Aesthetic, Sociological, and Exploitative Attitudes to Landscape in Greco-Roman Literature, Art, and Culture
This article introduces and discusses ancient and contemporary approaches to landscape and proposes model readings for their evaluation. Model readings suggest strategies drawn from environmental and ecocritical studies alongside art historical, and more traditional literary studies approaches. This article emphasizes in particular the benefits of evaluating architectural and agricultural interventions in nature alongside one another. Perceptions of landscape in the Greco-Roman world were strongly associated with cultivation and human invention. In order better to understand how and why aesthetic interest, sentiment, mood, and movement can also be significant, this article explores what makes for “improvement” and value in landscape. It also investigates how contemporary theory offers new ways of evaluating ancient depictions of landscape and responses to the natural environment.
Scholars have expressed increasing appreciation for the uniqueness of late Greek poetry which had long been dismissed as a mere continuation of the great classical and Hellenistic poetry. This article presents an overview of Greek poetic production in Late Antiquity, focusing on the issues of relationships between poetry and prose, rhetorical structures, social contexts, and performances.
Lilah Grace Canevaro
This chapter uses Callimachus’s Aetia, Aratus’s Phaenomena, and Nicander’s Theriaca to explore the intense engagement with Hesiodic poetry in the Hellenistic period. Informed by statistics for explicit references to Hesiod at this time, it asks: Why is this the only period of antiquity in which the Theogony and the Works and Days are considered equally important? Questions of genre and didaxis, of inspiration and knowledge, are set against a backdrop of learned library culture, in order to determine what it really meant in the Hellenistic age to be a scholar-poet. This chapter draws on a recent wave of interest in the ancient reception of Hesiod and considers not only how Hesiodic poetry was used, but also how the potential for that use is embedded in the archaic poems themselves.
The reception of Hesiod in the Byzantine age (fourth–fifteenth centuries ce) may be reconstructed on the basis of a range of different sources: the many codices transmitting the poet’s major works (the Theogony, Works and Days, and Shield of Herakles); commentaries from late antiquity (Proclus, fifth century), the middle Byzantine period (twelfth century) and the Palaeologan age (thirteenth–fourteenth centuries); and the presence of quotes and allusions in literary texts. The reception of Hesiod in the early Renaissance (fifteenth century) is illustrated by manuscripts, print editions, Latin translations, school and university teaching programs, and the influence of the poems on iconography. This chapter brings together most of the essential data and suggests some possible research perspectives that have yet to be systematically pursued.
This chapter introduces some key moments from Hesiod’s reception during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and offers a starting point for future scholarship in this new field of research. It explores examples of Hesiod’s reception by French, English, and German figures, including Voltaire, John Flaxman, and Friedrich Nietzsche, to demonstrate the European scope of the ancient author’s appeal while also drawing attention to some of the recurring concerns that animated turns to Hesiod during this period. Hesiod offers an alternative vision of Greece to the one that had gained currency during the Enlightenment; his focus on ancient Greek religious belief and rural life provided an important counterpoint to narratives of Greece as the birthplace of modern European civilization, while his poetry offered readers a personal connection with a distant cultural and historical context.
Hesiod Transformed, Parodied, and Assaulted: Hesiod in the Second Sophistic and Early Christian Thought
Helen van Noorden
This chapter covers pagan and early Christian authors of the period 50–250 ce, known as the “second sophistic.” The first section focuses on the Certamen, Athenaeus and Plutarch, considering their revisions of Hesiodic wisdom and the contemporary forms of scholarship on his poems. The second section uses Lucian to showcase “Hesiod parodied” before discussing Aelian, Babrius, and the Sibylline Oracles. Points treated include the cross-referencing of Hesiodic poems and the dominance of certain Hesiodic passages, such as Hesiod’s initiation by the Muses, the “Two Roads,” and the “Myth of the Races,” in appropriations of Hesiod for new (especially rhetorical) projects. Finally, “Hesiod assaulted” is discussed in view of the Christian apologists, in particular Clement of Alexandria and Theophilus, who attacked Hesiod’s inconsistency and immorality but, like Lucian, co-opted aspects of his narratives into their own.
The early pre-Socratics’ major speculative and critical initiatives—in particular Anaximander’s conceptions of the justice of the cosmos and of the apeiron as its archē and Xenophanes’s polemics against immorality and anthropomorphism in the depiction of the gods and against any claim to divine inspiration—appear to break with Hesiod’s form of thought. But the conceptual, critical, and ethical depth of Hesiod’s own rethinking of the lore that he inherited complicates this picture. Close examination of each of their major initiatives together with the relevant passages in Hesiod shows that even in the course of departing from his thought, Anaximander and Xenophanes also reappropriate and renew it. A postscript to this chapter poses some questions for future inquiry into Heraclitus’s and Parmenides’s receptions of Hesiod.
Thomas E. Jenkins
This chapter traces the reception of the Works and Days and Theogony in various media throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including film, television, video games, novels, essays, illustrations, and children’s literature. It argues that the Theogony’s greater emphasis on extended narrative episodes—particularly the violent Titanomachy—has spawned a comparatively greater number of receptions, while the Works and Day’s didactic tone and structure have lent themselves more readily to adaptations that stress the environment and/or management. Hesiod’s representation of women—both mortal and immortal—has engendered some of the most strongly ideological and passionate receptions, especially those concerning Athena, Gaia, and Pandora. The chapter concludes with a glance at the surprising reception of Hesiod in today’s newest media, including Twitter hashtags.
Joseph A. Almeida
This chapter presents observations about the relationship between the poetry of Hesiod and of Solon (Works and Days 213–326 and Solon frr. 4 and 13). In the first half of fr. 4 Solon, through a series of allusions, incorporates into his poem Hesiod’s authority on dikē to validate condemnation of injustice in his own city, and in the second half of the poem he turns the Hesiodic pessimism of this injustice into an optimistic hope for his city’s just future. In fr. 13 Solon expands Hesiod’s notion of Zeus as the punisher of injustice to create a pessimistic view of human life darker than Hesiod’s own. A final discussion of the scholarly division on the question of whether dikē in Solon is essentially Hesiodic or something new in Greek thought rounds out the observations on the relation between the poets and confirms Solon’s dependence on Hesiod.
These are two typical problems in textual criticism: deciding whether a passage is authentic, and deciding what the original wording was. In fact, every reader of Greek texts is a textual critic insofar as he makes interpretative decisions: each reader examines the sense and wording of every sentence in order to interpret it. One could say that textual criticism is the branch of literary interpretation which aims at reconstructing the original wording of a text. The aim of reconstructing the ‘original’ is based on a virtuous hermeneutic circle. This article covers the concepts of ‘original’ text, recension, emendation, ‘open’ and ‘closed’ textual transmission, and the basic elements of stemmatic theory.
Stephen Scully and Charles Stocking
This chapter traces the unique role Hesiodic poetry has played in the history of thought throughout the twentieth century, with a focus on two main areas: Freudian constructs and structuralism. The chapter demonstrates how Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents in the first half of the century parallels key narrative themes from Hesiodic poetry. Freud, however, did not often invoke Hesiod directly in this work, and such lack of conscious reference may be the strongest indication of the influence Hesiodic narrative exerted as a dominant psychological and cultural paradigm in the early twentieth century. Concerning the development of structuralism in the second half of the twentieth century, the chapter discusses how classical scholars, such as Vernant, Detienne, and Pucci, have caused Hesiod to play a key role in broader debates on the relationship among history, structure, and political power in postwar France. Ultimately, the chapter demonstrates how Hesiodic poetry has been and continues to remain a rich source for theorizing the present.
For students of Roman antiquity, translation figures in two arenas. First, it was a cultural activity of the Roman Empire from the third century