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Theogony | Quotes


The Muses once taught Hesiod to sing / Sweet Songs.


Hesiod, the speaker, identifies himself as a poet who has been given the ability to sing or create poetry as a divine gift.


Chaos was first of all, but next appeared / Broad-bosomed Earth.


The female deity Gaia (Earth) appears first, before Ouranos (Heaven) and the other gods. So before any male deities, there is an Earth mother.


As soon as each was born, Ouranos hid / the child in a secret hiding-place in Earth.


Ouranos hid the hundred-handed monsters and the Cyclopes in Gaia, causing her great grief. She seems unable to free her children even though they are in her body.


If you will do as I ask, we shall repay / Your father's wicked crime.


Gaia (Earth) asks her children, the Titans, to seek revenge on their father, Ouranos. Kronos steps up to do the deed.


White foam surrounded the immortal flesh, / And in it grew a girl.


The severed genitals of Ouranos floating on the sea ultimately become the goddess Aphrodite, who is appropriately goddess of sexual desire.


Whichever of the gods should fight / With him against the Titans would not lose / His honors, but would keep the rights he had.


Zeus promises to honor any of the older generation of gods who take his side against the Titans. Styx is the first to do this.


To the great lord, the son of Heaven, the past / King of the gods, she handed, solemnly, / All wrapped in swaddling-clothes, a giant stone.


Gaia tricks Kronos by giving him a stone to swallow instead of the baby Zeus. When Zeus grows up and Kronos vomits up the stone, Zeus places the stone at Delphi, the site of the famous oracle.


They remembered gratitude / And gave him thunder and the blazing bolt / And lightning.


The Cyclopes, grateful to Zeus for freeing them, give him the thunder and lightning, which become his primary weapons.


Clever Prometheus was bound by Zeus / In cruel chains, unbreakable, chained round / A pillar, and Zeus roused and set on him / An eagle.


Prometheus, for tricking Zeus into accepting the fat and bones of men's sacrifices, is punished by having his liver eaten out day after day. This finally ends when Heracles frees him.


From her comes all the race of womankind, / The deadly female and tribe of wives / Who live with mortal men and bring them harm.


Pandora, the first mortal woman, was given as a punishment to men. The notion that all evil proceeds from women is a hallmark of patriarchal mythology. Notably, this mirrors the Genesis story, in which Eve is responsible for Adam's downfall.


She told them everything: the gods would gain / Glorious pride and victory, with the help / Of those whom they had saved.


Gaia, who several times in this poem predicts the future, tells the Olympian gods they will succeed against the Titans with the help of the hundred-handed monsters whom Zeus had freed.


From his mighty hand / The bolts kept flying, bringing thunder-claps / And lightning-flashes, while the holy flame / Rolled thickly all around.


Zeus fights the Titans with the thunderbolt given him by the Cyclopes. His use of them shows that he has harnessed nature's power.


There, in the misty dark, the Titan gods / Are hidden, in a moldering place, lowest / And last of giant Earth, by the will of Zeus.


After the war, the Titans are sent down to Tartarus, where they are imprisoned.


For if one of the gods swears an oath / And makes libation falsely, he must lie / Unbreathing, for the period of a year.


To swear on the River Styx, named after the goddess who joined Zeus's cause, is to swear an unbreakable oath. To swear falsely on this water brings about a terrible punishment. Such sworn oaths become a complication in a number of Greek myths.

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