Who is Hesiod?

Who is Hesiod?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

B.C. Hesiod, who lived around 700 BC, was the son of a farmer’s family from northern Greece.

A few parts of his work named “Theogony” have remained from him. In this work, Hesiod repeats the question posed in the ancient Vedic scriptures: What was there when the gods did not exist? What is the origin of the gods? According to Hesiod, there is chaos at the beginning of everything. This is joined by Eros, the symbol of creative power, and Gaia, symbolizing the earth. These first forces, which Hesiod placed at the beginning of all things, are both concrete and abstract.

By accepting entities that were neither fully concrete nor fully abstract at the beginning of the universe, but mediating between these two, Hesiod moves away from the view that Gods are only concretely adopted, and adopts the way of understanding them as concepts. There are others like Hesiod who think like this. We will not consider them and will only talk about thinkers whom Aristotle called “physicists”. Physicists start from direct observation and empirical events, not from myths and problems, with the origin of the Gods and their existence. “Theogony”, the sanction name of Hesiod, means the emergence of the gods. The works of physicists are called “On Nature”. Although theologians have investigated the root of the Gods; Physicists investigate where nature comes from, what is the root of nature, and ask questions about them. What they call nature is nature, which is the world of seas, lands, plants, animals and humans that we all know.

According to Hesiod, people led a simple and monotonous life in their golden age, but nevertheless they were very happy. In this period of bliss there was not yet conflict and war. There was no pressure from people on others. This period is a golden period when complete silence reigns among people and the blessings of nature are easily used. According to Hesiod, this initial period is literally a period of peace and tranquility.

Democrit, on the other hand, believes that this first period was a period of distress and despair. According to Hesiod, the most dangerous invention and invention of man, money, that is, the emergence of wealth, caused people to be divided into two classes as strong and weak. The golden period has ended and the iron period, that is, the period of strife and strife, has begun.

After that, a conflict began between people for money, wealth and power. Thus, there was a period of oppression and coercion, in which there was no justice. But over time, a desire to return to the original state and to experience that happy period arose again. Humanity has always carried the passion of being able to return to the first happy period by getting rid of the bad conditions it is now living in.

This view of Hesiod conflicts with Democrit’s view of development. According to Democrit, human history is a continuous development. In the course of his history, man has attained a better life by constantly moving away from the original animal life.

According to Hesiod, this history is the movement of a continuous return. In other words, history follows a path starting from the golden period and returning to the golden period after passing through the iron period. Empedocles portrays this golden period in a very bright and dreamy way: In this period, there was no enmity even between humans and animals, nature was abundantly offering its blessings to living things.

Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Introduction to Sociology” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Other Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM), Lecture Notes of Ernst von Aster