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Early Indo-European Texts

Classical Greek

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Classical Greek with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Classical Greek Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Classical Greek language and its speakers' culture.

from Hesiod's Works and Days, Part 1

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


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.