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'Archaic Thought' in Hesiod

Author(s): C. J. Rowe
Source: The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 103 (1983), pp. 124-135
Published by: The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/630532 .
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Journalof HellenicStudiesciii (1983) 124-135


ITis 'commonlyasserted',saysG. S. Kirk,' and'almostuniversallyassumed',thatHesiod
came'atthepointof transitionfrommythopoeicto rationalmodesof thought'.2H. Dillergives
this'commonassertion'a moreprecisemeaning:Hesiodrepresents 'a bridgefrommythicalto
philosophical thought(my emphasis).3 This view of Hesiod isjustifiedin variousdifferentways.
Dillerhimselfstressesthe contrastHesiodmakesin the prooemionto the Theogony between
whatis trueandwhatis falsebutresemblesthetrue;thishe interprets asthetypeof self-conscious
rejectionof rivalaccountswhichis echoedin theworkof theearlierPresocratics likeHeraclitus.
ForO. Gigonthispassagein the Theogony hasa specificreferenceto Homer:Hesiodic'truth'is
thereopposedto Homericmyth,Logosto Mythos.4The Theogony is alsophilosophical bothin
so farasit is concernedwitha searchforbeginnings,andbecauseof theuniversality of itsscope.5
In additionto theseformalfeatures,both DillerandGigonfindphilosophicalelementsin the
contentof the poem, thoughon thispoint theirconclusionsdiffersharply.Dillerattributesto
Hesiodhimselfthatdiscoverywhichis oftenregardedas one of the maincontributions of the
Presocratics: the discoverythatthe worldoperatesin accordance with impersonal laws.Gigon,
by contrast,suggeststhatthingsin the Hesiodicworldareseenasproductsof will, analogousto
theproductsof humanactivity.6Nevertheless in so farasthegenealogiespresenttheworldasan
orderedwhole, they look forwardto the idea of naturallaw; and there are--so Gigon
argues--otherimportantpointsof contactbetweenHesiod's'cosmogony'andthecosmogonies
of thePresocratics. IndeedGigongoesso farasto claimthatit is Hesiod,ratherthanThales,who
shouldbe given the title of firstphilosopher.7 H. Frankelsimilarlyassertsthat'thehistoryof
Greekphilosophyasliteraturebeginsnot with Anaximander but with Hesiod',"thoughasyet
philosophy is not 'separated from myth': we must dig deep his ideasbeneaththe mythical
narratives.So for example Th. 736 ff., on Tartarus,embodies 'profoundontological
speculations', which'Hesiodcouldnothavegraspedandexpressed inopen,uncoded,conceptual
Thusif'mythopoeic',or 'mythical'thoughtis a 'chimera',asKirksuggests,10 we canatleast
give some substance to the concept of 'rational'thought, and to the notion thatHesiod comes'at
thepointof transition' to it: he doessojustin so farasthe rootsof philosophy(orscience)11can
be tracedin his poems.At leastone scholar,T. Rosenmeyer,alsoseeshim as havinglinkswith
that otherstrandin the Greek'rational'(or perhapsbetter'rationalist') tradition,history:in
Rosenmeyer's view, what Hesiod does in the passage on the Five Races of Man in the Worksand
Days is in principlehistory in the same sense in which Thucydidesdoeshistory.12Thisview is
initiallyratherlessplausiblethantheothers,butit is similarto themin type,andshouldperhaps
1 Myth:ItsMeaning andFunctions
inAncient andOther (trans.of DichtungundPhilosophie desfriihenGriechen-
Cultures(Cambridge/Berkeley/L.A. 1970)238. tums2[Miinchen 1962]) Index A, 515.
2 Earlier
versionsof thispaperwerereadto audiences 9 Frpinkel (n. 8) Io5 ff
at UniversityCollege London,The HellenicCenter, 1o The Nature of Greek Myths (Harmondsworth
Washington,D.C., BostonUniversity,andVanderbilt 1974) 276 ff.
University.I am gratefulfor criticismsandcomments 11 I.e. of 'Presocratic'thought, which may be
madeon theseoccasions,andforhelpfulpointsmadeby classifiedas either-or as both:so G. E. R. Lloyd,for
Dr G. E. R. Lloyd. example, in Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle
3 'Hesiodunddie Anfingedergriechischen Philoso- (London I970) labels the Presocraticsgenerallyas
phie', A&A ii (1946) (repr. in Hesiod,Wege der 'philosopher-scientists'.The interestof many Presocra-
Forschungxliv, ed. E. Heitsch[Darmstadt1966])151: tics in cosmogonyand cosmology,and in the idea of
'eine Briicke vom mythischenzum philosophischen naturallaw, may in fact appearto link them more
Denken'. closelywith the developmentof science;on the other
4 DerUrspring dergriechischen
Philosophie(Basel1945) hand, on any account they stand at (or near) the
14. beginningsof Greek 'philosophy',which typically
s Gigon (n. 4) 22 fF. includesboth typesof activityin some sense.
6 12 'Hesiodandhistoriography',
Gigon (n. 4) 40. 7 Gigon (n. 4) 13. Hermes lxxxv (1975)
8 Early Greek Poetryand Philosophy(Oxford 1975) 257-85.

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be consideredalongwith them. It is the purposeof the presentpaperto establishwhetherthe
picturewhichsuchinterpretations paintof Hesiod,asa 'transitional' figurein the development
of Greekthought,canultimatelystand.My argumentwill be thatthereis at leastone central
featureof Hesiodicthoughtwhichmakesit necessaryto distinguish hisactivityfromthoseof the
philosopher, the scientistand the historianalike.At the same time, I shallarguethathisthought
shouldnot thereforebe classifiedas'irrational', or 'pre-rational',
or 'archaic'in anybuta strictly
chronological sense.13Onedoesnot,afterall,haveto do philosophy,science,orhistoryto count
as rational;nor did the rise of theseformsof inquirycausethe extinctionof the speciesof
non-philosophers, non-scientists andnon-historians.14
The featureof Hesiodicthoughtto whichI referis conveniently,if somewhatcrudely,s5
described by Frainkel. 'Thearchaicmodeof thoughtdoesnot dealwithanobjectonceandforall,
thereaftersimplydiscarding it; rather,itshabitis to circlearounditsobject,in orderto inspectit
ever afreshfrom changingviewpoints.This appliesto Hesiod'sTheogony in detailsand as a
whole.' It also appliesto WorksandDays.16 Whetheror not the 'mode of thought'Frainkel
describesis characteristic of the 'archaic'mind in general,17it is certainlycharacteristic of
Hesiod'smind:aswe shallsee,justsucha 'circlingaround'a subjectoccursinnumerouscontexts,
both largeand small,in both poems.G. E. R. Lloydrefersto what appearsto be the same
phenomenonin Homer,whereforexampleSleepis describedbothasthe 'all-tamer', brotherof
as a
Death, 'pouredover' person, and as 'wrapping him round' and 'binding'him.18Lloydalso
refersus to parallelsin ancientEgyptianreligiousthought.19One of hissourcesis H. Frankfort,
who saysof the Egyptianthat 'hismind tendedtowardsthe concrete;his languagedepended
uponconcreteimagesandthereforeexpressed theirrational, notby qualifyingmodifications of a
but the
principalnotion, byadmitting validityofseveral avenuesofapproach at oneand thesametime'
(my emphasis).20Frankfortsuggeststhat this habitof thoughtis 'pre-Greek',21 by which,
13 Such labels are now perhapsmore
freely used by below, esp.pp. 130-3.
classicists than by anthropologists, many of whom 16 Frinkel(n. 8) Io5.
reject the idea of a 'primitive mentality', although 17 That it may be, but it is not restrictedto the
according to C. R. Hallpike, Foundationsof Primitive archaicperiod.With the examplewhich prefacesthe
Thought(Oxford 1979), their grounds for doing so are passagecitedfromFrlinkel(Th.758ff.,where'thesame
questionable (I owe this reference to Dr Lloyd). We thingsappearin severaldistinctpictures:deathasdeath,
need not, fortunately, venture furtherinto these murky as the realmof Hades,andas a dog'), we may directly
waters here. However much we may be impressed by compare e.g. Eur. Ba. 274 ft., in which Teiresias
the new beginnings made by Greek thought in the sixth identifiesDionysussimultaneously as the discovererof
century and after, it is ultimately unhelpful to interpret wine, and as wine itself.W. K. C. Guthrie,Historyof
these in terms of simple oppositions, which tend to GreekPhilosophyiii (Cambridge1969) 241, uses this
obscure the fundamental similaritieswhich on any passageto illustrate'howeasilytheGreekmindcouldslip
analysisstill remain between the worlds of Homer and fromthe ideaof a substanceasembodyinga livinggod
Hesiod and of later generationsof Greeks.Neither is in to that of the god as its inventoror discoverer'(my
any case 'primitive' in any clear sense:if the differences emphasis).Thisis preciselythe sametype of 'inconsis-
between them tempt us into saying that the Homeric tency'as Frfinkelfindsin the contextin the Theogony.
and Hesiodic world is 'moreprimitive', that will already is Polarity and Analogy (Cambridge 1966) 202:
tie us to a particular hypothesis about the general referencesto Il. xxiv 4 f., xvi 672, xiv 164 f.; Od. xxiii 16
development of human thought which may or may not f.
be fruitful in other contexts, but which is of doubtful 19 His favouriteexample,usedalso in EarlyGreek
usefulnessfor the analysisof changes in a single culture Science(n. I1) 11-12, is the Egyptianview of the sky
over the space of two or three centuries. eitherassupportedon posts,or asheldupby a god,or as
14 Because of his date, and becausethe first 'philoso- restingon walls,or as a cow, or asa goddess,with her
phers'in a numberof ways clearlylook back to him (not armsandfeet on the earth.Theseideaswere evidently
least in their interest in origins), it is natural to regard not alternative,since'in a singlepicture[theEgyptian]
Hesiod as their precursor. But we need to be sure in might show two different supports for the sky: the
making this inference that his concerns are really goddesswhose armsand feet reachthe earth,and the
comparable with theirs. I shall provide reasons for god who holdsup the sky-goddess'(quotedfromJ. A.
thinking that they are not. On the general relation Wilson,in H. and H. A. Frankfort,J. A. Wilson,T.
between science and other types of activity after the Jakobsen, BeforePhilosophy2[Harmondsworth 1949153
sixth century, see now G. E. R. Lloyd, Magic, Reason f.).
and Experience(Cambridge 1979). 20 Kingship and the Gods: A Study of AncientNear
I say 'crudely', because I shall want to distinguish EasternReligion as the Integrationof Society and Nature
between differentvarietiesof the featurein question:see 21 Frankfort
(Chicago 1948) 42. (n. 20o)61.

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126 C. J. ROWE
presumably,he meanspre-philosophical,pre-rationalistic.It is certainlyin principlenon-rationa-
listic. Philosophy must systematise, as must science and history: no one of them can leave
differentdescriptionsor explanationsof the same thing standing side by side, but must relate
them to each other, and if they are in the end incompatible,must choose between them, and say
which is the better, the more plausible,the truer-or at least explore the possibility of doing
so.22 If, then, it is indeed the same type of featurewhich Frainkel is describingin Hesiod, and if it
permeates poems to the extent that he suggests,we shallhave a good casefor denying Hesiod
to be even an embryonic philosopher, scientist, or historian.23 (Th. 27-8 will not in itself
constitutean objection to such a conclusion:there are many differentkindsof'truth', and much
will depend on the kinds of truth with which Hesiod is ultimately concerned.)24
I shall provisionally label the feature in question, after Frankfort,the featureof 'multiple
approaches'.I shallemploy this label, however, in a ratherwider sensethanmay be suggestedby
.theHomeric and Egyptianexamplesreferredto. Frankfort'sancientEgyptianemploys 'multiple
approaches'to express the irrational,where 'the irrational'means notions of a religious kind
'which cannot be entirely rationalized-"truths" which are sensedratherthan known'.25 This
descriptionroughly fits some of the relevantcontexts in Hesiod,26but by no meansall of them.
Moreover, those which it does not fit will turn out to be more importantto the issuein hand. If
Hesiod is irrationalin his theology, then he is not a rationalisingor philosophicaltheologian;but
he is not therebyshown to be unphilosophicaltoutcourt(or unscientificor unhistorical),for it is a
matterof common experiencethat the ways in which a man thinksin mattersof religion may be
quite unrelatedto the ways in which he thinks in other spheres.27
First, therefore, I shall examine various different examples of 'multiple approaches'in
Hesiod, which between them span a large part of his poems, asking in each case what kind of
attitude they imply on his part towards his subject-matter;and in particularwhether that
attitude is compatible with the view of him as proto-philosopher, philosopher-scientist,or
historian.This task will occupy the bulk of the paper. Then, at the end, I shall return to the
questionwhether the habit, or habits,of thought thus analysedareto be explainedasa symptom
of the infancy of the Greekmind in the eighth or seventhcenturies,as Frankfort'sand Frainkel's
limited accounts suggest, or whether they require some differentexplanation.
Before I turn to my examples,however, I shouldfirstmention a well-known articleofB. E.
Perry, 'The early Greek capacity for viewing things separately',28the title of which might
suggest that it deals with a subject related to mine. Perry finds the 'capacity'he has in mind
manifested first in a tendency among Greek authors to present their ideas paratactically, and
secondly in a typical impartiality and detachment of attitude.29The phenomenon with which I
22 This is a necessary rider, since it will clearly death in the passageon Tartarus.
sometimes be appropriate for the historian (say) to 27 Partly this may be a question of a difference of
admit that he is unable to decide between available subject-matter;but it is also, and more importantly, a
alternatives n. 70, on just such a feature in question of a difference of aims, and of the methods
Herodotus). appropriateto those aims. In particular,we will tend to
23 That is to
say, I take it that an interestin choosing require different standardsof consistencyof the theo-
between accounts is a necessary,even if not a sufficient, logian than we do, say, of the scientist. The ultimate
condition of the doing of philosophy, science and question will be how Hesiod works in contexts which
history. Thus the Egyptianview of the sky is unphiloso- appearto raiseissueslikely to interestthe scientistor the
phical and unscientific at least because it fails to make historian; in particular,contexts which are apparently
such a choice. concerned with explanation.
24 In other words, we need not interpret the 28 TAPA lxviii (I937) 403-27. Perry, incidentally,is
distinction between truth and falsity, as Gigon does, as one of those who think of the Greekmind as following a
that between 'philosophical'truth and 'mythical' false- simple linear development: the early Greek mind, he
hood. Compare M. I. Finley, 'Myth, memory and suggests, 'has much of the childlike in it' (407).
history', The Use andAbuseof History(London 1975) 14: 29 Perry (n. 28) 425: '1. Two or more
things (or
'theremustbe no misunderstanding
aboutone thing: ideas) that might be logically connected with each other
everyoneacceptedthe epictraditionas groundedin are each viewed separately, and the beholder and
hardfact.EvenThucydides.' narratoris aware of only one at a time-parataxis in
25 Loc. cit. (n. 19). various forms. 2. Two things are viewed in juxtaposi-
26 As it might, e.g., his handling of the image of tion or contrast,each of which in some ways denies the

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amconcernedis neitherof thesethings,althoughpartsof hisdescription of bothmayapplyto it.
WhatI havelabelledthefeatureof 'multipleapproaches' consistsof a thing'sbeingdescribedor
explainedin morethanone way in the samecontext,wherethedescriptions or explanations are
not broughtinto connectionwith eachother,andwheretheymayappearto be-sometimes, I
mayadd,actuallyare-mutuallyinconsistent.In my view, whatPerrydescribesin hisarticleis
not one featureof 'theearlyGreekmind',but severaldifferentfeatureswhichbeara superficial
resemblance to eachother.In particular,I am unableto see any deepconnectionbetweenthe
'intellectualdetachment'of Thucydides30 andthe paratacticalaspectof Homer'sthoughtand
expression. aspect of Homeric (andHesiodic)style, both on thesmallandon thelargescale,
may well bear some to
relation the feature underdiscussionin the presentpaper,in so farasboth
involvea lackof concernwithrelatingtheelementsof a wholeto eachother,or atanyratea lack
of concernwiththeexplicitexpression of suchrelations;31
and'seeingthingsseparately' mightbe
a good namefor thisgeneralphenomenon.But it followsfromwhatI havesaidthatI would
understand the expressionratherdifferentlyfrom Perry.

My firstillustrationof'multipleapproaches' in Hesiodis obviousanduncontroversial: it is

Hesiod'sway of conceivingof gods,whichshowsthe samemany-sidedness as Homer's.32The
godsof the Theogony canbe dividedroughlyinto threetypes:(i) cosmicentities,like Ouranos
andGaia;(ii)the Olympians,andotherprimarilyanthropomorphic figures,liketheTitans;and
(iii) 'forces'
like Eros,Eris, Momos,etc. (I do not of coursemeanto implythatHesiodhimself
wouldhaveregardedtheseasdistinct'types';onlythatwe arelikelyto wantto dividethemupin
thisway. Partof my pointis preciselythatHesiodmakesno observableattemptto distinguish
them.)Eachof thesethreetypescanbe conceivedof in differentways. (i) Ouranosis both the
sky, andan anthropomorphic figurewho hasemotions,copulates,canbe castrated,andgives
advice.Gaia,similarly,is both the earthon whichgods andmen live, anda mother.Night is
both motherof Day andwhatprecedesday;both a childof Chaosanda productof Ouranos'
visitationsupon Gaia.(ii) The Olympians,as I havesaid,areprimarilyanthropomorphic, but
that is by no meansthe only way in which they can be conceived. Zeus, for example, can ELV;
andin thatcontexthe is himself,presumably, hardlydistinguishablefromthesky.34Whenhe
wieldshis weaponsof thunder,lightning,andthunderbolt,he seemsto combinebothaspects;
but he doesnot alwaysdo so. In the episodeof the dressingof Pandorain WorksandDays,a
passageI shallreturnto shortly,the statusof Athenaand Aphroditeis ambiguousin a more
subtleway. Hence,perhaps,Hesiod'sapparentambivalence aboutwherethegodslive, whether
on Olympusor in thesky.35Amongthechildrenof Ouranos,Mnemosyne,forexample,could
well be classedalongwith figureslike ZelosandBie:like them,sherepresentseffectas well as
causein herparticular The
sphere. Cyclopes,again, are not the
only craftsmenwho makeZeus'
weapons;theyarealso,astheirnamessuggest,theweaponsthemselves.(iii)Withrespectto my
thirdroughcategoryof Hesiodicgods,whatI havetermed'forces'-Eris,Eros,andtherest,it
wouldsurelybe pointlessto insiston theiraspectas personifications.
Thisthey are,in so faras
they are born as children(Erosis the odd one out here, having no parentsand no offspring)and
other, while the onlooker, though intellectuallypleased artisticeffortsmore upon the episodeperse thanupon
or even deeply moved by the spectacle, nevertheless the connectionbetweenone episodeand another,or
remains aloof and impartial in his attitude, being
affected for the time being far more by the objective
upontheeffectof thesumtotalof episodes'.Whetheror
not thisis trueof Herodotus,or of Homer,it is certainly
reality of things (theoria) than by any sympathy, and clearlytrue of Hesiod, as I shallshortlyillustrate.Cf.
however natural,for one of the two things in also W. Nicolai, Hesiod's Erga: Beobachtungenzum
irony, the antitheticstyle, the intellectualdetachmentof Aufbau (Heidelberg 1964), and M. L. West, Hesiod,
Thucydides.' Worksand Days (Oxford 1978) 46 ff.
30 Perry perhaps overstates the degree of Thucy- 32 Morecentralexamplesin M. M. Willcock,'Some
dides' detachment from the issues, but that is another aspectsof the godsin the Iliad',BICSxvii (1970)I-1o.
matter. 33 W D 488; cf. 415-16.
31 Note Perry'ssuggestive remark(408-9) that 'such
34 Cf West's n. ad 416.
authors as Homer and Herodotus . .. concentratetheir 35 Th. 117-18, 128.

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128 C. J. ROWE
can also behave like human beings in other respects:Zelos and Bie sit beside Zeus, Aidos and
Nemesis cover their faces, and so on. But Zelos and Bie are also aspectsof Zeus: they are both
causeand effect, both what causethose aspectsof Zeus, and those aspectsthemselves.And Eros,
'most beautifulof the gods', plainly does not 'overcome' (4wLvarar) the mind in quite the way
that Greeksovercome Trojansin the Iliad.36
A more strikingexample-and one, incidentally,which is perhapsmore obviously like the
Egyptian example37-is Hesiod's handling of the Moirai. They have two differentmothers,
one, Night, who producesthem parthenogenically,38and the other, Themis, who bearsthem to
Zeus.39As Solmsenpoints out, the double parentageexpressesthe two-sidednessof the Fates:40
their thread can be black, and in this aspect they are apt daughtersof Night; in so far as they
appointus no unexpectedor unmeriteddisasters,they aredaughtersof Zeus andThemis. This is
not, of course,Hesiod'sonly way of expressingthe two differentsidesof a concept:for the two
Eridesaresisters.41Perhapsthe differenceis thatin WorksandDays Hesiod is thinkingof the two
sides of Eris simultaneously, whereas the two passages on the Moirai in the Theogonyare
separatedby some 700 lines. Or perhaps,as M. L. West and others hold,42 the second of these
passagesis not Hesiodic at all. But another entity, Philotes, is handled in what seems to be an
analogousway: daughterof Night, and so horrendous;43yet also partof the sphereof the lovely
Aphrodite, along with billing and cooing and the rest of love's sweet delight.44 A similar
problem of identity might arise here-is Aphrodite's the same as the daughter of
Night? Presumablynot, since the daughterof Night is simply0ftAevdrr
black;and if they were the same,
what would the consequence be for the picture of Aphrodite?And yet they are presumably
connected: they representtwo sides of the female, and of love, which Hesiod expressesmost
clearlyin the myth of Pandora.Seductionis delightful,but bewareof the trapsthatlurkbeneath.
The same point may be implicit in the origin of Aphrodite herself from the ghastly act of
My next example is rathermore complex, though related.In W&D 6o ff., Zeus ordersthe
constructionand decorationof Pandora:Hephaestusis to mould her, and put a humanvoice and
humanstrengthin her, but a divine beauty;Athenais to teachher to weave; Aphroditeis to pour
XadpLand desire over her; and Hermes is to make her treacherousand cunning. In the event,
Hephaestusdoes his moulding; Athena puts on the girl's girdle and adornsher; the Gracesand
Persuasionput necklaceson her;the Horai garlandher with flowers;Athena,Hesiod stresses,fits
on all the girl's adornment;and Hermes puts a treacherousmind in her, and gives her a voice.
There are passagesin Homer where what is actuallydone differsfrom what a person has been
told to do. So, for example, in Iliadi, Achilles suggests that in appealingto Zeus on his behalf
Thetis should remindhim of the occasion (of which she had often boasted)when she had helped
him againstthe other Olympians;but her actualappealmakesno explicit referenceto the event.
But the reasonis obvious: she seesthe need to be diplomatic.45Here, in WorksandDays, no such
explanationis to hand:the changesarelikely to strikeusjust as awkwardand odd, as is shown by
the embarrassmentof the commentators,who proceed to offer a variety of violent remedies.46
Not so West, who describesHesiod as simply 'tak[ing]a freshcopy from the picturein his mind',
a copy which is influenced,particularly,by the correspondingpassagein Theogony,47where
36 Th. 120-2; II. viii 244, etc. this general issue-though of course individual sections
37 See n. 19. of both poems may still remain suspect.)
38 Th. 217. 42 West, Hesiod,
Theogony(Oxford 1966), regards
39 Th. 904. the whole of 901-o020 as un-Hesiodic. For other views,
40 F. Solmsen, Hesiod and Aeschylus (New York see e.g. Solmsen (n. 40) 36 n. 112.
1949) 36 ff. 43 Th. 224.
41 W&Dii ff. (Itis thispassage
morethananythat 44 Th.205-6.
seemsto guarantee
thecommonauthorship of thetwo 45 11. i 394 ft, ff5
poems,in so far as it is plausiblyinterpreted as 46 See West ad 70-80. Solmsen, in the Oxford text,
a reference
containing backto theTheogony:Westad brackets70-6, declaringthem 'partime Theog.571 sqq.
loc.ButinanycaseHesiodic cf. in sumpti, partim recentioresgenuinis substituti'.
West,hasprobably doneenoughto silencedoubtson 47 Loc. cit.

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Athenaalsoplaysa prominentrolein actuallydressingthe girl Epimetheus is to have.I would
suggest,for my own part,thatthe accountof the executionof Zeus'instructionsdoesnot so
muchrepresentan alternativeto the pictureconjuredup by thoseinstructions(if thisis what
West means),as merelyan amplificationof it. Hesiodbeginsnot from a pictureof particular
gods and goddesseshasteningabout their tasks,but from a pictureof Pandoraherself,as
possessingcertainfatalqualities:beauty,whichmakesherdesirable,combinedwith treachery.
But if she is desirable,thatis the departmentof Aphrodite;treacheryis the departmentof the
burglarHermes-and of courseHephaestus, the craftsman,mustbe in chargeof constructing
the thingitself,the girl. WhenHesiodcomesto describethe carryingout of Zeus'design,he
choosesto give detailsof herbeauty,whichhe ascribesto her dress,andso to Athena;he also
choosesto varyhis accountof its effecton men,by introducingPeithoin placeof rrd'os.We
might askwhy, if it was Athenawho put on all her adornment,the Charites,Peitho,andthe
Horaialsoputit on thegirl.Theansweris muchthesameastheanswerto thequestionhow the
Moiraicanhavetwo setsof parents:thatHesiodis describingthesamethingfromtwo different
aspects.Lookedat fromthepointof view of theconnectionof Pandora's beautywithherdress,
the actionbelongsto Athena;48from the pointof view of the effectthather adornmentwill
have,on theotherhand,it is the gift of theCharitesandPersuasion; andfromthepointof view
that the purposeof the whole businessis to make men fall for her, the actionbelongsto
Aphrodite.To put it in anotherway, 'AphroditepouredXadpL over her', 'the Charitesput
necklaceson her', and 'Athena dressedher' can all refer to the same event without
contradiction.49Our difficulty,in the passageon Pandora,comes from concentrating
exclusivelyon the anthropomorphic aspectof Hesiod'sdivinefigures,whenthisis only partof
his conception. XdpLs and IrTELd are simultaneously things that Pandora possesses, and the
entitiesthat give those thingsto her;just as Old Age is both something thatafflictsmen, a child of
Night, and something which can be ascribed to parents,50 and Kparosc is simultaneously
something that Zeus exercises and something that sits beside his throne.51Athena and Aphrodite
are different,in that they are clearlydistinguishedfrom their products;but they are still closely
tied to their products, and are present to Hesiod's mind only to the extent that these are.
There is another aspect of the same episode in Works and Days which calls for comment in
the context of the presentdiscussion.Prometheusstealsfire from Zeus, and gives it to men; Zeus
then proceedsto devisea balancingKaKdvfor them. 'I will give them an evil &vTL' 7Tvp6S,in
which all of them may take delight in their heart,embracingtheir own evil, 18vKaKdv'(57-8).
He ordersthe constructionof Pandora,who opensherjar andallowsevilsto escapeto plague
mankind, especially diseases, and hard labour.52 Lines 57-8 suggest that the evil given is
womankind generally,or the consequencesof our possessionof women; but the sequelseemsto
tell us that it is what we sufferas the consequenceof the actionof one particularwoman,
Pandora.Maybe every woman might be supposedto have ajar of evils;but diseases,at least, can
surely only be in Pandora's.If women are like drones, as the Theogonytells us,53 men at least
haveto workharderbecauseof them;to thatextent,perhaps,the necessityforlabourmightbe
connectedwith them. But how could diseasesbe laid at otherwomen'sdoor?It seemsthat
Pandora simultaneouslyplays two roles: one as a representativeof all women, and one as a
particularindividual,who performedan action at a particularpoint in time. What she did was
typicalof her kind:in all women, as in her, charmsarecombined with treachery,and we all, like

48 One may add that thereis specialpoint in the the natureof sleep.But the fact thatno difficulty was
emphasiswhich Hesiodgives to thisaspect:Pandora's experiencedin reconcilingthese differentimages is
attractions,he suggests,arenot even skin-deep. shownby theway in whichtheymaybe combinedin a
49 We may comparehere what Lloyd has to say
singlepassage[ase.g. in Iliadxxiii62 f., xiv 252f.]. They
aboutHomer'svariousdescriptions of Sleep(loc.cit.n. should,then,be treatedas complementary, ratherthanas
18): 'None of these can be consideredthe definitive alternative, conceptions of the samephenomenon.'
descriptionof sleep.Eachimageillustratesthe pheno- 50 Th.
225; W&D185.
menonundera differentaspect,thougheach,if pressed, 51 Th. 49, etc.; Th. 386-7.
would seemto implya slightlydifferentconceptionof 52 W&D 91-2.
53 Th. 594 ff.

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130 C. J. ROWE

Epimetheus,sufferas a resultof being takenin by them. But we also sufferbecauseof what

Pandoradid, as one individual.On the faceof it, then, Hesiod,is giving us two different,if
overlapping,accountsof the sourceof men's suffering.But Hesiod'sgeneralpoint is clear
enough:thatmen'ssufferingderivesfromtheirpossessionof women.Theparallelepisodein the
Theogony54 arguesmoresubtly.There,a womanmay even havesomegood in her (although
evena good wife is bad,in someundefinedway);andatleasttwo evils,a man'sreachingold age
withouta son to look afterhim, andhisdyingwithoutanheir,areactuallyconsequences of his
nothavinga woman.Womanis herselfanevil, butis not the directcauseof all evils;otherevils
area consequence of thestatein whichmanneedswoman-in whichhe mustwork,growsold,
anddies.Withoutthesethings,hewouldnot needher,andwouldlivethelifeof thegods;andso
it is thatHesiodconnectsthe separation of menandgodsafterMekonewith herarrival.55It is
thissameideawhichis expressedin WorksandDays,by meansof the cruderdeviceof Pandora
and herjar.
ForHesiod,then,thePandoraepisodegivesa singleexplanationof men'ssuffering,andthe
two waysin whichit is expressed-'mensufferbecauseof women',and'mensufferbecauseof
Pandora'-are equivalent.It would be too strongto say that Pandorais merelya 'symbolic'
figure,andto thatextentthelogicaldifficulties remain.Buttheyaffectonlythemeansby which
Hesiodmakeshis point,not the substanceof thatpointitself.Frainkel expressesa similaridea,
thoughin a differentcontext:did Hesiodintendhis 'meaningfullegendsto be understoodas
true',he asks?'In suchmatters,... thereis not only outrightbeliefanddisbelief,but various
shadesbetweenthem.... In anycasehe too hasmythswhichcanhardlybe morethana cover
for somethingwhichthepoet couldnot formulatedirectly.A garmentcanbe changedat need,
and Hesiod,like Plato,often expressesthe sametruththroughseveralmythswhich if taken
literallywould be mutuallyexclusive.'56
Thisideais not, however,sufficientby itselfto dealwith all the caseswhichI haveso far
considered.The twin passagesin WorksandDayson the construction anddressingof Pandora,
andthetwo accountsin Theogony of theparentage
of theMoirai,arecumulativein effect,rather
thanexpressinga singletruth.Theyarethereforeonly in a restricted, andperhapsunimportant,
sense'mutuallyexclusive'.The caseof Hesiod'streatmentof the gods is differentagain:his
conceptionis conveyedby whatareto us 'mutuallyexclusive'descriptions becauseit is in itself
paradoxical (thegods both have human and
shape, haveotherfeatureswhichareincompatible
with it). In none of thesethreecasesis thereany questionof our beingableto substitutethe
accountsofferedfor one another,as thereis in the caseof the differentaccountsof womanasa
factorin men'ssuffering.
If, then,allthesecasesareincludedundertheheadingof 'multipleapproaches', it turnsout to
be a complexaffair;complexenough,perhaps,to raisethequestionwhetherit will afterallbe a
usefulanalyticaltool, atleastin theway in whichI haveproposedto applyit. Thereis,however,
enoughof a broadsimilaritybetweenthe contextsdiscussedto justifyour continuingto treat
themtogether:thatis, allin someway illustratethat'circlingaround'a subjectto which
referred.57 We neednow to considerhow theseexamplesareto be interpreted, andin particular
whether they have any bearing on Hesiod's relationshipto the development of philosophy,
scienceand history. Towardsthe beginning of this paper,I suggestedthat the resortto 'multiple
approaches'might be in principleincompatiblewith the aims of those three types of enterprise,
in so faras it was partof the businessof philosopher,scientistand historianaliketo choosebetween
alternativeor competing approachesto the same subject.But as we have seen, in the majorityof
the contexts so far consideredthe approachesoffered are not alternatives,but rather-in one
senseor another-complementary to eachother, so thatthe possibilityofa choice between them
simply does not arise.If they appearto involve mutualinconsistency,that inconsistencymust be
54 Th. 585 if. 1980)(trans.of Mytheet societ'en Gr'ceancienne[Paris
55 Cf J.-P. Vernant, 'The myth of Prometheus in 19741)168-85.
Hesiod', in Myth andSocietyin AncientGreece(Brighton 56 57 See aboveat n. I6.
Friinkel(n. 8) 98.

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dealtwith in otherwaysthanby askingHesiodto preferone to another;mainlyby insistingon
the differencebetweenpoetic(andreligious)formsof discourseandothers.To returnagainto
theMoirai:providedhispointis made,thattheyhavetwo sides,it doesnot matterto Hesiodthe
poet (I shallassume)thattheyarealsoleft, impossibly,with two mothers,one producingthem
parthenogenically,theotherwith help.Hismethodhereis, perhaps,merelysymptomaticof the
relativelack of concernwith the rulesof strictlogic which we might in any caseexpectof
someonewho is bothpoetandtheologian.58The sametypeof approachallowsus to dealwith
the one remainingcase,whereon the faceof it the accountsofferedarealternative: Hesiod's
treatmentof woman.It would be silly to objectthatthe accountsareincompatible,andthat
eitherthe firstwomantooka lid off ajar,or shedidnot;thatis not whatthepassagesareabout.
Certainly,a historianwould not havebehavedas Hesioddoeshere;but thoughhe is making
statements aboutthepast,in thisinstanceatleasttheyarenot a historian's in so faras
an essentialpart of their meaning lies beneath the surface.59

Thereare,however,two furtherexamplesof Hesiod'semploymentof 'multipleapproaches'

to a subjectwhichmustbe considered: first,hisaccountsin the Theogonyof Zeus'riseto power;
andsecondly,his'explanations' of humansuffering.Theseexamplesareparticularly important,
becausehere,in contrastwith theothercases,thereappearsto be a realincompatibilitybetween
the accountsoffered.What is more, in both cases it hasbeen suggestedthatwe can actually
observe Hesiod rationallyand systematicallymaking the necessarydecisionbetween his
In Friinkel'sview, Hesiod implies three differentaccountsof Zeus' rise.61First,there is the
story of the Cyclopes forging Zeus' weapons;62second, the story of the three hundred-armed
giants,63 who play a crucial, if somewhat ill-defined, role in the battle with the Titans; and
thirdly, there is the myth of the children of Styx, Zelos, Kratos, Bie, and Nike,64
which-Frainkel suggests-implies another explanation of Zeus' position as supreme leader:
'Will-to-power, Power, Force, and Victory' bring him rule becausehe is 'the divine bearerof
right'; or in other words, right rulesbecauseit is right. 'The legend of the four children',Frinkel
concludes, 'was obviously invented by Hesiod in order to expressin the pictorial language of
myth the truthshe had himself discovered.Side by side with his invention, and without regard
for strict consistency,he reproducesthe more primitive parallelstoriesof the Cyclopes and the
hundred-armedwhich hadcome down to him out of old tradition.Stolid ancestralcredulityand
forward-lookingspeculationsflourishedside by side in his head'-and Frainkelemphasisesthat
Hesiod must still have believed 'to a considerabledegree'in the literaltruthof the older stories.65
On this account,then, Hesiod is giving us differenttypes of explanation,a 'more primitive'type
and a 'forward-looking'type; and of these types he prefersthe second, while still not setting his
face againstthe first.66In fact I see no evidence in the text for Hesiod's entertainingthe second
58 See n.
27. whole which,if it werethe resultof calculatedartistry,
59 We mustadmit,of course,thatHesiod'sreadiness as well it might be, couldbe interpretedin termsof a
to live with a paradoxicalconceptionof the gods is kind of impressionism.
likelyto provehiminnocentof philosophical theology; 61 Frankel(n. 8) 98 ff.
but if so, evenafterthe riseof 'rationalism' manyshare 62 Th.
I39-46, 5o0-6, 689 ff.
his innocence. 63 Th.
147-53, 617-63, 713 ff., 734-5.
60 Yet anotherexample,in the descriptionof the 64 Th. 383-403-
geographyof Tartarusin Th. 720 If., can perhapsbe 65 Frankel
(n. 8) Ioo-I.
quicklydismissed.Certainlynot all the variantdescrip- 66 Two pages earlierFrlinkelinterpretsthe storyof
tionsherecanbe simultaneously true,in a literalsense; thehundred-handers alongthesamelinesashe doesthat
yet sinceby the natureof the subjecttherecouldbe no of the childrenof Styx ('If we follow the line of this
groundsfor a decisionbetweenthem, we might even myth with the help of our more abstractconceptions,
applaudHesiodfor leavingthemsideby side (if it was we observethatthebrutepowerby whichthegod rules
he who was responsible for them:see West [n. 42] 356 cannotbe a qualityproperto the god himself,butonly
ff.). Or, moresimply,we mightcomparethiscasetoo an instrumentwhichhe uses.The forcesat hisdisposal
with thatof Homer'sdescriptions of sleep:eachis again are, so to speak,his obedientservants,and they are
in some sensecomplementary to the others,addingto a themselvesdivineonly becausethey imposethe god's

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132 C. J. ROWE
typeof explanationat all:the ideaof Zeusas 'thedivinebearerof right'derivesfromFrainkel's
generalinterpretation of Zeusin the Theogony as an ethicalfigure,whichis itselfin my view
mistaken.67 Butevenso, we arestillleftwith threeaccountsof themeansby whichZeussecured
victory:hispossessionof thunder,lightning,andthunderbolt; hisfreeingof thehundred-armed
giants;and the presenceby his throne of the children of Styx. Of thesethree,the firstandthe
thirdcanperhapsberegardedin thesameway as,say,thedifferentdescriptions of theadornment
of Pandoradiscussed earlier:theysimplydescribeZeus'powerfromdifferentaspects,thefirstin
termsof hisweapons,thethirdin termsof hisown qualities-power,force,'will-to-power'(to
adoptFrainkel's renderingof ?-Aos),leadingto inevitablevictory.Buttheotheraccount,which
introducesa separate agencyin theshapeof thegiants,cannotbe dealtwithin thesameway, and
the tensionbetweenit and the othersis clearlyfelt in the episodeof Zeus'battleagainstthe
Titans,wherethepresenceof thegiantsis saidto beessentialto Zeus'victory,andyet thebattleis
finallyturnedby Zeus'own intervention.68
We may comparewith this Hesiod'sjuxtaposition,in WorksandDays, of the myth of
Prometheus andPandoraandthatof the FiveRacesof Man.Bothof theseappear,amongother
things, suggest'explanations' of why man'slot is ashardasit in factis. We mayperhapsadda
thirdexplanation, fromthe Theogony, in theshapeof thebirthof theoffspringof Night.Whatis
therelationbetweenthesethreeaccounts? Thereis no wayin whichthe Theogony accountcanbe
marriedin itsliteralformwiththeothertwo, andthemythsof Pandoraandof theFiveRacesare
alsoincompatible,if takenstrictlyat facevalue.69 They follow the samebroadpattern,in the
shapeof the ideaof man'sfallfromanoriginalandbetterstate.But thiscannotby itselfbe the
commontruthHesiodis tryingto convey,sinceif it were,we shouldhaveto treatthe mythsas
such simply asfictionalelaborations of a basic theme; and this they cannot be, unlessthe
Prometheusepisodein the Theogony is fictiontoo-and thatwill takethe restof the Theogony
with it. But how canthe Theogony be fiction?It bearsall the marksof serioustheology.Letus
thenturnto thetypeof approach suggestedby Frainkel's treatmentof theothercase-that oneof
theexplanations in questionis to be preferred to theother.Thisalternative is theoneadoptedby
Rosenmeyer.70 According to his view, the Prometheus-Pandora is
story myth, but the Five
Racesis history.The issuehereis of courseessentiallyaboutHesiod'sattitude:doeshethinkof
himselfas doing somethingdifferentin the two cases,andspecifically,as desertingmyth for
anothergenre?Muchof theweightof Rosenmeyer's argumentdependsuponhisinterpretation
of W&D o106,which introducesthe Five Races:'if you wish,' Hesiodsays,'EKKopU~Oaco a
secondAdyov'.Rosenmeyerarguesthatthe verb EKKopvqo v heremeans'to statebrieflythe
mainpoints'.'Hesioddoesnot wish to go into detail;like Thucydidesin his archaeology,he
realizesthathe cannotsupplyas fulla pictureas he wishes.Now asan introductionto a myth,
sucha commentwouldbe self-defeating, fora mythis alwaysasdetailedasitsreporterwishesto
will upon the world.') In fact, there is a 'kinship' on Tartarusand on Zeus' rise to support his argument.
between all three stories, only in the third the thought 'Hesiod is not a dogmatist. The doublets at Theog.
has grown 'more mature and more general' (ioo).
72o-819 are symptomatic; Hesiod gives us several
CertainlyZeus is the guardianof 'justice'between versions of the domicile of the defeated Titans. ...
men in W&D, and it is consistentwith this that Th. 902 Again, first Hesiod tells us that Zeus wins his victory
makes him the father of AIlKr7.But it is an entirely over the Titans because of the help of the Hundred-
different question whether any sort of justice or Arms, and then he states that the victory was secured
rightness is thought of as characterising his own through the thunderbolt of the Cyclopes. Hesiod
relationshipseither with men or with other gods, except features [both of these doublets],just as Herodotus
... will
perhapsin the unexciting sensethat whatever the 'father produce two or more tales handed down to him in
of gods and men' does is by definition right. If Hesiod connexion with one and the same event. Only, where
regardsZeus' defeat of Kronos, or his treatmentof men Herodotus gives us a marginal comment to the effect
in the Prometheus episode, as especially 'just', he does that these are equivalent explanation, Hesiod merely
not say so; and the Titanomachy is a simple struggle for tells them without the theoreticalannotation' (268). But
power. this differenceis-in my view-a crucial one: it is an
68 See my note ad 687 ff. in EssentialHesiod(Bristol essential part of what makes the one a historian, the
1978). other a poet. History involves the self-conscious
Cf. West (n. 31) ad 106-201.
70 Op. application of a particularkind of method, with which
cit. (n. 12). Rosenmeyer also uses the contexts poetry, with its rather differentaims, can dispense.

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makeit, andfew reporters,priorto the age of thehandbooks,wouldconfessto reportingonly
the highlights, the skeleton,of the tradition.Prefacinga historicalsummary,however, the word
is thoroughly apt.'71 But the externalevidence, such as it is, may be consistentwith a different
interpretationof KKOpVxbOUV;72 and even if the verb does bearthe meaningRosenmeyerputson
it, the consequences he suggests do not follow.73 Much more important are the words
ETEpov. ... Ao'Aov,'asecondAoyos'.If theFiveRacesisjustanother Aoyoslikethelast,canwe
really insistthatHesiod draws a cleardistinction
of kind between them? Thanksto theMuses,as
we know from the Theogony, he recognisesa differencebetweentruthand lies dressedup as
truth;butthereis no indicationthatthiscontrastis applicable here-indeed, forwhatit is worth,
at the beginningof WorksandDays Hesiodmerelyannounceshis intentionto tell Persesthe
truth.74The only contrastwhichis madevisibleis thatbetweenPrometheus-Pandora andthe
FiveRacesasAo'yoL, andthehawkandthe nightingaleasanatvos.75 We areagainleft, then,in
the finalanalysis,with two rival'explanations', or three,if we includethe Theogony version,of
the samesetof things-explanationswhicharenot reducibleto eachother,andbetweenwhich
Hesiodexpressesno preference.
The two contextsjust considered-the treatmentof the originof evil, andof Zeus'riseto
the kingship-are the real test cases.In the other cases,what were on the surfacemutually
inconsistent approachesto the samesubjectturnedout on closeranalysisto be complementary,
or at leastcompatible.In the two presentcases,however,the chargeof inconsistencygoes
deeper:if Hesiod'spurposeis to explain,he mustchoosebetweentheexplanations offered.Inso
farashe doesnot,he is neitherFrainkel's nor
philosopher Rosenmeyer's historian.Lloydputsthe
point philosophy when he that
suggests philosophyessentially involvesa processof criticism
anddebate:so, he says,amongthe firstphilosophers, or 'philosopher-scientists',
as he prefersto
call them,it is a tacitassumption'thatthe varioustheoriesandexplanationsthey proposeare
directlycompetingwithoneanother.Theurgeis towardsfindingthebestexplanation, themost
adequatetheory, they are, then,forced to consider the grounds for theiridea,the evidence
andargumentsin theirfavour,aswell astheweakpointsin theiropponents'theories.'76 Sucha
is to far
procedure quiteforeign Hesiod: from lookingfor 'thebestexplanation'or 'themost
adequatetheory',he canleaveapparently rivalaccountsjostlingsideby side,withoutregistering
the slightestembarrassment.
Whatis thereasonforthis?It is certainlynot thatHesiodis incapableof saying'no,not that,
but this',or thathe hasnot thoughtof doingso, forin one case,albeita minorone, he actually
doessayit. Thisis in W&DII- 2, wherehe appearsto correctsomethinghe hadimpliedin the
Theogony:'I was wrong to say'77 (if that is the right interpretationof oLJK lpa .. . i;v) 'that
there was one Erisonly; in truth there are two'. Alternatively,he correctssomeone other than
himself;but the point is the same. Injust this way Th. 27-8 hasbeen takenasintendedto contrast
Hesiod's ideas as true with those of others as false.78This interpretationof the lines is not the

71 74 W&D
Rosenmeyer (n. 12) 269. IO.
72 See West (ad loc.), whose list of parallels(which 75
The basic meaning of Adyos here is presumably
includes only one other case of 'KKopvyoOv- itself) 'something that is said';not something that is merelysaid
suggests as an alternativemeaning 'to bring to a head', (and not necessarilytrue), but, neutrally, something I
i.e. 'to bring to a conclusion', (?) 'round off' (cf. and/or others say, an account.
Wilamowitz' 'bis zum Gipfel herausarbeiten',men- 76 Lloyd (n. 11) 12. Lloyd regards this as one of the
tioned but rejectedby Rosenmeyer, 269 n. 2), though he two 'distinguishing marks' of the first 'philosopher-
finally decides in favour of 'to state summarily'. scientists', the other being 'the discovery of nature',
73 How a user of myth introduceshis materialsurely what Vlastos calls 'the discovery of the cosmos' (G.
depends on how he intends to use it; and it is hardto see Vlastos,Plato'sUniverse [Oxford1975]). SeealsoLloyd
why it is less appropriatefor a didactic, moralising poet MRE (n. 14),whichattributesthe riseof Greekscience
to announce that he will 'state summarily' his A6yos3 especiallyto 'the experienceof radicalpoliticaldebate
than it is for a historian. (Both 'to state summarily' and confrontationin small-scale,face-to-facesocieties'
and-particularly-Rosenmeyer's 'to state briefly the (266).
main points' also of course lack the metaphorical 77 Cf. West adloc.
colouring of Hesiod's 'KKopvOvOlV.) See my openingparagraph.

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134 C. J. ROWE
only one available,79but if we were to acceptit the passagewould constituteadditionalevidence
that at least in certain contexts Hesiod is both capable of, and interestedin, the businessof
comparing and contrastingrival accounts. He proceedsas he does in the case of the myths of
Prometheusand Pandoraand the Five Races,and elsewhere,not becauseof a lack of capacityon
his part, or of the 'primitiveness'of his habitsof thought, but ratherbecauseof the natureof his
fundamentalpreoccupations:it is that in the end the businessof explanation, in the sense of
looking for causes,mattersratherlessto him thanreflectionof a differentsort, and especiallyof a
moralisingsort. This also helps to accountfor the fact that his 'explanations'generallyexplainso
little. The Pandoraand Five Races myths, for example, are not so much disquisitionson the
origin of evil as disquisitionson the natureof that evil itself;and they are placedside by sidejust
because of the different possibilities that they offer in that direction. We should not be
over-impressedby the fact that the two episodesare castin the form of chronologicalsequences
of events.8s After all, we regularlyand naturallyplay down the chronologicalaspectin the case
of the genealogies in the Theogony:no one would dispute that it was not the chronological
relationshipbetween, say, Night and Old Age, or Night and the Fateswhich interestedHesiod,
but a differentrelationship-though of course it would be wrong to dismiss the genealogical
relationshipas if it were a merefa(on deparler.

The moral of all this is simple: that if we assume that Hesiod is in competition with an
Anaximanderor a Herodotus (or a Thucydides), then he comes off badly; but though there is
some overlapping,as for example in Hesiod's descriptionof the birth of the world, he is really
playing a differentgame, under differentrules.Philosophersand historiansare in the businessof
giving preciseand systematicaccounts of causes;Hesiod is not. Where we do find system and
consistencyis in his moral attitudes-that is, if we take the Theogonyand the firstpartof Works
andDays (systemin any senseis notably absentfrom the second part).*8 We may perhapspoint
to the generallack of precisionin Hesiod'sthinking-and also in Homer's-and regardthem as
inferioron this score to some writersin the fifth century;if, that is, it is precisionthat matters.82
But it will still be true that Hesiod is as good at the taskhe sets himself as the early philosophers
are at theirs. That task is to edify his audience, drawing on, confirming and reshapingtheir
perceptionsof and their attitudestowards the world in which they live; and also, of course, to
We may deal, finally, with the questionof Hesiod'srelationto the concept of naturallaw.84
One view, as we saw at the beginning, findssucha conceptalreadypresentin his poems, whereas
the more usualview attributesits discovery to the Milesians.The issueis not resolvedmerely by
pointing to the fact that Hesiod's world is governed by divine beings,85 since with few
exceptions these beings behave in an orderly and predictableway, especiallyby contrastwith
Homer's gods, and they appearratheras partsor aspectsof the naturalworld than as interfering
in its workings. What is more, the farmerHesiod is perfectly well aware of the regularitiesof
nature.But in the end, we cannot succeed in thinking away the idea of supernaturalcausation
79 Cf. West adloc.:'contradiction betweendifferent without our help, can make no such distinction'.
legendsmadeit clearthatpoetsdid not invariablytell 80 See esp. Vernant, 'Le mythe h6siodiquedes races:
the truth.... TheMusesseemto be saying,"Youhave essai d'analyse structurale',and 'Le mythe hesiodique
lived yourlife in ignoranceof the truth.But now you des races: sur un essai de mise au point', in Mythe et
shalltell it to men.Admittedly,we sometimesdeceive; pensie chez lesgrecs,i (Paris 1971) 13-79.
butwhenwe choose,we canrevealthetruth,andwe are 81 Up to e.g. 341, the poem
presentsa unified and
going to revealit to you."' In thiscase,thelineswould clear (if sometimes repetitive)argument;the contentsof
constitutea simpleassertionthatwhat Hesiodis going the rest are rathermore diverse and less well connected.
to say is true (withoutany necessarycomparisonof it 82 But again, is their thought always less
with what others say). I am uneasy, however, for than that of later poets?See n. 17 above.
reasonswhichby now shouldbe clear,aboutrelyingon (e.g.)
83 See especially Th. 94 ff., where Hesiod explicitly
any awarenesson Hesiod's part of 'contradictions' singles out this function of the singer.
betweenstories.Anotheralternativeis to interpretthe 84 See my
opening paragraphand n. 76 above.
contrastasbeingbetweendivineandmortalcapacities: 85 As Gigon's view perhaps implies (see my first
'we Musescan eithertell lies or truth;you mortals, paragraph).

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from the poems: at least some things happenjust becausea god wills them. More importantly,
there is no cleardistinction,explicit or even implicit, between the categoriesof the naturaland
the supernatural.Indeedthe way in which things in the world tend to be seen both as things and
as persons86suggeststhat anyevent87may be redescribedin termsof the behaviourof gods. But
in this aspecttoo, Hesiodic thought should be regardedas unscientific,not as pre-scientific.To
take the latterview is once againto place too much stresson the accidentof Hesiod'sdate;88for
while it might be difficultto envisage the composition of a poem quite like the Theogonyafter
the sixth and fifth centuries,89 outside the specialisedspheresof philosophy, scienceand history
the Hesiodic type of world-view continues to dominate Greek culture.90 The difference
between Hesiod and the first 'philosophers'is in essence the same as the differencebetween
unscientific and scientific discourse as a whole: science makes explicit distinctions which
unscientificdiscourseeither does not recognise, or recognisesonly implicitly. Hesiod predates
the rise of philosophy and science, and his influenceclearly helped to shape the theories of its
earliest representatives;but we should not therefore assume too easily that he 'comes before
them' in all respects.The model of a smooth progressionis not the only possiblemodel for the
evolution of thought, any more than it is for the evolution of species.
Universityof Bristol

86 See pp. 127--9 above. 88 See n. 14.

87 Including human actions, in view of the super- By then, for example (despite Pherecydesand the
naturalstatus accorded to Eros, Erisand the rest. If the 'Orphic' cosmogonies), the sphereof cosmogony had in
'double causation' which is so regular a feature of the effect been claimed by philosophy; and (non-philoso-
Iliad hardly appearsas such in Hesiod (his relationship phical) poetry had developed different means of ex-
with the Muses is perhaps a special case), this is pression.
90 As
presumably because he has relatively little occasion to e.g. Herodotus recognises (ii 53).
give direct descriptionsof human actions.

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