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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

χρύσεον μὲν πρώτιστα γένος μερόπων ἀνθρώπων
ἀθάνατοι ποίησαν ʼΟλύμπια δώματ' ʼέχοντες.
οʽὶ μὲν ἐπὶ Κρόνου ʼη̂σαν, ʽότ' οὐρανῳ̂ ἐμβασίλευεν.
ʽώστε θεοὶ δ' ʼέζωον ἀκηδέα θυμὸν ʼέχοντες
νόσφιν ʼάτερ τε πόνων καὶ οἰζύος·
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ του̂το γένος κατὰ γαι̂α κάλυψεν
δεύτερον αʼυ̂τε γένος πολὺ χειρότερον μετόπισθεν
ἀργύρεον ποίησαν ʼΟλύμπια δώματ' ʼέχοντες,
χρυσέῳ οʼύτε φυὴν ἐναλίγκιον οʼύτε νόημα.
Ζεὺς δὲ πατὴρ τρίτον ʼάλλο γένος μερόπων ἀνθρώπων
χάλκειον ποίησ' οὐκ ἀργυρέῳ οὐδὲν ὁμοι̂ον,
ἐκ μελια̂ν, δεινόν τε καὶ ʼόβριμον· οʽι̂σιν ʼΆρηος
ʼέργ' ʼέμελε στονόεντα καὶ ʽύβριες· οὐδέ τι σι̂τον
ʼήσθιον, ἀλλ' ἀδάμαντος ʼέχον κρατερόφρονα θυμόν
αʼύτις ʼέτ' ʼάλλο τέταρτον ἐπὶ χθονὶ πουλυβοτείρῃ
Ζεὺς Κρονίδης ποίησε, δικαιότερον καὶ ʼάρειον,
ἀνδρω̂ν ἡρώων θει̂ον γένος, οʽί καλέονται
ἡμίθεοι, προτέρη γενεὴ κατ' ἀπείρονα γαι̂αν.
νυ̂ν γὰρ δὴ γένος ἐστὶ σιδήρεον· οὐδέ ποτ' ʽη̂μαρ
παύονται καμάτου καὶ οἰζύος, οὐδέ τι νύκτωρ
φθειρόμενοι χαλεπὰς δὲ θεοὶ δώσουσι μερίμνας
ἀλλ' ʼέμπης καὶ τοι̂σι μεμείχεται ἐσθλὰ κακοι̂σιν

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.