Hesiod Transformed, Parodied, and Assaulted

Helen van Noorden

in The Oxford Handbook of Hesiod

Published in print September 2018 | ISBN: 9780190209032
Published online August 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190209056 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Hesiod Transformed, Parodied, and Assaulted

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  • Classical Reception


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This chapter covers pagan and early Christian authors of the period 50–250 ce, known as the “second sophistic.” The first section focuses on the Certamen, Athenaeus and Plutarch, considering their revisions of Hesiodic wisdom and the contemporary forms of scholarship on his poems. The second section uses Lucian to showcase “Hesiod parodied” before discussing Aelian, Babrius, and the Sibylline Oracles. Points treated include the cross-referencing of Hesiodic poems and the dominance of certain Hesiodic passages, such as Hesiod’s initiation by the Muses, the “Two Roads,” and the “Myth of the Races,” in appropriations of Hesiod for new (especially rhetorical) projects. Finally, “Hesiod assaulted” is discussed in view of the Christian apologists, in particular Clement of Alexandria and Theophilus, who attacked Hesiod’s inconsistency and immorality but, like Lucian, co-opted aspects of his narratives into their own.

Keywords: Certamen; Athenaeus; Plutarch; Lucian; Sibylline Oracles; Clement of Alexandria; Theophilus; Muses; Two Roads; Myth of the Races

Article.  8164 words. 

Subjects: Classical Poetry ; Classical Reception

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