliant to
the shield-carrying men of Cadmus. There he dwelt with his
modest wife without the joys of love, nor might he go in unto the
neat-ankled daughter of Electyron until he had avenged the death
of his wife's great-hearted brothers and utterly burned with
blazing fire the villages of the heroes, the Taphians and
Teleboans; for this thing was laid upon him, and the gods were
witnesses to it. And he feared their anger, and hastened to
perform the great task to which Zeus had bound him. With him
went the horse-driving Boeotians, breathing above their shields,
and the Locrians who fight hand to hand, and the gallant Phocians
eager for war and battle. And the noble son of Alcaeus led them,
rejoicing in his host.
(ll. 27-55) But the father of men and gods was forming another
scheme in his heart, to beget one to defend against destruction
gods and men who eat bread. So he arose from Olympus by night
pondering guile in the deep of his heart, and yearned for the
love of the well-girded woman. Quickly he came to Typhaonium,
and from there again wise Zeus went on and trod the highest peak
of Phicium (1): there he sat and planned marvellous things in his
heart. So in one night Zeus shared the bed and love of the neatankled
daughter of Electyron and fulfilled his desire; and in the
same night Amphitryon, gatherer of the people, the glorious hero,
came to his house when he had ended his great task. He hastened
not to go to his bondmen and shepherds afield, but first went in
unto his wife: such desire took hold on the shepherd of the
people. And as a man who has escaped joyfully from misery,
whether of sore disease or cruel bondage, so then did Amphitryon,
when he had wound up all his heavy task, come glad and welcome to
his home. And all night long he lay with his modest wife,
delighting in the gifts of golden Aphrodite. And she, being
subject in love to a god and to a man exceeding goodly, brought
forth twin sons in seven-gated Thebe. Though they were brothers,
these were not of one spirit; for one was weaker but the other a
far better man, one terrible and strong, the mighty Heracles.
Him she bare through the embrace of the son of Cronos lord of
dark clouds and the other, Iphicles, of Amphitryon the spearwielder
-- offspring distinct, this one of union with a mortal
man, but that other of union with Zeus, leader of all the gods.
(ll. 57-77) And he slew Cycnus, the gallant son of Ares. For he
found him in the close of far-shooting Apollo, him and his father
Ares, never sated with war. Their armour shone like a flame of
blazing fire as they two stood in their car: their swift horses
struck the earth and pawed it with their hoofs, and the dust rose
like smoke about them, pounded by the chariot wheels and the
horses' hoofs, while the well-made chariot and its rails rattled
around them as the horses plunged. And blameless Cycnus was
glad, for he looked to slay the warlike son of Zeus and his
charioteer with the sword, and to strip off their splendid
armour. But Phoebus Apollo would not listen to his vaunts, for
he himself had stirred up mighty Heracles against him. And all
the grove and altar of Pagasaean Apollo flamed because of the
dread god and because of his arms; for his eyes flashed as with
fire. What mortal men would have dared to meet him face to face
save Heracles and glorious Iolaus? For great was their strength
and unconquerable were the arms which grew from their shoulders
on their strong limbs. Then Heracles spake to his charioteer
strong Iolaus:
(ll. 78-94) `O hero Iolaus, best beloved of all men, truly
Amphitryon sinned deeply against the blessed gods who dwell on
Olympus when he came to sweet-crowned Thebe and left Tiryns, the
well-built citadel, because he slew Electryon for the sake of his
wide-browned oxen. Then he came to Creon and long-robed Eniocha,
who received him kindly and gave him all fitting things, as is
due to suppliants, and honoured him in their hearts even more.
And he lived joyfully with his wife the neat-ankled daughter of
Electyron: and presently, while the years rolled on, we were
born, unlike in body as in mind, even your father and I. From
him Zeus took away sense, so that he left his home and his
parents and went to do honour to the wicked Eurystheus -- unhappy
man! Deeply indeed did he grieve afterwards in bearing the
burden of his own mad folly; but that cannot be taken back. But
on me fate laid heavy tasks.
(ll. 95-101) `Yet, come, friend, quickly take the red-dyed reins
of the swift horses and raise high courage in your heart and
guide the swift chariot and strong fleet-footed horses straight
on. Have no secret fear at the noise of man-slaying Ares who now
rages shouting about the holy grove of Phoebus Apollo, the lord
who shoots form afar. Surely, strong though he be, he shall have
enough of war.'
(ll. 102-114) And blameless Iolaus answered him again: `Good
friend, truly the father of men and gods greatly honours your
head and the bull-like Earth-Shaker also, who keeps Thebe's veil
of walls and guards the city, -- so great and strong is this
fellow they bring into your hands that you may win great glory.
But come, put on your arms of war that with all speed we may
bring the car of Ares and our own together and fight; for he
shall not frighten the dauntless son of Zeus, nor yet the son of
Iphiclus: rather, I think he will flee before the two sons of
blameless Alcides who are near him and eager to raise the war cry
for battle; for this they love better than a feast.'
(ll. 115-117) So he said. And mighty Heracles was glad in heart
and smiled, for the other's words pleased him well, and he
answered him with winged words:
(ll. 118-121) `O hero Iolaus, heaven-sprung, now is rough battle
hard at hand. But, as you have shown your skill at other-times,
so now also wheel the great black-maned horse Arion about every
way, and help me as you may be able.'
(ll. 122-138) So he said, and put upon his legs greaves of
shining bronze, the splendid gift of Hephaestus. Next he
fastened about his breast a fine golden breast-plate, curiously
wrought, which Pallas Athene the daughter of Zeus had given him
when first he was about to set out upon his grievous labours.
Over his shoulders the fierce warrior put the steel that saves
men from doom, and across his breast he slung behind him a hollow
quiver. Within it were many chilling arrows, dealers of death
which makes speech forgotten: in front they had death, and
trickled with tears; their shafts were smooth and very long; and
their butts were covered with feathers of a brown eagle. And he
took his strong spear, pointed with shining bronze, and on his
valiant head set a well-made helm of adamant, cunningly wrought,
which fitted closely on the temples; and that guarded the head of
god-like Heracles.
(ll. 139-153) In his hands he took his shield, all glittering: no
one ever broke it with a blow or crushed it. And a wonder it was
to see; for its whole orb was a-shimmer with enamel and white
ivory and electrum, and it glowed with shining gold; and there
were zones of cyanus (2) drawn upon it. In the centre was Fear
worked in adamant, unspeakable, staring backwards with eyes that
glowed with fire. His mouth was full of teeth in a white row,
fearful and daunting, and upon his grim brow hovered frightful
Strife who arrays the throng of men: pitiless she, for she took
away the mind and senses of poor wretches who made war against
the son of Zeus. Their souls passed beneath the earth and went
down into the house of Hades; but their bones, when the skin is
rotted about them, crumble away on the dark earth under parching
(ll. 154-160) Upon the shield Pursuit and Flight were wrought,
and Tumult, and Panic, and Slaughter. Strife also, and Uproar
were hurrying about, and deadly Fate was there holding one man
newly wounded, and another unwounded; and one, who was dead, she
was dragging by the feet through the tumult. She had on her
shoulders a garment red with the blood of men, and terribly she
glared and gnashed her teeth.
(ll. 160-167) And there were heads of snakes unspeakably
frightful, twelve of them; and they used to frighten the tribes
of men on earth whosoever made war against the son of Zeus; for
they would clash their teeth when Amphitryon's son was fighting:
and brightly shone these wonderful works. And it was as though
there were spots upon the frightful snakes: and their backs were
dark blue and their jaws were black.
(ll. 168-177) Also there were upon the shield droves of boars and
lions who glared at each other, being furious and eager: the rows
of them moved on together, and neither side trembled but both
bristled up their manes. For already a great lion lay between
them and two boars, one on either side, bereft of life, and their
dark blood was dripping down upon the ground; they lay dead with
necks outstretched beneath the grim lions. And both sides were
roused still more to fight because they were angry, the fierce
boars and the bright-eyed lions.
(ll. 178-190) And there was the strife of the Lapith spearmen
gathered round the prince Caeneus and Dryas and Peirithous, with
Hopleus, Exadius, Phalereus, and Prolochus, Mopsus the son of
Ampyce of Titaresia, a scion of Ares, and Theseus, the son of
Aegeus, like unto the deathless gods. These were of silver, and
had armour of gold upon their bodies. And the Centaurs were
gathered against them on the other side with Petraeus and Asbolus
the diviner, Arctus, and Ureus, and black-haired Mimas, and the
two sons of silver, and they had pinetrees of gold in their
hands, and they were rushing together as though they were alive
and striking at one another hand to hand with spears and with
(ll. 191-196) And on the shield stood the fleet-footed horses of
grim Ares made gold, and deadly Ares the spoil-winner himself.
He held a spear in his hands and was urging on the footmen: he
was red with blood as if he were slaying living men, and he stood
in his chariot. Beside him stood Fear and Flight, eager to
plunge amidst the fighting men.
(ll. 197-200) There, too, was the daughter of Zeus, Tritogeneia
who drives the spoil (3). She was like as if she would array a
battle, with a spear in her hand, and a golden helmet, and the
aegis about her shoulders. And she was going towards the awful
(ll. 201-206) And there was the holy company of the deathless
gods: and in the midst the son of Zeus and Leto played sweetly on
a golden lyre. There also was the abode of the gods, pure
Olympus, and their assembly, and infinite riches were spread
around in the gathering, the Muses of Pieria were beginning a
song like clear-voiced singers.
(ll. 207-215) And on the shield was a harbour with a safe haven
from the irresistible sea, made of refined tin wrought in a
circle, and it seemed to heave with waves. In the middle of it
were many dolphins rushing this way and that, fishing: and they
seemed to be swimming. Two dolphins of silver were spouting and
devouring the mute fishes. And beneath them fishes or bronze
were trembling. And on the shore sat a fisherman watching: in
his hands he held a casting net for fish, and seemed as if about
to cast it forth.
(ll. 216-237) There, too, was the son of rich-haired Danae, the
horseman Perseus: his feet did not touch the shield and yet were
not far from it -- very marvellous to remark, since he was not
supported anywhere; for so did the famous Lame One fashion him of
gold with his hands. On his feet he had winged sandals, and his
black-sheathed sword was slung across his shoulders by a crossbelt
of bronze. He was flying swift as thought. The head of a
dreadful monster, the Gorgon, covered the broad of his back, and
a bag of silver -- a marvel to see -- contained it: and from the
bag bright tassels of gold hung down. Upon the head of the hero
lay the dread cap (4) of Hades which had the awful gloom of
night. Perseus himself, the son of Danae, was at full stretch,
like one who hurries and shudders with horror. And after him
rushed the Gorgons, unapproachable and unspeakable, longing to
seize him: as they trod upon the pale adamant, the shield rang
sharp and clear with a loud clanging. Two serpents hung down at
their girdles with heads curved forward: their tongues were
flickering, and their teeth gnashing with fury, and their eyes
glaring fiercely. And upon the awful heads of the Gorgons great
Fear was quaking.
(ll. 237-270) And beyond these there were men fighting in warlike
harness, some defending their own town and parents from
destruction, and others eager to sack it; many lay dead, but the
greater number still strove and fought. The women on well-built
towers of bronze were crying shrilly and tearing their cheeks
like living beings -- the work of famous Hephaestus. And the men
who were elders and on whom age had laid hold were all together
outside the gates, and were holding up their hands to the blessed
gods, fearing for their own sons. But these again were engaged
ib battle: and behind them the dusky Fates, gnashing their white
fangs, lowering, grim, bloody, and unapproachable, struggled for
those who were falling, for they all were longing to drink dark
blood. So soon as they caught a man overthrown or falling newly
wounded, one of them would clasp her great claws about him, and
his soul would go down to Hades to chilly Tartarus. And when
they had satisfied their souls with human blood, they would cast
that one behind them, and rush back again into the tumult and the
fray. Clotho and Lachesis were over them and Atropos less tall
than they, a goddess of no great frame, yet superior to the
others and the eldest of them. And they all made a fierce fight
over one poor wretch, glaring evilly at one another with furious
eyes and fighting equally with claws and hands. By them stood
Darkness of Death, mournful and fearful, pale, shrivelled, shrunk
with hunger, swollen-kneed. Long nails tipped her hands, and she
dribbled at the nose, and from her cheeks blood dripped down to
the ground. She stood leering hideously, and much dust sodden
with tears lay upon her shoulders.
(ll. 270-285) Next, there was a city of men with goodly towers;
and seven gates of gold, fitted to the lintels, guarded it. The
men were making merry with festivities and dances; some were
bringing home a bride to her husband on a well-wheeled car, while
the bridal-song swelled high, and the glow of blazing torches
held by handmaidens rolled in waves afar. And these maidens went
before, delighting in the festival; and after them came
frolicsome choirs, the youths singing soft-mouthed to the sound
of shrill pipes, while the echo was shivered around them, and the
girls led on the lovely dance to the sound of lyres. Then again
on the other side was a rout of young men revelling, with flutes
playing; some frolicking with dance and song, and others were
going forward in time with a flute player and laughing. The
whole town was filled with mirth and dance and festivity.
(ll. 285-304) Others again were mounted on horseback and
galloping before the town. And there were ploughmen breaking up
the good soul, clothed in tunics girt up. Also there was a wide
cornland and some men were reaping with sharp hooks the stalks
which bended with the weight of the cars -- as if they were
reaping Demeter's grain: others were binding the sheaves with
bands and were spreading the threshing floor. And some held
reaping hooks and were gathering the vintage, while others were
taking from the reapers into baskets white and black clusters
from the long rows of vines which were heavy with leaves and
tendrils of silver. Others again were gathering them into
baskets. Beside them was a row of vines in gold, the splendid
work of cunning Hephaestus: it had shivering leaves and stakes of
silver and was laden with grapes which turned black (5). And
there were men treading out the grapes and others drawing off
liquor. Also there were men boxing and wrestling, and huntsmen
chasing swift hares with a leash of sharp-toothed dogs before
them, they eager to catch the hares, and the hares eager to
(ll 305-313) Next to them were horsemen hard set, and they
contended and laboured for a prize. The charioteers standing on
their well-woven cars, urged on their swift horses with loose
rein; the jointed cars flew along clattering and the naves of the
wheels shrieked loudly. So they were engaged in an unending
toil, and the end with victory came never to them, and the
contest was ever unwon. And there was set out for them within
the course a great tripod of gold, the splendid work of cunning
(ll. 314-317) And round the rim Ocean was flowing, with a full
stream as it seemed, and enclosed all the cunning work of the
shield. Over it swans were soaring and calling loudly, and many
others were swimming upon the surface of the water; and near them
were shoals of fish.
(ll. 318-326) A wonderful thing the great strong shield was to
see -- even for Zeus the loud-thunderer, by whose will Hephaestus
made it and fitted it with his hands. This shield the valiant
son of Zeus wielded masterly, and leaped upon his horse-chariot
like the lightning of his father Zeus who holds the aegis, moving
lithely. And his charioteer, strong Iolaus, standing upon the
car, guided the curved chariot.
(ll. 327-337) Then the goddess grey-eyed Athene came near them
and spoke winged words, encouraging them: `Hail, offspring of
far-famed Lynceus! Even now Zeus who reigns over the blessed
gods gives you power to slay Cycnus and to strip off his splendid
armour. Yet I will tell you something besides, mightiest of the
people. When you have robbed Cycnus of sweet life, then leave
him there and his armour also, and you yourself watch man-slaying
Ares narrowly as he attacks, and wherever you shall see him
uncovered below his cunningly-wrought shield, there wound him
with your sharp spear. Then draw back; for it is not ordained
that you should take his horses or his splendid armour.'
(ll. 338-349) So said the bright-eyed goddess and swiftly got up
into the car with victory and renown in her hands. Then heavennurtured
Iolaus called terribly to the horses, and at his cry
they swiftly whirled the fleet chariot along, raising dust from
the plain; for the goddess bright-eyed Athene put mettle into
them by shaking her aegis. And the earth groaned all round them.
And they, horse-taming Cycnus and Ares, insatiable in war, came
on together like fire or whirlwind. Then their horses neighed
shrilly, face to face; and the echo was shivered all round them.
And mighty Heracles spoke first and said to that other:
(ll. 350-367) `Cycnus, good sir! Why, pray, do you set your
swift horses at us, men who are tried in labour and pain? Nay,
guide your fleet car aside and yield and go out of the path. It
is to Trachis I am driving on, to Ceyx the king, who is the first
in Trachis for power and for honour, and that you yourself know
well, for you have his daughter dark-eyed Themistinoe to wife.
Fool! For Ares shall not deliver you from the end of death, if
we two meet together in battle. Another time ere this I declare
he has made trial of my spear, when he defended sandy Pylos and
stood against me, fiercely longing for fight. Thrice was he
stricken by my spear and dashed to earth, and his shield was
pierced; but the fourth time I struck his thigh, laying on with
all my strength, and tare deep into his flesh. And he fell
headlong in the dust upon the ground through the force of my
spear-thrust; then truly he would have been disgraced among the
deathless gods, if by my hands he had left behind his bloody
(ll. 368-385) So said he. But Cycnus the stout spearman cared
not to obey him and to pull up the horses that drew his chariot.
Then it was that from their well-woven cars they both leaped
straight to the ground, the son of Zeus and the son of the Lord
of War. The charioteers drove near by their horses with
beautiful manes, and the wide earth rang with the beat of their
hoofs as they rushed along. As when rocks leap forth from the
high peak of a great mountain, and fall on one another, and many
towering oaks and pines and long-rooted poplars are broken by
them as they whirl swiftly down until they reach the plain; so
did they fall on one another with a great shout: and all the town
of the Myrmidons, and famous Iolcus, and Arne, and Helice, and
grassy Anthea echoed loudly at the voice of the two. With an
awful cry they closed: and wise Zeus thundered loudly and rained
down drops of blood, giving the signal for battle to his
dauntless son.
(ll. 386-401) As a tusked boar, that is fearful for a man to see
before him in the glens of a mountain, resolves to fight with the
huntsmen and white tusks, turning sideways, while foam flows all
round his mouth as he gnashes, and his eyes are like glowing
fire, and he bristles the hair on his mane and around his neck --
like him the son of Zeus leaped from his horse-chariot. And when
the dark-winged whirring grasshopper, perched on a green shoot,
begins to sing of summer to men -- his food and drink is the
dainty dew -- and all day long from dawn pours forth his voice in
the deadliest heat, when Sirius scorches the flesh (then the
beard grows upon the millet which men sow in summer), when the
crude grapes which Dionysus gave to men -- a joy and a sorrow
both -- begin to colour, in that season they fought and loud rose
the clamour.
(ll. 402-412) As two lions (6) on either side of a slain deer
spring at one another in fury, and there is a fearful snarling
and a clashing also of teeth -- like vultures with crooked talons
and hooked beak that fight and scream aloud on a high rock over a
mountain goat or fat wild-deer which some active man has shot
with an arrow from the string, and himself has wandered away
elsewhere, not knowing the place; but they quickly mark it and
vehemently do keen battle about it -- like these they two rushed
upon one another with a shout.
(ll. 413-423) Then Cycnus, eager to kill the son of almighty
Zeus, struck upon his shield with a brazen spear, but did not
break the bronze; and the gift of the god saved his foe. But the
son of Amphitryon, mighty Heracles, with his long spear struck
Cycnus violently in the neck beneath the chin, where it was
unguarded between helm and shield. And the deadly spear cut
through the two sinews; for the hero's full strength lighted on
his foe. And Cycnus fell as an oak falls or a lofty pine that is
stricken by the lurid thunderbolt of Zeus; even so he fell, and
his armour adorned with bronze clashed about him.
(ll. 424-442) Then the stout hearted son of Zeus let him be, and
himself watched for the onset of manslaying Ares: fiercely he
stared, like a lion who has come upon a body and full eagerly
rips the hide with his strong claws and takes away the sweet life
with all speed: his dark heart is filled with rage and his eyes
glare fiercely, while he tears up the earth with his paws and
lashes his flanks and shoulders with his tail so that no one
dares to face him and go near to give battle. Even so, the son
of Amphitryon, unsated of battle, stood eagerly face to face with
Ares, nursing courage in his heart. And Ares drew near him with
grief in his heart; and they both sprang at one another with a
cry. As it is when a rock shoots out from a great cliff and
whirls down with long bounds, careering eagerly with a roar, and
a high crag clashes with it and keeps it there where they strike
together; with no less clamour did deadly Ares, the chariotborne,
rush shouting at Heracles. And he quickly received the
(ll. 443-449) But Athene the daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus came
to meet Ares, wearing the dark aegis, and she looked at him with
an angry frown and spoke winged words to him. `Ares, check your
fierce anger and matchless hands; for it is not ordained that you
should kill Heracles, the bold-hearted son of Zeus, and strip off
his rich armour. Come, then, cease fighting and do not withstand
(ll. 450-466) So said she, but did not move the courageous spirit
of Ares. But he uttered a great shout and waving his spears like
fire, he rushed headlong at strong Heracles, longing to kill him,
and hurled a brazen spear upon the great shield, for he was
furiously angry because of his dead son; but bright-eyed Athene
reached out from the car and turned aside the force of the spear.
Then bitter grief seized Ares and he drew his keen sword and
leaped upon bold-hearted Heracles. But as he came on, the son of
Amphitryon, unsated of fierce battle, shrewdly wounded his thigh
where it was exposed under his richly-wrought shield, and tare
deep into his flesh with the spear-thrust and cast him flat upon
the ground. And Panic and Dread quickly drove his smooth-wheeled
chariot and horses near him and lifted him from the wide-pathed
earth into his richly-wrought car, and then straight lashed the
horses and came to high Olympus.
(ll. 467-471) But the son of Alemena and glorious Iolaus stripped
the fine armour off Cycnus' shoulders and went, and their swift
horses carried them straight to the city of Trachis. And brighteyed
Athene went thence to great Olympus and her father's house.
(ll. 472-480) As for Cycnus, Ceyx buried him and the countless
people who lived near the city of the glorious king, in Anthe and
the city of the Myrmidons, and famous Iolcus, and Arne, and
Helice: and much people were gathered doing honour to Ceyx, the
friend of the blessed gods. But Anaurus, swelled by a rainstorm,
blotted out the grave and memorial of Cycnus; for so
Apollo, Leto's son, commanded him, because he used to watch for
and violently despoil the rich hecatombs that any might bring to
(1) A mountain peak near Thebes which took its name from the
Sphinx (called in "Theogony" l. 326 PHIX).
(2) Cyanus was a glass-paste of deep blue colour: the `zones'
were concentric bands in which were the scenes described by
the poet. The figure of Fear (l. 44) occupied the centre of
the shield, and Oceanus (l. 314) enclosed the whole.
(3) `She who drives herds,' i.e. `The Victorious', since herds
were the chief spoil gained by the victor in ancient
(4) The cap of darkness which made its wearer invisible.
(5) The existing text of the vineyard scene is a compound of two
different versions, clumsily adapted, and eked out with some
makeshift additions.
(6) The conception is similar to that of the sculptured group at
Athens of Two Lions devouring a Bull (Dickens, "Cat. of the
Acropolis Museaum", No. 3).
Fragment #1 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 128:
Hesiod in the "Marriage of Ceyx" says that he (Heracles) landed
(from the Argo) to look for water and was left behind in Magnesia
near the place called Aphetae because of his desertion there.
Fragment #2 --
Zenobius (1), ii. 19:
Hesiod used the proverb in the following way: Heracles is
represented as having constantly visited the house of Ceyx of
Trachis and spoken thus: `Of their own selves the good make for
the feasts of good.'
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xiv. 119:
`And horse-driving Ceyx beholding...'
Fragment #4 --
Athenaeus, ii. p. 49b:
Hesiod in the "Marriage of Ceyx" -- for though grammar-school
boys alienate it from the poet, yet I consider the poem ancient
-- calls the tables tripods.
Fragment #5 --
Gregory of Corinth, On Forms of Speech (Rhett. Gr. vii. 776):
`But when they had done with desire for the equal-shared feast,
even then they brought from the forest the mother of a mother
(sc. wood), dry and parched, to be slain by her own children'
(sc. to be burnt in the flames).
(1) A Greek sophist who taught rhetoric at Rome in the time of
Hadrian. He is the author of a collection of proverbs in
three books.
THE GREAT EOIAE (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Pausanius, ii. 26. 3:
Epidaurus. According to the opinion of the Argives and the epic
poem, the "Great Eoiae", Argos the son of Zeus was father of
Fragment #2 --
Anonymous Comment. on Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, iii. 7:
And, they say, Hesiod is sufficient to prove that the word
PONEROS (bad) has the same sense as `laborious' or `ill-fated';
for in the "Great Eoiae" he represents Alcmene as saying to
Heracles: `My son, truly Zeus your father begot you to be the
most toilful as the most excellent...'; and again: `The Fates
(made) you the most toilful and the most excellent...'
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Isthm. v. 53:
The story has been taken from the "Great Eoiae"; for there we
find Heracles entertained by Telamon, standing dressed in his
lion-skin and praying, and there also we find the eagle sent by
Zeus, from which Aias took his name (1).
Fragment #4 --
Pausanias, iv. 2. 1:
But I know that the so-called "Great Eoiae" say that Polycaon the
son of Butes married Euaechme, daughter of Hyllus, Heracles' son.
Fragment #5 --
Pausanias, ix. 40. 6:
`And Phylas wedded Leipephile the daughter of famous Iolaus: and
she was like the Olympians in beauty. She bare him a son
Hippotades in the palace, and comely Thero who was like the beams
of the moon. And Thero lay in the embrace of Apollo and bare
horse-taming Chaeron of hardy strength.'
Fragment #6 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Pyth. iv. 35:
`Or like her in Hyria, careful-minded Mecionice, who was joined
in the love of golden Aphrodite with the Earth-holder and Earth-
Shaker, and bare Euphemus.'
Fragment #7 --
Pausanias, ix. 36. 7:
`And Hyettus killed Molurus the dear son of Aristas in his house
because he lay with his wife. Then he left his home and fled
from horse-rearing Argos and came to Minyan Orchomenus. And the
hero received him and gave him a portion of his goods, as was
Fragment #8 --
Pausanias, ii. 2. 3:
But in the "Great Eoiae" Peirene is represented to be the
daughter of Oebalius.
Fragment #9 --
Pausanias, ii. 16. 4:
The epic poem, which the Greek call the "Great Eoiae", says that
she (Mycene) was the daughter of Inachus and wife of Arestor:
from her, then, it is said, the city received its name.
Fragment #10 --
Pausanias, vi. 21. 10:
According to the poem the "Great Eoiae", these were killed by
Oenomaus (2): Alcathous the son of Porthaon next after Marmax,
and after Alcathous, Euryalus, Eurymachus and Crotalus. The man
killed next after them, Aerias, we should judge to have been a
Lacedemonian and founder of Aeria. And after Acrias, they say,
Capetus was done to death by Oenomaus, and Lycurgus, Lasius,
Chalcodon and Tricolonus.... And after Tricolonus fate overtook
Aristomachus and Prias on the course, as also Pelagon and Aeolius
and Cronius.
Fragment #11 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 57:
In the "Great Eoiae" it is said that Endymion was transported by
Zeus into heaven, but when he fell in love with Hera, was
befooled with a shape of cloud, and was cast out and went down
into Hades.
Fragment #12 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 118:
In the "Great Eoiae" it is related that Melampus, who was very
dear to Apollo, went abroad and stayed with Polyphantes. But
when the king had sacrificed an ox, a serpent crept up to the
sacrifice and destroyed his servants. At this the king was angry
and killed the serpent, but Melampus took and buried it. And its
offspring, brought up by him, used to lick his ears and inspire
him with prophecy. And so, when he was caught while trying to
steal the cows of Iphiclus and taken bound to the city of Aegina,
and when the house, in which Iphiclus was, was about to fall, he
told an old woman, one of the servants of Iphiclus, and in return
was released.
Fragment #13 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 828:
In the "Great Eoiae" Scylla is the daughter of Phoebus and
Fragment #14 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. ii. 181:
Hesiod in the "Great Eoiae" says that Phineus was blinded because
he told Phrixus the way (3).
Fragment #15 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. ii. 1122:
Argus. This is one of the children of Phrixus. These....
....Hesiod in the "Great Eoiae" says were born of Iophossa the
daughter of Aeetes. And he says there were four of them, Argus,
Phrontis, Melas, and Cytisorus.
Fragment #16 --
Antoninus Liberalis, xxiii:
Battus. Hesiod tells the story in the "Great Eoiae"....
....Magnes was the son of Argus, the son of Phrixus and Perimele,
Admetus' daughter, and lived in the region of Thessaly, in the
land which men called after him Magnesia. He had a son of
remarkable beauty, Hymenaeus. And when Apollo saw the boy, he
was seized with love for him, and would not leave the house of
Magnes. Then Hermes made designs on Apollo's herd of cattle
which were grazing in the same place as the cattle of Admetus.
First he cast upon the dogs which were guarding them a stupor and
strangles, so that the dogs forgot the cows and lost the power of
barking. Then he drove away twelve heifers and a hundred cows
never yoked, and the bull who mounted the cows, fastening to the
tail of each one brushwood to wipe out the footmarks of the cows.
He drove them through the country of the Pelasgi, and Achaea in
the land of Phthia, and through Locris, and Boeotia and Megaris,
and thence into Peloponnesus by way of Corinth and Larissa, until
he brought them to Tegea. From there he went on by the Lycaean
mountains, and past Maenalus and what are called the watch-posts
of Battus. Now this Battus used to live on the top of the rock
and when he heard the voice of the heifers as they were being
driven past, he came out from his own place, and knew that the
cattle were stolen. So he asked for a reward to tell no one
about them. Hermes promised to give it him on these terms, and
Battus swore to say nothing to anyone about the cattle. But when
Hermes had hidden them in the cliff by Coryphasium, and had
driven them into a cave facing towards Italy and Sicily, he
changed himself and came again to Battus and tried whether he
would be true to him as he had vowed. So, offering him a robe as
a reward, he asked of him whether he had noticed stolen cattle
being driven past. And Battus took the robe and told him about
the cattle. But Hermes was angry because he was double-tongued,
and struck him with his staff and changed him into a rock. And
either frost or heat never leaves him (4).
(1) When Heracles prayed that a son might be born to Telamon and
Eriboea, Zeus sent forth an eagle in token that the prayer
would be granted. Heracles then bade the parents call their
son Aias after the eagle (`aietos').
(2) Oenomaus, king of Pisa in Elis, warned by an oracle that he
should be killed by his son-in-law, offered his daughter
Hippodamia to the man who could defeat him in a chariot
race, on condition that the defeated suitors should be slain
by him. Ultimately Pelops, through the treachery of the
charioteer of Oenomaus, became victorious.
(3) sc. to Scythia.
(4) In the Homeric "Hymn to Hermes" Battus almost disappears
from the story, and a somewhat different account of the
stealing of the cattle is given.
THE MELAMPODIA (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Strabo, xiv. p. 642:
It is said that Calchis the seer returned from Troy with
Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus and came on foot to this place
(1). But happening to find near Clarus a seer greater than
himself, Mopsus, the son of Manto, Teiresias' daughter, he died
of vexation. Hesiod, indeed, works up the story in some form as
this: Calchas set Mopsus the following problem:
`I am filled with wonder at the quantity of figs this wild figtree
bears though it is so small. Can you tell their number?'
And Mopsus answered: `Ten thousand is their number, and their
measure is a bushel: one fig is left over, which you would not be
able to put into the measure.'
So said he; and they found the reckoning of the measure true.
Then did the end of death shroud Calchas.
Fragment #2 --
Tzetzes on Lycophron, 682:
But now he is speaking of Teiresias, since it is said that he
lived seven generations -- though others say nine. He lived from
the times of Cadmus down to those of Eteocles and Polyneices, as
the author of "Melampodia" also says: for he introduces Teiresias
speaking thus:
`Father Zeus, would that you had given me a shorter span of life
to be mine and wisdom of heart like that of mortal men! But now
you have honoured me not even a little, though you ordained me to
have a long span of life, and to live through seven generations
of mortal kind.'
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Homer, Odyssey, x. 494:
They say that Teiresias saw two snakes mating on Cithaeron and
that, when he killed the female, he was changed into a woman, and
again, when he killed the male, took again his own nature. This
same Teiresias was chosen by Zeus and Hera to decide the question
whether the male or the female has most pleasure in intercourse.
And he said:
`Of ten parts a man enjoys only one; but a woman's sense enjoys
all ten in full.'
For this Hera was angry and blinded him, but Zeus gave him the
seer's power.
Fragment #4 -- (2)
Athenaeus, ii. p. 40:
`For pleasant it is at a feast and rich banquet to tell
delightful tales, when men have had enough of feasting;...'
Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vi. 2 26:
`...and pleasant also it is to know a clear token of ill or good
amid all the signs that the deathless ones have given to mortal
Fragment #5 --
Athenaeus, xi. 498. A:
`And Mares, swift messenger, came to him through the house and
brought a silver goblet which he had filled, and gave it to the
Fragment #6 --
Athenaeus, xi. 498. B:
`And then Mantes took in his hands the ox's halter and Iphiclus
lashed him upon the back. And behind him, with a cup in one hand
and a raised sceptre in the other, walked Phylacus and spake
amongst the bondmen.'
Fragment #7 --
Athenaeus, xiii. p. 609 e:
Hesiod in the third book of the "Melampodia" called Chalcis in
Euboea `the land of fair women'.
Fragment #8 --
Strabo, xiv. p. 676:
But Hesiod says that Amphilochus was killed by Apollo at Soli.
Fragment #9 --
Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, v. p. 259:
`And now there is no seer among mortal men such as would know the
mind of Zeus who holds the aegis.'
(1) sc. Colophon. Proclus in his abstract of the "Returns" (sc.
of the heroes from Troy) says Calchas and his party were
present at the death of Teiresias at Colophon, perhaps
indicating another version of this story.
(2) ll. 1-2 are quoted by Athenaeus, ii. p. 40; ll. 3-4 by
Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vi. 2. 26. Buttman saw
that the two fragments should be joined. (NOTE: These two
fragments should be read together. -- DBK)
AEGIMIUS (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iii. 587:
But the author of the "Aegimius" says that he (Phrixus) was
received without intermediary because of the fleece (1). He says
that after the sacrifice he purified the fleece and so: `Holding
the fleece he walked into the halls of Aeetes.'
Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. iv. 816:
The author of the "Aegimius" says in the second book that Thetis
used to throw the children she had by Peleus into a cauldron of
water, because she wished to learn where they were mortal....
....And that after many had perished Peleus was annoyed, and
prevented her from throwing Achilles into the cauldron.
Fragment #3 --
Apollodorus, ii. 1.3.1:
Hesiod and Acusilaus say that she (Io) was the daughter of
Peiren. While she was holding the office of priestess of Hera,
Zeus seduced her, and being discovered by Hera, touched the girl
and changed her into a white cow, while he swore that he had no
intercourse with her. And so Hesiod says that oaths touching the
matter of love do not draw down anger from the gods: `And
thereafter he ordained that an oath concerning the secret deeds
of the Cyprian should be without penalty for men.'
Fragment #4 --
Herodian in Stephanus of Byzantium:
`(Zeus changed Io) in the fair island Abantis, which the gods,
who are eternally, used to call Abantis aforetime, but Zeus then
called it Euboea after the cow.' (2)
Fragment #5 --
Scholiast on Euripides, Phoen. 1116:
`And (Hera) set a watcher upon her (Io), great and strong Argus,
who with four eyes looks every way. And the goddess stirred in
him unwearying strength: sleep never fell upon his eyes; but he
kept sure watch always.'
Fragment #6 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xxiv. 24:
`Slayer of Argus'. According to Hesiod's tale he (Hermes) slew
(Argus) the herdsman of Io.
Fragment #7 --
Athenaeus, xi. p. 503:
And the author of the "Aegimius", whether he is Hesiod or Cercops
of Miletus (says): `There, some day, shall be my place of
refreshment, O leader of the people.'
Fragment #8 --
Etym. Gen.:
Hesiod (says there were so called) because they settled in three
groups: `And they all were called the Three-fold people, because
they divided in three the land far from their country.' For (he
says) that three Hellenic tribes settled in Crete, the Pelasgi,
Achaeans and Dorians. And these have been called Three-fold
(1) sc. the golden fleece of the ram which carried Phrixus and
Helle away from Athamas and Ino. When he reached Colchis
Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus.
(2) Euboea properly means the `Island of fine Cattle (or Cows)'.
Fragment #1 --
Diogenes Laertius, viii. 1. 26: (1)
`So Urania bare Linus, a very lovely son: and him all men who are
singers and harpers do bewail at feasts and dances, and as they
begin and as they end they call on Linus....'
Clement of Alexandria, Strom. i. p. 121:
`....who was skilled in all manner of wisdom.'
Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Homer, Odyssey, iv. 232:
`Unless Phoebus Apollo should save him from death, or Paean
himself who knows the remedies for all things.'
Fragment #3 --
Clement of Alexandria, Protrept, c. vii. p. 21:
`For he alone is king and lord of all the undying gods, and no
other vies with him in power.'
Fragment #4 --
Anecd. Oxon (Cramer), i. p. 148:
`(To cause?) the gifts of the blessed gods to come near to
Fragment #5 --
Clement of Alexandria, Strom. i. p. 123:
`Of the Muses who make a man very wise, marvellous in utterance.'
Fragment #6 --
Strabo, x. p. 471:
`But of them (sc. the daughters of Hecaterus) were born the
divine mountain Nymphs and the tribe of worthless, helpless
Satyrs, and the divine Curetes, sportive dancers.'
Fragment #7 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 824:
`Beseeching the offspring of glorious Cleodaeus.'
Fragment #8 --
Suidas, s.v.:
`For the Olympian gave might to the sons of Aeacus, and wisdom to
the sons of Amythaon, and wealth to the sons of Atreus.'
Fragment #9 --
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad, xiii. 155:
`For through his lack of wood the timber of the ships rotted.'
Fragment #10 --
Etymologicum Magnum:
`No longer do they walk with delicate feet.'
Fragment #11 --
Scholiast on Homer, Iliad, xxiv. 624:
`First of all they roasted (pieces of meat), and drew them
carefully off the spits.'
Fragment #12 --
Chrysippus, Fragg. ii. 254. 11:
`For his spirit increased in his dear breast.'
Fragment #13 --
Chrysippus, Fragg. ii. 254. 15:
`With such heart grieving anger in her breast.'
Fragment #14 --
Strabo, vii. p. 327:
`He went to Dodona and the oak-grove, the dwelling place of the
Fragment #15 --
Anecd. Oxon (Cramer), iii. p. 318. not.:
`With the pitiless smoke of black pitch and of cedar.'
Fragment #16 --
Schliast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 757:
`But he himself in the swelling tide of the rain-swollen river.'
Fragment #17 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
(The river) Parthenius, `Flowing as softly as a dainty maiden
Fragment #18 --
Scholiast on Theocritus, xi. 75:
`Foolish the man who leaves what he has, and follows after what
he has not.'
Fragment #19 --
`The deeds of the young, the counsels of the middle-aged, and the
prayers of the aged.'
Fragment #20 --
Porphyr, On Abstinence, ii. 18. p. 134:
`Howsoever the city does sacrifice, the ancient custom is best.'
Fragment #21 --
Scholiast on Nicander, Theriaca, 452:
`But you should be gentle towards your father.'
Fragment #22 --
Plato, Epist. xi. 358:
`And if I said this, it would seem a poor thing and hard to
Fragment #23 --
Bacchylides, v. 191-3:
Thus spake the Boeotian, even Hesiod (2), servant of the sweet
Muses: `whomsoever the immortals honour, the good report of
mortals also followeth him.'
(1) This and the following fragment are meant to be read
together. -- DBK
(2) cp. Hesiod "Theogony" 81 ff. But Theognis 169, `Whomso the
god honour, even a man inclined to blame praiseth him', is
much nearer.
Fragment #1 --
Galen, de plac. Hipp. et Plat. i. 266:
`And then it was Zeus took away sense from the heart of Athamas.'
Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Homer, Od. vii. 104:
`They grind the yellow grain at the mill.'
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. ii. 1:
`Then first in Delos did I and Homer, singers both, raise our
strain -- stitching song in new hymns -- Phoebus Apollo with the
golden sword, whom Leto bare.'
Fragment #4 --
Julian, Misopogon, p. 369:
`But starvation on a handful is a cruel thing.'
Fragment #5 --
Servius on Vergil, Aen. iv. 484:
Hesiod says that these Hesperides.... ....daughters of Night,
guarded the golden apples beyond Ocean: `Aegle and Erythea and
ox-eyed Hesperethusa.' (1)
Fragment #6 --
Plato, Republic, iii. 390 E:
`Gifts move the gods, gifts move worshipful princes.'
Fragment #7 -- (2)
Clement of Alexandria, Strom. v. p. 256:
`On the seventh day again the bright light of the sun....'
Fragment #8 --
Apollonius, Lex. Hom.:
`He brought pure water and mixed it with Ocean's streams.'
Fragment #9 --
Stephanus of Byzantium:
`Aspledon and Clymenus and god-like Amphidocus.' (sons of
Fragment #10 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. iii. 64:
`Telemon never sated with battle first brought light to our
comrades by slaying blameless Melanippe, destroyer of men, own
sister of the golden-girdled queen.'
(1) Cf. Scholion on Clement, "Protrept." i. p. 302.
(2) This line may once have been read in the text of "Works and
Days" after l. 771.
I. TO DIONYSUS (21 lines) (1)
(ll. 1-9) For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus;
and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn (2); and others by the
deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus
the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in
Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you
birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There
is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with
woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus.
(ll. 10-12) `...and men will lay up for her (3) many offerings in
her shrines. And as these things are three (4), so shall mortals
ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three
(ll. 13-16) The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark
brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his
immortal head, and he made great Olympus reel. So spake wise
Zeus and ordained it with a nod.
(ll. 17-21) Be favourable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women!
we singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain, and
none forgetting you may call holy song to mind. And so,
farewell, Dionysus, Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call
II. TO DEMETER (495 lines)
(ll. 1-3) I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess
-- of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away,
given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.
(ll. 4-18) Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and
glorious fruits, she was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters
of Oceanus and gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and
crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the
narcissus, which Earth made to grow at the will of Zeus and to
please the Host of Many, to be a snare for the bloom-like girl --
a marvellous, radiant flower. It was a thing of awe whether for
deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred
blooms and is smelled most sweetly, so that all wide heaven above
and the whole earth and the sea's salt swell laughed for joy.
And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take
the lovely toy; but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the
plain of Nysa, and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal
horses sprang out upon her -- the Son of Cronos, He who has many
names (5).
(ll. 19-32) He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare
her away lamenting. Then she cried out shrilly with her voice,
calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and
excellent. But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal
men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit:
only tender-hearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of
Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave, and the lord Helios,
Hyperion's bright son, as she cried to her father, the Son of
Cronos. But he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods, in his
temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal
men. So he, that Son of Cronos, of many names, who is Ruler of
Many and Host of Many, was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on
his immortal chariot -- his own brother's child and all
(ll. 33-39) And so long as she, the goddess, yet beheld earth and
starry heaven and the strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal, and
the rays of the sun, and still hoped to see her dear mother and
the tribes of the eternal gods, so long hope calmed her great
heart for all her trouble....
....and the heights of the mountains and the depths of the sea
rang with her immortal voice: and her queenly mother heard her.
(ll. 40-53) Bitter pain seized her heart, and she rent the
covering upon her divine hair with her dear hands: her dark cloak
she cast down from both her shoulders and sped, like a wild-bird,
over the firm land and yielding sea, seeking her child. But no
one would tell her the truth, neither god nor mortal men; and of
the birds of omen none came with true news for her. Then for
nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming
torches in her hands, so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia
and the sweet draught of nectar, nor sprinkled her body with
water. But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hecate,
with a torch in her hands, met her, and spoke to her and told her
(ll. 54-58) `Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of
good gifts, what god of heaven or what mortal man has rapt away
Persephone and pierced with sorrow your dear heart? For I heard
her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was. But I tell you
truly and shortly all I know.'
(ll. 59-73) So, then, said Hecate. And the daughter of richhaired
Rhea answered her not, but sped swiftly with her, holding
flaming torches in her hands. So they came to Helios, who is
watchman of both gods and men, and stood in front of his horses:
and the bright goddess enquired of him: `Helios, do you at least
regard me, goddess as I am, if ever by word or deed of mine I
have cheered your heart and spirit. Through the fruitless air I
heard the thrilling cry of my daughter whom I bare, sweet scion
of my body and lovely in form, as of one seized violently; though
with my eyes I saw nothing. But you -- for with your beams you
look down from the bright upper air Over all the earth and sea --
tell me truly of my dear child, if you have seen her anywhere,
what god or mortal man has violently seized her against her will
and mine, and so made off.'
(ll. 74-87) So said she. And the Son of Hyperion answered her:
`Queen Demeter, daughter of rich-haired Rhea, I will tell you the
truth; for I greatly reverence and pity you in your grief for
your trim-ankled daughter. None other of the deathless gods is
to blame, but only cloud-gathering Zeus who gave her to Hades,
her father's brother, to be called his buxom wife. And Hades
seized her and took her loudly crying in his chariot down to his
realm of mist and gloom. Yet, goddess, cease your loud lament
and keep not vain anger unrelentingly: Aidoneus, the Ruler of
Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your
child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also,
for honour, he has that third share which he received when
division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those
among whom he dwells.'
(ll. 88-89) So he spake, and called to his horses: and at his
chiding they quickly whirled the swift chariot along, like longwinged
(ll. 90-112) But grief yet more terrible and savage came into the
heart of Demeter, and thereafter she was so angered with the
dark-clouded Son of Cronos that she avoided the gathering of the
gods and high Olympus, and went to the towns and rich fields of
men, disfiguring her form a long while. And no one of men or
deep-bosomed women knew her when they saw her, until she came to
the house of wise Celeus who then was lord of fragrant Eleusis.
Vexed in her dear heart, she sat near the wayside by the Maiden
Well, from which the women of the place were used to draw water,
in a shady place over which grew an olive shrub. And she was
like an ancient woman who is cut off from childbearing and the
gifts of garland-loving Aphrodite, like the nurses of king's
children who deal justice, or like the house-keepers in their
echoing halls. There the daughters of Celeus, son of Eleusis,
saw her, as they were coming for easy-drawn water, to carry it in
pitchers of bronze to their dear father's house: four were they
and like goddesses in the flower of their girlhood, Callidice and
Cleisidice and lovely Demo and Callithoe who was the eldest of
them all. They knew her not, -- for the gods are not easily
discerned by mortals -- but standing near by her spoke winged
(ll. 113-117) `Old mother, whence and who are you of folk born
long ago? Why are you gone away from the city and do not draw
near the houses? For there in the shady halls are women of just
such age as you, and others younger; and they would welcome you
both by word and by deed.'
(ll. 118-144) Thus they said. And she, that queen among
goddesses answered them saying: `Hail, dear children, whosoever
you are of woman-kind. I will tell you my story; for it is not
unseemly that I should tell you truly what you ask. Doso is my
name, for my stately mother gave it me. And now I am come from
Crete over the sea's wide back, -- not willingly; but pirates
brought be thence by force of strength against my liking.
Afterwards they put in with their swift craft to Thoricus, and
there the women landed on the shore in full throng and the men
likewise, and they began to make ready a meal by the stern-cables
of the ship. But my heart craved not pleasant food, and I fled
secretly across the dark country and escaped by masters, that
they should not take me unpurchased across the sea, there to win
a price for me. And so I wandered and am come here: and I know
not at all what land this is or what people are in it. But may
all those who dwell on Olympus give you husbands and birth of
children as parents desire, so you take pity on me, maidens, and
show me this clearly that I may learn, dear children, to the
house of what man and woman I may go, to work for them cheerfully
at such tasks as belong to a woman of my age. Well could I nurse
a new born child, holding him in my arms, or keep house, or
spread my masters' bed in a recess of the well-built chamber, or
teach the women their work.'
(ll. 145-146) So said the goddess. And straightway the unwed
maiden Callidice, goodliest in form of the daughters of Celeus,
answered her and said:
(ll. 147-168) `Mother, what the gods send us, we mortals bear
perforce, although we suffer; for they are much stronger than we.
But now I will teach you clearly, telling you the names of men
who have great power and honour here and are chief among the
people, guarding our city's coif of towers by their wisdom and
true judgements: there is wise Triptolemus and Dioclus and
Polyxeinus and blameless Eumolpus and Dolichus and our own brave
father. All these have wives who manage in the house, and no one
of them, so soon as she has seen you, would dishonour you and
turn you from the house, but they will welcome you; for indeed
you are godlike. But if you will, stay here; and we will go to
our father's house and tell Metaneira, our deep-bosomed mother,
all this matter fully, that she may bid you rather come to our
home than search after the houses of others. She has an only
son, late-born, who is being nursed in our well-built house, a
child of many prayers and welcome: if you could bring him up
until he reached the full measure of youth, any one of womankind
who should see you would straightway envy you, such gifts would
our mother give for his upbringing.'
(ll. 169-183) So she spake: and the goddess bowed her head in
assent. And they filled their shining vessels with water and
carried them off rejoicing. Quickly they came to their father's
great house and straightway told their mother according as they
had heard and seen. Then she bade them go with all speed and
invite the stranger to come for a measureless hire. As hinds or
heifers in spring time, when sated with pasture, bound about a
meadow, so they, holding up the folds of their lovely garments,
darted down the hollow path, and their hair like a crocus flower
streamed about their shoulders. And they found the good goddess
near the wayside where they had left her before, and led her to
the house of their dear father. And she walked behind,
distressed in her dear heart, with her head veiled and wearing a
dark cloak which waved about the slender feet of the goddess.
(ll. 184-211) Soon they came to the house of heaven-nurtured
Celeus and went through the portico to where their queenly mother
sat by a pillar of the close-fitted roof, holding her son, a
tender scion, in her bosom. And the girls ran to her. But the
goddess walked to the threshold: and her head reached the roof
and she filled the doorway with a heavenly radiance. Then awe
and reverence and pale fear took hold of Metaneira, and she rose
up from her couch before Demeter, and bade her be seated. But
Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of perfect gifts, would not
sit upon the bright couch, but stayed silent with lovely eyes
cast down until careful Iambe placed a jointed seat for her and
threw over it a silvery fleece. Then she sat down and held her
veil in her hands before her face. A long time she sat upon the
stool (6) without speaking because of her sorrow, and greeted no
one by word or by sign, but rested, never smiling, and tasting
neither food nor drink, because she pined with longing for her
deep-bosomed daughter, until careful Iambe -- who pleased her
moods in aftertime also -- moved the holy lady with many a quip
and jest to smile and laugh and cheer her heart. Then Metaneira
filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her; but she
refused it, for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red
wine, but bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give
her to drink. And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the
goddess as she bade. So the great queen Deo received it to
observe the sacrament.... (7)
(ll. 212-223) And of them all, well-girded Metaneira first began
to speak: `Hail, lady! For I think you are not meanly but nobly
born; truly dignity and grace are conspicuous upon your eyes as
in the eyes of kings that deal justice. Yet we mortals bear
perforce what the gods send us, though we be grieved; for a yoke
is set upon our necks. But now, since you are come here, you
shall have what I can bestow: and nurse me this child whom the
gods gave me in my old age and beyond my hope, a son much prayed
for. If you should bring him up until he reach the full measure
of youth, any one of womankind that sees you will straightway
envy you, so great reward would I give for his upbringing.'
(ll. 224-230) Then rich-haired Demeter answered her: `And to you,
also, lady, all hail, and may the gods give you good! Gladly
will I take the boy to my breast, as you bid me, and will nurse
him. Never, I ween, through any heedlessness of his nurse shall
witchcraft hurt him nor yet the Undercutter (8): for I know a
charm far stronger than the Woodcutter, and I know an excellent
safeguard against woeful witchcraft.'
(ll. 231-247) When she had so spoken, she took the child in her
fragrant bosom with her divine hands: and his mother was glad in
her heart. So the goddess nursed in the palace Demophoon, wise
Celeus' goodly son whom well-girded Metaneira bare. And the
child grew like some immortal being, not fed with food nor
nourished at the breast: for by day rich-crowned Demeter would
anoint him with ambrosia as if he were the offspring of a god and
breathe sweetly upon him as she held him in her bosom. But at
night she would hide him like a brand in the heard of the fire,
unknown to his dear parents. And it wrought great wonder in
these that he grew beyond his age; for he was like the gods face
to face. And she would have made him deathless and unageing, had
not well-girded Metaneira in her heedlessness kept watch by night
from her sweet-smelling chamber and spied. But she wailed and
smote her two hips, because she feared for her son and was
greatly distraught in her heart; so she lamented and uttered
winged words:
(ll. 248-249) `Demophoon, my son, the strange woman buries you
deep in fire and works grief and bitter sorrow for me.'
(ll. 250-255) Thus she spoke, mourning. And the bright goddess,
lovely-crowned Demeter, heard her, and was wroth with her. So
with her divine hands she snatched from the fire the dear son
whom Metaneira had born unhoped-for in the palace, and cast him
from her to the ground; for she was terribly angry in her heart.
Forthwith she said to well-girded Metaneira:
(ll. 256-274) `Witless are you mortals and dull to foresee your
lot, whether of good or evil, that comes upon you. For now in
your heedlessness you have wrought folly past healing; for -- be
witness the oath of the gods, the relentless water of Styx -- I
would have made your dear son deathless and unaging all his days
and would have bestowed on him everlasting honour, but now he can
in no way escape death and the fates. Yet shall unfailing honour
always rest upon him, because he lay upon my knees and slept in
my arms. But, as the years move round and when he is in his
prime, the sons of the Eleusinians shall ever wage war and dread
strife with one another continually. Lo! I am that Demeter who
has share of honour and is the greatest help and cause of joy to
the undying gods and mortal men. But now, let all the people
build be a great temple and an altar below it and beneath the
city and its sheer wall upon a rising hillock above Callichorus.
And I myself will teach my rites, that hereafter you may
reverently perform them and so win the favour of my heart.'
(ll. 275-281) When she had so said, the goddess changed her
stature and her looks, thrusting old age away from her: beauty
spread round about her and a lovely fragrance was wafted from her
sweet-smelling robes, and from the divine body of the goddess a
light shone afar, while golden tresses spread down over her
shoulders, so that the strong house was filled with brightness as
with lightning. And so she went out from the palace.
(ll. 281-291) And straightway Metaneira's knees were loosed and
she remained speechless for a long while and did not remember to
take up her late-born son from the ground. But his sisters heard
his pitiful wailing and sprang down from their well-spread beds:
one of them took up the child in her arms and laid him in her
bosom, while another revived the fire, and a third rushed with
soft feet to bring their mother from her fragrant chamber. And
they gathered about the struggling child and washed him,
embracing him lovingly; but he was not comforted, because nurses
and handmaids much less skilful were holding him now.
(ll. 292-300) All night long they sought to appease the glorious
goddess, quaking with fear. But, as soon as dawn began to show,
they told powerful Celeus all things without fail, as the lovelycrowned
goddess Demeter charged them. So Celeus called the
countless people to an assembly and bade them make a goodly
temple for rich-haired Demeter and an altar upon the rising
hillock. And they obeyed him right speedily and harkened to his
voice, doing as he commanded. As for the child, he grew like an
immortal being.
(ll. 301-320) Now when they had finished building and had drawn
back from their toil, they went every man to his house. But
golden-haired Demeter sat there apart from all the blessed gods
and stayed, wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter.
Then she caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over
the all-nourishing earth: the ground would not make the seed
sprout, for rich-crowned Demeter kept it hid. In the fields the
oxen drew many a curved plough in vain, and much white barley was
cast upon the land without avail. So she would have destroyed
the whole race of man with cruel famine and have robbed them who
dwell on Olympus of their glorious right of gifts and sacrifices,
had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart. First he
sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired Demeter, lovely in
form. So he commanded. And she obeyed the dark-clouded Son of
Cronos, and sped with swift feet across the space between. She
came to the stronghold of fragrant Eleusis, and there finding
dark-cloaked Demeter in her temple, spake to her and uttered
winged words:
(ll. 321-323) `Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting,
calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods: come
therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass
(ll. 324-333) Thus said Iris imploring her. But Demeter's heart
was not moved. Then again the father sent forth all the blessed
and eternal gods besides: and they came, one after the other, and
kept calling her and offering many very beautiful gifts and
whatever right she might be pleased to choose among the deathless
gods. Yet no one was able to persuade her mind and will, so
wrath was she in her heart; but she stubbornly rejected all their
words: for she vowed that she would never set foot on fragrant
Olympus nor let fruit spring out of the ground, until she beheld
with her eyes her own fair-faced daughter.
(ll. 334-346) Now when all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer heard
this, he sent the Slayer of Argus whose wand is of gold to
Erebus, so that having won over Hades with soft words, he might
lead forth chaste Persephone to the light from the misty gloom to
join the gods, and that her mother might see her with her eyes
and cease from her anger. And Hermes obeyed, and leaving the
house of Olympus, straightway sprang down with speed to the
hidden places of the earth. And he found the lord Hades in his
house seated upon a couch, and his shy mate with him, much
reluctant, because she yearned for her mother. But she was afar
off, brooding on her fell design because of the deeds of the
blessed gods. And the strong Slayer of Argus drew near and said:
(ll. 347-356) `Dark-haired Hades, ruler over the departed, father
Zeus bids me bring noble Persephone forth from Erebus unto the
gods, that her mother may see her with her eyes and cease from
her dread anger with the immortals; for now she plans an awful
deed, to destroy the weakly tribes of earthborn men by keeping
seed hidden beneath the earth, and so she makes an end of the
honours of the undying gods. For she keeps fearful anger and
does not consort with the gods, but sits aloof in her fragrant
temple, dwelling in the rocky hold of Eleusis.'
(ll. 357-359) So he said. And Aidoneus, ruler over the dead,
smiled grimly and obeyed the behest of Zeus the king. For he
straightway urged wise Persephone, saying:
(ll. 360-369) `Go now, Persephone, to your dark-robed mother, go,
and feel kindly in your heart towards me: be not so exceedingly
cast down; for I shall be no unfitting husband for you among the
deathless gods, that am own brother to father Zeus. And while
you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall
have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who
defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings,
reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be
punished for evermore.'
(ll. 370-383) When he said this, wise Persephone was filled with
joy and hastily sprang up for gladness. But he on his part
secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for
himself that she might not remain continually with grave, darkrobed
Demeter. Then Aidoneus the Ruler of Many openly got ready
his deathless horses beneath the golden chariot. And she mounted
on the chariot, and the strong Slayer of Argos took reins and
whip in his dear hands and drove forth from the hall, the horses
speeding readily. Swiftly they traversed their long course, and
neither the sea nor river-waters nor grassy glens nor mountainpeaks
checked the career of the immortal horses, but they clave
the deep air above them as they went. And Hermes brought them to
the place where rich-crowned Demeter was staying and checked them
before her fragrant temple.
(ll. 384-404) And when Demeter saw them, she rushed forth as does
a Maenad down some thick-wooded mountain, while Persephone on the
other side, when she saw her mother's sweet eyes, left the
chariot and horses, and leaped down to run to her, and falling
upon her neck, embraced her. But while Demeter was still holding
her dear child in her arms, her heart suddenly misgave her for
some snare, so that she feared greatly and ceased fondling her
daughter and asked of her at once: `My child, tell me, surely
you have not tasted any food while you were below? Speak out and
hide nothing, but let us both know. For if you have not, you
shall come back from loathly Hades and live with me and your
father, the dark-clouded Son of Cronos and be honoured by all the
deathless gods; but if you have tasted food, you must go back
again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a
third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you
shall be with me and the other deathless gods. But when the
earth shall bloom with the fragrant flowers of spring in every
kind, then from the realm of darkness and gloom thou shalt come
up once more to be a wonder for gods and mortal men. And now
tell me how he rapt you away to the realm of darkness and gloom,
and by what trick did the strong Host of Many beguile you?'
(ll. 405-433) Then beautiful Persephone answered her thus:
'Mother, I will tell you all without error. When luck-bringing
Hermes came, swift messenger from my father the Son of Cronos and
the other Sons of Heaven, bidding me come back from Erebus that
you might see me with your eyes and so cease from your anger and
fearful wrath against the gods, I sprang up at once for joy; but
he secretly put in my mouth sweet food, a pomegranate seed, and
forced me to taste against my will. Also I will tell how he rapt
me away by the deep plan of my father the Son of Cronos and
carried me off beneath the depths of the earth, and will relate
the whole matter as you ask. All we were playing in a lovely
meadow, Leucippe (9) and Phaeno and Electra and Ianthe, Melita
also and Iache with Rhodea and Callirhoe and Melobosis and Tyche
and Ocyrhoe, fair as a flower, Chryseis, Ianeira, Acaste and
Admete and Rhodope and Pluto and charming Calypso; Styx too was
there and Urania and lovely Galaxaura with Pallas who rouses
battles and Artemis delighting in arrows: we were playing and
gathering sweet flowers in our hands, soft crocuses mingled with
irises and hyacinths, and rose-blooms and lilies, marvellous to
see, and the narcissus which the wide earth caused to grow yellow
as a crocus. That I plucked in my joy; but the earth parted
beneath, and there the strong lord, the Host of Many, sprang
forth and in his golden chariot he bore me away, all unwilling,
beneath the earth: then I cried with a shrill cry. All this is
true, sore though it grieves me to tell the tale.'
(ll. 434-437) So did they turn, with hearts at one, greatly cheer
each the other's soul and spirit with many an embrace: their
heart had relief from their griefs while each took and gave back
(ll. 438-440) Then bright-coiffed Hecate came near to them, and
often did she embrace the daughter of holy Demeter: and from that
time the lady Hecate was minister and companion to Persephone.
(ll. 441-459) And all-seeing Zeus sent a messenger to them, richhaired
Rhea, to bring dark-cloaked Demeter to join the families
of the gods: and he promised to give her what right she should
choose among the deathless gods and agreed that her daughter
should go down for the third part of the circling year to
darkness and gloom, but for the two parts should live with her
mother and the other deathless gods. Thus he commanded. And the
goddess did not disobey the message of Zeus; swiftly she rushed
down from the peaks of Olympus and came to the plain of Rharus,
rich, fertile corn-land once, but then in nowise fruitful, for it
lay idle and utterly leafless, because the white grains was
hidden by design of trim-ankled Demeter. But afterwards, as
springtime waxed, it was soon to be waving with long ears of
corn, and its rich furrows to be loaded with grain upon the
ground, while others would already be bound in sheaves. There
first she landed from the fruitless upper air: and glad were the
goddesses to see each other and cheered in heart. Then brightcoiffed
Rhea said to Demeter:
(ll. 460-469) `Come, my daughter; for far-seeing Zeus the loudthunderer
calls you to join the families of the gods, and has
promised to give you what rights you please among the deathless
gods, and has agreed that for a third part of the circling year
your daughter shall go down to darkness and gloom, but for the
two parts shall be with you and the other deathless gods: so has
he declared it shall be and has bowed his head in token. But
come, my child, obey, and be not too angry unrelentingly with the
dark-clouded Son of Cronos; but rather increase forthwith for men
the fruit that gives them life.'
(ll. 470-482) So spake Rhea. And rich-crowned Demeter did not
refuse but straightway made fruit to spring up from the rich
lands, so that the whole wide earth was laden with leaves and
flowers. Then she went, and to the kings who deal justice,
Triptolemus and Diocles, the horse-driver, and to doughty
Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of the people, she showed the conduct
of her rites and taught them all her mysteries, to Triptolemus
and Polyxeinus and Diocles also, -- awful mysteries which no one
may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of
the gods checks the voice. Happy is he among men upon earth who
has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiate and who has no
part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead,
down in the darkness and gloom.
(ll. 483-489) But when the bright goddess had taught them all,
they went to Olympus to the gathering of the other gods. And
there they dwell beside Zeus who delights in thunder, awful and
reverend goddesses. Right blessed is he among men on earth whom
they freely love: soon they do send Plutus as guest to his great
house, Plutus who gives wealth to mortal men.
(ll. 490-495) And now, queen of the land of sweet Eleusis and
sea-girt Paros and rocky Antron, lady, giver of good gifts,
bringer of seasons, queen Deo, be gracious, you and your daughter
all beauteous Persephone, and for my song grant me heart-cheering
substance. And now I will remember you and another song also.
III. TO APOLLO (546 lines)
(ll. 1-18) I will remember and not be unmindful of Apollo who
shoots afar. As he goes through the house of Zeus, the gods
tremble before him and all spring up from their seats when he
draws near, as he bends his bright bow. But Leto alone stays by
the side of Zeus who delights in thunder; and then she unstrings
his bow, and closes his quiver, and takes his archery from his
strong shoulders in her hands and hangs them on a golden peg
against a pillar of his father's house. Then she leads him to a
seat and makes him sit: and the Father gives him nectar in a
golden cup welcoming his dear son, while the other gods make him
sit down there, and queenly Leto rejoices because she bare a
mighty son and an archer. Rejoice, blessed Leto, for you bare
glorious children, the lord Apollo and Artemis who delights in
arrows; her in Ortygia, and him in rocky Delos, as you rested
against the great mass of the Cynthian hill hard by a palm-tree
by the streams of Inopus.
(ll. 19-29) How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a
worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range
of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears
heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high
headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and
beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight.
Shall I sing how at the first Leto bare you to be the joy of men,
as she rested against Mount Cynthus in that rocky isle, in seagirt
Delos -- while on either hand a dark wave rolled on
landwards driven by shrill winds -- whence arising you rule over
all mortal men?
(ll. 30-50) Among those who are in Crete, and in the township of
Athens, and in the isle of Aegina and Euboea, famous for ships,
in Aegae and Eiresiae and Peparethus near the sea, in Thracian
Athos and Pelion's towering heights and Thracian Samos and the
shady hills of Ida, in Scyros and Phocaea and the high hill of
Autocane and fair-lying Imbros and smouldering Lemnos and rich
Lesbos, home of Macar, the son of Aeolus, and Chios, brightest of
all the isles that lie in the sea, and craggy Mimas and the
heights of Corycus and gleaming Claros and the sheer hill of
Aesagea and watered Samos and the steep heights of Mycale, in
Miletus and Cos, the city of Meropian men, and steep Cnidos and
windy Carpathos, in Naxos and Paros and rocky Rhenaea -- so far
roamed Leto in travail with the god who shoots afar, to see if
any land would be willing to make a dwelling for her son. But
they greatly trembled and feared, and none, not even the richest
of them, dared receive Phoebus, until queenly Leto set foot on
Delos and uttered winged words and asked her:
(ll. 51-61) `Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my
son "Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple --; for no other
will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be
rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants
abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo,
all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant
savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed
those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your
own soil is not rich.'
(ll. 62-82) So spake Leto. And Delos rejoiced and answered and
said: `Leto, most glorious daughter of great Coeus, joyfully
would I receive your child the far-shooting lord; for it is all
too true that I am ill-spoken of among men, whereas thus I should
become very greatly honoured. But this saying I fear, and I will
not hide it from you, Leto. They say that Apollo will be one
that is very haughty and will greatly lord it among gods and men
all over the fruitful earth. Therefore, I greatly fear in heart
and spirit that as soon as he sets the light of the sun, he will
scorn this island -- for truly I have but a hard, rocky soil --
and overturn me and thrust me down with his feet in the depths of
the sea; then will the great ocean wash deep above my head for
ever, and he will go to another land such as will please him,
there to make his temple and wooded groves. So, many-footed
creatures of the sea will make their lairs in me and black seals
their dwellings undisturbed, because I lack people. Yet if you
will but dare to sware a great oath, goddess, that here first he
will build a glorious temple to be an oracle for men, then let
him afterwards make temples and wooded groves amongst all men;
for surely he will be greatly renowned.
(ll. 83-88) So said Delos. And Leto sware the great oath of the
gods: `Now hear this, Earth and wide Heaven above, and dropping
water of Styx (this is the strongest and most awful oath for the
blessed gods), surely Phoebus shall have here his fragrant altar
and precinct, and you he shall honour above all.'
(ll. 89-101) Now when Leto had sworn and ended her oath, Delos
was very glad at the birth of the far-shooting lord. But Leto
was racked nine days and nine nights with pangs beyond wont. And
there were with her all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and
Rhea and Ichnaea and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite and the
other deathless goddesses save white-armed Hera, who sat in the
halls of cloud-gathering Zeus. Only Eilithyia, goddess of sore
travail, had not heard of Leto's trouble, for she sat on the top
of Olympus beneath golden clouds by white-armed Hera's
contriving, who kept her close through envy, because Leto with
the lovely tresses was soon to bear a son faultless and strong.
(ll. 102-114) But the goddesses sent out Iris from the well-set
isle to bring Eilithyia, promising her a great necklace strung
with golden threads, nine cubits long. And they bade Iris call
her aside from white-armed Hera, lest she might afterwards turn
her from coming with her words. When swift Iris, fleet of foot
as the wind, had heard all this, she set to run; and quickly
finishing all the distance she came to the home of the gods,
sheer Olympus, and forthwith called Eilithyia out from the hall
to the door and spoke winged words to her, telling her all as the
goddesses who dwell on Olympus had bidden her. So she moved the
heart of Eilithyia in her dear breast; and they went their way,
like shy wild-doves in their going.
(ll. 115-122) And as soon as Eilithyia the goddess of sore
travail set foot on Delos, the pains of birth seized Leto, and
she longed to bring forth; so she cast her arms about a palm tree
and kneeled on the soft meadow while the earth laughed for joy
beneath. Then the child leaped forth to the light, and all the
goddesses washed you purely and cleanly with sweet water, and
swathed you in a white garment of fine texture, new-woven, and
fastened a golden band about you.
(ll. 123-130) Now Leto did not give Apollo, bearer of the golden
blade, her breast; but Themis duly poured nectar and ambrosia
with her divine hands: and Leto was glad because she had borne a
strong son and an archer. But as soon as you had tasted that
divine heavenly food, O Phoebus, you could no longer then be held
by golden cords nor confined with bands, but all their ends were
undone. Forthwith Phoebus Apollo spoke out among the deathless
(ll. 131-132) `The lyre and the curved bow shall ever be dear to
me, and I will declare to men the unfailing will of Zeus.'
(ll. 133-139) So said Phoebus, the long-haired god who shoots
afar and began to walk upon the wide-pathed earth; and all
goddesses were amazed at him. Then with gold all Delos was
laden, beholding the child of Zeus and Leto, for joy because the
god chose her above the islands and shore to make his dwelling in
her: and she loved him yet more in her heart, and blossomed as
does a mountain-top with woodland flowers.
(ll. 140-164) And you, O lord Apollo, god of the silver bow,
shooting afar, now walked on craggy Cynthus, and now kept
wandering about the island and the people in them. Many are your
temples and wooded groves, and all peaks and towering bluffs of
lofty mountains and rivers flowing to the sea are dear to you,
Phoebus, yet in Delos do you most delight your heart; for there
the long robed Ionians gather in your honour with their children
and shy wives: mindful, they delight you with boxing and dancing
and song, so often as they hold their gathering. A man would say
that they were deathless and unageing if he should then come upon
the Ionians so met together. For he would see the graces of them
all, and would be pleased in heart gazing at the men and wellgirded
women with their swift ships and great wealth. And there
is this great wonder besides -- and its renown shall never perish
-- the girls of Delos, hand-maidens of the Far-shooter; for when
they have praised Apollo first, and also Leto and Artemis who
delights in arrows, they sing a strain-telling of men and women
of past days, and charm the tribes of men. Also they can imitate
the tongues of all men and their clattering speech: each would
say that he himself were singing, so close to truth is their
sweet song.
(ll. 165-178) And now may Apollo be favourable and Artemis; and
farewell all you maidens. Remember me in after time whenever any
one of men on earth, a stranger who has seen and suffered much,
comes here and asks of you: `Whom think ye, girls, is the
sweetest singer that comes here, and in whom do you most
delight?' Then answer, each and all, with one voice: `He is a
blind man, and dwells in rocky Chios: his lays are evermore
supreme.' As for me, I will carry your renown as far as I roam
over the earth to the well-placed this thing is true. And I will
never cease to praise far-shooting Apollo, god of the silver bow,
whom rich-haired Leto bare.
(ll. 179-181) O Lord, Lycia is yours and lovely Maeonia and
Miletus, charming city by the sea, but over wave-girt Delos you
greatly reign your own self.
(ll. 182-206) Leto's all-glorious son goes to rocky Pytho,
playing upon his hollow lyre, clad in divine, perfumed garments;
and at the touch of the golden key his lyre sings sweet. Thence,
swift as thought, he speeds from earth to Olympus, to the house
of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods: then
straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and
all the Muses together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn the
unending gifts the gods enjoy and the sufferings of men, all that
they endure at the hands of the deathless gods, and how they live
witless and helpless and cannot find healing for death or defence
against old age. Meanwhile the rich-tressed Graces and cheerful
Seasons dance with Harmonia and Hebe and Aphrodite, daughter of
Zeus, holding each other by the wrist. And among them sings one,
not mean nor puny, but tall to look upon and enviable in mien,
Artemis who delights in arrows, sister of Apollo. Among them
sport Ares and the keen-eyed Slayer of Argus, while Apollo plays
his lyre stepping high and featly and a radiance shines around
him, the gleaming of his feet and close-woven vest. And they,
even gold-tressed Leto and wise Zeus, rejoice in their great
hearts as they watch their dear son playing among the undying
(ll. 207-228) How then shall I sing of you -- though in all ways
you are a worthy theme for song? Shall I sing of you as wooer
and in the fields of love, how you went wooing the daughter of
Azan along with god-like Ischys the son of well-horsed Elatius,
or with Phorbas sprung from Triops, or with Ereutheus, or with
Leucippus and the wife of Leucippus....
((LACUNA)) on foot, he with his chariot, yet he fell not short of
Triops. Or shall I sing how at the first you went about the
earth seeking a place of oracle for men, O far-shooting Apollo?
To Pieria first you went down from Olympus and passed by sandy
Lectus and Enienae and through the land of the Perrhaebi. Soon
you came to Iolcus and set foot on Cenaeum in Euboea, famed for
ships: you stood in the Lelantine plain, but it pleased not your
heart to make a temple there and wooded groves. From there you
crossed the Euripus, far-shooting Apollo, and went up the green,
holy hills, going on to Mycalessus and grassy-bedded Teumessus,
and so came to the wood-clad abode of Thebe; for as yet no man
lived in holy Thebe, nor were there tracks or ways about Thebe's
wheat-bearing plain as yet.
(ll. 229-238) And further still you went, O far-shooting Apollo,
and came to Onchestus, Poseidon's bright grove: there the newbroken
cold distressed with drawing the trim chariot gets spirit
again, and the skilled driver springs from his car and goes on
his way. Then the horses for a while rattle the empty car, being
rid of guidance; and if they break the chariot in the woody
grove, men look after the horses, but tilt the chariot and leave
it there; for this was the rite from the very first. And the
drivers pray to the lord of the shrine; but the chariot falls to
the lot of the god.
(ll. 239-243) Further yet you went, O far-shooting Apollo, and
reached next Cephissus' sweet stream which pours forth its sweetflowing
water from Lilaea, and crossing over it, O worker from
afar, you passed many-towered Ocalea and reached grassy
(ll. 244-253) Then you went towards Telphusa: and there the
pleasant place seemed fit for making a temple and wooded grove.
You came very near and spoke to her: `Telphusa, here I am minded
to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they
will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich
Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles,
coming to seek oracles. And I will deliver to them all counsel
that cannot fail, giving answer in my rich temple.'
(ll. 254-276) So said Phoebus Apollo, and laid out all the
foundations throughout, wide and very long. But when Telphusa
saw this, she was angry in heart and spoke, saying: `Lord
Phoebus, worker from afar, I will speak a word of counsel to your
heart, since you are minded to make here a glorious temple to be
an oracle for men who will always bring hither perfect hecatombs
for you; yet I will speak out, and do you lay up my words in your
heart. The trampling of swift horses and the sound of mules
watering at my sacred springs will always irk you, and men will
like better to gaze at the well-made chariots and stamping,
swift-footed horses than at your great temple and the many
treasures that are within. But if you will be moved by me -- for
you, lord, are stronger and mightier than I, and your strength is
very great -- build at Crisa below the glades of Parnassus: there
no bright chariot will clash, and there will be no noise of
swift-footed horses near your well-built altar. But so the
glorious tribes of men will bring gifts to you as Iepaeon (`Hail-
Healer'), and you will receive with delight rich sacrifices from
the people dwelling round about.' So said Telphusa, that she
alone, and not the Far-Shooter, should have renown there; and she
persuaded the Far-Shooter.
(ll. 277-286) Further yet you went, far-shooting Apollo, until
you came to the town of the presumptuous Phlegyae who dwell on
this earth in a lovely glade near the Cephisian lake, caring not
for Zeus. And thence you went speeding swiftly to the mountain
ridge, and came to Crisa beneath snowy Parnassus, a foothill
turned towards the west: a cliff hangs over if from above, and a
hollow, rugged glade runs under. There the lord Phoebus Apollo
resolved to make his lovely temple, and thus he said:
(ll. 287-293) `In this place I am minded to build a glorious
temple to be an oracle for men, and here they will always bring
perfect hecatombs, both they who dwell in rich Peloponnesus and
the men of Europe and from all the wave-washed isles, coming to
question me. And I will deliver to them all counsel that cannot
fail, answering them in my rich temple.'
(ll. 294-299) When he had said this, Phoebus Apollo laid out all
the foundations throughout, wide and very long; and upon these
the sons of Erginus, Trophonius and Agamedes, dear to the
deathless gods, laid a footing of stone. And the countless
tribes of men built the whole temple of wrought stones, to be
sung of for ever.
(ll. 300-310) But near by was a sweet flowing spring, and there
with his strong bow the lord, the son of Zeus, killed the
bloated, great she-dragon, a fierce monster wont to do great
mischief to men upon earth, to men themselves and to their thinshanked
sheep; for she was a very bloody plague. She it was who
once received from gold-throned Hera and brought up fell, cruel
Typhaon to be a plague to men. Once on a time Hera bare him
because she was angry with father Zeus, when the Son of Cronos
bare all-glorious Athena in his head. Thereupon queenly Hera was
angry and spoke thus among the assembled gods:
(ll. 311-330) `Hear from me, all gods and goddesses, how cloudgathering
Zeus begins to dishonour me wantonly, when he has made
me his true-hearted wife. See now, apart from me he has given
birth to bright-eyed Athena who is foremost among all the blessed
gods. But my son Hephaestus whom I bare was weakly among all the
blessed gods and shrivelled of foot, a shame and disgrace to me
in heaven, whom I myself took in my hands and cast out so that he
fell in the great sea. But silver-shod Thetis the daughter of
Nereus took and cared for him with her sisters: would that she
had done other service to the blessed gods! O wicked one and
crafty! What else will you now devise? How dared you by
yourself give birth to bright-eyed Athena? Would not I have
borne you a child -- I, who was at least called your wife among
the undying gods who hold wide heaven. Beware now lest I devise
some evil thing for you hereafter: yes, now I will contrive that
a son be born me to be foremost among the undying gods -- and
that without casting shame on the holy bond of wedlock between
you and me. And I will not come to your bed, but will consort
with the blessed gods far off from you.'
(ll. 331-333) When she had so spoken, she went apart from the
gods, being very angry. Then straightway large-eyed queenly Hera
prayed, striking the ground flatwise with her hand, and speaking
(ll. 334-362) `Hear now, I pray, Earth and wide Heaven above, and
you Titan gods who dwell beneath the earth about great Tartarus,
and from whom are sprung both gods and men! Harken you now to
me, one and all, and grant that I may bear a child apart from
Zeus, no wit lesser than him in strength -- nay, let him be as
much stronger than Zeus as all-seeing Zeus than Cronos.' Thus
she cried and lashed the earth with her strong hand. Then the
life-giving earth was moved: and when Hera saw it she was glad in
heart, for she thought her prayer would be fulfilled. And
thereafter she never came to the bed of wise Zeus for a full
year, not to sit in her carved chair as aforetime to plan wise
counsel for him, but stayed in her temples where many pray, and
delighted in her offerings, large-eyed queenly Hera. But when
the months and days were fulfilled and the seasons duly came on
as the earth moved round, she bare one neither like the gods nor
mortal men, fell, cruel Typhaon, to be a plague to men.
Straightway large-eyed queenly Hera took him and bringing one
evil thing to another such, gave him to the dragoness; and she
received him. And this Typhaon used to work great mischief among
the famous tribes of men. Whosoever met the dragoness, the day
of doom would sweep him away, until the lord Apollo, who deals
death from afar, shot a strong arrow at her. Then she, rent with
bitter pangs, lay drawing great gasps for breath and rolling
about that place. An awful noise swelled up unspeakable as she
writhed continually this way and that amid the wood: and so she
left her life, breathing it forth in blood. Then Phoebus Apollo
boasted over her:
(ll. 363-369) `Now rot here upon the soil that feeds man! You at
least shall live no more to be a fell bane to men who eat the
fruit of the all-nourishing earth, and who will bring hither
perfect hecatombs. Against cruel death neither Typhoeus shall
avail you nor ill-famed Chimera, but here shall the Earth and
shining Hyperion make you rot.'
(ll. 370-374) Thus said Phoebus, exulting over her: and darkness
covered her eyes. And the holy strength of Helios made her rot
away there; wherefore the place is now called Pytho, and men call
the lord Apollo by another name, Pythian; because on that spot
the power of piercing Helios made the monster rot away.
(ll. 375-378) Then Phoebus Apollo saw that the sweet-flowing
spring had beguiled him, and he started out in anger against
Telphusa; and soon coming to her, he stood close by and spoke to
(ll. 379-381) `Telphusa, you were not, after all, to keep to
yourself this lovely place by deceiving my mind, and pour forth
your clear flowing water: here my renown shall also be and not
yours alone?'
(ll. 382-387) Thus spoke the lord, far-working Apollo, and pushed
over upon her a crag with a shower of rocks, hiding her streams:
and he made himself an altar in a wooded grove very near the
clear-flowing stream. In that place all men pray to the great
one by the name Telphusian, because he humbled the stream of holy
(ll. 388-439) Then Phoebus Apollo pondered in his heart what men
he should bring in to be his ministers in sacrifice and to serve
him in rocky Pytho. And while he considered this, he became
aware of a swift ship upon the wine-like sea in which were many
men and goodly, Cretans from Cnossos (10), the city of Minos,
they who do sacrifice to the prince and announce his decrees,
whatsoever Phoebus Apollo, bearer of the golden blade, speaks in
answer from his laurel tree below the dells of Parnassus. These
men were sailing in their black ship for traffic and for profit
to sandy Pylos and to the men of Pylos. But Phoebus Apollo met
them: in the open sea he sprang upon their swift ship, like a
dolphin in shape, and lay there, a great and awesome monster, and
none of them gave heed so as to understand (11); but they sought
to cast the dolphin overboard. But he kept shaking the black
ship every way and make the timbers quiver. So they sat silent
in their craft for fear, and did not loose the sheets throughout
the black, hollow ship, nor lowered the sail of their dark-prowed
vessel, but as they had set it first of all with oxhide ropes, so
they kept sailing on; for a rushing south wind hurried on the
swift ship from behind. First they passed by Malea, and then
along the Laconian coast they came to Taenarum, sea-garlanded
town and country of Helios who gladdens men, where the thickfleeced
sheep of the lord Helios feed continually and occupy a
glad-some country. There they wished to put their ship to shore,
and land and comprehend the great marvel and see with their eyes
whether the monster would remain upon the deck of the hollow
ship, or spring back into the briny deep where fishes shoal. But
the well-built ship would not obey the helm, but went on its way
all along Peloponnesus: and the lord, far-working Apollo, guided
it easily with the breath of the breeze. So the ship ran on its
course and came to Arena and lovely Argyphea and Thryon, the ford
of Alpheus, and well-placed Aepy and sandy Pylos and the men of
Pylos; past Cruni it went and Chalcis and past Dyme and fair
Elis, where the Epei rule. And at the time when she was making
for Pherae, exulting in the breeze from Zeus, there appeared to
them below the clouds the steep mountain of Ithaca, and Dulichium
and Same and wooded Zacynthus. But when they were passed by all
the coast of Peloponnesus, then, towards Crisa, that vast gulf
began to heave in sight which through all its length cuts off the
rich isle of Pelops. There came on them a strong, clear westwind
by ordinance of Zeus and blew from heaven vehemently, that
with all speed the ship might finish coursing over the briny
water of the sea. So they began again to voyage back towards the
dawn and the sun: and the lord Apollo, son of Zeus, led them on
until they reached far-seen Crisa, land of vines, and into haven:
there the sea-coursing ship grounded on the sands.
(ll. 440-451) Then, like a star at noonday, the lord, far-working
Apollo, leaped from the ship: flashes of fire flew from him thick
and their brightness reached to heaven. He entered into his
shrine between priceless tripods, and there made a flame to flare
up bright, showing forth the splendour of his shafts, so that
their radiance filled all Crisa, and the wives and well-girded
daughters of the Crisaeans raised a cry at that outburst of
Phoebus; for he cast great fear upon them all. From his shrine
he sprang forth again, swift as a thought, to speed again to the
ship, bearing the form of a man, brisk and sturdy, in the prime
of his youth, while his broad shoulders were covered with his
hair: and he spoke to the Cretans, uttering winged words:
(ll. 452-461) `Strangers, who are you? Whence come you sailing
along the paths of the sea? Are you for traffic, or do you
wander at random over the sea as pirates do who put their own
lives to hazard and bring mischief to men of foreign parts as
they roam? Why rest you so and are afraid, and do not go ashore
nor stow the gear of your black ship? For that is the custom of
men who live by bread, whenever they come to land in their dark
ships from the main, spent with toil; at once desire for sweet
food catches them about the heart.'
(ll. 462-473) So speaking, he put courage in their hearts, and
the master of the Cretans answered him and said: `Stranger --
though you are nothing like mortal men in shape or stature, but
are as the deathless gods -- hail and all happiness to you, and
may the gods give you good. Now tell me truly that I may surely
know it: what country is this, and what land, and what men live
herein? As for us, with thoughts set otherwards, we were sailing
over the great sea to Pylos from Crete (for from there we declare
that we are sprung), but now are come on shipboard to this place
by no means willingly -- another way and other paths -- and
gladly would we return. But one of the deathless gods brought us
here against our will.'
(ll. 474-501) Then far-working Apollo answered then and said:
`Strangers who once dwelt about wooded Cnossos but now shall
return no more each to his loved city and fair house and dear
wife; here shall you keep my rich temple that is honoured by many
men. I am the son of Zeus; Apollo is my name: but you I brought
here over the wide gulf of the sea, meaning you no hurt; nay,
here you shall keep my rich temple that is greatly honoured among
men, and you shall know the plans of the deathless gods, and by
their will you shall be honoured continually for all time. And
now come, make haste and do as I say. First loose the sheets and
lower the sail, and then draw the swift ship up upon the land.
Take out your goods and the gear of the straight ship, and make
an altar upon the beach of the sea: light fire upon it and make
an offering of white meal. Next, stand side by side around the
altar and pray: and in as much as at the first on the hazy sea I
sprang upon the swift ship in the form of a dolphin, pray to me
as Apollo Delphinius; also the altar itself shall be called
Delphinius and overlooking (12) for ever. Afterwards, sup beside
your dark ship and pour an offering to the blessed gods who dwell
on Olympus. But when you have put away craving for sweet food,
come with me singing the hymn Ie Paean (Hail, Healer!), until you
come to the place where you shall keep my rich temple.'
(ll. 502-523) So said Apollo. And they readily harkened to him
and obeyed him. First they unfastened the sheets and let down
the sail and lowered the mast by the forestays upon the mastrest.
Then, landing upon the beach of the sea, they hauled up
the ship from the water to dry land and fixed long stays under
it. Also they made an altar upon the beach of the sea, and when
they had lit a fire, made an offering of white meal, and prayed
standing around the altar as Apollo had bidden them. Then they
took their meal by the swift, black ship, and poured an offering
to the blessed gods who dwell on Olympus. And when they had put
away craving for drink and food, they started out with the lord
Apollo, the son of Zeus, to lead them, holding a lyre in his
hands, and playing sweetly as he stepped high and featly. So the
Cretans followed him to Pytho, marching in time as they chanted
the Ie Paean after the manner of the Cretan paean-singers and of
those in whose hearts the heavenly Muse has put sweet-voiced
song. With tireless feet they approached the ridge and
straightway came to Parnassus and the lovely place where they
were to dwell honoured by many men. There Apollo brought them
and showed them his most holy sanctuary and rich temple.
(ll. 524-525) But their spirit was stirred in their dear breasts,
and the master of the Cretans asked him, saying:
(ll. 526-530) `Lord, since you have brought us here far from our
dear ones and our fatherland, -- for so it seemed good to your
heart, -- tell us now how we shall live. That we would know of
you. This land is not to be desired either for vineyards or for
pastures so that we can live well thereon and also minister to
(ll. 531-544) Then Apollo, the son of Zeus, smiled upon them and
said: `Foolish mortals and poor drudges are you, that you seek
cares and hard toils and straits! Easily will I tell you a word
and set it in your hearts. Though each one of you with knife in
hand should slaughter sheep continually, yet would you always
have abundant store, even all that the glorious tribes of men
bring here for me. But guard you my temple and receive the
tribes of men that gather to this place, and especially show
mortal men my will, and do you keep righteousness in your heart.
But if any shall be disobedient and pay no heed to my warning, of
if there shall be any idle word or deed and outrage as is common
among mortal men, then other men shall be your masters and with a
strong hand shall make you subject for ever. All has been told
you: do you keep it in your heart.'
(ll. 545-546) And so, farewell, son of Zeus and Leto; but I will
remember you and another hymn also.
IV. TO HERMES (582 lines)
(ll. 1-29) Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia, lord
of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, the luck-bringing
messenger of the immortals whom Maia bare, the rich-tressed
nymph, when she was joined in love with Zeus, -- a shy goddess,
for she avoided the company of the blessed gods, and lived within
a deep, shady cave. There the son of Cronos used to lie with the
rich-tressed nymph, unseen by deathless gods and mortal men, at
dead of night while sweet sleep should hold white-armed Hera
fast. And when the purpose of great Zeus was fixed in heaven,
she was delivered and a notable thing was come to pass. For then
she bare a son, of many shifts, blandly cunning, a robber, a
cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief
at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds
among the deathless gods. Born with the dawning, at mid-day he
played on the lyre, and in the evening he stole the cattle of
far-shooting Apollo on the fourth day of the month; for on that
day queenly Maia bare him. So soon as he had leaped from his
mother's heavenly womb, he lay not long waiting in his holy
cradle, but he sprang up and sought the oxen of Apollo. But as
he stepped over the threshold of the high-roofed cave, he found a
tortoise there and gained endless delight. For it was Hermes who
first made the tortoise a singer. The creature fell in his way
at the courtyard gate, where it was feeding on the rich grass
before the dwelling, waddling along. When be saw it, the luckbringing
son of Zeus laughed and said:
(ll. 30-38) `An omen of great luck for me so soon! I do not
slight it. Hail, comrade of the feast, lovely in shape, sounding
at the dance! With joy I meet you! Where got you that rich gaud
for covering, that spangled shell -- a tortoise living in the
mountains? But I will take and carry you within: you shall help
me and I will do you no disgrace, though first of all you must
profit me. It is better to be at home: harm may come out of
doors. Living, you shall be a spell against mischievous
witchcraft (13); but if you die, then you shall make sweetest
(ll. 39-61) Thus speaking, he took up the tortoise in both hands
and went back into the house carrying his charming toy. Then he
cut off its limbs and scooped out the marrow of the mountaintortoise
with a scoop of grey iron. As a swift thought darts
through the heart of a man when thronging cares haunt him, or as
bright glances flash from the eye, so glorious Hermes planned
both thought and deed at once. He cut stalks of reed to measure
and fixed them, fastening their ends across the back and through
the shell of the tortoise, and then stretched ox hide all over it
by his skill. Also he put in the horns and fitted a cross-piece
upon the two of them, and stretched seven strings of sheep-gut.
But when he had made it he proved each string in turn with the
key, as he held the lovely thing. At the touch of his hand it
sounded marvellously; and, as he tried it, the god sang sweet
random snatches, even as youths bandy taunts at festivals. He
sang of Zeus the son of Cronos and neat-shod Maia, the converse
which they had before in the comradeship of love, telling all the
glorious tale of his own begetting. He celebrated, too, the
handmaids of the nymph, and her bright home, and the tripods all
about the house, and the abundant cauldrons.
(ll. 62-67) But while he was singing of all these, his heart was
bent on other matters. And he took the hollow lyre and laid it
in his sacred cradle, and sprang from the sweet-smelling hall to
a watch-place, pondering sheet trickery in his heart -- deeds
such as knavish folk pursue in the dark night-time; for he longed
to taste flesh.
(ll. 68-86) The Sun was going down beneath the earth towards
Ocean with his horses and chariot when Hermes came hurrying to
the shadowy mountains of Pieria, where the divine cattle of the
blessed gods had their steads and grazed the pleasant, unmown
meadows. Of these the Son of Maia, the sharp-eyed slayer of
Argus then cut off from the herd fifty loud-lowing kine, and
drove them straggling-wise across a sandy place, turning their
hoof-prints aside. Also, he bethought him of a crafty ruse and
reversed the marks of their hoofs, making the front behind and
the hind before, while he himself walked the other way (14).
Then he wove sandals with wicker-work by the sand of the sea,
wonderful things, unthought of, unimagined; for he mixed together
tamarisk and myrtle-twigs, fastening together an armful of their
fresh, young wood, and tied them, leaves and all securely under
his feet as light sandals. The brushwood the glorious Slayer of
Argus plucked in Pieria as he was preparing for his journey,
making shift (15) as one making haste for a long journey.
(ll. 87-89) But an old man tilling his flowering vineyard saw him
as he was hurrying down the plain through grassy Onchestus. So
the Son of Maia began and said to him:
(ll. 90-93) `Old man, digging about your vines with bowed
shoulders, surely you shall have much wine when all these bear
fruit, if you obey me and strictly remember not to have seen what
you have seen, and not to have heard what you have heard, and to
keep silent when nothing of your own is harmed.'
(ll. 94-114) When he had said this much, he hurried the strong
cattle on together: through many shadowy mountains and echoing
gorges and flowery plains glorious Hermes drove them. And now
the divine night, his dark ally, was mostly passed, and dawn that
sets folk to work was quickly coming on, while bright Selene,
daughter of the lord Pallas, Megamedes' son, had just climbed her
watch-post, when the strong Son of Zeus drove the wide-browed
cattle of Phoebus Apollo to the river Alpheus. And they came
unwearied to the high-roofed byres and the drinking-troughs that
were before the noble meadow. Then, after he had well-fed the
loud-bellowing cattle with fodder and driven them into the byre,
close-packed and chewing lotus and began to seek the art of fire.
He chose a stout laurel branch and trimmed it with the knife....
((LACUNA)) (16)
....held firmly in his hand: and the hot smoke rose up. For it
was Hermes who first invented fire-sticks and fire. Next he took
many dried sticks and piled them thick and plenty in a sunken
trench: and flame began to glow, spreading afar the blast of
fierce-burning fire.
(ll. 115-137) And while the strength of glorious Hephaestus was
beginning to kindle the fire, he dragged out two lowing, horned
cows close to the fire; for great strength was with him. He
threw them both panting upon their backs on the ground, and
rolled them on their sides, bending their necks over (17), and
pierced their vital chord. Then he went on from task to task:
first he cut up the rich, fatted meat, and pierced it with wooden
spits, and roasted flesh and the honourable chine and the paunch
full of dark blood all together. He laid them there upon the
ground, and spread out the hides on a rugged rock: and so they
are still there many ages afterwards, a long, long time after all
this, and are continually (18). Next glad-hearted Hermes dragged
the rich meats he had prepared and put them on a smooth, flat
stone, and divided them into twelve portions distributed by lot,
making each portion wholly honourable. Then glorious Hermes
longed for the sacrificial meat, for the sweet savour wearied
him, god though he was; nevertheless his proud heart was not
prevailed upon to devour the flesh, although he greatly desired
(19). But he put away the fat and all the flesh in the highroofed
byre, placing them high up to be a token of his youthful
theft. And after that he gathered dry sticks and utterly
destroyed with fire all the hoofs and all the heads.
(ll. 138-154) And when the god had duly finished all, he threw
his sandals into deep-eddying Alpheus, and quenched the embers,
covering the black ashes with sand, and so spent the night while
Selene's soft light shone down. Then the god went straight back
again at dawn to the bright crests of Cyllene, and no one met him
on the long journey either of the blessed gods or mortal men, nor
did any dog bark. And luck-bringing Hermes, the son of Zeus,
passed edgeways through the key-hole of the hall like the autumn
breeze, even as mist: straight through the cave he went and came
to the rich inner chamber, walking softly, and making no noise as
one might upon the floor. Then glorious Hermes went hurriedly to
his cradle, wrapping his swaddling clothes about his shoulders as
though he were a feeble babe, and lay playing with the covering
about his knees; but at his left hand he kept close his sweet
(ll. 155-161) But the god did not pass unseen by the goddess his
mother; but she said to him: `How now, you rogue! Whence come
you back so at night-time, you that wear shamelessness as a
garment? And now I surely believe the son of Leto will soon have
you forth out of doors with unbreakable cords about your ribs, or
you will live a rogue's life in the glens robbing by whiles. Go
to, then; your father got you to be a great worry to mortal men
and deathless gods.'
(ll. 162-181) Then Hermes answered her with crafty words:
`Mother, why do you seek to frighten me like a feeble child whose
heart knows few words of blame, a fearful babe that fears its
mother's scolding? Nay, but I will try whatever plan is best,
and so feed myself and you continually. We will not be content
to remain here, as you bid, alone of all the gods unfee'd with
offerings and prayers. Better to live in fellowship with the
deathless gods continually, rich, wealthy, and enjoying stories
of grain, than to sit always in a gloomy cave: and, as regards
honour, I too will enter upon the rite that Apollo has. If my
father will not give it to me, I will seek -- and I am able -- to
be a prince of robbers. And if Leto's most glorious son shall
seek me out, I think another and a greater loss will befall him.
For I will go to Pytho to break into his great house, and will
plunder therefrom splendid tripods, and cauldrons, and gold, and
plenty of bright iron, and much apparel; and you shall see it if
you will.'
(ll. 182-189) With such words they spoke together, the son of
Zeus who holds the aegis, and the lady Maia. Now Eros the early
born was rising from deep-flowing Ocean, bringing light to men,
when Apollo, as he went, came to Onchestus, the lovely grove and
sacred place of the loud-roaring Holder of the Earth. There he
found an old man grazing his beast along the pathway from his
court-yard fence, and the all-glorious Son of Leto began and said
to him.
(ll. 190-200) `Old man, weeder (20) of grassy Onchestus, I am
come here from Pieria seeking cattle, cows all of them, all with
curving horns, from my herd. The black bull was grazing alone
away from the rest, but fierce-eyed hounds followed the cows,
four of them, all of one mind, like men. These were left behind,
the dogs and the bull -- which is great marvel; but the cows
strayed out of the soft meadow, away from the pasture when the
sun was just going down. Now tell me this, old man born long
ago: have you seen one passing along behind those cows?'
(ll. 201-211) Then the old man answered him and said: `My son, it
is hard to tell all that one's eyes see; for many wayfarers pass
to and fro this way, some bent on much evil, and some on good: it
is difficult to know each one. However, I was digging about my
plot of vineyard all day long until the sun went down, and I
thought, good sir, but I do not know for certain, that I marked a
child, whoever the child was, that followed long-horned cattle --
an infant who had a staff and kept walking from side to side: he
was driving them backwards way, with their heads toward him.'
(ll. 212-218) So said the old man. And when Apollo heard this
report, he went yet more quickly on his way, and presently,
seeing a long-winged bird, he knew at once by that omen that
thief was the child of Zeus the son of Cronos. So the lord
Apollo, son of Zeus, hurried on to goodly Pylos seeking his
shambling oxen, and he had his broad shoulders covered with a
dark cloud. But when the Far-Shooter perceived the tracks, he
(ll. 219-226) `Oh, oh! Truly this is a great marvel that my eyes
behold! These are indeed the tracks of straight-horned oxen, but
they are turned backwards towards the flowery meadow. But these
others are not the footprints of man or woman or grey wolves or
bears or lions, nor do I think they are the tracks of a roughmaned
Centaur -- whoever it be that with swift feet makes such
monstrous footprints; wonderful are the tracks on this side of
the way, but yet more wonderfully are those on that.'
(ll. 227-234) When he had so said, the lord Apollo, the Son of
Zeus hastened on and came to the forest-clad mountain of Cyllene
and the deep-shadowed cave in the rock where the divine nymph
brought forth the child of Zeus who is the son of Cronos. A
sweet odour spread over the lovely hill, and many thin-shanked
sheep were grazing on the grass. Then far-shooting Apollo
himself stepped down in haste over the stone threshold into the
dusky cave.
(ll. 235-253) Now when the Son of Zeus and Maia saw Apollo in a
rage about his cattle, he snuggled down in his fragrant
swaddling-clothes; and as wood-ash covers over the deep embers of
tree-stumps, so Hermes cuddled himself up when he saw the Far-
Shooter. He squeezed head and hands and feet together in a small
space, like a new born child seeking sweet sleep, though in truth
he was wide awake, and he kept his lyre under his armpit. But
the Son of Leto was aware and failed not to perceive the
beautiful mountain-nymph and her dear son, albeit a little child
and swathed so craftily. He peered in ever corner of the great
dwelling and, taking a bright key, he opened three closets full
of nectar and lovely ambrosia. And much gold and silver was
stored in them, and many garments of the nymph, some purple and
some silvery white, such as are kept in the sacred houses of the
blessed gods. Then, after the Son of Leto had searched out the
recesses of the great house, he spake to glorious Hermes:
(ll. 254-259) `Child, lying in the cradle, make haste and tell me
of my cattle, or we two will soon fall out angrily. For I will
take and cast you into dusty Tartarus and awful hopeless
darkness, and neither your mother nor your father shall free you
or bring you up again to the light, but you will wander under the
earth and be the leader amongst little folk.' (21)
(ll. 260-277) Then Hermes answered him with crafty words: `Son of
Leto, what harsh words are these you have spoken? And is it
cattle of the field you are come here to seek? I have not seen
them: I have not heard of them: no one has told me of them. I
cannot give news of them, nor win the reward for news. Am I like
a cattle-liter, a stalwart person? This is no task for me:
rather I care for other things: I care for sleep, and milk of my
mother's breast, and wrappings round my shoulders, and warm
baths. Let no one hear the cause of this dispute; for this would
be a great marvel indeed among the deathless gods, that a child
newly born should pass in through the forepart of the house with
cattle of the field: herein you speak extravagantly. I was born
yesterday, and my feet are soft and the ground beneath is rough;
nevertheless, if you will have it so, I will swear a great oath
by my father's head and vow that neither am I guilty myself,
neither have I seen any other who stole your cows -- whatever
cows may be; for I know them only by hearsay.'
(ll. 278-280) So, then, said Hermes, shooting quick glances from
his eyes: and he kept raising his brows and looking this way and
that, whistling long and listening to Apollo's story as to an
idle tale.
(ll. 281-292) But far-working Apollo laughed softly and said to
him: `O rogue, deceiver, crafty in heart, you talk so innocently
that I most surely believe that you have broken into many a wellbuilt
house and stripped more than one poor wretch bare this
night (22), gathering his goods together all over the house
without noise. You will plague many a lonely herdsman in
mountain glades, when you come on herds and thick-fleeced sheep,
and have a hankering after flesh. But come now, if you would not
sleep your last and latest sleep, get out of your cradle, you
comrade of dark night. Surely hereafter this shall be your title
amongst the deathless gods, to be called the prince of robbers
(ll. 293-300) So said Phoebus Apollo, and took the child and
began to carry him. But at that moment the strong Slayer of
Argus had his plan, and, while Apollo held him in his hands, sent
forth an omen, a hard-worked belly-serf, a rude messenger, and
sneezed directly after. And when Apollo heard it, he dropped
glorious Hermes out of his hands on the ground: then sitting down
before him, though he was eager to go on his way, he spoke
mockingly to Hermes:
(ll. 301-303) `Fear not, little swaddling baby, son of Zeus and
Maia. I shall find the strong cattle presently by these omens,
and you shall lead the way.'
(ll. 304-306) When Apollo had so said, Cyllenian Hermes sprang up
quickly, starting in haste. With both hands he pushed up to his
ears the covering that he had wrapped about his shoulders, and
(ll. 307-312) `Where are you carrying me, Far-Worker, hastiest of
all the gods? Is it because of your cattle that you are so angry
and harass me? O dear, would that all the sort of oxen might
perish; for it is not I who stole your cows, nor did I see
another steal them -- whatever cows may be, and of that I have
only heard report. Nay, give right and take it before Zeus, the
Son of Cronos.'
(ll. 313-326) So Hermes the shepherd and Leto's glorious son kept
stubbornly disputing each article of their quarrel: Apollo,
speaking truly....
....not fairly sought to seize glorious Hermes because of the
cows; but he, the Cyllenian, tried to deceive the God of the
Silver Bow with tricks and cunning words. But when, though he
had many wiles, he found the other had as many shifts, he began
to walk across the sand, himself in front, while the Son of Zeus
and Leto came behind. Soon they came, these lovely children of
Zeus, to the top of fragrant Olympus, to their father, the Son of
Cronos; for there were the scales of judgement set for them both.
There was an assembly on snowy Olympus, and the immortals who
perish not were gathering after the hour of gold-throned Dawn.
(ll. 327-329) Then Hermes and Apollo of the Silver Bow stood at
the knees of Zeus: and Zeus who thunders on high spoke to his
glorious son and asked him:
(ll. 330-332) `Phoebus, whence come you driving this great spoil,
a child new born that has the look of a herald? This is a
weighty matter that is come before the council of the gods.'
(ll. 333-364) Then the lord, far-working Apollo, answered him: `O
my father, you shall soon hear no triffling tale though you
reproach me that I alone am fond of spoil. Here is a child, a
burgling robber, whom I found after a long journey in the hills
of Cyllene: for my part I have never seen one so pert either
among the gods or all men that catch folk unawares throughout the
world. He strole away my cows from their meadow and drove them
off in the evening along the shore of the loud-roaring sea,
making straight for Pylos. There were double tracks, and
wonderful they were, such as one might marvel at, the doing of a
clever sprite; for as for the cows, the dark dust kept and showed
their footprints leading towards the flowery meadow; but he
himself -- bewildering creature -- crossed the sandy ground
outside the path, not on his feet nor yet on his hands; but,
furnished with some other means he trudged his way -- wonder of
wonders! -- as though one walked on slender oak-trees. Now while
he followed the cattle across sandy ground, all the tracks showed
quite clearly in the dust; but when he had finished the long way
across the sand, presently the cows' track and his own could not
be traced over the hard ground. But a mortal man noticed him as
he drove the wide-browed kine straight towards Pylos. And as
soon as he had shut them up quietly, and had gone home by crafty
turns and twists, he lay down in his cradle in the gloom of a dim
cave, as still as dark night, so that not even an eagle keenly
gazing would have spied him. Much he rubbed his eyes with his
hands as he prepared falsehood, and himself straightway said
roundly: "I have not seen them: I have not heard of them: no man
has told me of them. I could not tell you of them, nor win the
reward of telling."'
(ll. 365-367) When he had so spoken, Phoebus Apollo sat down.
But Hermes on his part answered and said, pointing at the Son of
Cronos, the lord of all the gods:
(ll. 368-386) `Zeus, my father, indeed I will speak truth to you;
for I am truthful and I cannot tell a lie. He came to our house
to-day looking for his shambling cows, as the sun was newly
rising. He brought no witnesses with him nor any of the blessed
gods who had seen the theft, but with great violence ordered me
to confess, threatening much to throw me into wide Tartarus. For
he has the rich bloom of glorious youth, while I was born but
yesterday -- as he too knows -- nor am I like a cattle-lifter, a
sturdy fellow. Believe my tale (for you claim to be my own
father), that I did not drive his cows to my house -- so may I
prosper -- nor crossed the threshold: this I say truly. I
reverence Helios greatly and the other gods, and you I love and
him I dread. You yourself know that I am not guilty: and I will
swear a great oath upon it: -- No! by these rich-decked porticoes
of the gods. And some day I will punish him, strong as he is,
for this pitiless inquisition; but now do you help the younger.'
(ll. 387-396) So spake the Cyllenian, the Slayer of Argus, while
he kept shooting sidelong glances and kept his swaddling-clothes
upon his arm, and did not cast them away. But Zeus laughed out
loud to see his evil-plotting child well and cunningly denying
guilt about the cattle. And he bade them both to be of one mind
and search for the cattle, and guiding Hermes to lead the way
and, without mischievousness of heart, to show the place where
now he had hidden the strong cattle. Then the Son of Cronos
bowed his head: and goodly Hermes obeyed him; for the will of
Zeus who holds the aegis easily prevailed with him.
(ll. 397-404) Then the two all-glorious children of Zeus hastened
both to sandy Pylos, and reached the ford of Alpheus, and came to
the fields and the high-roofed byre where the beasts were
cherished at night-time. Now while Hermes went to the cave in
the rock and began to drive out the strong cattle, the son of
Leto, looking aside, saw the cowhides on the sheer rock. And he
asked glorious Hermes at once:
(ll. 405-408) `How were you able, you crafty rogue, to flay two
cows, new-born and babyish as you are? For my part, I dread the
strength that will be yours: there is no need you should keep
growing long, Cyllenian, son of Maia!'
(ll. 409-414) So saying, Apollo twisted strong withes with his
hands meaning to bind Hermes with firm bands; but the bands would
not hold him, and the withes of osier fell far from him and began
to grow at once from the ground beneath their feet in that very
place. And intertwining with one another, they quickly grew and
covered all the wild-roving cattle by the will of thievish
Hermes, so that Apollo was astonished as he gazed.
(ll. 414-435) Then the strong slayer of Argus looked furtively
upon the ground with eyes flashing fire.... desiring to hide....
....Very easily he softened the son of all-glorious Leto as he
would, stern though the Far-shooter was. He took the lyre upon
his left arm and tried each string in turn with the key, so that
it sounded awesomely at his touch. And Phoebus Apollo laughed
for joy; for the sweet throb of the marvellous music went to his
heart, and a soft longing took hold on his soul as he listened.
Then the son of Maia, harping sweetly upon his lyre, took courage
and stood at the left hand of Phoebus Apollo; and soon, while he
played shrilly on his lyre, he lifted up his voice and sang, and
lovely was the sound of his voice that followed. He sang the
story of the deathless gods and of the dark earth, how at the
first they came to be, and how each one received his portion.
First among the gods he honoured Mnemosyne, mother of the Muses,
in his song; for the son of Maia was of her following. And next
the goodly son of Zeus hymned the rest of the immortals according
to their order in age, and told how each was born, mentioning all
in order as he struck the lyre upon his arm. But Apollo was
seized with a longing not to be allayed, and he opened his mouth
and spoke winged words to Hermes:
(ll. 436-462) `Slayer of oxen, trickster, busy one, comrade of
the feast, this song of yours is worth fifty cows, and I believe
that presently we shall settle our quarrel peacefully. But come
now, tell me this, resourceful son of Maia: has this marvellous
thing been with you from your birth, or did some god or mortal
man give it you -- a noble gift -- and teach you heavenly song?
For wonderful is this new-uttered sound I hear, the like of which
I vow that no man nor god dwelling on Olympus ever yet has known
but you, O thievish son of Maia. What skill is this? What song
for desperate cares? What way of song? For verily here are
three things to hand all at once from which to choose, -- mirth,
and love, and sweet sleep. And though I am a follower of the
Olympian Muses who love dances and the bright path of song -- the
full-toned chant and ravishing thrill of flutes -- yet I never
cared for any of those feats of skill at young men's revels, as I
do now for this: I am filled with wonder, O son of Zeus, at your
sweet playing. But now, since you, though little, have such
glorious skill, sit down, dear boy, and respect the words of your
elders. For now you shall have renown among the deathless gods,
you and your mother also. This I will declare to you exactly: by
this shaft of cornel wood I will surely make you a leader
renowned among the deathless gods, and fortunate, and will give
you glorious gifts and will not deceive you from first to last.'
(ll. 463-495) Then Hermes answered him with artful words: `You
question me carefully, O Far-worker; yet I am not jealous that
you should enter upon my art: this day you shall know it. For I
seek to be friendly with you both in thought and word. Now you
well know all things in your heart, since you sit foremost among
the deathless gods, O son of Zeus, and are goodly and strong.
And wise Zeus loves you as all right is, and has given you
splendid gifts. And they say that from the utterance of Zeus you
have learned both the honours due to the gods, O Far-worker, and
oracles from Zeus, even all his ordinances. Of all these I
myself have already learned that you have great wealth. Now, you
are free to learn whatever you please; but since, as it seems,
your heart is so strongly set on playing the lyre, chant, and
play upon it, and give yourself to merriment, taking this as a
gift from me, and do you, my friend, bestow glory on me. Sing
well with this clear-voiced companion in your hands; for you are
skilled in good, well-ordered utterance. From now on bring it
confidently to the rich feast and lovely dance and glorious
revel, a joy by night and by day. Whoso with wit and wisdom
enquires of it cunningly, him it teaches through its sound all
manner of things that delight the mind, being easily played with
gentle familiarities, for it abhors toilsome drudgery; but whoso
in ignorance enquires of it violently, to him it chatters mere
vanity and foolishness. But you are able to learn whatever you
please. So then, I will give you this lyre, glorious son of
Zeus, while I for my part will graze down with wild-roving cattle
the pastures on hill and horse-feeding plain: so shall the cows
covered by the bulls calve abundantly both males and females.
And now there is no need for you, bargainer though you are, to be
furiously angry.'
(ll. 496-502) When Hermes had said this, he held out the lyre:
and Phoebus Apollo took it, and readily put his shining whip in
Hermes' hand, and ordained him keeper of herds. The son of Maia
received it joyfully, while the glorious son of Leto, the lord
far-working Apollo, took the lyre upon his left arm and tried
each string with the key. Awesomely it sounded at the touch of
the god, while he sang sweetly to its note.
(ll. 503-512) Afterwards they two, the all-glorious sons of Zeus
turned the cows back towards the sacred meadow, but themselves
hastened back to snowy Olympus, delighting in the lyre. Then
wise Zeus was glad and made them both friends. And Hermes loved
the son of Leto continually, even as he does now, when he had
given the lyre as token to the Far-shooter, who played it
skilfully, holding it upon his arm. But for himself Hermes found
out another cunning art and made himself the pipes whose sound is
heard afar.
(ll. 513-520) Then the son of Leto said to Hermes: `Son of Maia,
guide and cunning one, I fear you may steal form me the lyre and
my curved bow together; for you have an office from Zeus, to
establish deeds of barter amongst men throughout the fruitful
earth. Now if you would only swear me the great oath of the
gods, either by nodding your head, or by the potent water of
Styx, you would do all that can please and ease my heart.'
(ll. 521-549) Then Maia's son nodded his head and promised that
he would never steal anything of all the Far-shooter possessed,
and would never go near his strong house; but Apollo, son of
Leto, swore to be fellow and friend to Hermes, vowing that he
would love no other among the immortals, neither god nor man
sprung from Zeus, better than Hermes: and the Father sent forth
an eagle in confirmation. And Apollo sware also: `Verily I will
make you only to be an omen for the immortals and all alike,
trusted and honoured by my heart. Moreover, I will give you a
splendid staff of riches and wealth: it is of gold, with three
branches, and will keep you scatheless, accomplishing every task,
whether of words or deeds that are good, which I claim to know
through the utterance of Zeus. But as for sooth-saying, noble,
heaven-born child, of which you ask, it is not lawful for you to
learn it, nor for any other of the deathless gods: only the mind
of Zeus knows that. I am pledged and have vowed and sworn a
strong oath that no other of the eternal gods save I should know
the wise-hearted counsel of Zeus. And do not you, my brother,
bearer of the golden wand, bid me tell those decrees which allseeing
Zeus intends. As for men, I will harm one and profit
another, sorely perplexing the tribes of unenviable men.
Whosoever shall come guided by the call and flight of birds of
sure omen, that man shall have advantage through my voice, and I
will not deceive him. But whoso shall trust to idly-chattering
birds and shall seek to invoke my prophetic art contrary to my
will, and to understand more than the eternal gods, I declare
that he shall come on an idle journey; yet his gifts I would
(ll. 550-568) `But I will tell you another thing, Son of allglorious
Maia and Zeus who holds the aegis, luck-bringing genius
of the gods. There are certain holy ones, sisters born -- three
virgins (23) gifted with wings: their heads are besprinkled with
white meal, and they dwell under a ridge of Parnassus. These are
teachers of divination apart from me, the art which I practised
while yet a boy following herds, though my father paid no heed to
it. From their home they fly now here, now there, feeding on
honey-comb and bringing all things to pass. And when they are
inspired through eating yellow honey, they are willing to speak
truth; but if they be deprived of the gods' sweet food, then they
speak falsely, as they swarm in and out together. These, then, I
give you; enquire of them strictly and delight your heart: and if
you should teach any mortal so to do, often will he hear your
response -- if he have good fortune. Take these, Son of Maia,
and tend the wild roving, horned oxen and horses and patient
(ll. 568a-573) So he spake. And from heaven father Zeus himself
gave confirmation to his words, and commanded that glorious
Hermes should be lord over all birds of omen and grim-eyed lions,
and boars with gleaming tusks, and over dogs and all flocks that
the wide earth nourishes, and over all sheep; also that he only
should be the appointed messenger to Hades, who, though he takes
no gift, shall give him no mean prize.
(ll. 574-578) Thus the lord Apollo showed his kindness for the
Son of Maia by all manner of friendship: and the Son of Cronos
gave him grace besides. He consorts with all mortals and
immortals: a little he profits, but continually throughout the
dark night he cozens the tribes of mortal men.
(ll. 579-580) And so, farewell, Son of Zeus and Maia; but I will
remember you and another song also.
V. TO APHRODITE (293 lines)
(ll. 1-6) Muse, tell me the deeds of golden Aphrodite the
Cyprian, who stirs up sweet passion in the gods and subdues the
tribes of mortal men and birds that fly in air and all the many
creatures that the dry land rears, and all the sea: all these
love the deeds of rich-crowned Cytherea.
(ll. 7-32) Yet there are three hearts that she cannot bend nor
yet ensnare. First is the daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis,
bright-eyed Athene; for she has no pleasure in the deeds of
golden Aphrodite, but delights in wars and in the work of Ares,
in strifes and battles and in preparing famous crafts. She first
taught earthly craftsmen to make chariots of war and cars
variously wrought with bronze, and she, too, teaches tender
maidens in the house and puts knowledge of goodly arts in each
one's mind. Nor does laughter-loving Aphrodite ever tame in love
Artemis, the huntress with shafts of gold; for she loves archery
and the slaying of wild beasts in the mountains, the lyre also
and dancing and thrilling cries and shady woods and the cities of
upright men. Nor yet does the pure maiden Hestia love
Aphrodite's works. She was the first-born child of wily Cronos
and youngest too (24), by will of Zeus who holds the aegis, -- a
queenly maid whom both Poseidon and Apollo sought to wed. But
she was wholly unwilling, nay, stubbornly refused; and touching
the head of father Zeus who holds the aegis, she, that fair
goddess, sware a great oath which has in truth been fulfilled,
that she would be a maiden all her days. So Zeus the Father gave
her an high honour instead of marriage, and she has her place in
the midst of the house and has the richest portion. In all the
temples of the gods she has a share of honour, and among all
mortal men she is chief of the goddesses.
(ll. 33-44) Of these three Aphrodite cannot bend or ensnare the
hearts. But of all others there is nothing among the blessed
gods or among mortal men that has escaped Aphrodite. Even the
heart of Zeus, who delights in thunder, is led astray by her;
though he is greatest of all and has the lot of highest majesty,
she beguiles even his wise heart whensoever she pleases, and
mates him with mortal women, unknown to Hera, his sister and his
wife, the grandest far in beauty among the deathless goddesses --
most glorious is she whom wily Cronos with her mother Rhea did
beget: and Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, made her his chaste
and careful wife.
(ll. 45-52) But upon Aphrodite herself Zeus cast sweet desire to
be joined in love with a mortal man, to the end that, very soon,
not even she should be innocent of a mortal's love; lest
laughter-loving Aphrodite should one day softly smile and say
mockingly among all the gods that she had joined the gods in love
with mortal women who bare sons of death to the deathless gods,
and had mated the goddesses with mortal men.
(ll. 53-74) And so he put in her heart sweet desire for Anchises
who was tending cattle at that time among the steep hills of
many-fountained Ida, and in shape was like the immortal gods.
Therefore, when laughter-loving Aphrodite saw him, she loved him,
and terribly desire seized her in her heart. She went to Cyprus,
to Paphos, where her precinct is and fragrant altar, and passed
into her sweet-smelling temple. There she went in and put to the
glittering doors, and there the Graces bathed her with heavenly
oil such as blooms upon the bodies of the eternal gods -- oil
divinely sweet, which she had by her, filled with fragrance. And
laughter-loving Aphrodite put on all her rich clothes, and when
she had decked herself with gold, she left sweet-smelling Cyprus
and went in haste towards Troy, swiftly travelling high up among
the clouds. So she came to many-fountained Ida, the mother of
wild creatures and went straight to the homestead across the
mountains. After her came grey wolves, fawning on her, and grimeyed
lions, and bears, and fleet leopards, ravenous for deer: and
she was glad in heart to see them, and put desire in their
breasts, so that they all mated, two together, about the shadowy
(ll. 75-88) (25) But she herself came to the neat-built shelters,
and him she found left quite alone in the homestead -- the hero
Anchises who was comely as the gods. All the others were
following the herds over the grassy pastures, and he, left quite
alone in the homestead, was roaming hither and thither and
playing thrillingly upon the lyre. And Aphrodite, the daughter
of Zeus stood before him, being like a pure maiden in height and
mien, that he should not be frightened when he took heed of her
with his eyes. Now when Anchises saw her, he marked her well and
wondered at her mien and height and shining garments. For she
was clad in a robe out-shining the brightness of fire, a splendid
robe of gold, enriched with all manner of needlework, which
shimmered like the moon over her tender breasts, a marvel to see.
Also she wore twisted brooches and shining earrings in the form
of flowers; and round her soft throat were lovely necklaces.
(ll. 91-105) And Anchises was seized with love, and said to her:
`Hail, lady, whoever of the blessed ones you are that are come to
this house, whether Artemis, or Leto, or golden Aphrodite, or
high-born Themis, or bright-eyed Athene. Or, maybe, you are one
of the Graces come hither, who bear the gods company and are
called immortal, or else one of those who inhabit this lovely
mountain and the springs of rivers and grassy meads. I will make
you an altar upon a high peak in a far seen place, and will
sacrifice rich offerings to you at all seasons. And do you feel
kindly towards me and grant that I may become a man very eminent
among the Trojans, and give me strong offspring for the time to
come. As for my own self, let me live long and happily, seeing
the light of the sun, and come to the threshold of old age, a man
prosperous among the people.'
(ll. 106-142) Thereupon Aphrodite the daughter of Zeus answered
him: `Anchises, most glorious of all men born on earth, know that
I am no goddess: why do you liken me to the deathless ones? Nay,
I am but a mortal, and a woman was the mother that bare me.
Otreus of famous name is my father, if so be you have heard of
him, and he reigns over all Phrygia rich in fortresses. But I
know your speech well beside my own, for a Trojan nurse brought
me up at home: she took me from my dear mother and reared me
thenceforth when I was a little child. So comes it, then, that I
well know you tongue also. And now the Slayer of Argus with the
golden wand has caught me up from the dance of huntress Artemis,
her with the golden arrows. For there were many of us, nymphs
and marriageable (26) maidens, playing together; and an
innumerable company encircled us: from these the Slayer of Argus
with the golden wand rapt me away. He carried me over many
fields of mortal men and over much land untilled and unpossessed,
where savage wild-beasts roam through shady coombes, until I
thought never again to touch the life-giving earth with my feet.
And he said that I should be called the wedded wife of Anchises,
and should bear you goodly children. But when he had told and
advised me, he, the strong Slayer of Argos, went back to the
families of the deathless gods, while I am now come to you: for
unbending necessity is upon me. But I beseech you by Zeus and by
your noble parents -- for no base folk could get such a son as
you -- take me now, stainless and unproved in love, and show me
to your father and careful mother and to your brothers sprung
from the same stock. I shall be no ill-liking daughter for them,
but a likely. Moreover, send a messenger quickly to the swifthorsed
Phrygians, to tell my father and my sorrowing mother; and
they will send you gold in plenty and woven stuffs, many splendid
gifts; take these as bride-piece. So do, and then prepare the
sweet marriage that is honourable in the eyes of men and
deathless gods.'
(ll. 143-144) When she had so spoken, the goddess put sweet
desire in his heart. And Anchises was seized with love, so that
he opened his mouth and said:
(ll. 145-154) `If you are a mortal and a woman was the mother who
bare you, and Otreus of famous name is your father as you say,
and if you are come here by the will of Hermes the immortal
Guide, and are to be called my wife always, then neither god nor
mortal man shall here restrain me till I have lain with you in
love right now; no, not even if far-shooting Apollo himself
should launch grievous shafts from his silver bow. Willingly
would I go down into the house of Hades, O lady, beautiful as the
goddesses, once I had gone up to your bed.'
(ll. 155-167) So speaking, he caught her by the hand. And
laughter-loving Aphrodite, with face turned away and lovely eyes
downcast, crept to the well-spread couch which was already laid
with soft coverings for the hero; and upon it lay skins of bears
and deep-roaring lions which he himself had slain in the high
mountains. And when they had gone up upon the well-fitted bed,
first Anchises took off her bright jewelry of pins and twisted
brooches and earrings and necklaces, and loosed her girdle and
stripped off her bright garments and laid them down upon a
silver-studded seat. Then by the will of the gods and destiny he
lay with her, a mortal man with an immortal goddess, not clearly
knowing what he did.
(ll. 168-176) But at the time when the herdsmen driver their oxen
and hardy sheep back to the fold from the flowery pastures, even
then Aphrodite poured soft sleep upon Anchises, but herself put
on her rich raiment. And when the bright goddess had fully
clothed herself, she stood by the couch, and her head reached to
the well-hewn roof-tree; from her cheeks shone unearthly beauty
such as belongs to rich-crowned Cytherea. Then she aroused him
from sleep and opened her mouth and said:
(ll. 177-179) `Up, son of Dardanus! -- why sleep you so heavily?
-- and consider whether I look as I did when first you saw me
with your eyes.'
(ll. 180-184) So she spake. And he awoke in a moment and obeyed
her. But when he saw the neck and lovely eyes of Aphrodite, he
was afraid and turned his eyes aside another way, hiding his
comely face with his cloak. Then he uttered winged words and
entreated her:
(ll. 185-190) `So soon as ever I saw you with my eyes, goddess, I
knew that you were divine; but you did not tell me truly. Yet by
Zeus who holds the aegis I beseech you, leave me not to lead a
palsied life among men, but have pity on me; for he who lies with
a deathless goddess is no hale man afterwards.'
(ll. 191-201) Then Aphrodite the daughter of Zeus answered him:
`Anchises, most glorious of mortal men, take courage and be not
too fearful in your heart. You need fear no harm from me nor
from the other blessed ones, for you are dear to the gods: and
you shall have a dear son who shall reign among the Trojans, and
children's children after him, springing up continually. His
name shall be Aeneas (27), because I felt awful grief in that I
laid me in the bed of mortal man: yet are those of your race
always the most like to gods of all mortal men in beauty and in
stature (28).
(ll. 202-217) `Verily wise Zeus carried off golden-haired
Ganymedes because of his beauty, to be amongst the Deathless Ones
and pour drink for the gods in the house of Zeus -- a wonder to
see -- honoured by all the immortals as he draws the red nectar
from the golden bowl. But grief that could not be soothed filled
the heart of Tros; for he knew not whither the heaven-sent
whirlwind had caught up his dear son, so that he mourned him
always, unceasingly, until Zeus pitied him and gave him highstepping
horses such as carry the immortals as recompense for his
son. These he gave him as a gift. And at the command of Zeus,
the Guide, the slayer of Argus, told him all, and how his son
would be deathless and unageing, even as the gods. So when Tros
heard these tidings from Zeus, he no longer kept mourning but
rejoiced in his heart and rode joyfully with his storm-footed
(ll. 218-238) `So also golden-throned Eos rapt away Tithonus who
was of your race and like the deathless gods. And she went to
ask the dark-clouded Son of Cronos that he should be deathless
and live eternally; and Zeus bowed his head to her prayer and
fulfilled her desire. Too simply was queenly Eos: she thought
not in her heart to ask youth for him and to strip him of the
slough of deadly age. So while he enjoyed the sweet flower of
life he lived rapturously with golden-throned Eos, the earlyborn,
by the streams of Ocean, at the ends of the earth; but when
the first grey hairs began to ripple from his comely head and
noble chin, queenly Eos kept away from his bed, though she
cherished him in her house and nourished him with food and
ambrosia and gave him rich clothing. But when loathsome old age
pressed full upon him, and he could not move nor lift his limbs,
this seemed to her in her heart the best counsel: she laid him in
a room and put to the shining doors. There he babbles endlessly,
and no more has strength at all, such as once he had in his
supple limbs.
(ll. 239-246) `I would not have you be deathless among the
deathless gods and live continually after such sort. Yet if you
could live on such as now you are in look and in form, and be
called my husband, sorrow would not then enfold my careful heart.
But, as it is, harsh (29) old age will soon enshroud you --
ruthless age which stands someday at the side of every man,
deadly, wearying, dreaded even by the gods.
(ll. 247-290) `And now because of you I shall have great shame
among the deathless gods henceforth, continually. For until now
they feared my jibes and the wiles by which, or soon or late, I
mated all the immortals with mortal women, making them all
subject to my will. But now my mouth shall no more have this
power among the gods; for very great has been my madness, my
miserable and dreadful madness, and I went astray out of my mind
who have gotten a child beneath my girdle, mating with a mortal
man. As for the child, as soon as he sees the light of the sun,
the deep-breasted mountain Nymphs who inhabit this great and holy
mountain shall bring him up. They rank neither with mortals nor
with immortals: long indeed do they live, eating heavenly food
and treading the lovely dance among the immortals, and with them
the Sileni and the sharp-eyed Slayer of Argus mate in the depths
of pleasant caves; but at their birth pines or high-topped oaks
spring up with them upon the fruitful earth, beautiful,
flourishing trees, towering high upon the lofty mountains (and
men call them holy places of the immortals, and never mortal lops
them with the axe); but when the fate of death is near at hand,
first those lovely trees wither where they stand, and the bark
shrivels away about them, and the twigs fall down, and at last
the life of the Nymph and of the tree leave the light of the sun
together. These Nymphs shall keep my son with them and rear him,
and as soon as he is come to lovely boyhood, the goddesses will
bring him here to you and show you your child. But, that I may
tell you all that I have in mind, I will come here again towards
the fifth year and bring you my son. So soon as ever you have
seen him -- a scion to delight the eyes -- you will rejoice in
beholding him; for he shall be most godlike: then bring him at
once to windy Ilion. And if any mortal man ask you who got your
dear son beneath her girdle, remember to tell him as I bid you:
say he is the offspring of one of the flower-like Nymphs who
inhabit this forest-clad hill. But if you tell all and foolishly
boast that you lay with rich-crowned Aphrodite, Zeus will smite
you in his anger with a smoking thunderbolt. Now I have told you
all. Take heed: refrain and name me not, but have regard to the
anger of the gods.'
(l. 291) When the goddess had so spoken, she soared up to windy
(ll. 292-293) Hail, goddess, queen of well-builded Cyprus! With
you have I begun; now I will turn me to another hymn.
VI. TO APHRODITE (21 lines)
(ll. 1-18) I will sing of stately Aphrodite, gold-crowned and
beautiful, whose dominion is the walled cities of all sea-set
Cyprus. There the moist breath of the western wind wafted her
over the waves of the loud-moaning sea in soft foam, and there
the gold-filleted Hours welcomed her joyously. They clothed her
with heavenly garments: on her head they put a fine, well-wrought
crown of gold, and in her pierced ears they hung ornaments of
orichalc and precious gold, and adorned her with golden necklaces
over her soft neck and snow-white breasts, jewels which the goldfilleted
Hours wear themselves whenever they go to their father's
house to join the lovely dances of the gods. And when they had
fully decked her, they brought her to the gods, who welcomed her
when they saw her, giving her their hands. Each one of them
prayed that he might lead her home to be his wedded wife, so
greatly were they amazed at the beauty of violet-crowned
(ll. 19-21) Hail, sweetly-winning, coy-eyed goddess! Grant that
I may gain the victory in this contest, and order you my song.
And now I will remember you and another song also.
VII. TO DIONYSUS (59 lines)
(ll. 1-16) I will tell of Dionysus, the son of glorious Semele,
how he appeared on a jutting headland by the shore of the
fruitless sea, seeming like a stripling in the first flush of
manhood: his rich, dark hair was waving about him, and on his
strong shoulders he wore a purple robe. Presently there came
swiftly over the sparkling sea Tyrsenian (30) pirates on a welldecked
ship -- a miserable doom led them on. When they saw him
they made signs to one another and sprang out quickly, and
seizing him straightway, put him on board their ship exultingly;
for they thought him the son of heaven-nurtured kings. They
sought to bind him with rude bonds, but the bonds would not hold
him, and the withes fell far away from his hands and feet: and he
sat with a smile in his dark eyes. Then the helmsman understood
all and cried out at once to his fellows and said:
(ll. 17-24) `Madmen! What god is this whom you have taken and
bind, strong that he is? Not even the well-built ship can carry
him. Surely this is either Zeus or Apollo who has the silver
bow, or Poseidon, for he looks not like mortal men but like the
gods who dwell on Olympus. Come, then, let us set him free upon
the dark shore at once: do not lay hands on him, lest he grow
angry and stir up dangerous winds and heavy squalls.'
(ll. 25-31) So said he: but the master chid him with taunting
words: `Madman, mark the wind and help hoist sail on the ship:
catch all the sheets. As for this fellow we men will see to him:
I reckon he is bound for Egypt or for Cyprus or to the
Hyperboreans or further still. But in the end he will speak out
and tell us his friends and all his wealth and his brothers, now
that providence has thrown him in our way.'
(ll. 32-54) When he had said this, he had mast and sail hoisted
on the ship, and the wind filled the sail and the crew hauled
taut the sheets on either side. But soon strange things were
seen among them. First of all sweet, fragrant wine ran streaming
throughout all the black ship and a heavenly smell arose, so that
all the seamen were seized with amazement when they saw it. And
all at once a vine spread out both ways along the top of the sail
with many clusters hanging down from it, and a dark ivy-plant
twined about the mast, blossoming with flowers, and with rich
berries growing on it; and all the thole-pins were covered with
garlands. When the pirates saw all this, then at last they bade
the helmsman to put the ship to land. But the god changed into a
dreadful lion there on the ship, in the bows, and roared loudly:
amidships also he showed his wonders and created a shaggy bear
which stood up ravening, while on the forepeak was the lion
glaring fiercely with scowling brows. And so the sailors fled
into the stern and crowded bemused about the right-minded
helmsman, until suddenly the lion sprang upon the master and
seized him; and when the sailors saw it they leapt out overboard
one and all into the bright sea, escaping from a miserable fate,
and were changed into dolphins. But on the helmsman Dionysus had
mercy and held him back and made him altogether happy, saying to
(ll. 55-57) `Take courage, good...; you have found favour with my
heart. I am loud-crying Dionysus whom Cadmus' daughter Semele
bare of union with Zeus.'
(ll. 58-59) Hail, child of fair-faced Semele! He who forgets you
can in no wise order sweet song.
VIII. TO ARES (17 lines)
(ll. 1-17) Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, goldenhelmed,
doughty in heart, shield-bearer, Saviour of cities,
harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the
spear, O defence of Olympus, father of warlike Victory, ally of
Themis, stern governor of the rebellious, leader of righteous
men, sceptred King of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere
among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aether
wherein your blazing steeds ever bear you above the third
firmament of heaven; hear me, helper of men, giver of dauntless
youth! Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and
strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter
cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of
my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes
me to tread the ways of blood-curdling strife. Rather, O blessed
one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of
peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of
IX. TO ARTEMIS (9 lines)
(ll. 1-6) Muse, sing of Artemis, sister of the Far-shooter, the
virgin who delights in arrows, who was fostered with Apollo. She
waters her horses from Meles deep in reeds, and swiftly drives
her all-golden chariot through Smyrna to vine-clad Claros where
Apollo, god of the silver bow, sits waiting for the far-shooting
goddess who delights in arrows.
(ll. 7-9) And so hail to you, Artemis, in my song and to all
goddesses as well. Of you first I sing and with you I begin; now
that I have begun with you, I will turn to another song.
X. TO APHRODITE (6 lines)
(ll. 1-3) Of Cytherea, born in Cyprus, I will sing. She gives
kindly gifts to men: smiles are ever on her lovely face, and
lovely is the brightness that plays over it.
(ll. 4-6) Hail, goddess, queen of well-built Salamis and sea-girt
Cyprus; grant me a cheerful song. And now I will remember you
and another song also.
XI. TO ATHENA (5 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Of Pallas Athene, guardian of the city, I begin to
sing. Dread is she, and with Ares she loves deeds of war, the
sack of cities and the shouting and the battle. It is she who
saves the people as they go out to war and come back.
(l. 5) Hail, goddess, and give us good fortune with happiness!
XII. TO HERA (5 lines)
(ll. 1-5) I sing of golden-throned Hera whom Rhea bare. Queen of
the immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty: she is the sister
and the wife of loud-thundering Zeus, -- the glorious one whom
all the blessed throughout high Olympus reverence and honour even
as Zeus who delights in thunder.
XIII. TO DEMETER (3 lines)
(ll. 1-2) I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess,
of her and of her daughter lovely Persephone.
(l. 3) Hail, goddess! Keep this city safe, and govern my song.
(ll. 1-5) I prithee, clear-voiced Muse, daughter of mighty Zeus,
sing of the mother of all gods and men. She is well-pleased with
the sound of rattles and of timbrels, with the voice of flutes
and the outcry of wolves and bright-eyed lions, with echoing
hills and wooded coombes.
(l. 6) And so hail to you in my song and to all goddesses as
(ll. 1-8) I will sing of Heracles, the son of Zeus and much the
mightiest of men on earth. Alcmena bare him in Thebes, the city
of lovely dances, when the dark-clouded Son of Cronos had lain
with her. Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land
and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many
deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in
the glorious home of snowy Olympus, and has neat-ankled Hebe for
his wife.
(l. 9) Hail, lord, son of Zeus! Give me success and prosperity.
(ll. 1-4) I begin to sing of Asclepius, son of Apollo and healer
of sicknesses. In the Dotian plain fair Coronis, daughter of
King Phlegyas, bare him, a great joy to men, a soother of cruel
(l. 5) And so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to
(ll. 1-4) Sing, clear-voiced Muse, of Castor and Polydeuces, the
Tyndaridae, who sprang from Olympian Zeus. Beneath the heights
fo Taygetus stately Leda bare them, when the dark-clouded Son of
Cronos had privily bent her to his will.
(l. 5) Hail, children of Tyndareus, riders upon swift horses!
XVIII. TO HERMES (12 lines)
(ll. 1-9) I sing of Cyllenian Hermes, the Slayer of Argus, lord
of Cyllene and Arcadia rich in flocks, luck-bringing messenger of
the deathless gods. He was born of Maia, the daughter of Atlas,
when she had made with Zeus, -- a shy goddess she. Ever she
avoided the throng of the blessed gods and lived in a shadowy
cave, and there the Son of Cronos used to lie with the richtressed
nymph at dead of night, while white-armed Hera lay bound
in sweet sleep: and neither deathless god nor mortal man knew it.
(ll. 10-11) And so hail to you, Son of Zeus and Maia; with you I
have begun: now I will turn to another song!
(l. 12) Hail, Hermes, giver of grace, guide, and giver of good
things! (31)
XIX. TO PAN (49 lines)
(ll. 1-26) Muse, tell me about Pan, the dear son of Hermes, with
his goat's feet and two horns -- a lover of merry noise. Through
wooded glades he wanders with dancing nymphs who foot it on some
sheer cliff's edge, calling upon Pan, the shepherd-god, longhaired,
unkempt. He has every snowy crest and the mountain peaks
and rocky crests for his domain; hither and thither he goes
through the close thickets, now lured by soft streams, and now he
presses on amongst towering crags and climbs up to the highest
peak that overlooks the flocks. Often he courses through the
glistening high mountains, and often on the shouldered hills he
speeds along slaying wild beasts, this keen-eyed god. Only at
evening, as he returns from the chase, he sounds his note,
playing sweet and low on his pipes of reed: not even she could
excel him in melody -- that bird who in flower-laden spring
pouring forth her lament utters honey-voiced song amid the
leaves. At that hour the clear-voiced nymphs are with him and
move with nimble feet, singing by some spring of dark water,
while Echo wails about the mountain-top, and the god on this side
or on that of the choirs, or at times sidling into the midst,
plies it nimbly with his feet. On his back he wears a spotted
lynx-pelt, and he delights in high-pitched songs in a soft meadow
where crocuses and sweet-smelling hyacinths bloom at random in
the grass.
(ll. 27-47) They sing of the blessed gods and high Olympus and
choose to tell of such an one as luck-bringing Hermes above the
rest, how he is the swift messenger of all the gods, and how he
came to Arcadia, the land of many springs and mother of flocks,
there where his sacred place is as god fo Cyllene. For there,
though a god, he used to tend curly-fleeced sheep in the service
of a mortal man, because there fell on him and waxed strong
melting desire to wed the rich-tressed daughter of Dryops, and
there be brought about the merry marriage. And in the house she
bare Hermes a dear son who from his birth was marvellous to look
upon, with goat's feet and two horns -- a noisy, merry-laughing
child. But when the nurse saw his uncouth face and full beard,
she was afraid and sprang up and fled and left the child. Then
luck-bringing Hermes received him and took him in his arms: very
glad in his heart was the god. And he went quickly to the abodes
of the deathless gods, carrying the son wrapped in warm skins of
mountain hares, and set him down beside Zeus and showed him to
the rest of the gods. Then all the immortals were glad in heart
and Bacchie Dionysus in especial; and they called the boy Pan
(32) because he delighted all their hearts.
(ll. 48-49) And so hail to you, lord! I seek your favour with a
song. And now I will remember you and another song also.
(ll. 1-7) Sing, clear-voiced Muses, of Hephaestus famed for
inventions. With bright-eyed Athene he taught men glorious gifts
throughout the world, -- men who before used to dwell in caves in
the mountains like wild beasts. But now that they have learned
crafts through Hephaestus the famed worker, easily they live a
peaceful life in their own houses the whole year round.
(l. 8) Be gracious, Hephaestus, and grant me success and
XXI. TO APOLLO (5 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Phoebus, of you even the swan sings with clear voice to
the beating of his wings, as he alights upon the bank by the
eddying river Peneus; and of you the sweet-tongued minstrel,
holding his high-pitched lyre, always sings both first and last.
(l. 5) And so hail to you, lord! I seek your favour with my
(ll. 1-5) I begin to sing about Poseidon, the great god, mover of
the earth and fruitless sea, god of the deep who is also lord of
Helicon and wide Aegae. A two-fold office the gods allotted you,
O Shaker of the Earth, to be a tamer of horses and a saviour of
(ll. 6-7) Hail, Poseidon, Holder of the Earth, dark-haired lord!
O blessed one, be kindly in heart and help those who voyage in
(ll. 1-3) I will sing of Zeus, chiefest among the gods and
greatest, all-seeing, the lord of all, the fulfiller who whispers
words of wisdom to Themis as she sits leaning towards him.
(l. 4) Be gracious, all-seeing Son of Cronos, most excellent and
XXIV. TO HESTIA (5 lines)
(ll. 1-5) Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo,
the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from
your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with
Zeus the all-wise -- draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my
(ll. 1-5) I will begin with the Muses and Apollo and Zeus. For
it is through the Muses and Apollo that there are singers upon
the earth and players upon the lyre; but kings are from Zeus.
Happy is he whom the Muses love: sweet flows speech from his
(ll. 6-7) Hail, children of Zeus! Give honour to my song! And
now I will remember you and another song also.
XXVI. TO DIONYSUS (13 lines)
(ll. 1-9) I begin to sing of ivy-crowned Dionysus, the loudcrying
god, splendid son of Zeus and glorious Semele. The richhaired
Nymphs received him in their bosoms from the lord his
father and fostered and nurtured him carefully in the dells of
Nysa, where by the will of his father he grew up in a sweetsmelling
cave, being reckoned among the immortals. But when the
goddesses had brought him up, a god oft hymned, then began he to
wander continually through the woody coombes, thickly wreathed
with ivy and laurel. And the Nymphs followed in his train with
him for their leader; and the boundless forest was filled with
their outcry.
(ll. 10-13) And so hail to you, Dionysus, god of abundant
clusters! Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season,
and from that season onwards for many a year.
XXVII. TO ARTEMIS (22 lines)
(ll. 1-20) I sing of Artemis, whose shafts are of gold, who
cheers on the hounds, the pure maiden, shooter of stags, who
delights in archery, own sister to Apollo with the golden sword.
Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she draws her golden bow,
rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts. The tops
of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes
awesomely with the outcry of beasts: earthquakes and the sea also
where fishes shoal. But the goddess with a bold heart turns
every way destroying the race of wild beasts: and when she is
satisfied and has cheered her heart, this huntress who delights
in arrows slackens her supple bow and goes to the great house of
her dear brother Phoebus Apollo, to the rich land of Delphi,
there to order the lovely dance of the Muses and Graces. There
she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads
the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their
heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children
supreme among the immortals both in thought and in deed.
(ll. 21-22) Hail to you, children of Zeus and rich-haired Leto!
And now I will remember you and another song also.
XXVIII. TO ATHENA (18 lines)
(ll. 1-16) I begin to sing of Pallas Athene, the glorious
goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin,
saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. From his awful head
wise Zeus himself bare her arrayed in warlike arms of flashing
gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena
sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who
holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to
reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth
round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed
with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son
of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until
the maiden Pallas Athene had stripped the heavenly armour from
her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad.
(ll. 17-18) And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the
aegis! Now I will remember you and another song as well.
XXIX. TO HESTIA (13 lines)
(ll. 1-6) Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless
gods and men who walk on earth, you have gained an everlasting
abode and highest honour: glorious is your portion and your
right. For without you mortals hold no banquet, -- where one
does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia both first
and last.
(ll. 7-10) (33) And you, slayer of Argus, Son of Zeus and Maia,
messenger of the blessed gods, bearer of the golden rod, giver of
good, be favourable and help us, you and Hestia, the worshipful
and dear. Come and dwell in this glorious house in friendship
together; for you two, well knowing the noble actions of men, aid
on their wisdom and their strength.
(ll. 12-13) Hail, Daughter of Cronos, and you also, Hermes,
bearer of the golden rod! Now I will remember you and another
song also.
(ll. 1-16) I will sing of well-founded Earth, mother of all,
eldest of all beings. She feeds all creatures that are in the
world, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the
paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of her
store. Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children
and blessed in their harvests, and to you it belongs to give
means of life to mortal men and to take it away. Happy is the
man whom you delight to honour! He has all things abundantly:
his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered
with cattle, and his house is filled with good things. Such men
rule orderly in their cities of fair women: great riches and
wealth follow them: their sons exult with ever-fresh delight, and
their daughters in flower-laden bands play and skip merrily over
the soft flowers of the field. Thus is it with those whom you
honour O holy goddess, bountiful spirit.
(ll. 17-19) Hail, Mother of the gods, wife of starry Heaven;
freely bestow upon me for this my song substance that cheers the
heart! And now I will remember you and another song also.
XXXI. TO HELIOS (20 lines)
(ll. 1-16) (34) And now, O Muse Calliope, daughter of Zeus, begin
to sing of glowing Helios whom mild-eyed Euryphaessa, the farshining
one, bare to the Son of Earth and starry Heaven. For
Hyperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, his own sister, who bare
him lovely children, rosy-armed Eos and rich-tressed Selene and
tireless Helios who is like the deathless gods. As he rides in
his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and
piercingly he gazes with his eyes from his golden helmet. Bright
rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming
form the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen
face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters
in the wind: and stallions carry him. Then, when he has stayed
his golden-yoked chariot and horses, he rests there upon the
highest point of heaven, until he marvellously drives them down
again through heaven to Ocean.
(ll. 17-19) Hail to you, lord! Freely bestow on me substance
that cheers the heart. And now that I have begun with you, I
will celebrate the race of mortal men half-divine whose deeds the
Muses have showed to mankind.
XXXII. TO SELENE (20 lines)
(ll. 1-13) And next, sweet voiced Muses, daughters of Zeus, wellskilled
in song, tell of the long-winged (35) Moon. From her
immortal head a radiance is shown from heaven and embraces earth;
and great is the beauty that ariseth from her shining light. The
air, unlit before, glows with the light of her golden crown, and
her rays beam clear, whensoever bright Selene having bathed her
lovely body in the waters of Ocean, and donned her far-gleaming,
shining team, drives on her long-maned horses at full speed, at
eventime in the mid-month: then her great orbit is full and then
her beams shine brightest as she increases. So she is a sure
token and a sign to mortal men.
(ll. 14-16) Once the Son of Cronos was joined with her in love;
and she conceived and bare a daughter Pandia, exceeding lovely
amongst the deathless gods.
(ll. 17-20) Hail, white-armed goddess, bright Selene, mild,
bright-tressed queen! And now I will leave you and sing the
glories of men half-divine, whose deeds minstrels, the servants
of the Muses, celebrate with lovely lips.
(ll. 1-17) Bright-eyed Muses, tell of the Tyndaridae, the Sons of
Zeus, glorious children of neat-ankled Leda, Castor the tamer of
horses, and blameless Polydeuces. When Leda had lain with the
dark-clouded Son of Cronos, she bare them beneath the peak of the
great hill Taygetus, -- children who are delivers of men on earth
and of swift-going ships when stormy gales rage over the ruthless
sea. Then the shipmen call upon the sons of great Zeus with vows
of white lambs, going to the forepart of the prow; but the strong
wind and the waves of the sea lay the ship under water, until
suddenly these two are seen darting through the air on tawny
wings. Forthwith they allay the blasts of the cruel winds and
still the waves upon the surface of the white sea: fair signs are
they and deliverance from toil. And when the shipmen see them
they are glad and have rest from their pain and labour.
(ll. 18-19) Hail, Tyndaridae, riders upon swift horses! Now I
will remember you and another song also.
(1) ll. 1-9 are preserved by Diodorus Siculus iii. 66. 3; ll.
10-21 are extant only in M.
(2) Dionysus, after his untimely birth from Semele, was sewn
into the thigh of Zeus.
(3) sc. Semele. Zeus is here speaking.
(4) The reference is apparently to something in the body of the
hymn, now lost.
(5) The Greeks feared to name Pluto directly and mentioned him
by one of many descriptive titles, such as `Host of Many':
compare the Christian use of O DIABOLOS or our `Evil One'.
(6) Demeter chooses the lowlier seat, supposedly as being more
suitable to her assumed condition, but really because in her
sorrow she refuses all comforts.
(7) An act of communion -- the drinking of the potion here
described -- was one of the most important pieces of ritual
in the Eleusinian mysteries, as commemorating the sorrows of
the goddess.
(8) Undercutter and Woodcutter are probably popular names (after
the style of Hesiod's `Boneless One') for the worm thought
to be the cause of teething and toothache.
(9) The list of names is taken -- with five additions -- from
Hesiod, "Theogony" 349 ff.: for their general significance
see note on that passage.
(10) Inscriptions show that there was a temple of Apollo
Delphinius (cp. ii. 495-6) at Cnossus and a Cretan month
bearing the same name.
(11) sc. that the dolphin was really Apollo.
(12) The epithets are transferred from the god to his altar
`Overlooking' is especially an epithet of Zeus, as in
Apollonius Rhodius ii. 1124.
(13) Pliny notices the efficacy of the flesh of a tortoise
against withcraft. In "Geoponica" i. 14. 8 the living
tortoise is prescribed as a charm to preserve vineyards from
(14) Hermes makes the cattle walk backwards way, so that they
seem to be going towards the meadow instead of leaving it
(cp. l. 345); he himself walks in the normal manner, relying
on his sandals as a disguise.
(15) Such seems to be the meaning indicated by the context,
though the verb is taken by Allen and Sikes to mean, `to be
like oneself', and so `to be original'.
(16) Kuhn points out that there is a lacuna here. In l. 109 the
borer is described, but the friction of this upon the
fireblock (to which the phrase `held firmly' clearly
belongs) must also have been mentioned.
(17) The cows being on their sides on the ground, Hermes bends
their heads back towards their flanks and so can reach their
(18) O. Muller thinks the `hides' were a stalactite formation in
the `Cave of Nestor' near Messenian Pylos, -- though the
cave of Hermes is near the Alpheus (l. 139). Others suggest
that actual skins were shown as relics before some cave near
Triphylian Pylos.
(19) Gemoll explains that Hermes, having offered all the meat as
sacrifice to the Twelve Gods, remembers that he himself as
one of them must be content with the savour instead of the
substance of the sacrifice. Can it be that by eating he
would have forfeited the position he claimed as one of the
Twelve Gods?
(20) Lit. `thorn-plucker'.
(21) Hermes is ambitious (l. 175), but if he is cast into Hades
he will have to be content with the leadership of mere
babies like himself, since those in Hades retain the state
of growth -- whether childhood or manhood -- in which they
are at the moment of leaving the upper world.
(22) Literally, `you have made him sit on the floor', i.e. `you
have stolen everything down to his last chair.'
(23) The Thriae, who practised divination by means of pebbles
(also called THRIAE). In this hymn they are represented as
aged maidens (ll. 553-4), but are closely associated with
bees (ll. 559-563) and possibly are here conceived as having
human heads and breasts with the bodies and wings of bees.
See the edition of Allen and Sikes, Appendix III.
(24) Cronos swallowed each of his children the moment that they
were born, but ultimately was forced to disgorge them.
Hestia, being the first to be swallowed, was the last to be
disgorged, and so was at once the first and latest born of
the children of Cronos. Cp. Hesiod "Theogony", ll. 495-7.
(25) Mr. Evelyn-White prefers a different order for lines #87-90
than that preserved in the MSS. This translation is based
upon the following sequence: ll. 89,90,87,88. -- DBK.
(26) `Cattle-earning', because an accepted suitor paid for his
bride in cattle.
(27) The name Aeneas is here connected with the epithet AIEOS
(awful): similarly the name Odysseus is derived (in
"Odyssey" i.62) from ODYSSMAI (I grieve).
(28) Aphrodite extenuates her disgrace by claiming that the race
of Anchises is almost divine, as is shown in the persons of
Ganymedes and Tithonus.
(29) So Christ connecting the word with OMOS. L. and S. give =
OMOIOS, `common to all'.
(30) Probably not Etruscans, but the non-Hellenic peoples of
Thrace and (according to Thucydides) of Lemnos and Athens.
Cp. Herodotus i. 57; Thucydides iv. 109.
(31) This line appears to be an alternative to ll. 10-11.
(32) The name Pan is here derived from PANTES, `all'. Cp.
Hesiod, "Works and Days" ll. 80-82, "Hymn to Aphrodite" (v)
l. 198. for the significance of personal names.
(33) Mr. Evelyn-White prefers to switch l. 10 and 11, reading 11
first then 10. -- DBK.
(34) An extra line is inserted in some MSS. after l. 15. -- DBK.
(35) The epithet is a usual one for birds, cp. Hesiod, "Works and
Days", l. 210; as applied to Selene it may merely indicate
her passage, like a bird, through the air, or mean `far
I. (5 lines)
(ll. 1-5) Have reverence for him who needs a home and stranger's
dole, all ye who dwell in the high city of Cyme, the lovely
maiden, hard by the foothills of lofty Sardene, ye who drink the
heavenly water of the divine stream, eddying Hermus, whom
deathless Zeus begot.
II. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) Speedily may my feet bear me to some town of righteous
men; for their hearts are generous and their wit is best.
III. (6 lines)
(ll. 1-6) I am a maiden of bronze and am set upon the tomb of
Midas. While the waters flow and tall trees flourish, and the
sun rises and shines and the bright moon also; while rivers run
and the sea breaks on the shore, ever remaining on this mournful
tomb, I tell the passer-by that Midas here lies buried.
IV. (17 lines)
(ll. 1-17) To what a fate did Zeus the Father give me a prey even
while he made me to grow, a babe at my mother's knee! By the
will of Zeus who holds the aegis the people of Phricon, riders on
wanton horses, more active than raging fire in the test of war,
once built the towers of Aeolian Smyrna, wave-shaken neighbour to
the sea, through which glides the pleasant stream of sacred
Meles; thence (2) arose the daughters of Zeus, glorious children,
and would fain have made famous that fair country and the city of
its people. But in their folly those men scorned the divine
voice and renown of song, and in trouble shall one of them
remember this hereafter -- he who with scornful words to them (3)
contrived my fate. Yet I will endure the lot which heaven gave
me even at my birth, bearing my disappointment with a patient
heart. My dear limbs yearn not to stay in the sacred streets of
Cyme, but rather my great heart urges me to go unto another
country, small though I am.
V. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) Thestorides, full many things there are that mortals
cannot sound; but there is nothing more unfathomable than the
heart of man.
VI. (8 lines)
(ll. 1-8) Hear me, Poseidon, strong shaker of the earth, ruler of
wide-spread, tawny Helicon! Give a fair wind and sight of safe
return to the shipmen who speed and govern this ship. And grant
that when I come to the nether slopes of towering Mimas I may
find honourable, god-fearing men. Also may I avenge me on the
wretch who deceived me and grieved Zeus the lord of guests and
his own guest-table.
VII. (3 lines)
(ll. 1-3) Queen Earth, all bounteous giver of honey-hearted
wealth, how kindly, it seems, you are to some, and how
intractable and rough for those with whom you are angry.
VIII. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Sailors, who rove the seas and whom a hateful fate has
made as the shy sea-fowl, living an unenviable life, observe the
reverence due to Zeus who rules on high, the god of strangers;
for terrible is the vengeance of this god afterwards for
whosoever has sinned.
IX. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) Strangers, a contrary wind has caught you: but even now
take me aboard and you shall make your voyage.
X. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Another sort of pine shall bear a better fruit (4) than
you upon the heights of furrowed, windy Ida. For there shall
mortal men get the iron that Ares loves so soon as the Cebrenians
shall hold the land.
XI. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Glaucus, watchman of flocks, a word will I put in your
heart. First give the dogs their dinner at the courtyard gate,
for this is well. The dog first hears a man approaching and the
wild-beast coming to the fence.
XII. (4 lines)
(ll. 1-4) Goddess-nurse of the young (5), give ear to my prayer,
and grant that this woman may reject the love-embraces of youth
and dote on grey-haired old men whose powers are dulled, but
whose hearts still desire.
XIII. (6 lines)
(ll. 1-6) Children are a man's crown, towers of a city; horses
are the glory of a plain, and so are ships of the sea; wealth
will make a house great, and reverend princes seated in assembly
are a goodly sight for the folk to see. But a blazing fire makes
a house look more comely upon a winter's day, when the Son of
Cronos sends down snow.
XIV. (23 lines)
(ll. 1-23) Potters, if you will give me a reward, I will sing for
you. Come, then, Athena, with hand upraised (6) over the kiln.
Let the pots and all the dishes turn out well and be well fired:
let them fetch good prices and be sold in plenty in the market,
and plenty in the streets. Grant that the potters may get great
gain and grant me so to sing to them. But if you turn shameless
and make false promises, then I call together the destroyers of
kilns, Shatter and Smash and Charr and Crash and Crudebake who
can work this craft much mischief. Come all of you and sack the
kiln-yard and the buildings: let the whole kiln be shaken up to
the potter's loud lament. As a horse's jaw grinds, so let the
kiln grind to powder all the pots inside. And you, too, daughter
of the Sun, Circe the witch, come and cast cruel spells; hurt
both these men and their handiwork. Let Chiron also come and
bring many Centaurs -- all that escaped the hands of Heracles and
all that were destroyed: let them make sad havoc of the pots and
overthrow the kiln, and let the potters see the mischief and be
grieved; but I will gloat as I behold their luckless craft. And
if anyone of them stoops to peer in, let all his face be burned
up, that all men may learn to deal honestly.
XV. (13 lines) (7)
(ll. 1-7) Let us betake us to the house fo some man of great
power, -- one who bears great power and is greatly prosperous
always. Open of yourselves, you doors, for mighty Wealth will
enter in, and with Wealth comes jolly Mirth and gentle Peace.
May all the corn-bins be full and the mass of dough always
overflow the kneading-trough. Now (set before us) cheerful
barley-pottage, full of sesame....
(ll. 8-10) Your son's wife, driving to this house with stronghoofed
mules, shall dismount from her carriage to greet you; may
she be shod with golden shoes as she stands weaving at the loom.
(ll. 11-13) I come, and I come yearly, like the swallow that
perches light-footed in the fore-part of your house. But quickly
XVI. (2 lines)
(ll. 1-2) If you will give us anything (well). But if not, we
will not wait, for we are not come here to dwell with you.
HOMER: Hunters of deep sea prey, have we caught anything?
FISHERMAN: All that we caught we left behind, and all that we did
not catch we carry home. (8)
HOMER: Ay, for of such fathers you are sprung as neither hold
rich lands nor tend countless sheep.
(1) "The Epigrams" are preserved in the pseudo-Herodotean "Life
of Homer". Nos. III, XIII, and XVII are also found in the
"Contest of Homer and Hesiod", and No. I is also extant at
the end of some MSS. of the "Homeric Hymns".
(2) sc. from Smyrna, Homer's reputed birth-place.
(3) The councillors at Cyme who refused to support Homer at the
public expense.
(4) The `better fruit' is apparently the iron smelted out in
fires of pine-wood.
(5) Hecate: cp. Hesiod, "Theogony", l. 450.
(6) i.e. in protection.
(7) This song is called by pseudo-Herodotus EIRESIONE. The word
properly indicates a garland wound with wool which was worn
at harvest-festivals, but came to be applied first to the
harvest song and then to any begging song. The present is
akin the Swallow-Song (XELIDONISMA), sung at the beginning
of spring, and answered to the still surviving English MayDay
songs. Cp. Athenaeus, viii. 360 B.
(8) The lice which they caught in their clothes they left
behind, but carried home in their clothes those which they
could not catch.
Fragment #1 --
Photius, Epitome of the Chrestomathy of Proclus:
The Epic Cycle begins with the fabled union of Heaven and Earth,
by which they make three hundred-handed sons and three Cyclopes
to be born to him.
Fragment #2 --
Anecdota Oxon. (Cramer) i. 75:
According to the writer of the "War of the Titans" Heaven was the
son of Aether.
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 1165:
Eumelus says that Aegaeon was the son of Earth and Sea and,
having his dwelling in the sea, was an ally of the Titans.
Fragment #4 --
Athenaeus, vii. 277 D:
The poet of the "War of the Titans", whether Eumelus of Corinth
or Arctinus, writes thus in his second book: `Upon the shield
were dumb fish afloat, with golden faces, swimming and sporting
through the heavenly water.'
Fragment #5 --
Athenaeus, i. 22 C:
Eumelus somewhere introduces Zeus dancing: he says -- `In the
midst of them danced the Father of men and gods.'
Fragment #6 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 554:
The author of the "War of the Giants" says that Cronos took the
shape of a horse and lay with Philyra, the daughter of Ocean.
Through this cause Cheiron was born a centaur: his wife was
Fragment #7 --
Athenaeus, xi. 470 B:
Theolytus says that he (Heracles) sailed across the sea in a
cauldron (1); but the first to give this story is the author of
the "War of the Titans".
Fragment #8 --
Philodemus, On Piety:
The author of the "War of the Titans" says that the apples (of
the Hesperides) were guarded.
(1) See the cylix reproduced by Gerhard, Abhandlungen, taf. 5,4.
Cp. Stesichorus, Frag. 3 (Smyth).
Fragment #1 --
C.I.G. Ital. et Sic. 1292. ii. 11:
....the "Story of Oedipus" by Cinaethon in six thousand six
hundred verses.
Fragment #2 --
Pausanias, ix. 5.10:
Judging by Homer I do not believe that Oedipus had children by
Iocasta: his sons were born of Euryganeia as the writer of the
Epic called the "Story of Oedipus" clearly shows.
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Euripides Phoen., 1750:
The authors of the "Story of Oedipus" (say) of the Sphinx: `But
furthermore (she killed) noble Haemon, the dear son of blameless
Creon, the comeliest and loveliest of boys.'
THE THEBAID (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
Homer travelled about reciting his epics, first the "Thebaid", in
seven thousand verses, which begins: `Sing, goddess, of parched
Argos, whence lords...'
Fragment #2 --
Athenaeus, xi. 465 E:
`Then the heaven-born hero, golden-haired Polyneices, first set
beside Oedipus a rich table of silver which once belonged to
Cadmus the divinely wise: next he filled a fine golden cup with
sweet wine. But when Oedipus perceived these treasures of his
father, great misery fell on his heart, and he straight-way
called down bitter curses there in the presence of both his sons.
And the avenging Fury of the gods failed not to hear him as he
prayed that they might never divide their father's goods in
loving brotherhood, but that war and fighting might be ever the
portion of them both.'
Fragment #3 --
Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles, O.C. 1375:
`And when Oedipus noticed the haunch (1) he threw it on the
ground and said: "Oh! Oh! my sons have sent this mocking me..."
So he prayed to Zeus the king and the other deathless gods that
each might fall by his brother's hand and go down into the house
of Hades.'
Fragment #4 --
Pausanias, viii. 25.8:
Adrastus fled from Thebes `wearing miserable garments, and took
black-maned Areion (2) with him.'
Fragment #5 --
Pindar, Ol. vi. 15: (3)
`But when the seven dead had received their last rites in Thebes,
the Son of Talaus lamented and spoke thus among them: "Woe is me,
for I miss the bright eye of my host, a good seer and a stout
spearman alike."'
Fragment #6 --
Apollodorus, i. 74:
Oeneus married Periboea the daughter of Hipponous. The author of
the "Thebais" says that when Olenus had been stormed, Oeneus
received her as a prize.
Fragment #7 --
Pausanias, ix. 18.6:
Near the spring is the tomb of Asphodicus. This Asphodicus
killed Parthenopaeus the son of Talaus in the battle against the
Argives, as the Thebans say; though that part of the "Thebais"
which tells of the death of Parthenopaeus says that it was
Periclymenus who killed him.
(1) The haunch was regarded as a dishonourable portion.
(2) The horse of Adrastus, offspring of Poseidon and Demeter,
who had charged herself into a mare to escape Poseidon.
(3) Restored from Pindar Ol. vi. 15 who, according to
Asclepiades, derives the passage from the "Thebais".
THE EPIGONI (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
Next (Homer composed) the "Epigoni" in seven thousand verses,
beginning, `And now, Muses, let us begin to sing of younger men.'
Fragment #2 --
Photius, Lexicon:
Teumesia. Those who have written on Theban affairs have given a
full account of the Teumesian fox. (1) They relate that the
creature was sent by the gods to punish the descendants of
Cadmus, and that the Thebans therefore excluded those of the
house of Cadmus from kingship. But (they say) a certain
Cephalus, the son of Deion, an Athenian, who owned a hound which
no beast ever escaped, had accidentally killed his wife Procris,
and being purified of the homicide by the Cadmeans, hunted the
fox with his hound, and when they had overtaken it both hound and
fox were turned into stones near Teumessus. These writers have
taken the story from the Epic Cycle.
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 308:
The authors of the "Thebais" say that Manto the daughter of
Teiresias was sent to Delphi by the Epigoni as a first fruit of
their spoil, and that in accordance with an oracle of Apollo she
went out and met Rhacius, the son of Lebes, a Mycenaean by race.
This man she married -- for the oracle also contained the command
that she should marry whomsoever she might meet -- and coming to
Colophon, was there much cast down and wept over the destruction
of her country.
(1) So called from Teumessus, a hill in Boeotia. For the
derivation of Teumessus cp. Antimachus "Thebais" fr. 3
THE CYPRIA (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, i:
This (1) is continued by the epic called "Cypria" which is
current is eleven books. Its contents are as follows.
Zeus plans with Themis to bring about the Trojan war. Strife
arrives while the gods are feasting at the marriage of Peleus and
starts a dispute between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite as to which
of them is fairest. The three are led by Hermes at the command
of Zeus to Alexandrus (2) on Mount Ida for his decision, and
Alexandrus, lured by his promised marriage with Helen, decides in
favour of Aphrodite.
Then Alexandrus builds his ships at Aphrodite's suggestion, and
Helenus foretells the future to him, and Aphrodite order Aeneas
to sail with him, while Cassandra prophesies as to what will
happen afterwards. Alexandrus next lands in Lacedaemon and is
entertained by the sons of Tyndareus, and afterwards by Menelaus
in Sparta, where in the course of a feast he gives gifts to
After this, Menelaus sets sail for Crete, ordering Helen to
furnish the guests with all they require until they depart.
Meanwhile, Aphrodite brings Helen and Alexandrus together, and
they, after their union, put very great treasures on board and
sail away by night. Hera stirs up a storm against them and they
are carried to Sidon, where Alexandrus takes the city. From
there he sailed to Troy and celebrated his marriage with Helen.
In the meantime Castor and Polydeuces, while stealing the cattle
of Idas and Lynceus, were caught in the act, and Castor was
killed by Idas, and Lynceus and Idas by Polydeuces. Zeus gave
them immortality every other day.
Iris next informs Menelaus of what has happened at his home.
Menelaus returns and plans an expedition against Ilium with his
brother, and then goes on to Nestor. Nestor in a digression
tells him how Epopeus was utterly destroyed after seducing the
daughter of Lycus, and the story of Oedipus, the madness of
Heracles, and the story of Theseus and Ariadne. Then they travel
over Hellas and gather the leaders, detecting Odysseus when he
pretends to be mad, not wishing to join the expedition, by
seizing his son Telemachus for punishment at the suggestion of
All the leaders then meet together at Aulis and sacrifice. The
incident of the serpent and the sparrows (2) takes place before
them, and Calchas foretells what is going to befall. After this,
they put out to sea, and reach Teuthrania and sack it, taking it
for Ilium. Telephus comes out to the rescue and kills
Thersander and son of Polyneices, and is himself wounded by
Achilles. As they put out from Mysia a storm comes on them and
scatters them, and Achilles first puts in at Scyros and married
Deidameia, the daughter of Lycomedes, and then heals Telephus,
who had been led by an oracle to go to Argos, so that he might be
their guide on the voyage to Ilium.
When the expedition had mustered a second time at Aulis,
Agamemnon, while at the chase, shot a stag and boasted that he
surpassed even Artemis. At this the goddess was so angry that
she sent stormy winds and prevented them from sailing. Calchas
then told them of the anger of the goddess and bade them
sacrifice Iphigeneia to Artemis. This they attempt to do,
sending to fetch Iphigeneia as though for marriage with Achilles.
Artemis, however, snatched her away and transported her to the
Tauri, making her immortal, and putting a stag in place of the
girl upon the altar.
Next they sail as far as Tenedos: and while they are feasting,
Philoctetes is bitten by a snake and is left behind in Lemnos
because of the stench of his sore. Here, too, Achilles quarrels
with Agamemnon because he is invited late. Then the Greeks tried
to land at Ilium, but the Trojans prevent them, and Protesilaus
is killed by Hector. Achilles then kills Cycnus, the son of
Poseidon, and drives the Trojans back. The Greeks take up their
dead and send envoys to the Trojans demanding the surrender of
Helen and the treasure with her. The Trojans refusing, they
first assault the city, and then go out and lay waste the country
and cities round about. After this, Achilles desires to see
Helen, and Aphrodite and Thetis contrive a meeting between them.
The Achaeans next desire to return home, but are restrained by
Achilles, who afterwards drives off the cattle of Aeneas, and
sacks Lyrnessus and Pedasus and many of the neighbouring cities,
and kills Troilus. Patroclus carries away Lycaon to Lemnos and
sells him as a slave, and out of the spoils Achilles receives
Briseis as a prize, and Agamemnon Chryseis. Then follows the
death of Palamedes, the plan of Zeus to relieve the Trojans by
detaching Achilles from the Hellenic confederacy, and a catalogue
of the Trojan allies.
Fragment #2 --
Tzetzes, Chil. xiii. 638:
Stasinus composed the "Cypria" which the more part say was
Homer's work and by him given to Stasinus as a dowry with money
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. i. 5:
`There was a time when the countless tribes of men, though widedispersed,
oppressed the surface of the deep-bosomed earth, and
Zeus saw it and had pity and in his wise heart resolved to
relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the great
struggle of the Ilian war, that the load of death might empty the
world. And so the heroes were slain in Troy, and the plan of
Zeus came to pass.'
Fragment #4 --
Volumina Herculan, II. viii. 105:
The author of the "Cypria" says that Thetis, to please Hera,
avoided union with Zeus, at which he was enraged and swore that
she should be the wife of a mortal.
Fragment #5 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xvii. 140:
For at the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the gods gathered
together on Pelion to feast and brought Peleus gifts. Cheiron
gave him a stout ashen shaft which he had cut for a spear, and
Athena, it is said, polished it, and Hephaestus fitted it with a
head. The story is given by the author of the "Cypria".
Fragment #6 --
Athenaeus, xv. 682 D, F:
The author of the "Cypria", whether Hegesias or Stasinus,
mentions flowers used for garlands. The poet, whoever he was,
writes as follows in his first book:
(ll. 1-7) `She clothed herself with garments which the Graces and
Hours had made for her and dyed in flowers of spring -- such
flowers as the Seasons wear -- in crocus and hyacinth and
flourishing violet and the rose's lovely bloom, so sweet and
delicious, and heavenly buds, the flowers of the narcissus and
lily. In such perfumed garments is Aphrodite clothed at all
(ll. 8-12) Then laughter-loving Aphrodite and her handmaidens
wove sweet-smelling crowns of flowers of the earth and put them
upon their heads -- the bright-coiffed goddesses, the Nymphs and
Graces, and golden Aphrodite too, while they sang sweetly on the
mount of many-fountained Ida.'
Fragment #7 --
Clement of Alexandria, Protrept ii. 30. 5:
`Castor was mortal, and the fate of death was destined for him;
but Polydeuces, scion of Ares, was immortal.'
Fragment #8 --
Athenaeus, viii. 334 B:
`And after them she bare a third child, Helen, a marvel to men.
Rich-tressed Nemesis once gave her birth when she had been joined
in love with Zeus the king of the gods by harsh violence. For
Nemesis tried to escape him and liked not to lie in love with her
father Zeus the Son of Cronos; for shame and indignation vexed
her heart: therefore she fled him over the land and fruitless
dark water. But Zeus ever pursued and longed in his heart to
catch her. Now she took the form of a fish and sped over the
waves of the loud-roaring sea, and now over Ocean's stream and
the furthest bounds of Earth, and now she sped over the furrowed
land, always turning into such dread creatures as the dry land
nurtures, that she might escape him.'
Fragment #9 --
Scholiast on Euripides, Andr. 898:
The writer (3) of the Cyprian histories says that (Helen's third
child was) Pleisthenes and that she took him with her to Cyprus,
and that the child she bore Alexandrus was Aganus.
Fragment #10 --
Herodotus, ii. 117:
For it is said in the "Cypria" that Alexandrus came with Helen to
Ilium from Sparta in three days, enjoying a favourable wind and
calm sea.
Fragment #11 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. iii. 242:
For Helen had been previously carried off by Theseus, and it was
in consequence of this earlier rape that Aphidna, a town in
Attica, was sacked and Castor was wounded in the right thigh by
Aphidnus who was king at that time. Then the Dioscuri, failing
to find Theseus, sacked Athens. The story is in the Cyclic
Plutarch, Thes. 32:
Hereas relates that Alycus was killed by Theseus himself near
Aphidna, and quotes the following verses in evidence: `In
spacious Aphidna Theseus slew him in battle long ago for richhaired
Helen's sake.' (4)
Fragment #12 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. x. 114:
(ll. 1-6) `Straightway Lynceus, trusting in his swift feet, made
for Taygetus. He climbed its highest peak and looked throughout
the whole isle of Pelops, son of Tantalus; and soon the glorious
hero with his dread eyes saw horse-taming Castor and athlete
Polydeuces both hidden within a hollow oak.'
Philodemus, On Piety:
(Stasinus?) writes that Castor was killed with a spear shot by
Idas the son of Aphareus.
Fragment #13 --
Athenaeus, 35 C:
`Menelaus, know that the gods made wine the best thing for mortal
man to scatter cares.'
Fragment #14 --
Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles, Elect. 157:
Either he follows Homer who spoke of the three daughters of
Agamemnon, or -- like the writer of the "Cypria" -- he makes them
four, (distinguishing) Iphigeneia and Iphianassa.
Fragment #15 -- (5)
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
`So they feasted all day long, taking nothing from their own
houses; for Agamemnon, king of men, provided for them.'
Fragment #16 --
Louvre Papyrus:
`I never thought to enrage so terribly the stout heart of
Achilles, for very well I loved him.'
Fragment #17 --
Pausanias, iv. 2. 7:
The poet of the "Cypria" says that the wife of Protesilaus --
who, when the Hellenes reached the Trojan shore, first dared to
land -- was called Polydora, and was the daughter of Meleager,
the son of Oeneus.
Fragment #18 --
Eustathius, 119. 4:
Some relate that Chryseis was taken from Hypoplacian (6) Thebes,
and that she had not taken refuge there nor gone there to
sacrifice to Artemis, as the author of the "Cypria" states, but
was simply a fellow townswoman of Andromache.
Fragment #19 --
Pausanias, x. 31. 2:
I know, because I have read it in the epic "Cypria", that
Palamedes was drowned when he had gone out fishing, and that it
was Diomedes and Odysseus who caused his death.
Fragment #20 --
Plato, Euthyphron, 12 A:
`That it is Zeus who has done this, and brought all these things
to pass, you do not like to say; for where fear is, there too is
Fragment #21 --
Herodian, On Peculiar Diction:
`By him she conceived and bare the Gorgons, fearful monsters who
lived in Sarpedon, a rocky island in deep-eddying Oceanus.'
Fragment #22 --
Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vii. 2. 19:
Again, Stasinus says: `He is a simple man who kills the father
and lets the children live.'
(1) The preceding part of the Epic Cycle (?).
(2) While the Greeks were sacrificing at Aulis, a serpent
appeared and devoured eight young birds from their nest and
lastly the mother of the brood. This was interpreted by
Calchas to mean that the war would swallow up nine full
years. Cp. "Iliad" ii, 299 ff.
(3) i.e. Stasinus (or Hegesias: cp. fr. 6): the phrase `Cyprian
histories' is equivalent to "The Cypria".
(4) Cp. Allen "C.R." xxvii. 190.
(5) These two lines possibly belong to the account of the feast
given by Agamemnon at Lemnos.
(6) sc. the Asiatic Thebes at the foot of Mt. Placius.
THE AETHIOPIS (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
The "Cypria", described in the preceding book, has its sequel in
the "Iliad" of Homer, which is followed in turn by the five books
of the "Aethiopis", the work of Arctinus of Miletus. Their
contents are as follows. The Amazon Penthesileia, the daughter
of Ares and of Thracian race, comes to aid the Trojans, and after
showing great prowess, is killed by Achilles and buried by the
Trojans. Achilles then slays Thersites for abusing and reviling
him for his supposed love for Penthesileia. As a result a
dispute arises amongst the Achaeans over the killing of
Thersites, and Achilles sails to Lesbos and after sacrificing to
Apollo, Artemis, and Leto, is purified by Odysseus from
Then Memnon, the son of Eos, wearing armour made by Hephaestus,
comes to help the Trojans, and Thetis tells her son about Memnon.
A battle takes place in which Antilochus is slain by Memnon and
Memnon by Achilles. Eos then obtains of Zeus and bestows upon
her son immortality; but Achilles routs the Trojans, and, rushing
into the city with them, is killed by Paris and Apollo. A great
struggle for the body then follows, Aias taking up the body and
carrying it to the ships, while Odysseus drives off the Trojans
behind. The Achaeans then bury Antilochus and lay out the body
of Achilles, while Thetis, arriving with the Muses and her
sisters, bewails her son, whom she afterwards catches away from
the pyre and transports to the White Island. After this, the
Achaeans pile him a cairn and hold games in his honour. Lastly a
dispute arises between Odysseus and Aias over the arms of
Fragment #2 --
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xxiv. 804:
Some read: `Thus they performed the burial of Hector. Then came
the Amazon, the daughter of great-souled Ares the slayer of men.'
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Isth. iii. 53:
The author of the "Aethiopis" says that Aias killed himself about
THE LITTLE ILIAD (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
Next comes the "Little Iliad" in four books by Lesches of
Mitylene: its contents are as follows. The adjudging of the arms
of Achilles takes place, and Odysseus, by the contriving of
Athena, gains them. Aias then becomes mad and destroys the herd
of the Achaeans and kills himself. Next Odysseus lies in wait
and catches Helenus, who prophesies as to the taking of Troy, and
Diomede accordingly brings Philoctetes from Lemnos. Philoctetes
is healed by Machaon, fights in single combat with Alexandrus and
kills him: the dead body is outraged by Menelaus, but the Trojans
recover and bury it. After this Deiphobus marries Helen,
Odysseus brings Neoptolemus from Scyros and gives him his
father's arms, and the ghost of Achilles appears to him.
Eurypylus the son of Telephus arrives to aid the Trojans, shows
his prowess and is killed by Neoptolemus. The Trojans are now
closely beseiged, and Epeius, by Athena's instruction, builds the
wooden horse. Odysseus disfigures himself and goes in to Ilium
as a spy, and there being recognized by Helen, plots with her for
the taking of the city; after killing certain of the Trojans, he
returns to the ships. Next he carries the Palladium out of Troy
with help of Diomedes. Then after putting their best men in the
wooden horse and burning their huts, the main body of the
Hellenes sail to Tenedos. The Trojans, supposing their troubles
over, destroy a part of their city wall and take the wooden horse
into their city and feast as though they had conquered the
Fragment #2 --
Pseudo-Herodotus, Life of Homer:
`I sing of Ilium and Dardania, the land of fine horses, wherein
the Danai, followers of Ares, suffered many things.'
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Aristophanes, Knights 1056 and Aristophanes ib:
The story runs as follows: Aias and Odysseus were quarrelling as
to their achievements, says the poet of the "Little Iliad", and
Nestor advised the Hellenes to send some of their number to go to
the foot of the walls and overhear what was said about the valour
of the heroes named above. The eavesdroppers heard certain girls
disputing, one of them saying that Aias was by far a better man
than Odysseus and continuing as follows:
`For Aias took up and carried out of the strife the hero, Peleus'
son: this great Odysseus cared not to do.'
To this another replied by Athena's contrivance:
`Why, what is this you say? A thing against reason and untrue!
Even a woman could carry a load once a man had put it on her
shoulder; but she could not fight. For she would fail with fear
if she should fight.'
Fragment #4 --
Eustathius, 285. 34:
The writer of the "Little Iliad" says that Aias was not buried in
the usual way (1), but was simply buried in a coffin, because of
the king's anger.
Fragment #5 --
Eustathius on Homer, Il. 326:
The author of the "Little Iliad" says that Achilles after putting
out to sea from the country of Telephus came to land there: `The
storm carried Achilles the son of Peleus to Scyros, and he came
into an uneasy harbour there in that same night.'
Fragment #6 --
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. vi. 85:
`About the spear-shaft was a hoop of flashing gold, and a point
was fitted to it at either end.'
Fragment #7 --
Scholiast on Euripides Troades, 822:
`...the vine which the son of Cronos gave him as a recompense for
his son. It bloomed richly with soft leaves of gold and grape
clusters; Hephaestus wrought it and gave it to his father Zeus:
and he bestowed it on Laomedon as a price for Ganymedes.'
Fragment #8 --
Pausanias, iii. 26. 9:
The writer of the epic "Little Iliad" says that Machaon was
killed by Eurypylus, the son of Telephus.
Fragment #9 --
Homer, Odyssey iv. 247 and Scholiast:
`He disguised himself, and made himself like another person, a
beggar, the like of whom was not by the ships of the Achaeans.'
The Cyclic poet uses `beggar' as a substantive, and so means to
say that when Odysseus had changed his clothes and put on rags,
there was no one so good for nothing at the ships as Odysseus.
Fragment #10 -- (2)
Plutarch, Moralia, p. 153 F:
And Homer put forward the following verses as Lesches gives them:
`Muse, tell me of those things which neither happened before nor
shall be hereafter.'
And Hesiod answered:
`But when horses with rattling hoofs wreck chariots, striving for
victory about the tomb of Zeus.'
And it is said that, because this reply was specially admired,
Hesiod won the tripod (at the funeral games of Amphidamas).
Fragment #11 --
Scholiast on Lycophr., 344:
Sinon, as it had been arranged with him, secretly showed a
signal-light to the Hellenes. Thus Lesches writes: -- `It was
midnight, and the clear moon was rising.'
Fragment #12 --
Pausanias, x. 25. 5:
Meges is represented (3) wounded in the arm just as Lescheos the
son of Aeschylinus of Pyrrha describes in his "Sack of Ilium"
where it is said that he was wounded in the battle which the
Trojans fought in the night by Admetus, son of Augeias.
Lycomedes too is in the picture with a wound in the wrist, and
Lescheos says he was so wounded by Agenor...
Pausanias, x. 26. 4:
Lescheos also mentions Astynous, and here he is, fallen on one
knee, while Neoptolemus strikes him with his sword...
Pausanias, x. 26. 8:
The same writer says that Helicaon was wounded in the nightbattle,
but was recognised by Odysseus and by him conducted alive
out of the fight...
Pausanias, x. 27. 1:
Of them (4), Lescheos says that Eion was killed by Neoptolemus,
and Admetus by Philoctetes... He also says that Priam was not
killed at the heart of Zeus Herceius, but was dragged away from
the altar and destroyed off hand by Neoptolemus at the doors of
the house... Lescheos says that Axion was the son of Priam and
was slain by Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon. Agenor -- according
to the same poet -- was butchered by Neoptolemus.
Fragment #13 --
Aristophanes, Lysistrata 155 and Scholiast:
`Menelaus at least, when he caught a glimpse somehow of the
breasts of Helen unclad, cast away his sword, methinks.' Lesches
the Pyrrhaean also has the same account in his "Little Iliad".
Pausanias, x. 25. 8:
Concerning Aethra Lesches relates that when Ilium was taken she
stole out of the city and came to the Hellenic camp, where she
was recognised by the sons of Theseus; and that Demophon asked
her of Agamemnon. Agamemnon wished to grant him this favour, but
he would not do so until Helen consented. And when he sent a
herald, Helen granted his request.
Fragment #14 --
Scholiast on Lycophr. Alex., 1268:
`Then the bright son of bold Achilles led the wife of Hector to
the hollow ships; but her son he snatched from the bosom of his
rich-haired nurse and seized him by the foot and cast him from a
tower. So when he had fallen bloody death and hard fate seized
on Astyanax. And Neoptolemus chose out Andromache, Hector's
well-girded wife, and the chiefs of all the Achaeans gave her to
him to hold requiting him with a welcome prize. And he put
(5), the famous son of horse-taming Anchises, on board his seafaring
ships, a prize surpassing those of all the Danaans.'
(1) sc. after cremation.
(2) This fragment comes from a version of the "Contest of Homer
and Hesiod" widely different from that now extant. The
words `as Lesches gives them (says)' seem to indicate that
the verse and a half assigned to Homer came from the "Little
Iliad". It is possible they may have introduced some
unusually striking incident, such as the actual Fall of
(3) i.e. in the paintings by Polygnotus at Delphi.
(4) i.e. the dead bodies in the picture.
(5) According to this version Aeneas was taken to Pharsalia.
Better known are the Homeric account (according to which
Aeneas founded a new dynasty at Troy), and the legends which
make him seek a new home in Italy.
THE SACK OF ILIUM (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
Next come two books of the "Sack of Ilium", by Arctinus of
Miletus with the following contents. The Trojans were suspicious
of the wooden horse and standing round it debated what they ought
to do. Some thought they ought to hurl it down from the rocks,
others to burn it up, while others said they ought to dedicate it
to Athena. At last this third opinion prevailed. Then they
turned to mirth and feasting believing the war was at an end.
But at this very time two serpents appeared and destroyed Laocoon
and one of his two sons, a portent which so alarmed the followers
of Aeneas that they withdrew to Ida. Sinon then raised the firesignal
to the Achaeans, having previously got into the city by
pretence. The Greeks then sailed in from Tenedos, and those in
the wooden horse came our and fell upon their enemies, killing
many and storming the city. Neoptolemus kills Priam who had fled
to the altar of Zeus Herceius (1); Menelaus finds Helen and takes
her to the ships, after killing Deiphobus; and Aias the son of
Ileus, while trying to drag Cassandra away by force, tears away
with her the image of Athena. At this the Greeks are so enraged
that they determine to stone Aias, who only escapes from the
danger threatening him by taking refuge at the altar of Athena.
The Greeks, after burning the city, sacrifice Polyxena at the
tomb of Achilles: Odysseus murders Astyanax; Neoptolemus takes
Andromache as his prize, and the remaining spoils are divided.
Demophon and Acamas find Aethra and take her with them. Lastly
the Greeks sail away and Athena plans to destroy them on the high
Fragment #2 --
Dionysus Halicarn, Rom. Antiq. i. 68:
According to Arctinus, one Palladium was given to Dardanus by
Zeus, and this was in Ilium until the city was taken. It was
hidden in a secret place, and a copy was made resembling the
original in all points and set up for all to see, in order to
deceive those who might have designs against it. This copy the
Achaeans took as a result of their plots.
Fragment #3 --
Scholiast on Euripedes, Andromache 10:
The Cyclic poet who composed the "Sack" says that Astyanax was
also hurled from the city wall.
Fragment #4 --
Scholiast on Euripedes, Troades 31:
For the followers of Acamus and Demophon took no share -- it is
said -- of the spoils, but only Aethra, for whose sake, indeed,
they came to Ilium with Menestheus to lead them. Lysimachus,
however, says that the author of the "Sack" writes as follows:
`The lord Agamemnon gave gifts to the Sons of Theseus and to bold
Menestheus, shepherd of hosts.'
Fragment #5 --
Eustathius on Iliad, xiii. 515:
Some say that such praise as this (1) does not apply to
physicians generally, but only to Machaon: and some say that he
only practised surgery, while Podaleirius treated sicknesses.
Arctinus in the "Sack of Ilium" seems to be of this opinion when
he says:
(ll. 1-8) `For their father the famous Earth-Shaker gave both of
them gifts, making each more glorious than the other. To the one
he gave hands more light to draw or cut out missiles from the
flesh and to heal all kinds of wounds; but in the heart of the
other he put full and perfect knowledge to tell hidden diseases
and cure desperate sicknesses. It was he who first noticed Aias'
flashing eyes and clouded mind when he was enraged.'
Fragment #6 --
Diomedes in Gramm., Lat. i. 477:
`Iambus stood a little while astride with foot advanced, that so
his strained limbs might get power and have a show of ready
(1) sc. knowledge of both surgery and of drugs.
THE RETURNS (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
After the "Sack of Ilium" follow the "Returns" in five books by
Agias of Troezen. Their contents are as follows. Athena causes
a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus about the voyage from
Troy. Agamemnon then stays on to appease the anger of Athena.
Diomedes and Nestor put out to sea and get safely home. After
them Menelaus sets out and reaches Egypt with five ships, the
rest having been destroyed on the high seas. Those with Calchas,
Leontes, and Polypoetes go by land to Colophon and bury Teiresias
who died there. When Agamemnon and his followers were sailing
away, the ghost of Achilles appeared and tried to prevent them by
foretelling what should befall them. The storm at the rocks
called Capherides is then described, with the end of Locrian
Aias. Neoptolemus, warned by Thetis, journeys overland and,
coming into Thrace, meets Odysseus at Maronea, and then finishes
the rest of his journey after burying Phoenix who dies on the
way. He himself is recognized by Peleus on reaching the Molossi.
Then comes the murder of Agamemnon by Aegisthus and
Clytaemnestra, followed by the vengeance of Orestes and Pylades.
Finally, Menelaus returns home.
Fragment #2 --
Argument to Euripides Medea:
`Forthwith Medea made Aeson a sweet young boy and stripped his
old age from him by her cunning skill, when she had made a brew
of many herbs in her golden cauldrons.'
Fragment #3 --
Pausanias, i. 2:
The story goes that Heracles was besieging Themiscyra on the
Thermodon and could not take it; but Antiope, being in love with
Theseus who was with Heracles on this expedition, betrayed the
place. Hegias gives this account in his poem.
Fragment #4 --
Eustathius, 1796. 45:
The Colophonian author of the "Returns" says that Telemachus
afterwards married Circe, while Telegonus the son of Circe
correspondingly married Penelope.
Fragment #5 --
Clement of Alex. Strom., vi. 2. 12. 8:
`For gifts beguile men's minds and their deeds as well.' (1)
Fragment #6 --
Pausanias, x. 28. 7:
The poetry of Homer and the "Returns" -- for here too there is an
account of Hades and the terrors there -- know of no spirit named
Athenaeus, 281 B:
The writer of the "Return of the Atreidae" (2) says that Tantalus
came and lived with the gods, and was permitted to ask for
whatever he desired. But the man was so immoderately given to
pleasures that he asked for these and for a life like that of the
gods. At this Zeus was annoyed, but fulfilled his prayer because
of his own promise; but to prevent him from enjoying any of the
pleasures provided, and to keep him continually harassed, he hung
a stone over his head which prevents him from ever reaching any
of the pleasant things near by.
(1) Clement attributes this line to Augias: probably Agias is
(2) Identical with the "Returns", in which the Sons of Atreus
occupy the most prominent parts.
THE TELEGONY (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
After the "Returns" comes the "Odyssey" of Homer, and then the
"Telegony" in two books by Eugammon of Cyrene, which contain the
following matters. The suitors of Penelope are buried by their
kinsmen, and Odysseus, after sacrificing to the Nymphs, sails to
Elis to inspect his herds. He is entertained there by Polyxenus
and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and
Agamedes and Augeas then follows. He next sails back to Ithaca
and performs the sacrifices ordered by Teiresias, and then goes
to Thesprotis where he marries Callidice, queen of the
Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians,
led by Odysseus, and the Brygi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus
and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollo separates them. After
the death of Callidice Polypoetes, the son of Odysseus, succeeds
to the kingdom, while Odysseus himself returns to Ithaca. In the
meantime Telegonus, while travelling in search of his father,
lands on Ithaca and ravages the island: Odysseus comes out to
defend his country, but is killed by his son unwittingly.
Telegonus, on learning his mistake, transports his father's body
with Penelope and Telemachus to his mother's island, where Circe
makes them immortal, and Telegonus marries Penelope, and
Telemachus Circe.
Fragment #2 --
Eustathias, 1796. 35:
The author of the "Telegony", a Cyrenaean, relates that Odysseus
had by Calypso a son Telegonus or Teledamus, and by Penelope
Telemachus and Acusilaus.
Fragment #1 --
Pseudo-Herodotus, Life of Homer:
Sitting there in the tanner's yard, Homer recited his poetry to
them, the "Expedition of Amphiarus to Thebes" and the "Hymns to
the Gods" composed by him.
Fragment #1 --
Eustathius, 330. 41:
An account has there been given of Eurytus and his daughter Iole,
for whose sake Heracles sacked Oechalia. Homer also seems to
have written on this subject, as that historian shows who relates
that Creophylus of Samos once had Homer for his guest and for a
reward received the attribution of the poem which they call the
"Taking of Oechalia". Some, however, assert the opposite; that
Creophylus wrote the poem, and that Homer lent his name in return
for his entertainment. And so Callimachus writes: `I am the work
of that Samian who once received divine Homer in his house. I
sing of Eurytus and all his woes and of golden-haired Ioleia, and
am reputed one of Homer's works. Dear Heaven! how great an
honour this for Creophylus!'
Fragment #2 --
Cramer, Anec. Oxon. i. 327:
`Ragged garments, even those which now you see.' This verse
("Odyssey" xiv. 343) we shall also find in the "Taking of
Fragment #3 --
Scholaist on Sophocles Trach., 266:
There is a disagreement as to the number of the sons of Eurytus.
For Hesiod says Eurytus and Antioche had as many as four sons;
but Creophylus says two.
Fragment #4 --
Scholiast on Euripides Medea, 273:
Didymus contrasts the following account given by Creophylus,
which is as follows: while Medea was living in Corinth, she
poisoned Creon, who was ruler of the city at that time, and
because she feared his friends and kinsfolk, fled to Athens.
However, since her sons were too young to go along with her, she
left them at the altar of Hera Acraea, thinking that their father
would see to their safety. But the relatives of Creon killed
them and spread the story that Medea had killed her own children
as well as Creon.
THE PHOCAIS (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Pseudo-Herodotus, Life of Homer:
While living with Thestorides, Homer composed the "Lesser Iliad"
and the "Phocais"; though the Phocaeans say that he composed the
latter among them.
THE MARGITES (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Suidas, s.v.:
Pigres. A Carian of Halicarnassus and brother of Artemisia, wife
of Mausolus, who distinguished herself in war... (1) He also
wrote the "Margites" attributed to Homer and the "Battle of the
Frogs and Mice".
Fragment #2 --
Atilius Fortunatianus, p. 286, Keil:
`There came to Colophon an old man and divine singer, a servant
of the Muses and of far-shooting Apollo. In his dear hands he
held a sweet-toned lyre.'
Fragment #3 --
Plato, Alcib. ii. p. 147 A:
`He knew many things but knew all badly...'
Aristotle, Nic. Eth. vi. 7, 1141:
`The gods had taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any
other skill; he failed in every craft.'
Fragment #4 --
Scholiast on Aeschines in Ctes., sec. 160:
He refers to Margites, a man who, though well grown up, did not
know whether it was his father or his mother who gave him birth,
and would not lie with his wife, saying that he was afraid she
might give a bad account of him to her mother.
Fragment #5 --
Zenobius, v. 68:
`The fox knows many a wile; but the hedge-hog's one trick (2) can
beat them all.' (3)
(1) This Artemisia, who distinguished herself at the battle of
Salamis (Herodotus, vii. 99) is here confused with the later
Artemisia, the wife of Mausolus, who died 350 B.C.
(2) i.e. the fox knows many ways to baffle its foes, while the
hedge-hog knows one only which is far more effectual.
(3) Attributed to Homer by Zenobius, and by Bergk to the
THE CERCOPES (fragments)
Fragment #1 --
Suidas, s.v.:
Cercopes. These were two brothers living upon the earth who
practised every kind of knavery. They were called Cercopes (1)
because of their cunning doings: one of them was named Passalus
and the other Acmon. Their mother, a daughter of Memnon, seeing
their tricks, told them to keep clear of Black-bottom, that is,
of Heracles. These Cercopes were sons of Theia and Ocean, and
are said to have been turned to stone for trying to deceive Zeus.
`Liars and cheats, skilled in deeds irremediable, accomplished
knaves. Far over the world they roamed deceiving men as they
wandered continually.'
(1) i.e. `monkey-men'.
(ll. 1-8) Here I begin: and first I pray the choir of the Muses
to come down from Helicon into my heart to aid the lay which I
have newly written in tablets upon my knee. Fain would I sound
in all men's ears that awful strife, that clamorous deed of war,
and tell how the Mice proved their valour on the Frogs and
rivalled the exploits of the Giants, those earth-born men, as the
tale was told among mortals. Thus did the war begin.
(ll. 9-12) One day a thirsty Mouse who had escaped the ferret,
dangerous foe, set his soft muzzle to the lake's brink and
revelled in the sweet water. There a loud-voiced pond-larker
spied him: and uttered such words as these.
(ll. 13-23) `Stranger, who are you? Whence come you to this
shore, and who is he who begot you? Tell me all this truly and
let me not find you lying. For if I find you worthy to be my
friend, I will take you to my house and give you many noble gifts
such as men give to their guests. I am the king Puff-jaw, and am
honoured in all the pond, being ruler of the Frogs continually.
The father that brought me up was Mud-man who mated with
Waterlady by the banks of Eridanus. I see, indeed, that you are
well-looking and stouter than the ordinary, a sceptred king and a
warrior in fight; but, come, make haste and tell me your
(ll. 24-55) Then Crumb-snatcher answered him and said: `Why do
you ask my race, which is well-known amongst all, both men and
gods and the birds of heaven? Crumb-snatcher am I called, and I
am the son of Bread-nibbler -- he was my stout-hearted father --
and my mother was Quern-licker, the daughter of Ham-gnawer the
king: she bare me in the mouse-hole and nourished me with food,
figs and nuts and dainties of all kinds. But how are you to make
me your friend, who am altogether different in nature? For you
get your living in the water, but I am used to each such foods as
men have: I never miss the thrice-kneaded loaf in its neat, round
basket, or the thin-wrapped cake full of sesame and cheese, or
the slice of ham, or liver vested in white fat, or cheese just
curdled from sweet milk, or delicious honey-cake which even the
blessed gods long for, or any of all those cates which cooks make
for the feasts of mortal men, larding their pots and pans with
spices of all kinds. In battle I have never flinched from the
cruel onset, but plunged straight into the fray and fought among
the foremost. I fear not man though he has a big body, but run
along his bed and bite the tip of his toe and nibble at his heel;
and the man feels no hurt and his sweet sleep is not broken by my
biting. But there are two things I fear above all else the whole
world over, the hawk and the ferret -- for these bring great
grief on me -- and the piteous trap wherein is treacherous death.
Most of all I fear the ferret of the keener sort which follows
you still even when you dive down your hole. (1) In gnaw no
radishes and cabbages and pumpkins, nor feed on green leeks and
parsley; for these are food for you who live in the lake.'
(ll. 56-64) Then Puff-jaw answered him with a smile: `Stranger
you boast too much of belly-matters: we too have many marvels to
be seen both in the lake and on the shore. For the Son of
Chronos has given us Frogs the power to lead a double life,
dwelling at will in two separate elements; and so we both leap on
land and plunge beneath the water. If you would learn of all
these things, 'tis easy done: just mount upon my back and hold me
tight lest you be lost, and so you shall come rejoicing to my
(ll. 65-81) So said he, and offered his back. And the Mouse
mounted at once, putting his paws upon the other's sleek neck and
vaulting nimbly. Now at first, while he still saw the land near
by, he was pleased, and was delighted with Puff-jaw's swimming;
but when dark waves began to wash over him, he wept loudly and
blamed his unlucky change of mind: he tore his fur and tucked his
paws in against his belly, while within him his heart quaked by
reason of the strangeness: and he longed to get to land, groaning
terribly through the stress of chilling fear. He put out his
tail upon the water and worked it like a steering oar, and prayed
to heaven that he might get to land. But when the dark waves
washed over him he cried aloud and said: `Not in such wise did
the bull bear on his back the beloved load, when be brought
Europa across the sea to Crete, as this Frog carries me over the
water to his house, raising his yellow back in the pale water.'
(ll. 82-92) Then suddenly a water-snake appeared, a horrid sight
for both alike, and held his neck upright above the water. And
when he saw it, Puff-jaw dived at once, and never thought how
helpless a friend he would leave perishing; but down to the
bottom of the lake he went, and escaped black death. But the
Mouse, so deserted, at once fell on his back, in the water. He
wrung his paws and squeaked in agony of death: many times he sank
beneath the water and many times he rose up again kicking. But
he could not escape his doom, for his wet fur weighed him down
heavily. Then at the last, as he was dying, he uttered these
(ll. 93-98) `Ah, Puff-jaw, you shall not go unpunished for this
treachery! You threw me, a castaway, off your body as from a
rock. Vile coward! On land you would not have been the better
man, boxing, or wrestling, or running; but now you have tricked
me and cast me in the water. Heaven has an avenging eye, and
surely the host of Mice will punish you and not let you escape.'
(ll. 99-109) With these words he breathed out his soul upon the
water. But Lick-platter as he sat upon the soft bank saw him die
and, raising a dreadful cry, ran and told the Mice. And when
they heard of his fate, all the Mice were seized with fierce
anger, and bade their heralds summon the people to assemble
towards dawn at the house of Bread-nibbler, the father of hapless
Crumb-snatcher who lay outstretched on the water face up, a
lifeless corpse, and no longer near the bank, poor wretch, but
floating in the midst of the deep. And when the Mice came in
haste at dawn, Bread-nibbler stood up first, enraged at his son's
death, and thus he spoke.
(ll. 110-121) `Friends, even if I alone had suffered great wrong
from the Frogs, assuredly this is a first essay at mischief for
you all. And now I am pitiable, for I have lost three sons.
First the abhorred ferret seized and killed one of them, catching
him outside the hole; then ruthless men dragged another to his
doom when by unheard-of arts they had contrived a wooden snare, a
destroyer of Mice, which they call a trap. There was a third
whom I and his dear mother loved well, and him Puff-jaw has
carried out into the deep and drowned. Come, then, and let us
arm ourselves and go out against them when we have arrayed
ourselves in rich-wrought arms.'
(ll. 122-131) With such words he persuaded them all to gird
themselves. And Ares who has charge of war equipped them. First
they fastened on greaves and covered their shins with green beanpods
broken into two parts which they had gnawed out, standing
over them all night. Their breast plates were of skin stretched
on reeds, skilfully made from a ferret they had flayed. For
shields each had the centre-piece of a lamp, and their spears
were long needles all of bronze, the work of Ares, and the
helmets upon their temples were pea-nut shells.
(ll. 132-138) So the Mice armed themselves. But when the Frogs
were aware of it, they rose up out of the water and coming
together to one place gathered a council of grievous war. And
while they were asking whence the quarrel arose, and what the
cause of this anger, a herald drew near bearing a wand in his
paws, Pot-visitor the son of great-hearted Cheese-carver. He
brought the grim message of war, speaking thus:
(ll. 139-143) `Frogs, the Mice have sent me with their threats
against you, and bid you arm yourselves for war and battle; for
they have seen Crumb-snatcher in the water whom your king Puffjaw
slew. Fight, then, as many of you as are warriors among the
(ll. 144-146) With these words he explained the matter. So when
this blameless speech came to their ears, the proud Frogs were
disturbed in their hearts and began to blame Puff-jaw. But he
rose up and said:
(ll. 147-159) `Friends, I killed no Mouse, nor did I see one
perishing. Surely he was drowned while playing by the lake and
imitating the swimming of the Frogs, and now these wretches blame
me who am guiltless. Come then; let us take counsel how we may
utterly destroy the wily Mice. Moreover, I will tell you what I
think to be the best. Let us all gird on our armour and take our
stand on the very brink of the lake, where the ground breaks down
sheer: then when they come out and charge upon us, let each seize
by the crest the Mouse who attacks him, and cast them with their
helmets into the lake; for so we shall drown these dry-hobs (2)
in the water, and merrily set up here a trophy of victory over
the slaughtered Mice.'
(ll. 160-167) By this speech he persuaded them to arm themselves.
They covered their shins with leaves of mallows, and had
breastplates made of fine green beet-leaves, and cabbage-leaves,
skilfully fashioned, for shields. Each one was equipped with a
long, pointed rush for a spear, and smooth snail-shells to cover
their heads. Then they stood in close-locked ranks upon the high
bank, waving their spears, and were filled, each of them, with
(ll. 168-173) Now Zeus called the gods to starry heaven and
showed them the martial throng and the stout warriors so many and
so great, all bearing long spears; for they were as the host of
the Centaurs and the Giants. Then he asked with a sly smile;
`Who of the deathless gods will help the Frogs and who the Mice?'
And he said to Athena;
(ll. 174-176) `My daughter, will you go aid the Mice? For they
all frolic about your temple continually, delighting in the fat
of sacrifice and in all kinds of food.'
(ll. 177-196) So then said the son of Cronos. But Athena
answered him: `I would never go to help the Mice when they are
hard pressed, for they have done me much mischief, spoiling my
garlands and my lamps too, to get the oil. And this thing that
they have done vexes my heart exceedingly: they have eaten holes
in my sacred robe, which I wove painfully spinning a fine woof on
a fine warp, and made it full of holes. And now the money-lender
is at me and charges me interest which is a bitter thing for
immortals. For I borrowed to do my weaving, and have nothing
with which to repay. Yet even so I will not help the Frogs; for
they also are not considerable: once, when I was returning early
from war, I was very tired, and though I wanted to sleep, they
would not let me even doze a little for their outcry; and so I
lay sleepless with a headache until cock-crow. No, gods, let us
refrain from helping these hosts, or one of us may get wounded
with a sharp spear; for they fight hand to hand, even if a god
comes against them. Let us rather all amuse ourselves watching
the fight from heaven.'
(ll. 197-198) So said Athena. And the other gods agreed with
her, and all went in a body to one place.
(ll. 199-201) Then gnats with great trumpets sounded the fell
note of war, and Zeus the son of Cronos thundered from heaven, a
sign of grievous battle.
(ll. 202-223) First Loud-croaker wounded Lickman in the belly,
right through the midriff. Down fell he on his face and soiled
his soft fur in the dust: he fell with a thud and his armour
clashed about him. Next Troglodyte shot at the son of Mudman,
and drove the strong spear deep into his breast; so he fell, and
black death seized him and his spirit flitted forth from his
mouth. Then Beety struck Pot-visitor to the heart and killed
him, and Bread-nibbler hit Loud-crier in the belly, so that he
fell on his face and his spirit flitted forth from his limbs.
Now when Pond-larker saw Loud-crier perishing, he struck in
quickly and wounded Troglodyte in his soft neck with a rock like
a mill-stone, so that darkness veiled his eyes. Thereat Ocimides
was seized with grief, and struck out with his sharp reed and did
not draw his spear back to him again, but felled his enemy there
and then. And Lickman shot at him with a bright spear and hit
him unerringly in the midriff. And as he marked Cabbage-eater
running away, he fell on the steep bank, yet even so did not
cease fighting but smote that other so that he fell and did not
rise again; and the lake was dyed with red blood as he lay
outstretched along the shore, pierced through the guts and
shining flanks. Also he slew Cheese-eater on the very brink....
(ll. 224-251) But Reedy took to flight when he saw Ham-nibbler,
and fled, plunging into the lake and throwing away his shield.
Then blameless Pot-visitor killed Brewer and Water-larked killed
the lord Ham-nibbler, striking him on the head with a pebble, so
that his brains flowed out at his nostrils and the earth was
bespattered with blood. Faultless Muck-coucher sprang upon Lickplatter
and killed him with his spear and brought darkness upon
his eyes: and Leeky saw it, and dragged Lick-platter by the foot,
though he was dead, and choked him in the lake. But Crumbsnatcher
was fighting to avenge his dead comrades, and hit Leeky
before he reached the land; and he fell forward at the blow and
his soul went down to Hades. And seeing this, the Cabbageclimber
took a clod of mud and hurled it at the Mouse, plastering
all his forehead and nearly blinding him. Thereat Crumb-snatcher
was enraged and caught up in his strong hand a huge stone that
lay upon the ground, a heavy burden for the soil: with that he
hit Cabbage-climber below the knee and splintered his whole right
shin, hurling him on his back in the dust. But Croakperson kept
him off, and rushing at the Mouse in turn, hit him in the middle
of the belly and drove the whole reed-spear into him, and as he
drew the spear back to him with his strong hand, all his foe's
bowels gushed out upon the ground. And when Troglodyte saw the
deed, as he was limping away from the fight on the river bank, he
shrank back sorely moved, and leaped into a trench to escape
sheer death. Then Bread-nibbler hit Puff-jaw on the toes -- he
came up at the last from the lake and was greatly distressed....
(ll. 252-259) And when Leeky saw him fallen forward, but still
half alive, he pressed through those who fought in front and
hurled a sharp reed at him; but the point of the spear was stayed
and did not break his shield. Then noble Rueful, like Ares
himself, struck his flawless head-piece made of four pots -- he
only among the Frogs showed prowess in the throng. But when he
saw the other rush at him, he did not stay to meet the stouthearted
hero but dived down to the depths of the lake.
(ll. 260-271) Now there was one among the Mice, Slice-snatcher,
who excelled the rest, dear son of Gnawer the son of blameless
Bread-stealer. He went to his house and bade his son take part
in the war. This warrior threatened to destroy the race of Frogs
utterly (3), and splitting a chestnut-husk into two parts along
the joint, put the two hollow pieces as armour on his paws: then
straightway the Frogs were dismayed and all rushed down to the
lake, and he would have made good his boast -- for he had great
strength -- had not the Son of Cronos, the Father of men and
gods, been quick to mark the thing and pitied the Frogs as they
were perishing. He shook his head, and uttered this word:
(ll. 272-276) `Dear, dear, how fearful a deed do my eyes behold!
Slice-snatcher makes no small panic rushing to and fro among the
Frogs by the lake. Let us then make all haste and send warlike
Pallas or even Ares, for they will stop his fighting, strong
though he is.'
(ll. 277-284) So said the Son of Cronos; but Hera answered him:
`Son of Cronos, neither the might of Athena nor of Ares can avail
to deliver the Frogs from utter destruction. Rather, come and
let us all go to help them, or else let loose your weapon, the
great and formidable Titan-killer with which you killed Capaneus,
that doughty man, and great Enceladus and the wild tribes of
Giants; ay, let it loose, for so the most valiant will be slain.'
(ll. 285-293) So said Hera: and the Son of Cronos cast a lurid
thunderbolt: first he thundered and made great Olympus shake, and
the cast the thunderbolt, the awful weapon of Zeus, tossing it
lightly forth. Thus he frightened them all, Frogs and Mice
alike, hurling his bolt upon them. Yet even so the army of the
Mice did not relax, but hoped still more to destroy the brood of
warrior Frogs. Only, the Son of Cronos, on Olympus, pitied the
Frogs and then straightway sent them helpers.
(ll. 294-303) So there came suddenly warriors with mailed backs
and curving claws, crooked beasts that walked sideways, nutcracker-
jawed, shell-hided: bony they were, flat-backed, with
glistening shoulders and bandy legs and stretching arms and eyes
that looked behind them. They had also eight legs and two
feelers -- persistent creatures who are called crabs. These
nipped off the tails and paws and feet of the Mice with their
jaws, while spears only beat on them. Of these the Mice were all
afraid and no longer stood up to them, but turned and fled.
Already the sun was set, and so came the end of the one-day war.
(1) Lines 42-52 are intrusive; the list of vegetables which the
Mouse cannot eat must follow immediately after the various
dishes of which he does eat.
(2) lit. `those unable to swim'.
(3) This may be a parody of Orion's threat in Hesiod,
"Astronomy", frag. 4.
(aka "The Contest of Homer and Hesiod")
Everyone boasts that the most divine of poets, Homer and Hesiod,
are said to be his particular countrymen. Hesiod, indeed, has
put a name to his native place and so prevented any rivalry, for
he said that his father `settled near Helicon in a wretched
hamlet, Ascra, which is miserable in winter, sultry in summer,
and good at no season.' But, as for Homer, you might almost say
that every city with its inhabitants claims him as her son.
Foremost are the men of Smyrna who say that he was the Son of
Meles, the river of their town, by a nymph Cretheis, and that he
was at first called Melesigenes. He was named Homer later, when
he became blind, this being their usual epithet for such people.
The Chians, on the other hand, bring forward evidence to show
that he was their countrymen, saying that there actually remain
some of his descendants among them who are called Homeridae. The
Colophonians even show the place where they declare that he began
to compose when a schoolmaster, and say that his first work was
the "Margites".
As to his parents also, there is on all hands great disagreement.
Hellanicus and Cleanthes say his father was Maeon, but Eugaeon
says Meles; Callicles is for Mnesagoras, Democritus of Troezen
for Daemon, a merchant-trader. Some, again, say he was the son
of Thamyras, but the Egyptians say of Menemachus, a priestscribe,
and there are even those who father him on Telemachus,
the son of Odysseus. As for his mother, she is variously called
Metis, Cretheis, Themista, and Eugnetho. Others say she was an
Ithacan woman sold as a slave by the Phoenicians; other, Calliope
the Muse; others again Polycasta, the daughter of Nestor.
Homer himself was called Meles or, according to different
accounts, Melesigenes or Altes. Some authorities say he was
called Homer, because his father was given as a hostage to the
Persians by the men of Cyprus; others, because of his blindness;
for amongst the Aeolians the blind are so called. We will set
down, however, what we have heard to have been said by the Pythia
concerning Homer in the time of the most sacred Emperor Hadrian.
When the monarch inquired from what city Homer came, and whose
son he was, the priestess delivered a response in hexameters
after this fashion:
`Do you ask me of the obscure race and country of the heavenly
siren? Ithaca is his country, Telemachus his father, and
Epicasta, Nestor's daughter, the mother that bare him, a man by
far the wisest of mortal kind.' This we must most implicitly
believe, the inquirer and the answerer being who they are --
especially since the poet has so greatly glorified his
grandfather in his works.
Now some say that he was earlier than Hesiod, others that he was
younger and akin to him. They give his descent thus: Apollo and
Aethusa, daughter of Poseidon, had a son Linus, to whom was born
Pierus. From Pierus and the nymph Methone sprang Oeager; and
from Oeager and Calliope Orpheus; from Orpheus, Dres; and from
him, Eucles. The descent is continued through Iadmonides,
Philoterpes, Euphemus, Epiphrades and Melanopus who had sons Dius
and Apelles. Dius by Pycimede, the daughter of Apollo had two
sons Hesiod and Perses; while Apelles begot Maeon who was the
father of Homer by a daughter of the River Meles.
According to one account they flourished at the same time and
even had a contest of skill at Chalcis in Euboea. For, they say,
after Homer had composed the "Margites", he went about from city
to city as a minstrel, and coming to Delphi, inquired who he was
and of what country? The Pythia answered:
`The Isle of Ios is your mother's country and it shall receive
you dead; but beware of the riddle of the young children.' (1)
Hearing this, it is said, he hesitated to go to Ios, and remained
in the region where he was. Now about the same time Ganyctor was
celebrating the funeral rites of his father Amphidamas, king of
Euboea, and invited to the gathering not only all those who were
famous for bodily strength and fleetness of foot, but also those
who excelled in wit, promising them great rewards. And so, as
the story goes, the two went to Chalcis and met by chance. The
leading Chalcidians were judges together with Paneides, the
brother of the dead king; and it is said that after a wonderful
contest between the two poets, Hesiod won in the following
manner: he came forward into the midst and put Homer one question
after another, which Homer answered. Hesiod, then, began:
`Homer, son of Meles, inspired with wisdom from heaven, come,
tell me first what is best for mortal man?'
HOMER: `For men on earth 'tis best never to be born at all; or
being born, to pass through the gates of Hades with all speed.'
Hesiod then asked again:
`Come, tell me now this also, godlike Homer: what think you in
your heart is most delightsome to men?'
Homer answered:
`When mirth reigns throughout the town, and feasters about the
house, sitting in order, listen to a minstrel; when the tables
beside them are laden with bread and meat, and a wine-bearer
draws sweet drink from the mixing-bowl and fills the cups: this I
think in my heart to be most delightsome.'
It is said that when Homer had recited these verses, they were so
admired by the Greeks as to be called golden by them, and that
even now at public sacrifices all the guests solemnly recite them
before feasts and libations. Hesiod, however, was annoyed by
Homer's felicity and hurried on to pose him with hard questions.
He therefore began with the following lines:
`Come, Muse; sing not to me of things that are, or that shall be,
or that were of old; but think of another song.'
Then Homer, wishing to escape from the impasse by an apt answer,
replied: --
`Never shall horses with clattering hoofs break chariots,
striving for victory about the tomb of Zeus.'
Here again Homer had fairly met Hesiod, and so the latter turned
to sentences of doubtful meaning (2): he recited many lines and
required Homer to complete the sense of each appropriately. The
first of the following verses is Hesiod's and the next Homer's:
but sometimes Hesiod puts his question in two lines.
HESIOD: `Then they dined on the flesh of oxen and their horses'
necks --'
HOMER: `They unyoked dripping with sweat, when they had had
enough of war.'
HESIOD: `And the Phrygians, who of all men are handiest at ships
HOMER: `To filch their dinner from pirates on the beach.'
HESIOD: `To shoot forth arrows against the tribes of cursed
giants with his hands --'
HOMER: `Heracles unslung his curved bow from his shoulders.'
HESIOD: `This man is the son of a brave father and a weakling --'
HOMER: `Mother; for war is too stern for any woman.'
HESIOD: `But for you, your father and lady mother lay in love --'
HOMER: `When they begot you by the aid of golden Aphrodite.'
HESIOD: `But when she had been made subject in love, Artemis, who
delights in arrows --'
HOMER: `Slew Callisto with a shot of her silver bow.'
HESIOD: `So they feasted all day long, taking nothing --'
HOMER: `From their own houses; for Agamemnon, king of men,
supplied them.'
HESIOD: `When they had feasted, they gathered among the glowing
ashes the bones of the dead Zeus --'
HOMER: `Born Sarpedon, that bold and godlike man.'
HESIOD: `Now we have lingered thus about the plain of Simois,
forth from the ships let us go our way, upon our shoulders --'
HOMER: `Having our hilted swords and long-helved spears.'
HESIOD: `Then the young heroes with their hands from the sea --'
HOMER: `Gladly and swiftly hauled out their fleet ship.'
HESIOD: `Then they came to Colchis and king Aeetes --'
HOMER: `They avoided; for they knew he was inhospitable and
HESIOD: `Now when they had poured libations and deeply drunk, the
surging sea --'
HOMER: `They were minded to traverse on well-built ships.'
HESIOD: `The Son of Atreus prayed greatly for them that they all
might perish --'
HOMER: `At no time in the sea: and he opened his mouth said:'
HESIOD: `Eat, my guests, and drink, and may no one of you return
home to his dear country --'
HOMER: `Distressed; but may you all reach home again unscathed.'
When Homer had met him fairly on every point Hesiod said:
`Only tell me this thing that I ask: How many Achaeans went to
Ilium with the sons of Atreus?'
Homer answered in a mathematical problem, thus:
`There were fifty hearths, and at each hearth were fifty spits,
and on each spit were fifty carcases, and there were thrice three
hundred Achaeans to each joint.'
This is found to be an incredible number; for as there were fifty
hearths, the number of spits is two thousand five hundred; and of
carcasses, one hundred and twenty thousand...
Homer, then, having the advantage on every point, Hesiod was
jealous and began again:
`Homer, son of Meles, if indeed the Muses, daughters of great
Zeus the most high, honour you as it is said, tell me a standard
that is both best and worst for mortal-men; for I long to know
it.' Homer replied: `Hesiod, son of Dius, I am willing to tell
you what you command, and very readily will I answer you. For
each man to be a standard will I answer you. For each man to be
a standard to himself is most excellent for the good, but for the
bad it is the worst of all things. And now ask me whatever else
your heart desires.'
HESIOD: `How would men best dwell in cities, and with what
HOMER: `By scorning to get unclean gain and if the good were
honoured, but justice fell upon the unjust.'
HESIOD: `What is the best thing of all for a man to ask of the
gods in prayer?'
HOMER: `That he may be always at peace with himself continually.'
HESIOD: `Can you tell me in briefest space what is best of all?'
HOMER: `A sound mind in a manly body, as I believe.'
HESIOD: `Of what effect are righteousness and courage?'
HOMER: `To advance the common good by private pains.'
HESIOD: `What is the mark of wisdom among men?'
HOMER: `To read aright the present, and to march with the
HESIOD: `In what kind of matter is it right to trust in men?'
HOMER: `Where danger itself follows the action close.'
HESIOD: `What do men mean by happiness?'
HOMER: `Death after a life of least pain and greatest pleasure.'
After these verses had been spoken, all the Hellenes called for
Homer to be crowned. But King Paneides bade each of them recite
the finest passage from his own poems. Hesiod, therefore, began
as follows:
`When the Pleiads, the daughters of Atlas, begin to rise begin
the harvest, and begin ploughing ere they set. For forty nights
and days they are hidden, but appear again as the year wears
round, when first the sickle is sharpened. This is the law of
the plains and for those who dwell near the sea or live in the
rich-soiled valleys, far from the wave-tossed deep: strip to sow,
and strip to plough, and strip to reap when all things are in
season.' (3)
Then Homer:
`The ranks stood firm about the two Aiantes, such that not even
Ares would have scorned them had he met them, nor yet Athena who
saves armies. For there the chosen best awaited the charge of
the Trojans and noble Hector, making a fence of spears and
serried shields. Shield closed with shield, and helm with helm,
and each man with his fellow, and the peaks of their head-pieces
with crests of horse-hair touched as they bent their heads: so
close they stood together. The murderous battle bristled with
the long, flesh-rending spears they held, and the flash of bronze
from polished helms and new-burnished breast-plates and gleaming
shields blinded the eyes. Very hard of heart would he have been,
who could then have seen that strife with joy and felt no pang.'
Here, again, the Hellenes applauded Homer admiringly, so far did
the verses exceed the ordinary level; and demanded that he should
be adjudged the winner. But the king gave the crown to Hesiod,
declaring that it was right that he who called upon men to follow
peace and husbandry should have the prize rather than one who
dwelt on war and slaughter. In this way, then, we are told,
Hesiod gained the victory and received a brazen tripod which he
dedicated to the Muses with this inscription:
`Hesiod dedicated this tripod to the Muses of Helicon after he
had conquered divine Homer at Chalcis in a contest of song.'
After the gathering was dispersed, Hesiod crossed to the mainland
and went to Delphi to consult the oracle and to dedicate the
first fruits of his victory to the god. They say that as he was
approaching the temple, the prophetess became inspired and said:
`Blessed is this man who serves my house, -- Hesiod, who is
honoured by the deathless Muses: surely his renown shall be as
wide as the light of dawn is spread. But beware of the pleasant
grove of Nemean Zeus; for there death's end is destined to befall
When Hesiod heard this oracle, he kept away from the
Peloponnesus, supposing that the god meant the Nemea there; and
coming to Oenoe in Locris, he stayed with Amphiphanes and
Ganyetor the sons of Phegeus, thus unconsciously fulfilling the
oracle; for all that region was called the sacred place of Nemean
Zeus. He continued to stay a somewhat long time at Oenoe, until
the young men, suspecting Hesiod of seducing their sister, killed
him and cast his body into the sea which separates Achaea and
Locris. On the third day, however, his body was brought to land
by dolphins while some local feast of Ariadne was being held.
Thereupon, all the people hurried to the shore, and recognized
the body, lamented over it and buried it, and then began to look
for the assassins. But these, fearing the anger of their
countrymen, launched a fishing boat, and put out to sea for
Crete: they had finished half their voyage when Zeus sank them
with a thunderbolt, as Alcidamas states in his "Museum".
Eratosthenes, however, says in his "Hesiod" that Ctimenus and
Antiphus, sons of Ganyetor, killed him for the reason already
stated, and were sacrificed by Eurycles the seer to the gods of
hospitality. He adds that the girl, sister of the above-named,
hanged herself after she had been seduced, and that she was
seduced by some stranger, Demodes by name, who was travelling
with Hesiod, and who was also killed by the brothers. At a later
time the men of Orchomenus removed his body as they were directed
by an oracle, and buried him in their own country where they
placed this inscription on his tomb:
`Ascra with its many cornfields was his native land; but in death
the land of the horse-driving Minyans holds the bones of Hesiod,
whose renown is greatest among men of all who are judged by the
test of wit.'
So much for Hesiod. But Homer, after losing the victory, went
from place to place reciting his poems, and first of all the
"Thebais" in seven thousand verses which begins: `Goddess, sing
of parched Argos whence kings...', and then the "Epigoni" in
seven thousand verses beginning: `And now, Muses, let us begin to
sing of men of later days'; for some say that these poems also
are by Homer. Now Xanthus and Gorgus, son of Midas the king,
heard his epics and invited him to compose a epitaph for the tomb
of their father on which was a bronze figure of a maiden
bewailing the death of Midas. He wrote the following lines: --
`I am a maiden of bronze and sit upon the tomb of Midas. While
water flows, and tall trees put forth leaves, and rivers swell,
and the sea breaks on the shore; while the sun rises and shines
and the bright moon also, ever remaining on this mournful tomb I
tell the passer-by that Midas here lies buried.'
For these verses they gave him a silver bowl which he dedicated
to Apollo at Delphi with this inscription: `Lord Phoebus, I,
Homer, have given you a noble gift for the wisdom I have of you:
do you ever grant me renown.'
After this he composed the "Odyssey" in twelve thousand verses,
having previously written the "Iliad" in fifteen thousand five
hundred verses (5). From Delphi, as we are told, he went to
Athens and was entertained by Medon, king of the Athenians. And
being one day in the council hall when it was cold and a fire was
burning there, he drew off the following lines:
`Children are a man's crown, and towers of a city, horses are the
ornament of a plain, and ships of the sea; and good it is to see
a people seated in assembly. But with a blazing fire a house
looks worthier upon a wintry day when the Son of Cronos sends
down snow.'
From Athens he went on to Corinth, where he sang snatches of his
poems and was received with distinction. Next he went to Argos
and there recited these verses from the "Iliad":
`The sons of the Achaeans who held Argos and walled Tiryns, and
Hermione and Asine which lie along a deep bay, and Troezen, and
Eiones, and vine-clad Epidaurus, and the island of Aegina, and
Mases, -- these followed strong-voiced Diomedes, son of Tydeus,
who had the spirit of his father the son of Oeneus, and
Sthenelus, dear son of famous Capaneus. And with these two there
went a third leader, Eurypylus, a godlike man, son of the lord
Mecisteus, sprung of Talaus; but strong-voiced Diomedes was their
chief leader. These men had eighty dark ships wherein were
ranged men skilled in war, Argives with linen jerkins, very goads
of war.' (6)
This praise of their race by the most famous of all poets so
exceedingly delighted the leading Argives, that they rewarded him
with costly gifts and set up a brazen statue to him, decreeing
that sacrifice should be offered to Homer daily, monthly, and
yearly; and that another sacrifice should be sent to Chios every
five years. This is the inscription they cut upon his statue:
`This is divine Homer who by his sweet-voiced art honoured all
proud Hellas, but especially the Argives who threw down the godbuilt
walls of Troy to avenge rich-haired Helen. For this cause
the people of a great city set his statue here and serve him with
the honours of the deathless gods.'
After he had stayed for some time in Argos, he crossed over to
Delos, to the great assembly, and there, standing on the altar of
horns, he recited the "Hymn to Apollo" (7) which begins: `I will
remember and not forget Apollo the far-shooter.' When the hymn
was ended, the Ionians made him a citizen of each one of their
states, and the Delians wrote the poem on a whitened tablet and
dedicated it in the temple of Artemis. The poet sailed to Ios,
after the assembly was broken up, to join Creophylus, and stayed
there some time, being now an old man. And, it is said, as he
was sitting by the sea he asked some boys who were returning from
`Sirs, hunters of deep-sea prey, have we caught anything?'
To this replied:
`All that we caught, we left behind, and carry away all that we
did not catch.'
Homer did not understand this reply and asked what they meant.
They then explained that they had caught nothing in fishing, but
had been catching their lice, and those of the lice which they
caught, they left behind; but carried away in their clothes those
which they did not catch. Hereupon Homer remembered the oracle
and, perceiving that the end of his life had come composed his
own epitaph. And while he was retiring from that place, he
slipped in a clayey place and fell upon his side, and died, it is
said, the third day after. He was buried in Ios, and this is his
`Here the earth covers the sacred head of divine Homer, the
glorifier of hero-men.'
(1) sc. the riddle of the fisher-boys which comes at the end of
this work.
(2) The verses of Hesiod are called doubtful in meaning because
they are, if taken alone, either incomplete or absurd.
(3) "Works and Days", ll. 383-392.
(4) "Iliad" xiii, ll. 126-133, 339-344.
(5) The accepted text of the "Iliad" contains 15,693 verses;
that of the "Odyssey", 12,110.
(6) "Iliad" ii, ll. 559-568 (with two additional verses).
(7) "Homeric Hymns", iii.

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