UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS. CLST 4003 H; Ancient Greek Religion

Spring, 2002.

D. B. Levine

Hesiod, Theogony


1. Robert Lamberton writes in the preface to Lombardo's translation that the Theogony is a "cosmogony" as well as a theogony (13). What is a theogony, and what is a cosmogony, and what example of the latter do we find in Hesiod's Theogony?

2. How might a religious festival have been important for the creation of the Theogony itself? (See notes to 1-115, 5-6, 36).

3. Lamberton writes that in Theogony Gaia produced some of her children "parthenogenetically" (14). What does this mean?

4. Lamberton writes that Hesiod's Theogony is a prologue to a (lost) catalog poem. (15). What is the subjectof this poem, and how does the end of the Theogony introduce it?

5. What do Mesopotamian 'king lists' have to do with Hesiod's Theogony? (16)

6. What physical token do the Muses give to Hesiod, and what modern concept of the outstanding poet is reflected in this gift? (line 31)

7. If the Muses' mother Memory (Mnemosyne, line 54) is not a "fully developed deity" (notes to 54), what is she? How does her name support her mythological function?

8. How do the Muses help combat mankind's sorrows? (line 55-6; 99-104)

9. What social and political gifts do the Muses bestow? (lines 81-94)

10. The first sexual generation of divinities is between Night and Erebos, both personifications of darkness. What are their offspring? (125). What does the note to 125 have to say about the personification of Hemere?

11. What is the difference between Sea (Pontos) and Ocean? Who are their parents? (see 131-133, and note)

12. What did Kronos do with the jagged sickle his mother gave him? (175ff) How does this method of succession relate to other non-Hellenic myth? (see note to 153-210)

13. What pun is represented in Aphrodite's name? (191-196). What kind of word play does her epithet Philommedes involve? (see note to 184-206)

14. How does Aphrodite's birth correspond to her mythic function? (188-195)

15. What does Hesiod say about the language of the gods in relation to the language of mortals? (line 196)

16. What kind of pun does the name Titan employ? (see note to 207-210)

17. The children of Night are negative concepts, like Blame, and Grief,. She also bore Eris (line 225). What does Eris' name mean? (see Works and Days, 21-22)

18. After listing catalogs of male rivers and daughters -- offspring of Oceanus, Hesiod says that there are also 3,000 other daughters of Ocean, 'but it is hard for a mortal to tell all their names. People know the rivers near which they dwell." (line 371). What is the purpose of this last statement?

19. How did Zeus reward Styx for helping him in the battle against the Titans? (line 401). See 781-812, for details of her position.

20. How does the etymology of Styx match her function in myth? (note to 781-812)

21. How important a goddess is Hekate, daughter of Phoebe? (lines 413-455; see the explanation in the note to 406-55).

22. Who are the "Avengers" (477), and why must they be paid? (see note 477-78).

23. Where was Zeus born? (481)

24. Hesiod often mentions the Hesperides (lines 215, 276, 520). How does their name help to place them geographically?

25. What myth explains why "the tribes of men on earth burn white bones to the immortals on smoking altars"? (line 558). See note 537-62.

26. What were the characteristics of the first woman, and why did Zeus have her created? (574 ff.)

27. How does Zeus parallel his own father in his behavior towards Metis? (line 894-905)

28. Athena was born from Zeus' head (929). How does Hesiod explain who her mother was? (891ff). What pun is involved in the name of Athena's 'mother'? (see note to 891-905, 929-34)

29. Compare lines 910 to 218. Whose children are the Fates (Moirai), anyway?

30. Explain Hephaistos ' miraculous birth , and why Hera bore him (line 932)

31. What was Aphrodite's relation to Ares? (939 and note to 939-43).

32. How does Demeter's son Ploutos' name (976) reflect his function and heritage?

33. What kind of catalog begins at line 970?

34. Why would the Archaic Greek audience enjoy hearing a recitation of the catalog of "goddesses who slept with mortal men"(974), and "of the women" (1029)? See notes to 1016-18,, 1029-30.

35. What do Aineas and Latinos have to do with Italy? (1016-1024, and notes to 1016-18, 1019-26).


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