Hesiod’s View of Mankind’s Life

Hesiod had a very eccentric view of man’s past and future. According to his poem Works and Days -a poem that he wrote for the purpose of advising his brother of life habits- Zeus, an ancient Greek god, had created five generations of mankind. The first generation was the golden generation, the second silver, the third bronze, the fourth the demi-gods, and finally the fifth generation, the iron generation who Hesiod said to be the present race, signifying us.

These generations are different because Zeus had first created them and then he became bored with them, so to speak, which lead to his destroying them. He then replaced the old generation with a new one.

In the beginning of Hesiod’s poem he stated that every new generation created was worse than the last one and that our fifth generation will eventually be destroyed and replaced as well. Though contradictorily near the end of Works and Days Hesiod said that our ‘era’, meaning generation, was a good one. What did he mean by this? One can only imagine.

Hesiod had also mentioned that working hard along with praying diligently to the gods, living life justly, paying attention to the omens of birds, and acknowledging special days are the keys to a successful life.

I myself only see eye to eye with Hesiod’s ideas of working hard and living life justly, since, in my view, the rest of his views are just ancient myths.

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