Monday, June 8, 2009

Introducing Works and Days

This post is one in a series on the Epistemology and Worldview Throughout History.  Previously in this series: Night, Day, and Induction.

After receiving magical poetic powers from the Muses, Hesiod sailed to Euboea to compete in the funeral games of a local big shot.  This is likely where he first performed the Theogony.  He won first prize (a golden tripod), and introduced to the Greek world a work of literature that would become canonical.

Shortly after that, Hesiod gets sued by his brother Perses for a larger share of their inheritance from their father.  Perses wins the case, according to Hesiod, by bribing the judges.  Hesiod responded by writing a poem which denounces Perses and the judges, and tries to teach the feckless brother how to make an honest living.  Through the course of this lecture, Hesiod waxes poetic on the history of mankind, household management, and bronze age agronomy.  This poem also becomes canonical in the Greek world, and it has come down to us with the title Works and Days.

Next in this series: Inductive Practical Astronomy.

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