Chapter 6. Hesiod: Consecrate Murder

In Hesiod’s vita, we find a substantial set of the familiar legendary themes we have encountered so far—consecration, victory in riddle contest, oracle-related death, and cult. Hesiod’s vita is clearly moving in the same orbit as those of Aesop and Archilochus, ringing the changes on the standard story of the sacral poet’s life and death. A. Brelich, in his study of hero cult, makes Hesiod a prime example of the poet assimilated to hero cult and cult myth. [1]
Hesiod is, by some accounts, the best of poets. On his tombstone it is written that Hesiod’s renown “is greatest among men of all who are judged by the test of wit.” [2] In the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, the two poets engage in a riddle/poetry contest (amphibolous gnōmas, 102–103), in which they battle to a standoff, and finally read passages of poetry in competition. The prize for best poet is given to Hesiod, if only because the judge values peace more than war—the audience’s applause had gone mostly to Homer. The poet dedicates his victory tripod to the Muses with the inscription, “Hesiod dedicated this tripod to the Muses of Helicon after he had conquered divine Homer at Chalcis through song.” [3] The riddle contest itself brings Aesop to mind. [4]
The consecration theme, showing the sacrality of the poet, is found in the famous passage at the beginning of the Theogony (22–34):
αἵ νύ ποθ’ Ἡσίοδον καλὴν ἐδίδαξαν ἀοιδήν,
ἄρνας ποιμαίνονθ’ Ἑλικῶνος ὑπὸ ζαθέοιο.
τόνδε δέ με πρώτιστα θεαὶ πρὸς μῦθον ἔειπον,
Μοῦσαι Ὀλυμπιάδες, κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο:
ποιμένες ἄγραυλοι, κάκ’ ἐλέγχεα, γαστέρες οἶον,
ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ’, εὖτ’ ἐθέλωμεν, ἀληθὲα γηρύσασθαι.
ὥς ἔφασαν κοῦραι μεγάλου Διὸς ἀρτιέπειαι:
καί μοι σκῆπτρον ἔδον δάφνης ἐριθηλέος ὄζον
δρέψασαι, θηητόν: ἐνέπνευσαν δέ μοι αὐδὴν
θέσπιν, ἵνα κλείοιμι τά τ’ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ’ ἐόντα.
καί με κέλονθ’ ὑμνεῖν μακάρων γένος αἰὲν ἐόντων,
σφᾶς δ’ αὐτὰς πρῶτόν τε καὶ ὕστατον αἰὲν ἀείδειν.
And once they [the Muses] taught Hesiod lovely song while he was shepherding his lambs below holy Helicon, and the goddesses spoke this word to me first—the Muses of Olympus, daughters of aegis-holding Zeus:
“Rustic shepherds, evil reproaches [kak’ elegkhea], mere bellies, we know how to speak many false things that are similar to real things; but we [also] know how to utter true things, when we want to.”
So spoke the ready-voiced daughters of great Zeus, and they plucked and gave me a rod [skēptron], a shoot of flourishing laurel, a marvelous thing, [5] and breathed into me a divine voice so that I could celebrate [kleioimi] things that will be and things that have been; and they commanded me to sing of the race of the blessed gods who are eternal, and to sing of them, both first and last, always. [6]
Pausanias (9.31.5), reporting a local Boeotian tradition, tells us explicitly that Hesiod was concerned with the mantic: “These same Boeotians say that Hesiod learned seercraft [mantikēn] from the Acarnanians, and there are extant a poem called Mantica (Seercraft), which I myself have read, and interpretations of portents.” [7] He was also the author of a poem on the seer Melampus, a few fragments of which are extant (270–279 M-W). The poet’s consecrational gift of knowledge of things in the future and present (Theogony 32) is also a mantic theme. [8]
As in the case of Archilochus, blame is an important component of the message the Muses give to the poet. [9] In the case of Archilochus, blame is a key element of his own poetry. There is also an important satirical component in Hesiod’s poetry, [10] a blame that is sometimes directed against unjust and violent political leaders. The portrait Hesiod paints of Perses, [11] his brother, is also not complimentary (he accuses him of cheating him out of his fortune), [12] and his brother is linked to corrupt judges: “For we had already divided our inheritance, but you seized the greater share and carried it off, greatly swelling the glory of our bribe-swallowing lords who love to judge such a cause as this” (Works and Days 37–39). [13]
Russell Hunt notes that Hesiod, like Aesop, is a “justified” blame poet; [14] like Aesop and Archilochus he uses the fable for blame directed at violent leaders. In Works and Days (202–212) a hawk grips a nightingale in his cruel talons—and the persecuted creature is a “singer,” aoidon: [15]
Νῦν δ’ αἶνον βασιλεῦσιν ἐρέω φρονέουσι καὶ αὐτοῖs·
ὧδ’ ἴρηξ προσέειπεν ἀηδόνα ποικιλόδειρον …
ἣ δ’ ἐλεόν, γναμπτοῖσι πεπαρμένη ἀμφ’ ὀνύχεσσι
μύρετο· τὴν ὅ γ’ ἐπικρατέως πρὸς μῦθον ἔειπεν·
“δαιμονίη, τί λέληκας; ἔχει νύ σε πολλὸν ἀρείων
τῇ δ’ εἶς ᾗ σ’ ἂν ἐγώ περ ἄγω καὶ ἀοιδὸν ἐοῦσαν.”
And now I will tell a fable for lords who are capable of understanding. Thus said the hawk to the nightingale with speckled neck … and she, pierced by his crooked talons, cried pitifully. To her he spoke disdainfully: “Fool, why do you cry out? One who is far stronger than you holds you fast, and you must go wherever I take you, singer [aoidon] though you may be.”
The fable brings the imagery of Archilochus as tortured cricket-singer strongly to mind. [16] Thus, the familiar situation of just poet striking out at unjust political leaders through fable, combined with the persecution of the poet by the leaders, is not absent in the case of Hesiod.
Hesiod came from poor parents; Hesiod’s family leaves Cyme because of their poverty. Hesiod’s pastoral occupation perhaps also shows his poverty. In Works and Days 633–640, [17] he writes, “Your father and mine, great fool Perses, used to sail in ships because he lacked sufficient livelihood … he left Aeolian Cyme in a black ship and fled, not from riches and substance, but from wretched poverty which Zeus gives to men, and he settled near Helicon in a miserable hamlet, Ascra, which is bad in winter, hot in summer, and good at no time.” [18]
ὥς περ ἐμός τε πατὴρ καὶ σός, μέγα νήπιε Πέρση,
πλωίζεσκ’ ἐν νηυσί, βίου κεχρημένος ἐσθλοῦ·
ὅς ποτε καὶ τεῖδ’ ἦλθε, πολὺν διὰ πόντον ἀνύσσας,
Κύμην Αἰολίδα προλιπών, ἐν νηὶ μελαίνῃ,
οὐκ ἄφενος φεύγων οὐδὲ πλου̂τόν τε καὶ ὄλβον,
ἀλλὰ κακὴν πενίην, τὴν Ζεὺς ἄνδρεσσι δίδωσιν.
νάσσατο δ’ ἄγχ’ Ἑλικῶνος ὀιζυρῇ ἐνὶ κώμῃ,
Ἄσκρῃ, χεῖμα κακῇ, θέρει ἀργαλέῃ, οὐδέ ποτ’ ἐσθλῇ.
This is somewhat in the tradition of geographical blame that Archilochus used in describing Thasos (fr. 21W). As Plutarch notes, Archilochus “slandered the island [diebale tēn nēson],” for Thasos had corn fields and vineyards. [19] Perhaps the abuse of the new land is related to the longing for the homeland; this geographical blame is inextricably connected to the theme of the exile of the poet. [20]
In a striking parallel to the Archilochus vita, the Tzetzes life of Hesiod tells us that Hesiod’s family left Cyme “because of helplessness and need” (διὰ τὸ ἄπορον καὶ τὰ χρέα). [21] The lives of archaic Greek poets are full of wandering motifs such as this.
Hesiod’s death, about which we know more than we do about his life, is a typical cultic tragedy. [22] Our earliest witness is Thucydides: “Demosthenes, after locating his army in the precinct of Nemean Zeus—in which Hesiod the poet is said to have been killed by those living there, as it had been foretold to him in an oracle that he would suffer this in Nemea—set out for Aetolia at dawn.” [23] Thucydides seems to have Hesiod killed by a group; but perhaps he merely meant he had been killed “by locals,” even if that was only two men as in other versions.
According to the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, which gives a fuller version, the Delphic oracle warns the poet to stay away from the grove of Nemean Zeus. As often happens with warning oracles, the recipient’s efforts to avoid the oracular doom (by wandering far from the most famous grove of Nemean Zeus) lead him to fulfill it:
… εἰς δὲ Οἰνόην τῆς Λοκρίδος ἐλθὼν καταλύει παρ’ Ἀμφιφάνει καὶ Γανύκτορι, τοῖς Φηγέως παισίν, ἀγνοήσας τὸ μαντεῖον. ὁ γὰρ τόπος οὗτος ἅπας ἐκαλεῖτο Διὸς Νεμείου ἱερόν. διατριβῆς δὲ αὐτῷ πλείονος γενομένης ἐν τοῖς Οἰνοεῦσιν ὑπονοήσαντες οἱ νεανίσκοι τὴν ἀδελφὴν αὐτῶν μοιχεύειν τὸν Ἡσίοδον, ἀποκτείναντες εἰς τὸ μεταξὺ τῆς Εὐβοίας καὶ τῆς Λοκρίδος πέλαγος κατεπόντισαν. τοῦ δὲ νεκροῦ τριταίου πρὸς τὴν γῆν ὑπὸ δελφίνων προσενεχθέντος ἑορτῆς τινος ἐπιχωρίου παρ’ αὐτοῖς οὔσης Ἀριαδνείας πάντες ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν ἔδραμον καὶ τὸ σῶμα γνωρίσαντες ἐκεῖνο μὲν πενθήσαντες ἔθαψαν, τοὺς δὲ φονεῖς ἀνεζήτουν. οἱ δὲ φοβηθέντες τὴν τῶν πολιτῶν ὀργὴν κατασπάσαντες ἁλιευτικὸν σκάφος διέπλευσαν εἰς Κρήτην. οὓς κατὰ μέσον τὸν πλοῦν ὁ Ζεὺς κεραυνώσας κατεπόντωσεν, ὥς φησιν Ἀλκιδάμας ἐν Μουσείῳ. Ἐρατοσθένης δέ φησιν ἐν †ἐνηπόδω† Κτίμενον καὶ Ἄντιφον τοὺς Γανύκτορος ἐπὶ τῇ προειρημένῃ αἰτίᾳ ἀνελόντας σφαγιασθῆναι θεοῖς τοῖς ξενίοις ὑπ’ Εὐρυκλέους τοῦ μάντεως. τὴν μέντοι παρθένον τὴν ἀδελφὴν τῶν προειρημένων μετὰ τὴν φθορὰν ἑαυτὴν ἀναρτῆσαι, φθαρῆναι δὲ ὑπό τινος ξένου συνόδου τοῦ Ἡσίοδου Δημώδους ὄνομα· ὃν καὶ αὐτὸν ἀναιρεθῆναι ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτῶν φησιν.
And he came to Oenoe in Locris and stayed with Amphiphanes and Ganyctor, the sons of Phegeus, which shows that he did not understand the oracle; for all that region was called the sacred place of Nemean Zeus. After he had stayed a rather long time at Oenoe, some young men, suspecting that Hesiod had seduced their sister, killed him and cast his body into the sea which separates Euboea and Locris. [24] On the third day, however, his body was brought to land by dolphins while a certain local feast of Ariadne [25] was being held. Everyone hurried to the shore, and recognizing the body, lamented over it and buried it [penthēsantes ethapsan], and then began to look for the murderers. But fearing the anger of their countrymen, the murderers launched a fishing boat, and put out to sea for Crete. They had finished half their voyage when Zeus sank them with a thunderbolt, as Alcidamas states in his Museum. Eratosthenes, however, says in his Hesiod [26] that Ctimenus and Antiphus, sons of Ganyctor, killed him for the reason already stated, and were sacrificed by Eurycles the seer to the gods of hospitality. [27] He adds that the girl, sister of the above-named, hanged herself after she had been seduced, and that she was seduced by a certain stranger, named Demodes, who was travelling with Hesiod, and who was also killed by the brothers. [28]
Contest of Homer and Heisod 234–235A, 14W
Directed by an oracle, the men of Orchomenus remove his body to their land, and erect a tomb for it. Like Oedipus and Homer, Hesiod is a man of special divine inspiration who cannot interpret a divine oracle correctly; a riddle master who cannot decipher the meaning of a riddling oracle.
Especially noteworthy in this legend is the help of the dolphins, which gives us the theme of animal helper, a hint that the poet is semidivine. [29] Here the animal helps avenge the hero’s death and bring the murderers to justice. In a variant from Plutarch, Hesiod’s dog barks and rushes at the murderers, pointing them out. [30]
The Hesiodic tradition offers a number of variants on the story as found in the Contest. Plutarch adds a suggestive detail: “The girl’s brothers killed him, lying in wait for him [enedreusantes] near the temple of Nemean Zeus in Locris.” [31] This is the same way Androgeos the Cretan died—a guest entitled to the rights of hospitality, he is killed by his hosts lying in ambush; and, as in the case of Aesop, he is killed unjustly, on a false charge. In fact, in Apollodorus’ version of Androgeus’s death, the same verb is used: enedreuō.
The cultic associations of Hesiod’s death are numerous: his death is predicted, and, in fact, caused, by the Delphic oracle; he is killed in or near a temple precinct; his body is discovered by the Locrians during a feast of Ariadne, and given lamentation and burial. [32] He is buried near the same precinct in which he was killed. In one account, Hesiod’s murderers are sacrificed (“to the gods of hospitality”) by a seer. M. P. Nilsson suggests that the narrative of Hesiod’s death “is an aetiological myth for the Locrian ritual, which may have involved mourning and a representation of hanging, like the festival of Ariadne at Crete.” [33]
The familiar theme of plague averted by propitiation of dead hero is found, applied to Hesiod, in Pausanias: “They say that they [the Orchomenians] thus recovered the bones of Hesiod. A pestilence fell on men and beasts, so that they sent envoys to the god. To these, it is said, the Pythian priestess made answer that to bring the bones of Hesiod from the land of Naupactus to the land of Orchomenus was their one and only remedy [iama].” [34] The theme of the transferral of bones to avert disaster is commonly associated with heroes and hero cult. [35] According to a Hellenistic epigram, nymphs wash his body, build his tomb, and goatherds pour libations of milk and honey on it. [36] Clay contrasts the limited status of Hesiod’s cult at Orchomenus [37] with Homer’s panhellenic honors, but Homer is extraordinary; typically, hero cult is limited to one or a few locations, often the grave of the hero. [38] There was also a statue of Hesiod at the grove of the Muses at Helicon. Claude Calame argues that the place of Hesiod’s poetic consecration was also a focus for the poet’s heroization, which would neatly parallel Clay’s suggestions that the Archilocheion was localized near the place of Archilochus’ consecration. [39]
Finally, as in the case of Androgeus and Aesop, we have the theme of double birth, two lives, applied to Hesiod, attested by Pindar and Aristotle. Tzetzes states that one of the epigraphs on Hesiod’s tomb in Orchomenus, attributed to Pindar, was “Hail, you who have twice been a youth, and who have twice met with a tomb, / Hesiod, you who possess the (highest) measure of wisdom among men.” [40] Interpretation of this theme is extremely varied, ranging from simple tomb transfer to reincarnation to mythical rejuvenation and resurrection. [41] Through this theme, Ruth Scodel links Hesiod with other typical Greek shamanistic wonder workers. For this study, it suffices to note the parallel with Androgeus and Aesop, and the mythical resonance of the theme, whatever its exact interpretation.
Thus Hesiod is the best poet; victorious over Homer in bardic agōn; sacred; and he receives divine consecration in his poetic mission. He is also a blame poet, and uses animal fables for blame, criticizing political leaders through them; exile is a theme in his poetry; and his family was once exiled. He dies far from home, after receiving hospitality from a friend, and is unjustly murdered by his hosts (his murderers are later punished under the auspices of the “gods of hospitality”). This theme links him to the murder of Androgeus, the aition for the Attic pharmakos, as both men are killed by ambush. Hesiod is killed at a temple, which turns his death into a sort of sacrifice. His death has been “arranged” by Apollo (the Delphic oracle), who also arranges his hero cult; thus we have the divine persecutorpatron. Familiar hero cult themes surround the recovery of the poet’s body: lamentation, transferral of bones, in addition to the familiar plague and oracle consultation. He finally, like Aesop, receives some kind of second life.
A numerical listing of the themes in Hesiod’s vita includes:
[[Insert chart form of list here]]This is an impressive dossier. Hesiod adds themes to the list: 23c, animal helper (related to sacrality of poet); 12a, death at a cultic place (though compare Aesop at Delphi); 13b, bones transfer.
There are many continuities with Aesop—animal fable used for blame, death far from home caused by those who should have given him hospitality; execution because of a falsely imputed crime. However, Hesiod differs on an important point. Aesop suffered a legal execution, with imprisonment and trial engineered by political leaders; Hesiod is killed by stealth, by private individuals. Thus we have parallel, related themes with divergent outcomes. The trial outcome would continue in Plato’s account of Socrates’ death, and gain great influence through Plato’s literary skill; but the Androgeus–Hesiod apolitical outcome is no less related to the theme of the unjust murder of the pharmakos.


[ back ] 1. “Hesiodos ha assunto quasi completamente la forma tradizionale dell’eroe,” 1958:321. Brelich makes no pharmakos association, but the pharmakos is largely absent from Gli Eroi Greci. For the heroization of Hesiod, see also Nagy 1982; Beaulieu 2004.
[ back ] 2. Contest of Homer and Hesiod 252–253 Allen. τοῦ πλεῖστον ἐν ἀνθρώποις κλέος ἐστὶν / ἀνδρῶν κρινομένων ἐν βασάνῳ σοφίης.
[ back ] 3. Contest of Homer and Hesiod 213–214 Allen. Ἡσίοδος Μούσαις Ἑλικωνίσι τόνδ’ ἀνέθηκεν / ὕμνῳ νικήσας ἐν Χαλκίδι θεῖον Ὅμηρον.
[ back ] 4. Contest of Homer and Hesiod, 13 Wil. / 213–214 Allen. Texts of the Contest of Hesiod and Homer can be found in Allen 1919:225–238 and von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1916. Again, translations in this chapter are quoted, with adaptations, from Evelyn-White 1967:565–598 unless otherwise noted. See also a text and translation by M. L. West, 2003:318–353. Cf. Schadewaldt 1959a; Weiler 1974:118–119; West 1967; Heldmann 1982, with further bibliography, pp. 94–104; Richardson 1981; Kakridis 1983; M. Griffith 1990:192; Collins 2004:177, 184–191; Ford 2002:274–277. For the contest more generally, see Weiler 1974; Brelich 1961; Nagy 2002:37; Collins 2004. There is continued discussion on the antiquity of different parts of the Contest, a Hellenistic document using archaic traditions. A version of the Contest dates to Alcidamas (fourth century BC) at least. For Alcidamas, see O’Sullivan 1992; Clay 2004:75. The most important element of the Contest for the purposes of this study, Hesiod’s murder, is attested as early as Thucydides 3.96.1 and Aristotle fr. 565 (Rose). For the contest theme, cf. “Hesiod” fr. 357 M-W; Plutarch The Dinner of the Seven Wise Men 153f. Richardson (1981:1) dates the story to at least the sixth century BC. On the riddle contest theme, cf. Hesiod’s Melampodia, fr. 270–279, M-W; the battle of seer Calchas and Mopsus, see ch. 16; the contest of epic poets Lesches and Arctinus (Phaenias, fr. 33 Wehrli); Aesop as riddle warrior, in ch. 2. In Plutarch, a riddle, not poetry, decides the contest, cf. West 1967:438–439. It seems likely that this was the earliest version of the story, see Richardson 1981:2.
[ back ] 5. This skēptron relates Hesiod the poet to kings (Iliad I 279), priests (Iliad I 15, 28), prophets (Odyssey xi 90), heralds (Iliad VII 277), speakers in assemblies (Iliad III 218). Nagy suggests that the rod gives Hesiod primacy among poets (1990:52). See Fisher 1997 for the Indo-European dimensions of the staff. The Greek skēptron is usually a “badge of authority,” a long, wooden staff. The related Indo-European staff is an emblem of royal, judicial, priestly, and prophetic authority.
[ back ] 6. My trans. For an introduction to the literature on this passage, see West 1966:151, 158–161; he includes a typology of the poetic consecration experience, 159–160. See also Kambylis 1965:31–68; Falter 1934:12–17; Walcot 1957; Latte 1946; Müller 1985:102–104; Williams 1971; Choite and Latacz 1981:85–95; Pascal 1985; Calame 1996:51–56. For Hesiod’s consecration as a dream, see Kambylis 1965:55–59; cf. Falter 1934:79–88; Müller 1985:102–103.
[ back ] 7. Trans. Jones, adapted, οἱ δὲ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι λέγουσι καὶ ὡς μαντικὴν Ἡσίοδος διδαχθείη παρὰ Ἀκαρνάνων· καὶ ἔστιν ἔπη Μαντικά, ὁπόσα τε ἐπελεξάμεθα καὶ ἡμεῖς, καὶ ἐξηγήσεις ἐπὶ τέρασιν. See Delgado 1986. For the Acarnanian mantic tradition, Apollodοrus 3.7.6; Herodotus 1.62.4 (cf. How and Wells 1928 ad loc.); 7.221; Huxley 1969:54; Löffler 1963.
[ back ] 8. Cf. Iliad I 70 (the seer Calchas); West 1966, at line 32; Van Unnik 1962:86–94; ch. 11 (Tyrtaeus); ch. 17 (knowledge and poetic agōn); ch. 19 (Odin’s knowledge and kingship). For the connection of knowledge with poetry and prophecy, see Chadwick 1952:2–3; Dodds 1951:100n118. For the connection of poetry and prophecy generally, see Chadwick 1952; Durante 1971–1974 2:167–169; Kugel 1990 (including Semitic examples, and literary Nachleben); ch. 17, below, section 2, on Irish poets, and ch. 19, Germanic traditions. It is also worth noting that Hesiod had mantic ancestry: he is a grandson of Apollo (Contest 46A; 4W) on his father’s side and mother’s side; he is also a descendant of Orpheus (Hellanicus FGH 4 F 5). In Hesiod’s view, the poet is therapōn of the Muses, Theogony 99–101; Nagy 1990:48. Cf. Brelich 1958:321; Lefkowitz 1981:7.
[ back ] 9. Cf., in West’s typology, #4: “The god who appears (or the prophet inspired by him) addresses mankind in strongly derogatory terms,” (1966:160). See also Svenbro 1976:50–59 for a treatment of “belly” as diction of blame. Cf. Tucker 1987; Katz and Volk 2000 (unconvincing). See above, ch. 2, for Aesop’s belly.
[ back ] 10. As Rankin (1977:52n44) notes, Hesiod repeatedly attacked unjust judges: Works and Days 39, 221, 264. See also Hunt 1981; Nagy 1979:312–314. Both Nagy and Hunt note that the blame poet’s themes are reflexes of the mythology of strife, see Hunt, esp. 32. For Hesiod’s blame directed against women, see Marquardt 1982; Arrighetti 1981.
[ back ] 11. This name may be related to Hecate, whom Hesiod (and his father) apparently worshipped, Theogony 411–452, cf. Theogony 377, 409–411, Works and Days 10; West 1966:278; Burkert 1983:210. Hunt would like to link it to perthō/portheō (‘ravage’, ‘waste’, ‘destroy’), as a descriptive name, a traditional element of blame (1981:33).
[ back ] 12. Hunt 1981:34. Perses is a mega nēpios (633, 286), “great fool.”
[ back ] 13. ἤδη μὲν γὰρ κλῆρον ἐδασσάμεθ’, ἄλλα τε πολλὰ / ἁρπάζων ἐφόρεις μέγα κυδαίνων βασιλῆας / δωροφάγους, οἳ τήνδε δίκην ἐθέλουσι δίκασσαι. Hunt discusses the theme, so important for blame poetry, of strife arising from improper division, 1981:32.
[ back ] 14. Hunt 1981:31–32.
[ back ] 15. Cf. Hunt 1981:36; Nagy 1979:312314.
[ back ] 16. See above, ch. 3. Cf. Diogenes Laertius 2.46 (Socrates), “Hesiod was criticized in his lifetime by Cercops” (ἐφιλονείκει …καὶ Κέρκωψ Ἡσιόδῳ ζῶντι …).
[ back ] 17. See also Tzetzes Vita, p. 2 Solmsen; p. 47W; this derives, through Tzetzes, from Proclus, who used Plutarch; see West 1978:68.
[ back ] 18. Trans. Evelyn-White, modified. Another tradition has Hesiod’s father leave Kyme because he had killed a relative, see Ephorus, FGH 70 F 100.
[ back ] 19. Plutarch On Exile 12 (604c), quoted in fr. 21W.
[ back ] 20. Cf. Lefkowitz 1981:1 for further references.
[ back ] 21. For the theme of helplessness and poverty in archaic Greece, see Martin 1983:57-59 and passim.
[ back ] 22. Cf. Lefkowitz 1981:8: “Pausanias too [as well as Plutarch] devotes twice as much space to Hesiod’s death as to his life and works.”
[ back ] 23. Thucydides 3.96.1, my trans., αὐλισάμενος δὲ τῷ στρατῷ ἐν τοῦ Διὸς τοῦ Νεμείου τῷ ἱερῷ, ἐν ᾧ Ἡσίοδος ὁ ποιητὴς λέγεται ὑπὸ τῶν ταύτῃ ἀποθανεῖν, χρησθὲν αὐτῷ ἐν Νεμέᾳ τοῦτο παθεῖν, ἅμα τῇ ἕῳ ἄρας ἐπορεύετο ἐς τὴν Αἰτωλίαν.
[ back ] 24. A mistake by the compiler; this is not eastern Locris, but Ozolian Locris, see Thucydides 3.95.3 (who calls the town Oineon) and West 2003:343.
[ back ] 25. Who, according to one tradition, hanged herself: Plutarch Theseus 20.1; cf. Burkert 1983:64n26.
[ back ] 26. A conjecture by Göttling.
[ back ] 27. The “gods of hospitality” are otherwise unknown; Lefkowitz 1981:6, suggests that they may refer to Zeus, the usual protector of hospitality, but the plural is still somewhat puzzling. Cf. the theme of hospitality in the death of Aesop, ch. 2; in the life of Homer the rhapsode, ch. 5; ch. 17, the Vision of MacConglinne.
[ back ] 28. Trans. Evelyn-White, modified. Pausanias 9.31.6 tells us that, according to some, Hesiod actually did seduce the sister of his hosts, but this will be a secondary accretion, despite O’Sullivan’s argument (1992:98–99) that this was the older version of the story. In terms of heroic legend (not purported history), Hesiod as seducer would justify Hesiod’s murderers and give no reason for the divine intervention through dophin and dog that brings the murderers to justice, to say nothing of Zeus striking the murderers dead with a thunderbolt (a detail explicitly from Alcidamas). Cf. Plutarch Dinner of the Seven Sages 19 (162c–d).
[ back ] 29. For the animal helper theme, cf. Beaulieu 2004:106–108, who notes that the animals are the servants of god in this kind of story, who thus “change” the recipient and heroize him. For the cultic resonances of the dolphin, Burkert 1983:196–204; Lefkowitz 1981:7n22. See below, ch. 7, the lives of Ibycus and Arion. Cf. Somville 1984; Fontenrose 1978:73.
[ back ] 30. Plutarch On the Intelligence of Animals 13 (969e), 36 (984d); Pollux Onomasticon 5.42.
[ back ] 31. Plutarch Dinner of the Seven Sages 19 (162d), trans. Babbitt, modified, ἀπέκτειναν γὰρ αὐτὸν οἱ τῆς παιδίσκης ἀδελφοὶ περὶ τὸ Λοκρικὸν Νέμειον ἐνεδρεύσαντες. Thucydides 3.96.1 places the poet’s murder in the precinct/temple [en … tōi hierōi] of Nemean Zeus, see above. For the theme of pollution caused by murder on holy ground see Parker 1983:273; 182–185; Rowland 1980:38–72.
[ back ] 32. Plutarch gives a somewhat different story: Hesiod is discovered while the Locrians were celebrating their “Rhian sacrifice and festal gathering [ἡ τῶν Ῥίων καθεστῶσα θυσία καὶ πανήγυρις].” He is buried where he was killed, at the temple of Nemean Zeus (pros tōi Nemeiōi); despite the efforts of the Orchomenians, they never transferred the body. Dinner of the Seven Sages 19 (162d–e).
[ back ] 33. Cf. Nilsson 1906:383–384; Burkert 1983:203–204; Lefkowitz 1981:4. Burkert places Hesiod’s death myth in the sphere of Dionysus (Ariadne, the Dolphins) and Poseidon (Pausanias 10.11.6 has the festival of the Locrians dedicated to Poseidon; cf. Burkert 1983:203n37). In the Archilochus vita, see above, ch. 3; the associations of blame poetry and hanging women, especially Iambe and the Lycambids, have been noted.
[ back ] 34. Pausanius 9.38.3, trans. Jones. καταδέξασθαι δέ φασιν οὕτω τοῦ Ἡσιόδου τὰ ὀστᾶ. νόσου καταλαμβανούσης λοιμώδους καὶ ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὰ βοσκήματα ἀποστέλλουσι θεωροὺς παρὰ τὸν θεόν. τούτοις δὲ ἀποκρίνασθαι λέγουσι τὴν Πυθίαν, Ἡσιόδου τὰ ὀστᾶ ἐκ τῆς Ναυπακτίας ἀγαγοῦσιν ἐς τὴν Ὀρχομενίαν, ἄλλο δὲ εἶναί σφισιν οὐδὲν ἴαμα.
[ back ] 35. E.g. Orestes (Pausanias 3.3.6), Theseus (Pausanias 3.3.7), Hector (Pausanias 9.18.5), Pelops (Pausanias 5.13.4–6); further references in Parker 1983:272; Rohde 1925:122; see below, ch. 16, the bones of Linus. Cf. Pfister 1909:230–240; Wallace 1985; Boedeker 1993, on the politics of bone transfer.
[ back ] 36. Alcaeus (of Mytilene or Messene), in Palatine Anthology 7.55; cf. Gabathuler 1937:91–2; Lefkowitz 1981:10 (who refers to the nymphs as Muses).
[ back ] 37. Clay 2004:136, 75. See Thucydides 3.96.1 (murder at cult site); Aristotle fr. 565 (Rose) and Plutarch (Sandbach 1969:182) = ap. Schol. (Proclus) in Hesiod Works and Days 639–640 (bone transferral); Aristotle Constitution of the Orchomenians, fr. 565 Rose (double burial, gēras of a double life); Contest of Homer and Hesiod 236A/14W (lamentation, burial, bone transferral); Plutarch Dinner of the Seven Sages 19 (162e–f) (secret burial near cult site, bone transferral sought); Pausanias 9.38.3 (plague, oracle, bones, plague stayed); cf. Nagy 1990a:50.
[ back ] 38. Ekroth 2002:21.
[ back ] 39. Pausanias 9.30.3. Calame 1996:53; Clay 2004:37.
[ back ] 40. Tzetzes Life of Hesiod p. 51.9–10 Wil., Solmsen et al. 1983:3, my trans., χαῖρε δὶς ἡβήσας καὶ δὶς τάφου ἀντιβολήσας, / Ἡσίοδ’, ἀνθρώποις μέτρον ἔχων σοφίης. Aristotle fr. 565 (Rose). The Suda (at to Hēsiodeion gēras) also attributes the poem to Pindar. Cf. Scholia Bernensia at Virgil Eclogues 6.65; Sarpedon and Tiresias, at Apollodorus 3.1.2; 3.6.7, Frazer 1921 1.364–365n. See discussions by Beaulieu 2004:114–115; Scodel 1980:301–320; Brelich 1958:321; MacKay 1959. See above, chs. 1, 2, on Androgeus’ and Aesop’s resurrection; below, ch. 16, on Epimenides.
[ back ] 41. See Scodel 1980, passim.