on May 19, 2009
I'm dumbfounded as to why no one has reviewed this amazing edition of Hesiod by Frazer!
This translation preserves the greatness of Hesiod's masterpieces, without using an idiom that is outdated. The readability is easy and the font use, quite nice. There are a number of plates included, and very useful summaries of all the episodes in both works.
As in Homer I always think it essential that one have at least 2 different translations. With Hesiod, his best translators in English are: Lombardo, Evelyn-White and Frazer!
Second only to Homer among the Greek poets, Hesiod still brings to life the Greek mythos and traditions nearly 3000 years later. This book contains both the Theogony and Works and Days - the only two surviving works by Hesiod.
Theogony is the epic poem of the creation, Greek mythology style. Beginning with Chaos, and taking us through the advent of the Gods and man, Hesiod weaves a tale that is familiar to anyone with a background in Greek mythology. Expertly commented and expanded on by R.M. Frazer, the battles and the beasts are vividly described, and lived by the reader. Frazer does an expert job in pointing out the parallels between the Judeo-Christian and the Greek creation myths and also provides color around other (particularly Phoenician and Babylonian) traditions as well.
The second poem - Works and Days - is best described as a combination of the descent of man from a godlike creature (the golden age) to the present Iron Age man, and the need for man to now work to sustain him. In this sense, Frazer points out and discusses the obvious parallels with the Genesis myth. Following that, Hesiod describes customs, traditions and methods for fulfilling that call to work - including when to plant and reap, when to marry, and the like. In a similar vein, Frazier identifies the parallels with Proverbs and the Psalter in the tradition of socio-religious poetry.
A great exploration of Hesiod, with an expert guide in R.M. Frazer. A good resource for anyone interested in getting familiar with and learning about Greek mythology, poetry and history.