Theogony — Hesiod

Theogony is an 8th century poem written by the Greek poet Hesiod that describes the origin of the gods of Mt. Olympus. In the poem, three generations of gods are described.

At first there were Chaos and ‘wide-bosomed’ Earth from which all other gods came. Chaos brought Night, who brought forth all negative gods such as Death, Strife, Fate, Dreams and Deceit. Earth brought Heaven. The union of all of Earth and Chaos’ children created the whole pantheon of Greek gods.

Hesiod and a Muse

Hesiod and a Muse

The story of Prometheus, a rival of Zeus, the greatest god, is an example of the human-like qualities these gods possessed. Prometheus disobeyed Zeus’ order not to give man fire. As a consequence, he was chained to a rock by Zeus. An eagle ate his liver every day until Heracles freed him. To get back at Prometheus, Zeus gives woman to man.

Another story told by Hesiod is that of a ten-year war in which Zeus needed help to defeat the Titans. Zeus’ fury came in the form of lightning and thunder, but still these giant Titans could not be defeated. Finally Zeus’ three multi-headed sons came to help him. They defeated the Titans and imprisoned them.

In addition to being Hesiod’s version of Creation, Theogony’s main point is that the gods provided for the Greeks ethical examples of right and wrong.


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