Book Review: Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days, Shield

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 8, 2011

A worthy and consequential book for anyone who–like me–has geeked out on Greek mythology for as long as he or she can remember. It comes with helpful and valuable commentary to illuminate the meaning of the three poems covered in the book (note that “Shield” is no longer thought to have been written by Hesiod), and does a very good job of introducing Hesiod to those who might have thought that Greek epic poetry began and ended with Homer.

The translation is lyrical, yet accessible. The analysis of myths from other countries, and how they compare with Greek myths is very interesting. The poems soar in their discussion of the gods and immortals, but they are designed to appeal to the cares of humans; consider the practical advice contained in “Works and Days,” a poem whose chief aim is to better the lives of people. Worth getting.

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