Hesiod was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer.
20 Facts About Hesiod
Hesiod is generally regarded by western authors as 'the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject.
The dating of Hesiod's life is a contested issue in scholarly circles.
Unlike his father, Hesiod was averse to sea travel, but he once crossed the narrow strait between the Greek mainland and Euboea to participate in funeral celebrations for one Athamas of Chalcis, and there won a tripod in a singing competition.
Hesiod describes a meeting between himself and the Muses on Mount Helicon, where he had been pasturing sheep when the goddesses presented him with a laurel staff, a symbol of poetic authority.
Some scholars have seen Perses as a literary creation, a foil for the moralizing that Hesiod develops in Works and Days, but there are arguments against that theory.
For example, it is quite common for works of moral instruction to have an imaginative setting, as a means of getting the audience's attention, but it could be difficult to see how Hesiod could have travelled around the countryside entertaining people with a narrative about himself if the account was known to be fictitious.
The father probably spoke in the Aeolian dialect of Cyme but Hesiod probably grew up speaking the local Boeotian, belonging to the same dialect group.
Hesiod resembles Solon in his preoccupation with issues of good versus evil and "how a just and all-powerful god can allow the unjust to flourish in this life".
Hesiod recalls Aristophanes in his rejection of the idealised hero of epic literature in favour of an idealised view of the farmer.
The other tradition, first mentioned in an epigram by Chersias of Orchomenus written in the 7th century BC claims that Hesiod lies buried at Orchomenus, a town in Boeotia.
The first known writers to locate Homer earlier than Hesiod were Xenophanes and Heraclides Ponticus, though Aristarchus of Samothrace was the first actually to argue the case.
Hesiod certainly predates the lyric and elegiac poets whose work has come down to the modern era.
In that case, the tripod that Hesiod won might have been awarded for his rendition of Theogony, a poem that seems to presuppose the kind of aristocratic audience he would have met at Chalcis.
Hesiod viewed the world from outside the charmed circle of aristocratic rulers, protesting against their injustices in a tone of voice that has been described as having a "grumpy quality redeemed by a gaunt dignity" but, as stated in the biography section, he could change to suit the audience.
Hesiod seems in this case to be catering to two different world-views, one epic and aristocratic, the other unsympathetic to the heroic traditions of the aristocracy.
The creation myth in Hesiod has long been held to have Eastern influences, such as the Hittite Song of Kumarbi and the Babylonian Enuma Elis.
Hesiod employed the conventional dialect of epic verse, which was Ionian.
Hesiod's handling of the dactylic hexameter was not as masterful or fluent as Homer's and one modern scholar refers to his "hobnailed hexameters".
That result is a bit counter-intuitive since digamma was still a feature of the Boeotian dialect that Hesiod probably spoke, whereas it had already vanished from the Ionic vernacular of Homer.