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Classical Greek Online

Lesson 7

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

Hesiod, the author of Works and Days, lived in the second section of the eighth century B.C. Reports of his life are sketchy, but he clearly was a poet in the Homeric tradition. In addition to fragments that have been preserved, his other major poem is the Theogony of 1020 lines. It sketches the 'births of the gods', beginning with those of the nine Muses from the union of Zeus and Mnemosyne or Memory, and ending with the union of Kalypso and Odysseus that resulted in two children. His language and subject matter is clearly less elegant than that of Homer, but it has maintained its interest for providing information on everyday life and for information on the views of the Greek peoples of his time.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Hesiod's Works and Days is a poem in the eastern tradition of wisdom literature. Addressed to his brother, Perses, who is pictured as a ne'er-do-well, it consists of four parts in its 828 lines, each of approximately 200 lines. The first part tells Perses that work is essential. It contains the lines excerpted here, which are of especial interest in sketching the ages of man that correspond in part to the periods determined by archeologists of our day, with the bronze age leading to the iron age, and so on. The second part provides instructions on how to achieve prosperity through righteous actions and proper dealings with others. The third part outlines the work that is necessary for success in farming, such as the type of work that is essential in the four seasons. The last part indicates the proper time for activities, such as sailing to market one's produce, marriage, and also for everyday activities, such as urinating and copulating. And last of all it is essential to be aware of the good and bad days of the month for all of one's activities.

There is considerable agreement on the text of Works and Days; the lines here correspond to those of Hesiod: Works and Days, ed. M. L. West (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), which differ in a few respects from the text of the Loeb Classical Library prepared by Hugh G. Evelyn-White with credit to W. H. D. Rouse (1914, frequently reprinted). The differences are noted in the commentary.

chruseon men prôtista genos meropôn anthrôpôn
# (line 109)

  • chruseon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <chruseos> golden -- golden
  • men -- particle; <men> on the one hand -- indeed
  • prôtista -- adverb; <prôtista> first of all -- first of all
  • genos -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <genos> race -- race
  • meropôn -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <merops> endowed with speech -- of speaking
  • anthrôpôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <anthrôpos> human being -- humans

athanatoi poiêsan Olumpia dômat' echontes.

  • athanatoi -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <athanatos> immortal -- (the) immortals
  • poiêsan -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <poieô> make, do -- made
  • Olumpia -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <Olumpios> Olympian -- Olympian
  • dômat' -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <dôma> house, home -- homes
  • echontes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <echô> have -- having

hoi men epi Kronou êsan, hot' ouranô embasileuen.

  • hoi -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hos> this, that, he, she, it -- who
  • men -- particle; <men> on the one hand -- ...
  • epi -- preposition; <epi> on, about -- at the time
  • Kronou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Kronos> Cronos -- of Cronos
  • êsan -- verb; 3rd person singular plural imperfect of <eimi> I am -- existed
  • hot' -- conjunction; <hote> when -- when
  • ouranô -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <ouranos> heaven -- in heaven
  • embasileuen -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <embasileuô> be king in -- was king (in)

hôste theoi d' ezôon akêdea thumon echontes

  • hôste -- adverbial conjunction; <hôste> like, so that -- like
  • theoi -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <theos> god -- gods
  • d' -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • ezôon -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <zôô> live -- they lived
  • akêdea -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <akêdês> without sorrow -- without sorrow
  • thumon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <thumos> soul, heart -- heart
  • echontes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <echô> have -- having

nosphin ater te ponôn kai oizuos;

  • nosphin -- adverb; <nosphi> apart, afar, except -- apart
  • ater -- preposition; <ater> without -- without
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- and
  • ponôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <ponos> grief -- grief
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • oizuos -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <oizus> misery, suffering -- suffering

autar epei dê touto genos kata gaia kalupsen
# (line 121; for kalupsen West omits the augment, as was done in em-basileuen above, and maintains the full form of gaia; others elide the final vowel of gaia and include the augment, e.g. gai' ekalupse, where the -n is also omitted. The line is repeated before the paragraphs on the third and fourth races.)

  • autar -- conjunction; <autar> but -- but
  • epei -- conjunction; <epei> when, after -- after
  • -- particle; <> indeed -- indeed
  • touto -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <houtos> this -- this
  • genos -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <genos> race -- race
  • kata -- adverb; <kata> completely, down, under -- under
  • gaia -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <gaia> land -- the earth
  • kalupsen -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <kaluptô> cover -- covered

deuteron aute genos polu cheiroteron metopisthen
# (line 127)

  • deuteron -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <deuteros> second -- second
  • aute -- adverb; <aute> then, again -- then
  • genos -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <genos> race -- race
  • polu -- adverb; <polus> many -- much
  • cheiroteron -- adjective; accusative singular neuter comparative of <kakos> evil, poor -- inferior
  • metopisthen -- adverb; <metopisthe> afterwards -- somewhat later

argureon poiêsan Olumpia dômat' echontes,
# (For dômat' West elides the -a before a form whose root begins with a vowel.)

  • argureon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <argureos> silver -- of silver
  • poiêsan -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <poieô> make, do -- made
  • Olumpia -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <Olumpios> Olympian -- Olympian
  • dômat' -- noun, neuter; accusative plural of <dôma> house, home -- homes
  • echontes -- verb; nominative plural masculine of present participle of <echô> have -- having

chruseô oute phuên enaligkion oute noêma.

  • chruseô -- adjective; dative singular neuter of <chruseos> golden -- the golden
  • oute -- adverb; <oute> neither, nor -- neither
  • phuên -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <phuê> stature -- in stature
  • enaligkion -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <enaligkios> resembling, like -- like
  • oute -- adverb; <oute> neither, nor -- nor
  • noêma -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <noêma> thought, understanding -- in understanding

Zeus de patêr triton allo genos meropôn anthrôpôn
# (line 143)

  • Zeus -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Zeus> Zeus -- Zeus
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- and
  • patêr -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <patêr> father -- father
  • triton -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <tritos> third -- third
  • allo -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <allos> other -- other
  • genos -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <genos> race -- race
  • meropôn -- adjective; genitive plural masculine of <merops> endowed with speech -- endowed with speech
  • anthrôpôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <anthrôpos> human being -- of humans

chalkeion poiês' ouk argureô ouden homoion,

  • chalkeion -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <chalkeios> of bronze -- bronze
  • poiês' -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <poieô> make, do -- made
  • ouk -- particle; <ouk> not -- not
  • argureô -- adjective; dative singular neuter of <argureos> silver -- to the silver (race)
  • ouden -- adverb; <ouden> in no way -- in no way
  • homoion -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <homoios> like, similar -- like

ek melian, deinon te kai obrimon; hoisin Arêos

  • ek -- preposition; <ek> from, out of -- out of
  • melian -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <melia> the ash tree -- ash wood
  • deinon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <deinos> terrible -- terrible
  • te -- conjunction; <te> and -- and
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • obrimon -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <obrimos> strong -- strong
  • hoisin -- demonstrative pronoun; dative plural masculine of <hos> this, that, he, she, it -- to them
  • Arêos -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Arês> Ares -- of Ares

erg' emele stonoenta kai hubries; oude ti siton

  • erg' -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <ergon> work, deed -- works
  • emele -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect of <melô> to care, to be an object of care -- were loved
  • stonoenta -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <stonoeis> sad, wretched -- wretched
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • hubries -- noun, neuter; nominative plural of <hubris> violence -- violent acts
  • oude -- particle; <oude> not -- not
  • ti -- indefinite pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <tis> someone, something -- any
  • siton -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <sitos> corn, bread -- bread

êsthion, all' adamantos echon kraterophrona thumon

  • êsthion -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist of <esthiô> eat -- they did ...eat
  • all' -- conjunction; <alla> but -- but
  • adamantos -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <adamas> steel -- of steel
  • echon -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect of <echô> have -- they had
  • kraterophrona -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <kraterophrôn> stout-hearted, dauntless -- a dauntless
  • thumon -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <thumos> soul, heart -- heart

autis et' allo tetarton epi chthoni pouluboteirê
# (line 158)

  • autis -- adverb; <autis> again -- again
  • et' -- adverb; <eti> still -- yet
  • allo -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <allos> other -- another
  • tetarton -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <tetartos> fourth -- a fourth
  • epi -- preposition; <epi> on, about -- on
  • chthoni -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <chthôn> earth -- the earth
  • pouluboteirê -- adjective; dative singular feminine of <pouluboteira> all nourishing, fruitful -- fruitful

Zeus Kronidês poiêse, dikaioteron kai areion,

  • Zeus -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Zeus> Zeus -- Zeus
  • Kronidês -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <Kronidês> son of Kronos -- the son of Kronos
  • poiêse -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist of <poieô> make, do -- made
  • dikaioteron -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of comparative of <dikaios> just, righteous -- more righteous
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • areion -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of comparative of <agathos> good -- better

andrôn hêrôôn theion genos, hoi kaleontai

  • andrôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <anêr> man -- of men
  • hêrôôn -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <hêrôs> hero -- (of) heroes
  • theion -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <theios> divine, godlike -- godlike
  • genos -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <genos> race -- race
  • hoi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <hos> who, which -- who
  • kaleontai -- verb; 3rd person plural present passive of <kaleô> call, summon -- are called

hêmitheoi, proterê geneê kat' apeirona gaian.

  • hêmitheoi -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <hêmitheos> demi-god -- demi-gods
  • proterê -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <proteros> first, before -- prior (to ours)
  • geneê -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <geneê> family, generation, race -- a race
  • kat' -- preposition; <kata> completely, down, under -- on
  • apeirona -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <apeirôn> boundless -- the boundless
  • gaian -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <gaia> land -- earth

nun gar dê genos esti sidêreon; oude pot' hêmar
# (line 176)

  • nun -- adverb; <nun> now -- now
  • gar -- conjunction; <gar> for -- and
  • -- particle; <> indeed -- indeed
  • genos -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <genos> race -- the race
  • esti -- verb; 3rd person singular present of <eimi> I am -- is
  • sidêreon -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <sidêreos> of iron -- of iron
  • oude -- particle; <oude> not -- and ... not
  • pot' -- adverb; <pote> at some time, ever -- ever
  • hêmar -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <hêmar> day -- by day

pauontai kamatou kai oizuos, oude ti nuktôr

  • pauontai -- verb; 3rd person plural present middle of <pauô> stop, cease -- they do ...stop
  • kamatou -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <kamatos> toil, labor -- laboring
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- and
  • oizuos -- noun, feminine; genitive singular of <oizus> misery, suffering -- suffering
  • oude -- particle; <oude> not -- and . . . not
  • ti -- adverb; <ti> in any way -- at all
  • nuktôr -- adverb; <nuktôr> by night -- by night

phtheiromenoi chalepas de theoi dôsousi merimnas

  • phtheiromenoi -- verb; nominative plural masculine of participle middle of <phtheirô> perish -- perishing
  • chalepas -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <chalepos> difficult -- difficult
  • de -- particle; <de> and, on the other hand -- indeed
  • theoi -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <theos> god -- the gods
  • dôsousi -- verb; 3rd person plural future of <didômi> give -- will give
  • merimnas -- noun, feminine; accusative plural of <merimna> care, anxious thought -- anxieties

all' empês kai toisi memeichetai esthla kakoisin

  • all' -- conjunction; <alla> but -- but
  • empês -- adverb; <empês> nevertheless -- nevertheless
  • kai -- conjunction; <kai> and -- also
  • toisi -- article; dative plural masculine of <ho> the -- for them
  • memeichetai -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect passive of <mignumi> mix -- will be mixed
  • esthla -- adjective used as substantive; nominative plural neuter of <esthlon> good -- good things
  • kakoisin -- adjective; dative plural neuter of <kakos> evil, poor -- with evils

Lesson Text

chruseon men prôtista genos meropôn anthrôpôn
athanatoi poiêsan Olumpia dômat' echontes.
hoi men epi Kronou êsan, hot' ouranô embasileuen.
hôste theoi d' ezôon akêdea thumon echontes
nosphin ater te ponôn kai oizuos;
autar epei dê touto genos kata gaia kalupsen
deuteron aute genos polu cheiroteron metopisthen
argureon poiêsan Olumpia dômat' echontes,
chruseô oute phuên enaligkion oute noêma.
Zeus de patêr triton allo genos meropôn anthrôpôn
chalkeion poiês' ouk argureô ouden homoion,
ek melian, deinon te kai obrimon; hoisin Arêos
erg' emele stonoenta kai hubries; oude ti siton
êsthion, all' adamantos echon kraterophrona thumon
autis et' allo tetarton epi chthoni pouluboteirê
Zeus Kronidês poiêse, dikaioteron kai areion,
andrôn hêrôôn theion genos, hoi kaleontai
hêmitheoi, proterê geneê kat' apeirona gaian.
nun gar dê genos esti sidêreon; oude pot' hêmar
pauontai kamatou kai oizuos, oude ti nuktôr
phtheiromenoi chalepas de theoi dôsousi merimnas
all' empês kai toisi memeichetai esthla kakoisin

Translation

First of all the immortal gods, who live on Olympus, made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was king in heaven. And they lived like gods having a life without sorrow, remote and without grief and suffering. ... But somewhat later after the earth covered this generation, those having Olympian homes made a second generation, silver, inferior, like the golden neither in stature nor in understanding. ... Father Zeus made a third, different race of humans endowed with speech, bronze out of the ash tree, in no way like the silver race, terrible and strong. The wretched works and violent acts of Ares were loved by them, and did not eat any bread, but they inflexibly maintained a dauntless spirit. ... Yet again Zeus, the son of Cronos, made another, the fourth, on the fruitful earth, that was more righteons and better, a godlike race of men, heroes, who are called demigods, the race prior to ours, on the boundless earth. ... And now indeed the race is of iron, and they do not stop laboring and suffering by day, and not at all from perishing by night. Indeed the gods give them difficult anxieties. But nevertheless, also for them, good will be mixed with evils.

Grammar

31. Inflection of adjectives and participles.

Section 12 provided the inflection of the most common adjectives, Here that of adjectives with consonantal stems is given for the adjective akôn 'unwilling'; it applies also to present participles.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   akôn   akousa   akon
Gen. sg.   akontos   akousês   akontos
Dat. sg.   akonti   akousê   akonti
Acc. sg.   akonta   akousan   akon
             
Nom. pl.   akontes   akousai   akonta
Gen. pl.   akontôn   akousôn   akontôn
Dat. pl.   akousi(n)   akousais   akousi(n)
Acc. pl.   akontas   akousas   akonta

The frequent adjective, pas 'all, whole' is also inflected in this way; the nominative and genitive singular are given as an illustration.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   pas   pasa   pan
Gen. sg.   pantos   pasês   pantos

The nominative forms of other consonantal adjectives are given in dictionaries; the other cases may be identified with the help of the forms given above.

32. Two frequently occurring adjectives.

The forms of two frequently ocurring adjectives are given here in view of their common occurrence, megas 'great' and polus 'much'.

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   megas   megalê   mega
Gen. sg.   megalou   megalês   megalou
Dat. sg.   megalô   megalê   megalô
Acc. sg.   megan   megalên   mega
             
Nom. pl.   megaloi   megalai   megala
Gen. pl.   megalôn   megalôn   megalôn
Dat. pl.   megalois   megalais   megalois
Acc. pl.   megalous   megalas   megala

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   polus   pollê   polu
Gen. sg.   pollou   pollês   pollou
Dat. sg.   pollô   pollê   pollô
Acc. sg.   polun   pollên   polu
             
Nom. pl.   polloi   pollai   polla
Gen. pl.   pollôn   pollôn   pollôn
Dat. pl.   pollois   pollais   pollois
Acc. pl.   pollous   pollas   polla
33. Less frequent patterns of adjectival comparison.

The most frequent type of comparison with the suffixes -teros, -tatos was given in section 22. Some common adjectives have different suffixes, as noted there for kakos, with its comparative in kakiôn 'worse'and superlative kakistos. Similarly, kalos 'beautiful' has the forms kalliôn and kallistos, echthros 'hostile' has the forms echthiôn, echthistos.

Other adjectives have different roots in the comparative and superlative forms. Some have several types of comparison, with differing connotations for the various types.

agathos 'good'   ameinôn   aristos   'clever, brave'
    beltiôn   beltistos   'virtuous'
    kreittôn   kratistos   'strong, superior'
kakos 'bad'   cheirôn   cheiristos   'less good'
    hêttôn   hêkistos   'weaker'
megas 'great'   meizôn   megistos    
mikros 'small'   mikroteros   mikrotatos    
    elattôn   elachistos   (also applies to oligos)
oligos 'little'   meiôn   ---    
polus 'much'   pleiôn   pleistos    
34. Aorist of the passive.

As noted in section 30, the aorist in the passive differs from that in the middle.

    Indicative   Subjunctive   Optative   Imperative
1 sg   epaideuthên   paideuthô   paideutheiên    
2 sg   epaideuthês   paideuthês   paideutheiês   paideuthêti
3 sg   epaideuthê   paideuthê   paideutheiê   paideuthêtô
                 
1 pl   epaideuthêmen   paideuthômen   paideutheiêmen    
2 pl   epaideuthête   paideuthête   paideutheiête   paideuthête
3 pl   epaideuthêsan   paideuthôsi   paideutheiêsan   paideuthentôn
35. Infinitives and participles of the aorist middle and passive.
    Middle   Passive
Infinitive   paideusasthai
'to educate'
  paideuthêsesthai
'to be educated'
Participle   paideusamenos, -ê, -on
'one who educated'
  paideutheis, -theisa, -then
'be educated'