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Theogony  By  cover art

Theogony

By: Hesiod,Hugh G. Evelyn-White
Narrated by: Victor Craig
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Publisher's Summary

Hesiod's Theogony is a large-scale synthesis of a vast variety of local Greek traditions concerning the gods, organized as a narrative that tells how they came to be and how they established permanent control over the cosmos. It is the first Greek mythical cosmogony. 

The initial state of the universe is chaos - a dark, indefinite void considered a divine primordial condition from which everything else appeared. Theogonies are a part of Greek mythology which embodies the desire to articulate reality as a whole; this universalizing impulse was fundamental for the first later projects of speculative theorizing.

In many cultures, narratives about the origin of the cosmos and about the gods that shaped it are a way for society to reaffirm its native cultural traditions. Specifically, theogonies tend to affirm kingship as the natural embodiment of society. What makes the Theogony of Hesiod unique is that it affirms no historical royal line. Such a gesture would have sited the Theogony in one time and place. Rather, the Theogony affirms the kingship of the god Zeus over all the other gods and over the whole Cosmos.

Further, in the "Kings and Singers" passage (80–103), Hesiod appropriates to himself the authority usually reserved to sacred kingship. The poet declares that it is he, where we might have expected some king instead, upon whom the muses have bestowed the two gifts of a scepter and an authoritative voice (Hesiod, Theogony 30-3), which are the visible signs of kingship. It is not that this gesture is meant to make Hesiod a king. Rather, the point is that the authority of kingship now belongs to the poetic voice - the voice that is declaiming the Theogony.

Public Domain (P)2020 Yashiki Audio

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  • ZA
  • 02-12-22

Where Greek Mythology Begins...

This is a fascinating dive into the birth of the gods.

Hesiod is no Homer, but of course you can't leave him behind because his work is foundational to Ancient Greek literature. In fact, I found myself pleasantly enriched and engrossed.

I was taken in by the hypnotic performance of the narrator, so much so that I looked up and bought other works narrated by him.

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  • me,myself,andI
  • 08-30-20

Loved it!

A very satisfying listen. Narration was perfect for this style of writing. Hesiod places the Gods, giving us a family tree that is fairly easy to follow.
He links the Gods to their stories, but in few words as his audience would have already known the tales to which he alludes.
Having a certain amount of knowledge regarding the Gods and Heroes of ancient Greece Is essential to get the most from this book, but not necessary if you are only after a brief overview.
Will listen to this again.