Or, Birth of the Gods, By Hesiod (c. 700 BCE)

translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (1914)

(HTML, textural corrections and additions by Barry F. Vaughan)


1 From the Helikonian Muses let us begin to sing,
who hold the great and holy mount of Helicon,
and dance on soft feet about the deep-blue spring
and the altar of the almighty son of Kronos,
5 and when they have washed their tender bodies in Permessus
or in Hippokrene (the Horse’s Spring), or Olmeios,
make their fair, lovely dances upon highest Helikon
and move with vigorous feet.
10 Thence they arise and go abroad by night, veiled in thick mist,
and utter their song with lovely voice,
praising Zeus, the aegis-holder and queenly Hera of Argos who walks on golden sandals,
and the daughter of Zeus the aegis-holder bright-eyed Athene,
and Phoibos (the shining one) Apollo, and Artemis who delights in arrows,
15 and Poseidon the earth-holder who shakes the earth,
and reverend Themis and quick-glancing Aphrodite,1
and Hebe with the crown of gold, and fair Dione, Leto, Iapetos,
and Kronos the crafty counsellor,
Eos and great Helios and bright Selene,
20 Gaia too, and great Okeanos, and dark Nyx,
and the holy race of all the immortals that are for ever.

And one day they taught Hesiod glorious song
while he was shepherding his lambs under holy Helikon,
and this word first the goddesses said to me
25 the Muses of Olympos,
daughters of Zeus who holds the aegis:

“Shepherds of the wilderness: wretched things of shame, mere bellies.
We know how to speak many false things as though they were true;
but we know, when we will, to utter true things.”

So said the ready-voiced daughters of great Zeus,
30 and they plucked and gave me a [staff],
a shoot of sturdy laurel, a marvellous thing,
and breathed into me a divine voice to celebrate things that shall be
and things there were aforetime.
They bade me sing of the race of the blessed gods that are [forever],
but ever to sing of themselves both first and last.
35 But why all this about oak or stone?2

Come thou, let us begin with the Muses
who gladden the great spirit of their father Zeus in Olympos with their songs,
telling of things that are and that shall be
and that were aforetime with consenting voice.
Unwearying flows the sweet sound from their lips,
40 and the house of their father Zeus the loud-thunderer
is glad at the lily-like voice of the goddesses as it spread[s] abroad,
and the peaks of snowy Olympos resound,
[along with] the homes of the immortals.
And they, uttering their [undying] voice,
celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from the beginning:
45 those whom Gaia (Earth) and wide Ouranos (Heaven) begot,
and the gods sprung of these, givers of good things.
Then, next, the goddesses sing of Zeus, the father of gods and men,
as they begin and end their strain,
how much he is the most excellent among the gods and supreme in power.
50 And again, they chant the race of men and strong giants,
and gladden the heart of Zeus within Olympos,
the Olympian Muses, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder.


Them (The Muses) in Pieria did Mnemosyne (Memory),
who reigns over the hills of Eleutheria (Liberty),
bear [in] union with the father,
the son of Kronos,
55 a forgetting of ills and a rest from sorrow.
For nine nights did wise Zeus lie with her,
entering her holy bed [away] from the immortals.
And when a year was passed and the seasons came round as the months waned,
and many days were accomplished,
60 she bore nine daughters, all of one mind,
whose hearts are set upon song and their spirit free from care,
a little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympos.
There are their bright dancing-places and beautiful homes,
and beside them the Graces and Himeros (Desire) live in delight.
65 And they, uttering through their lips a lovely voice,
sing the laws of all and the goodly ways of the immortals,
uttering their lovely voice.
Then went they to Olympos, delighting in their sweet voice, with heavenly song,
and the dark earth resounded about them as they chanted.
70 A lovely sound rose up beneath their feet as they went to their father.
And he was reigning in heaven,
himself holding the lightning and glowing thunderbolt,
[after] he had overcome, by might, his father Kronos;
and [had] distributed fairly to the immortals their portions
and declared their privileges.

75 These things, then, the Muses sang who dwell on Olympos,
nine daughters begotten by great Zeus,
Cleio and Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene and Terpsichore,
and Erato and Polyhymnia and Urania
and Kalliope (she of the noble voice),3
who is the chiefest of them all.
80 For she attends on worshipful princes,
whomsoever of heaven-nourished princes the daughters of great Zeus honor,
and behold him at his birth.
They pour sweet dew upon his tongue,
and from his lips flow gracious words.
85 All the people look towards him while he settles causes with true judgements.
And he, speaking surely, would soon make [a] wise end
even of a great quarrel.
Therefore are there princes wise in heart,
because when the people are being misguided in their assembly,
90 they set right the matter again with ease,
persuading them with gentle words.
And when he passes through a gathering,
they greet him as a god
with gentle reverence,
and he is conspicuous amongst the assembled.
Such is the holy gift of the Muses to men.
For it is through the Muses and far-shooting Apollo
95 that there are singers (poets) and harpers upon the earth.
But princes are of Zeus,
and happy is he whom the Muses love:
sweet[ly] flows speech from his mouth.
For though a man have sorrow and grief in his newly-troubled soul
and live in dread because his heart is distressed,
100 yet, when a singer, the servant of the Muses,
chants the glorious deeds of men of old and the blessed gods who inhabit Olympos,
at once he forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all;
but the gifts of the goddesses soon turn him away from these.


Hail, children of Zeus! Grant lovely song.
105 Celebrate the holy race of the deathless gods who are for ever,
those that were born of Gaia and starry Ouranos
and gloomy Nyx,
and them that briny Pontos did rear.
Tell how at the first gods and earth came to be,
and rivers, and the boundless sea with its raging swell,
110 and the gleaming stars, and the wide heaven above,
and the gods who were born of them,
givers of good things.
And tell how they divided their wealth,
and how they shared their honors amongst them,
and also how at the first they took many-folded Olympos.
These things declare to me from the beginning,
ye Muses who dwell in the house of Olympos,
115 and tell me which of them first came to be.


Birth of the Titans -

Verily at the first Kaos (Chaos) came to be,
but next wide-bosomed Gaia (Earth),
the ever-sure foundations of all the deathless ones
who hold the peaks of snowy Olympos,4
and dim Tartaros in the depth of the wide-pathed Gaia,
120 and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods,
who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels
of all gods and all men within them.
From Kaos came forth Erebos, [the shadow, and dark Nyx (Night)];
but of Nyx were born Aether (Bright Sky)5 and Hemera (Day),
125 whom she conceived and bore from union in love with Erebos.
And Gaia first bore starry Ouranos (Heaven),
equal to herself, to cover her on every side,
and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods.
And she brought forth long Hills,
graceful haunts of the goddess-Nymphs
130 who dwell amongst the glens of the hills.
She bore also the fruitless deep with his raging swell, Pontos (Sea),
without sweet union of love.
But afterwards she lay with Ouranos and bore deep-swirling Okeanos (Ocean),
Koios and Krios and Hyperion and Iapetos,
135 Theia and Rheia, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe
and lovely Tethys.
After them was born Kronos (Time) the wily,
youngest and most terrible of her children,
and he hated his lusty sire.

And again, she bore the Kyklopes (Cyclopes), overbearing in spirit,
140 Brontes (Thunder), and Steropes (Lightening) and stubborn-hearted Arges (Brightner),
who gave Zeus the thunder and made the thunderbolt.
In all else they were like the gods,
but one eye only was set in the midst of their fore-heads.
And they were surnamed Kyklopes (Orb-eyed)
145 because one orbed eye was set in their foreheads.
Strength and might and craft were in their works.

And again, three other sons were born of Gaia and Ouranos,
great and [strong] beyond telling,
Kottos (Striker) and Briareos (Vigorous) and Gy[g]es (Big-Limbed), presumptuous children.
150 From their shoulders sprang one hundred arms,
not to be approached,
and each had fifty heads upon his shoulders on their strong limbs,
and irresistible was the stubborn strength that was in their great forms.
For of all the children that were born of Gaia and Ouranos,
155 these were the most terrible,
and they were hated by their own father from the first.

The Crimes of Ouranos -
And he used to hide them all away in a secret place of Gaia
as soon as each was born,
and would not suffer them to come up into the light.
And Ouranos rejoiced in his evil doing.
160 But vast Gaia groaned within,
being [pained],
and she made the element of grey flint
and shaped a great sickle,
and told her plan to her dear sons.
And she spoke, cheering them,
while she was vexed in her dear heart:
"My children, [be]gotten of a sinful father,
if you will obey me,
165 we should punish the vile outrage of your father;
for he first thought of doing shameful things."
So she said; but fear seized them all,
and none of them uttered a word.
But great Kronos, the wily,
took courage and answered his dear mother:
170 "Mother, I will undertake to do this deed,
for I reverence not our father of evil name,
for he first thought of doing shameful things."
So he said: and vast Gaia rejoiced greatly in spirit,
and set and hid him in an ambush,
175 and put in his hands a jagged sickle,
and revealed to him the whole plot.
And Ouranos came,
bringing on night and longing for love,
and he lay about Gaia spreading himself full upon her.6
Then the son from his ambush
stretched forth his left hand
180 and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth,
and swiftly lopped off his own father’s members
and cast them away to fall behind him.
And not vainly did they fall from his hand;
for all the bloody drops that gushed forth Gaia received,
and as the seasons moved round
185 she bore the strong Erinyes (The Furies)
and the great Giants with gleaming armour,
holding long spears in their hands,
and the Nymphs whom they call Meliae7
all over the boundless earth.
And so soon as he had cut off the members with flint
and cast them from the land into the surging sea,
190 they were swept away over the main a long time.
The Birth of Aphrodite -
A white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh,
and in it there grew a maiden.
First she drew near holy Kythera, and from there, afterwards,
she came to sea-girt Kypros (Cyprus).
[She] came forth an awful and lovely goddess,
195 and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet.
Her [the] gods and men call Aphrodite (Risen from the Foam),
and rich-crowned Kytherea, because she reached Kythera,
and Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros,
200 and Philommedes8 because sprang from the members.
And with her went Eros (Love),
and comely Desire followed her at her birth [from] the first
and as she went into the assembly of the gods.
This honor she has from the beginning,
and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods,
205 the whisperings of maidens,
and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness.

But these sons whom he begot himself,
great Ouranos called ‘Titans’ (Strainers) in reproach,
for he said that they strained
210 and did presumptuously a fearful deed,
and that vengeance for it would come afterwards.

And Nyx (Night) bore hateful Moros (Doom)
and black Ker (violent death) and Thanatos (Death),
and she bore Hypnos (Sleep) and the tribe of Oneiroi (Dreams).
And again the goddess murky Nyx, though she lay with none,
bore Momos (Blame) and painful Oizys (Woe),
215 and the Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples
and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Okeanos.
Also she bore the Moirai (Fates)
and ruthless avenging Keres (Fates of Death):
Klotho (the Spinner) and Lachesis (Disposer of Lots) and Atropos (She who cannot be turned),9
who give men at their birth both evil and good to have.
220 And they pursue the transgressions of men and of gods.
These goddesses never cease from their dread anger
until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty.
Also deadly Night bore Nemesis (Indignation/Envy)
to afflict mortal men,
and after her, Apate (Deceit) and Philotes (Friendship)
225 and hateful Geras (Old Age) and hard-hearted Eris (Strife).
But abhorred Strife bore painful Toil and Forgetfulness
and Famine and tearful Sorrows,
Fightings also,
Battles, Murders, Manslaughters, Quarrels, Lying Words, Disputes,
230 and Lawlessness and Ruin, all of one nature.
[Finally] Oath, who most troubles men upon earth,
when anyone wilfully swears a false oath.

And Pontos (Sea) begat Nereus,10
the eldest of his children,
who is true and lies not.
Men call him the Old Man
235 because he is trusty and gentle
and does not forget the laws of righteousness,
but thinks just and kindly thoughts.
And yet again he [bore] Thaumas (Wonder) and proud Phorkys,
being mated with Gaia,
and fair-cheeked Keto (sea-beast) and Eurybia
who has a heart of flint within her.

240 To Nereus and rich-haired Doris,
daughter of Okeanos the perfect river,
were born children,11 passing lovely amongst goddesses:
Ploto, Eucrante, Sao, and Amphitrite,
and Eudora, and Thetis, Galene
245 and Glauce, Kymothoe, Speo, Thoe
and lovely Halie, and Pasithea, and Erato,
and rosy-armed Eunice,
and gracious Melite, and Eulimene, and Agaue, Doto, Proto, Pherusa,
and Dynamene, and Nisaea, and Actaea,
250 and Protomedea, Doris, Panopea, and comely Galatea,
and lovely Hippothoe, and rosy-armed Hipponoe,
and Kymodoce
who with Kymatolege12 and Amphitrite
easily calms the waves upon the misty sea
and the blasts of raging winds.
255 And Kymo, and Eione, and rich-crowned Alimede,
and Glauconome, fond of laughter,
and Pontoporea, Leagore, Euagore, and Laomedea,
and Polynoe, and Autonoe, and Lysianassa,
and Euarne, lovely of shape and without blemish of form,
260 and Psamathe of charming figure
and divine Menippe, Neso, Eupompe, Themisto, Pronoe, and Nemertes13
who has the nature of her deathless father.
These fifty daughters sprang from blameless Nereus,
skilled in excellent crafts.

265 Thaumas wedded Elektra
the daughter of deep-flowing Okeanos,
and she bore him swift Iris (the rainbow)
and the long-haired Harpies: Aello (Storm-swift) and Okypetes (Swift-flier)
who on their swift wings
keep pace with the blasts of the winds and the birds,
for quick as time they dart along.

270 And again, Keto bore to Phoreys the fair-cheeked Graiae,
sisters grey from their birth.
Both deathless gods and men who walk on earth
call them Graiae,
Pemphredo well-clad and saffron-robed Enyo,
and the Gorgons (dreadful ones) who dwell beyond glorious Okeanos
275 in the frontier land towards Nyx
where are the clear-voiced Hesperides,
Sthenno, and Euryale and Medusa who suffered a woeful fate.
She was mortal, but the two were undying
and grew not old.
With her lay the Dark-haired One14
in a soft meadow amid spring flowers.
280 And when Perseus cut off her head,
there sprang forth great Krysaor (he with golden armor) and the horse Pegasos
who is so called because he was born near the springs (pegai) of Okeanos;
and that other,
because he held a golden blade (aor) in his hands.
Now Pegasos flew away and left the earth,
the mother of flocks,
285 and came to the deathless gods:
and he dwells in the house of Zeus
and brings to wise Zeus the thunder and lightning.
But Krysaor was joined in love to Kallirrhoe,
the daughter of glorious Okeanos,
and begot three-headed Geryones.
Him mighty Heracles slew
290 in sea-girt Erythea by his shambling oxen
on that day when he drove the wide-browed oxen to holy Tiryns,
and had crossed the ford of Okeanos
and killed Orthos and Eurytion the herdsman
in the dim stead out beyond glorious Okeanos.

And in a hollow cave she bore another monster, irresistible,
in no wise like either to mortal men or to the undying gods,
even the goddess fierce Echidna
who is half a nymph with glancing eyes and fair cheeks,
and half again a huge snake, great and awful,
300 with speckled skin, eating raw flesh
beneath the secret parts of the holy earth.
And there she has a cave
deep down under a hollow rock
far from the deathless gods and mortal men.
There, then, did the gods appoint her a glorious house to dwell in:
and she keeps guard in Arima beneath the earth,
grim Echidna,
305 a nymph who dies not
nor grows old all her days.

Men say that Typhaon the terrible,
outrageous and lawless, was joined in love to her,
the maid with glancing eyes.
So she conceived and brought forth fierce offspring.
First she bore Orthos the hound of Geryones,
310 and then again she bore a second,
a monster not to be overcome and that may not be described:
Kerberus who eats raw flesh,
the [bronze]-voiced hound of Hades,
fifty-headed, relentless and strong.
Again she bore a third,
the evil-minded Hydra of Lerna,
whom the goddess, white-armed Hera, nourished
315 being angry beyond measure with the mighty Heracles.
And her, Heracles the son of Zeus,
of the house of Amphitryon, together with warlike Iolaus,
destroyed with the unpitying sword through the plans of
Athene the spoil-driver.
She was the mother of Kimaera who breathed raging fire,
320 a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong,
who had three heads:
one of a grim-eyed lion,
in her hinderpart a dragon,
and in her middle, a goat;
breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire.
325 Her did Pegasos and noble Bellerophon slay.
But Echidna was subject in love to Orthos
and brought forth the deadly Sphinx
which destroyed the Cadmeans,
and the Nemean lion, which Hera, the good wife of Zeus,
brought up and made to haunt the hills of Nemea,
a plague to men.
330 There he preyed upon the tribes of her own people
and had power over Tretos of Nemea and Apesas.
Yet the strength of stout Heracles overcame him.

And Keto was joined in love to Phorcys
and bore her youngest,
the awful snake who guards the apples all of gold
335 in the secret places of the dark earth at its great bounds.
This is the offspring of Keto and Phoreys.

Birth of the Rivers and Nymphs -
Tethys bore to Okeanos eddying rivers,
Neilos (the Nile), and Alpheios,
and deep-swirling Eridanos, Strymon, and Maiandros,
and the fair stream of Istros,
340 and Phasis, and Rhesos, and the silver eddies of Akeloios,
Nessos, and Rhodios, Haliakmon, and Heptaporos, Granikos, and Aisepos,
and holy Simoeis, and Peneios, and Hermos,
and Kaikos fair stream,
345 and great Sangarios, Ladon, Parthenios, Euenos, Ardeskos,
and divine Skamandros.

Also she brought forth a holy company of daughters15
who with the lord Apollo and the Rivers
have youths in their keeping,
this is the charge Zeus appointed them.
Peitho, and Admete, and Ianthe, and Elektra,
350 Doris, and Prymno, and Urania divine in form,
Hippo, Klymene, Rhodea, and Kallirrhoe,
Zeuxo and Klytie, and Idyia, and Pasithoe,
Plexaura, and Galaxaura,
and lovely Dione,
Melobosis and Thoe and handsome Polydora,
355 Kerkeis lovely of form,
and soft eyed Plouto,
Perseis, Ianeira, Akaste, Xanthe, Petraea the fair,
Menestho, and Europa, Metis, and Eurynome,
and Telesto saffron-clad,
Khryseis and Asia and charming Kalypso,
360 Eudora, and Tyke, Amphirho, and Okyroe,
and Styx who is the chiefest of them all.
These are the eldest daughters
that sprang from Okeanos and Tethys;
but there are many besides.
For there are three thousand neat-ankled daughters of Okeanos
365 who are dispersed far and wide,
and in every place alike serve the earth and the deep waters,
children who are glorious among goddesses.
And as many other rivers are there,
babbling as they flow,
sons of Okeanos,
whom queenly Tethys bore,
but [all] their names it is hard for a mortal man to tell,
370 but people know those
by which they severally dwell.

Birth of the Heavenly Bodies -
And Theia was subject in love to Hyperion (the high one)
and bore great Helios (Sun)
and clear Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn)
who shines upon all that are on earth
and upon the deathless Gods who live in the wide heaven.
375 And Eurybia, bright goddess,
was joined in love to Kreios
and bore great Astraios (Dusk), and Pallas, and Perses
who also was eminent among all men in wisdom.
And Eos bore to Astraios the strong-hearted winds,
380 brightening Zephyros (the West Wind),
and Boreas (the North Wind) headlong in his course,
and Notos (the South Wind), a goddess mating in love with a god.
And after these Eos16 bore the star Eosphoros (Dawn-bringer),
and the gleaming stars with which heaven is crowned.

And Styx the daughter of Okeanos was joined to Pallas
and bore Zelos (Zeal)
and trim-ankled Nike (Victory) in the house.
385 Also she brought forth Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force),
wonderful children.
These have no house apart from Zeus,
nor any dwelling nor path except that wherein God leads them,
but they dwell always with Zeus the loud-thunderer.
For so did Styx
the deathless daughter of Okeanos
390 plan on that day when the Olympian Thunderer
called all the deathless gods to great Olympos,
and said that whosoever of the gods would fight with him against the Titans,
he would not cast him out from his rights,
but each should have the office which he had before amongst the deathless gods.
And he declared that he who was without office and rights as is just.
So deathless Styx came first to Olympos with her children
through the wit of her dear father.
And Zeus honored her,
and gave her very great gifts,
400 for her he appointed to be the great oath of the gods,
and her children to live with him always.
And as he promised,
so he performed fully unto them all.
But he himself mightily reigns and rules.

Birth of Hekate -
Again, Phoebe came to the desired embrace of Koios.
Then the goddess
405 through the love of the god conceived
and brought forth dark-gowned (invisible?) Leto,
always mild,
kind to men and to the deathless gods,
mild from the beginning, gentlest in all Olympos.
Also she bore Asteria (Star) of happy name,
410 whom Perses once led to his great house
to be called his dear wife.
And she conceived and bore Hekate
whom Zeus the son of Kronos honored above all.
He gave her splendid gifts,
to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea.
She received honor also in starry heaven,
415 and is honored exceedingly
by the deathless gods.
For to this day,
whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays
for favour according to custom,
he calls upon Hekate.
Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers
the goddess receives favourably,
420 and she bestows wealth upon him;
for the power surely is with her.
For as many as were born of Gaia
and Okeanos amongst all these she has her due portion.
The son of Kronos did her no wrong
nor took anything away of all that was her portion
among the former Titan gods.
425 But she holds,
as the division was at the first from the beginning,
privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea.
Also, because she is an only child,
the goddess receives not less honor,
but much more still, for Zeus honors her.
Whom she will, she greatly aids and advances.
She sits by worshipful kings in judgement,
430 and in the assembly
whom she will is distinguished among the people.
And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men,
then the goddess is at hand to give victory
and grant glory readily to whom she will.
435 Good is she also when men contend at the games,
for there too the goddess is with them and profits them:
and he who by might and strength gets the victory
wins the rich prize easily with joy,
and brings glory to his parents.
And she is good to stand by horsemen,
whom[ever] she will.
440 And to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea,
and who pray to Hekate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker,
easily the glorious goddess gives great catch,
and easily she takes it away as soon as seen,
if so she will[s].
She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock.
445 The droves of kine and wide herds of goats
and flocks of fleecy sheep,
if she will[s],
she increases from a few,
or makes many to be less.
So then, albeit her mother’s only child,17
she is honored amongst all the deathless gods.
450 And the son of Kronos
made her a nurse of the young who after that day
saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn.
So from the beginning
she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.
The Crimes of Kronos -
But Rheia was subject in love to Kronos
and bore splendid children,
Hestia,18 Demeter, and gold-shod Hera
455 and strong Hades, pitiless in heart,
who dwells under the earth,
and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker,
and wise Zeus, father of gods and men,
by whose thunder the wide earth is shaken.
These great Kronos swallowed as each came forth from the womb
460 to his mother's knees with this intent,
that no other of the proud sons of Ouranos
should hold the kingly office amongst the deathless gods.
For he learned from Gaia and starry Ouranos
that he was destined to be overcome by his own son,
465 strong though he was,
through the contriving of great Zeus.19
Therefore he kept no blind outlook,
but watched and swallowed down his children:
and unceasing grief seized Rheia. But when
she was about to bear Zeus,
the father of gods and men,
then she besought her own dear parents,
470 Gaia and starry Ouranos,
to devise some plan with her
that the birth of her dear child might be concealed,
and that retribution might overtake great,
crafty Kronos for his own father
and also for the children whom he had swallowed down.
And they readily heard and obeyed their dear daughter,
475 and told her all that was destined to happen
touching Kronos the king and his stout-hearted son.
So they sent her to Lyktos,
to the rich land of Krete,
when she was ready to bear great Zeus,
the youngest of her children.
480 Him did vast Gaia receive from Rheia in wide Krete
to nourish and to bring up.
[There from] came Gaia
carrying him swiftly through the black night to Lyktus first,
and took him in her arms
and hid him in a remote cave beneath the secret places
of the holy earth on thick-wooded Mount Aigaion;
but to the mightily ruling son of Ouranos,
the earlier king of the gods,
485 she gave a great stone wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Then he took it in his hands and thrust it down into his belly:
(the) wretch!
He knew not in his heart that in place of the stone his son was left behind,
unconquered and untroubled,
490 and that he was soon to overcome him by force
and might and drive him from his honors,
himself to reign over the deathless gods.
After that,
the strength and glorious limbs of the prince increased quickly,
and as the years rolled on,
495 great Kronos the wily was beguiled by the deep suggestions of Gaia,
and brought up again his offspring,
vanquished by the arts and might of his own son,
and he vomited up first the stone which he had swallowed last.
And Zeus set it fast in the wide-pathed earth
at goodly Pytho under the glens of Parnassos,
500 to be a sign thenceforth and a marvel to mortal men.20
And he set free from their deadly bonds
the brothers of his father,
sons of Ouranos whom his father in his foolishness had bound.
And they remembered to be grateful to him for his kindness,
and gave him thunder
and the glowing thunderbolt and lightening:
505 for before that, huge Gaia had hidden these.
In them he trusts and rules over mortals and immortals.

The Birth and Crimes of Prometheus -
Now Iapetos (the Piercer) took to wife the neat-ankled maid Klymene (Asia),
daughter of Okeanos,
and went up with her into one bed.
510 And she bore him a stout-hearted son: Atlas.
Also she bore very glorious Menoetios
and clever Prometheus,
full of various wiles,
and scatter-brained Epimetheus
who from the first was a mischief to men who eat bread;
for it was he who first took of Zeus the woman,
the maiden whom he had formed.
But Menoetius was outrageous,
515 and far-seeing Zeus struck him with a lurid thunderbolt
and sent him down to Erebos
because of his mad presumption and exceeding pride.
And Atlas through hard constraint
upholds the wide heaven with unwearying head and arms,
standing at the borders of the earth before the clear-voiced Hesperides.
520 For this lot wise Zeus assigned to him.
And ready-witted Prometheus he bound with inextricable bonds,
cruel chains,
and drove a shaft through his middle,
and set on him a long-winged eagle,
which used to eat his immortal liver.
525 But by night the liver grew as much again
everyway as the long-winged bird devoured in the whole day.
That bird Heracles,
the valiant son of shapely-ankled Alkmene, slew.
And [he] delivered the son of Iapetos from the cruel plague,
and released him from his affliction
not without the will of Olympian Zeus who reigns on high,
530 [but] that the glory of Heracles, the Theban-born,
might be yet greater than it was before over the plenteous earth.
This, then, he [thought],
and honored his famous son.
Though he was angry,
he ceased from the wrath which he [felt] before
because Prometheus matched himself in wit
with the almighty son of Kronos.
535 For when the gods and mortal men had a dispute at Mekone,
even then Prometheus was forward to cut up a great ox
and set portions before them, trying to fool the mind of Zeus.
Before the rest he set flesh
and inner parts thick with fat upon the hide,
covering them with an ox paunch;
540 but for Zeus he put the white bones dressed up with cunning art
and covered with shining fat.
Then the father of men and of gods said to him:
"Son of Iapetos, most glorious of all lords,
good sir.
How unfairly you have divided the portions!"
545 So said Zeus whose wisdom is everlasting,
rebuking him.
But wily Prometheus answered him,
smiling softly and not forgetting his cunning trick:
"Zeus, most glorious and greatest of the [everlasting] gods,
take which ever of these portions your heart within you bids."
550 So he said, thinking trickery.
But Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting,
saw and failed not to perceive the trick,
and in his heart he thought mischief against mortal men
which also was to be fulfilled.
With both hands he took up the white fat
and was angry at heart,
and wrath came to his spirit
555 when he saw the white ox-bones craftily tricked out.

[It is] because of this
the tribes of men upon earth
burn white bones to the deathless gods upon fragrant altars.

But Zeus who drives the clouds was greatly vexed
and said to him:

"Son of Iapetos, clever above all!
560 So, sir, you have not yet forgotten your cunning arts!"
So [spoke] Zeus in anger,
whose wisdom is everlasting.
And from that time he was always mindful of the trick,
and would not give the power of unwearying fire
to the Melian21 race of mortal men who live on the earth.

565 But the noble son of Iapetos outwitted him
and stole the far-seen gleam of unwearying fire in a hollow fennel stalk.
And Zeus who thunders on high was stung in spirit,
and his dear heart was angered when he saw amongst men the far-seen ray of fire.

The Birth of Pandora (the completely gifted one) -
570 Forthwith he made an evil thing for men
as the price of fire.
For the very famous Limping God (Hephaestus)
formed of earth the likeness of a shy maiden
as the son of Kronos willed.
And the goddess, bright-eyed Athene,
girded and clothed her with silvery raiment,
575 and down from her head she spread with her hands a broidered veil,
a wonder to see.
And she, Pallas Athene, put about her head lovely garlands,
flowers of new-grown herbs.
Also she put upon her head a crown of gold
which the very famous Limping God made himself
580 and worked with his own hands as a favour to Zeus his father.
On it was much curious work, wonderful to see;
for of the many creatures which the land and sea rear up,
he put most upon it, wonderful things,
like living beings with voices:
and great beauty shone out from it.

585 But when he had made the beautiful evil to be the price for the blessing,
he brought her out,
delighting in the finery which the bright-eyed daughter of a mighty father had given her,
to the place where the other gods and men were.
And wonder took hold of the deathless gods and mortal men
when they saw that which was sheer guile,
not to be withstood by men.

590 For from her is the race of women and female kind:
of her is the deadly race and tribe of women
who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble,
no helpmeets in hateful poverty,
but only in wealth.
595 And as in thatched hives bees feed the drones
whose nature is to do mischief by day
and throughout the day until the sun goes down
the bees are busy and lay the white combs,
while the drones stay at home in the covered skeps
and reap the toil of others into their own bellies
600 even so Zeus who thunders on high made women
to be an evil to mortal men,
with a nature to do evil.
And he gave them a second evil
to be the price for the good they had:
whoever avoids marriage and the sorrows that women cause,
and will not wed,
reaches deadly old age without anyone to tend his years,
605 and though he at least has no lack of livelihood while he lives,
yet, when he is dead,
his kinsfolk divide his possessions amongst them.
And as for the man who chooses the lot of marriage
and takes a good wife suited to his mind,
evil continually contends with good;
610 for whoever happens to have mischievous children,
lives always with unceasing grief in his spirit and heart within him;
and this evil cannot be healed.

So it is not possible to deceive or go beyond the will of Zeus;
for not even the son of Iapetos,
kindly Prometheus,
615 escaped his heavy anger, but of necessity strong bands confined him,
although he knew many a wile.


But when first their father was vexed in his heart
with Briareus and Kottus and Gyges,
he bound them in cruel bonds,
because he was jealous of their exceeding manhood
and comeliness and great size.
620 And he made them live beneath the wide-pathed earth,
where they were afflicted,
being set to dwell under the ground,
at the end of the earth, at its great borders,
in bitter anguish for a long time and with great grief at heart.
But the son of Kronos and the other deathless gods
625 whom rich-haired Rheia bore from union with Kronos,
brought them up again to the light at Gaia's advising.
For she herself recounted all things to the gods fully,
how that with these they would gain victory
and a glorious cause to vaunt themselves.
The Titan gods
and as many as sprang from Kronos,
630 had long been fighting together in stubborn war.
With heart-grieving toil,
the lordly Titans [fought] from high Othyrs.
But the gods, givers of good,
whom rich-haired Rheia bore in union with Kronos,
[fought] from Olympos.
635 So they, with bitter wrath,
were fighting continually with one another
at that time for ten full years,
and the hard strife had no close or end for either side,
and the issue of the war hung evenly balanced.
But when he had provided those three with all things fitting,
640 nectar and ambrosia which the gods themselves eat,
and when their proud spirit revived within them all
after they had fed on nectar and delicious ambrosia,
then it was that the father of men and gods spoke amongst them:

"Hear me, bright children of Gaia and Ouranos,
645 that I may say what my heart within me bids.
A long while now have we,
who are sprung from Kronos and the Titan gods,
fought with each other every day to get victory and to prevail.
650 [Now] show your great might and unconquerable strength,
and face the Titans in bitter strife;
for remember our friendly kindness,
and from what sufferings you are come back to the light,
from your cruel bondage under misty gloom through our counsels."
So he said.
And blameless Kottus answered him again:
"Divine one!
655 You speak that which we know well.
Nay, even of ourselves we know that your wisdom
and understanding is exceeding,
and that you became a defender of the deathless ones from chill doom.
And through your devising we are come back again
from the murky gloom
and from our merciless bonds,
enjoying what we looked not for,
660 oh lord, son of Kronos.
And so now with fixed purpose and deliberate counsel
we will aid your power in dreadful strife
and will fight against the Titans in hard battle."
So he said.
And the gods, givers of good things,
665 applauded when they heard his word,
and their spirit longed for war even more than before.
And they all, both male and female,
stirred up hated battle that day,
the Titan gods,
[against] all that were born of Kronos together with those dread,
mighty ones of overwhelming strength
670 whom Zeus brought up to the light
from Erebos beneath the earth.
[A] hundred arms sprang from the shoulders of all alike,
and each had fifty heads growing upon his shoulders upon stout limbs.
These, then, stood against the Titans in grim strife,
675 holding huge rocks in their strong hands.
And on the other part
the Titans eagerly strengthened their ranks,
and both sides at one time showed the work of their hands and their might.
The boundless sea rang terribly around,
and the earth crashed loudly:
wide Ouranos was shaken and groaned,
680 and high Olympos reeled from its foundation
under the charge of the undying gods.
And a heavy quaking reached dim Tartaros
[because of] the deep sound of their feet in the fearful onset
and of their hard missiles.
So, then, they launched their grievous shafts upon one another,
685 and the cry of both armies as they shouted
reached to starry heaven,
and they met together with a great battle-cry.

Then Zeus no longer held back his might;
but [soon] his heart was filled with fury
and he showed forth all his strength.
From Ouranos and from Olympos he came forthwith,
690 hurling his lightning.
The bolt flew thick and fast from his strong hand
together with thunder and lightning,
whirling an awesome flame.
The life-giving earth crashed around in burning,
and the vast wood crackled loud with fire all about.
695 All the land seethed,
and Okeanos’s streams and the unfruitful sea.
The hot vapour lapped round the earthborn Titans.
Flame unspeakable rose to the bright upper air.
The flashing glare of the thunder,
stone and lightning blinded their eyes for all that there were strong.
700 Astounding heat seized Kaos.
To see with eyes and to hear the sound with ears
it seemed even as if Gaia and wide Ouranos above came together;
for such a mighty crash would have arisen
if Gaia were being hurled to ruin,
and Ouranos from on high were hurling her down;
705 so great a crash was there while the gods were meeting together in strife.
Also the winds brought rumbling earthquake and duststorm,
thunder and lightning and the lurid thunderbolt,
which are the shafts of great Zeus,
and carried the clangour and the war-cry
into the midst of the two hosts.
710 An horrible uproar of terrible strife arose:
mighty deeds were shown
and the battle inclined.
But until then,
they kept at one another and fought continually in cruel war.

Tartaros: the Doom of the Titans -
And amongst the foremost
Kottus and Briareos and Gyges insatiate for war
raised fierce fighting:
three hundred rocks,
715 one upon another, they launched from their strong hands
and overshadowed the Titans with their missiles,
and buried them beneath the wide-pathed earth,
and bound them in bitter chains
when they had conquered them by their strength for all their great spirit,
720 as far beneath the earth to Tartaros.
For a [bronze] anvil
falling down from heaven nine nights and days
would reach the earth upon the tenth.
And again, a [bronze] anvil
falling from earth nine nights and days
725 would reach Tartaros upon the tenth.
Round it runs a fence of [bronze],
and night spreads in triple line all about it
like a neck-circlet,
while above grow the roots of the earth
and unfruitful sea.
730 There by the counsel of Zeus who drives the clouds
the Titan gods are hidden under misty gloom,
in a dank place where are the ends of the huge earth.
And they may not go out,
for Poseidon fixed gates of [bronze] upon it,
and a wall runs all round it on every side.
There Gyges and Kottus and great-souled Obriareus live,
735 trusty ward[ens] of Zeus who holds the aegis.

And there, all in their order,
are the sources and ends of gloomy earth
and misty Tartaros and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven,
loathsome and dank,
which even the gods abhor.
740 It is a great gulf,
and if once a man were within the gates,
he would not reach the floor until a whole year had reached its end,
but cruel blast upon blast would carry him this way and that.
And this marvel is awful even to the deathless gods.

There stands the awful home of murky Nyx (Night)
745 wrapped in dark clouds.
In front of it the son of Iapetos22
stands immovably
upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands,
where Nyx (Night) and Hemera (Day) draw near
and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of [bronze].
750 And while the one is about to go down into the house,
the other comes out at the door.
And the house never holds them both within;
but always one is without the house passing over the earth,
while the other stays at home and
waits until the time for her journeying come;
755 and the one holds all-seeing light for them on earth,
but the other holds in her arms
Sleep, the brother of Death,
even evil Nyx (Night), wrapped in a vaporous cloud.

And there the children of dark Nyx (Night) have their dwellings,
Sleep and Death, awful gods.
760 The glowing Sun never looks upon them with his beams,
neither as he goes up into heaven,
nor as he comes down from heaven.
And the former of them roams peacefully over the earth
and the sea’s broad back and is kindly to men;
but the other has a heart of iron,
765 and his spirit within him is pitiless as [bronze].
Whomsoever of men he has once seized he holds fast,
and he is hateful even to the deathless gods.

There, in front,
stand the echoing halls of the god of the lower-world,
strong Hades,
and of awful Persephone.
A fearful hound guards the house in front,
770 pitiless, and he has a cruel trick.
On those who go in he fawns with his tail and both is ears,
but suffers them not to go out back again,
but keeps watch
and devours whomsoever he catches going out of the gates
of strong Hades and awful Persephone.

Styx -
775 And there dwells the goddess loathed by the deathless gods,
terrible Styx,
eldest daughter of back-flowing Okeanos.23
She lives apart from the gods in her glorious house
vaulted over with great rocks
and propped up to heaven all round with silver pillars.
780 Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas,
swift-footed Iris,
come to her with a message over the sea’s wide back.

But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods,
and when any of them who live in the house of Olympos lies,
then Zeus sends Iris (the rainbow) to bring in a golden jug
785 the great oath of the gods from far away,
the famous cold water which trickles down from a high and beetling rock.
Far under the wide-pathed earth
a branch of Okeanos flows through the dark night out of the holy stream,
and a tenth part of his water is allotted to her.
790 With nine silver-swirling streams
he winds about the earth and the sea’s wide back,
and then falls into the main;24
but the tenth flows out from a rock,
a sore trouble to the gods.
For whoever of the deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympos
pours a libation of her water is forsworn,
795 lies breathless until a full year is completed,
and never comes near to taste ambrosia and nectar,
but lies spiritless
and voiceless on a strewn bed,
and a heavy trance overshadows him.
But when he has spent a long year in his sickness,
800 another penance and a harder (one) follows after the first.
For nine years he is cut off from the [everlasting] gods
and never joins their councils of their feasts,
nine full years.
But in the tenth year he comes again to join the assemblies
of the deathless gods who live in the house of Olympos.
805 Such an oath, then,
did the gods appoint the [imperishable] and primaeval water of Styx to be,
and it spouts through a rugged place.
And there, all in their order,
are the sources and ends of the dark earth
and misty Tartaros and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven,
810 loathsome and dank,
which even the gods abhor.
And there are shining gates
and an immoveable threshold of [bronze]
having unending roots and it is grown of itself.25
And beyond,
away from all the gods, live the Titans,
beyond gloomy Kaos.
815 But the glorious allies of loud-crashing Zeus
have their dwelling upon Okeanos's foundations,
even Kottus and Gyges.
But Briareos, being goodly,
the deep-roaring Earth-Shaker made his son-in-law,
giving him Kymopolea his daughter to wed.

The last battle: Zeus and Typhoeus -
820 But when Zeus had driven the Titans from heaven,
huge Gaia bore her youngest child Typhoeus
of the love of Tartaros,
by the aid of golden Aphrodite.
Strength was with his hands in all that he did
and the feet of the strong god were untiring.
825 From his shoulders grew an hundred heads of a snake,
a fearful dragon,
with dark, flickering tongues,
and from under the brows of his eyes in his marvellous heads
flashed fire,
and fire burned from his heads as he glared.
And there were voices in all his dreadful heads
830 which uttered every kind of sound unspeakable;
for at one time they made sounds such that the gods understood,
but at another,
the noise of a bull bellowing aloud in proud ungovernable fury;
and at another, the sound of a lion,
relentless of heart;
and at anothers, sounds like whelps, wonderful to hear;
835 and again, at another, he would hiss,
so that the high mountains re-echoed.
And truly a thing past help would have happened on that day,
and he would have come to reign over mortals and immortals,
had not the father of men and gods been quick to perceive it.
But he thundered hard and mightily,
840 and the earth around resounded terribly and the wide heaven above,
and the sea and Okeanos’s streams and the nether parts of the earth.
Great Olympos reeled beneath the divine feet of the king
as he arose and earth groaned thereat.
And through the two of them
heat took hold on the dark-blue sea,
845 through the thunder and lightning,
and through the fire from the monster,
and the scorching winds and blazing thunderbolt.
The whole earth seethed,
and sky and sea and the long waves raged along the beaches round and about,
at the rush of the deathless gods,
and there arose an endless shaking.
850 Hades trembled where he rules over the dead below,
and the Titans under Tartaros who live with Kronos,
because ofthe unending clamour and the fearful strife.
So when Zeus had raised up his might and seized his arms,
thunder and lightning and lurid thunderbolt,
855 he leaped form Olympos and struck him,
and burned all the marvellous heads of the monster about him.
But when Zeus had conquered him
and lashed him with strokes,
Typhoeus was hurled down, a maimed wreck, so that the huge earth groaned.
And flame shot forth from the thunder-stricken lord
860 in the dim rugged glens of the mount,26
when he was smitten.
A great part of huge earth was scorched by the terrible vapour
and melted as tin melts when heated by men’s art in channelled crucibles;27
or as iron,
which is hardest of all things,
is softened by glowing fire in mountain glens
865 and melts in the divine earth through the strength of Hephaestus.28
Even so, then,
the earth melted in the glow of the blazing fire.
And in the bitterness of his anger
Zeus cast him into wide Tartaros.

And from Typhoeus come boisterous winds which blow damply,
870 except Notos and Boreas and clear Zephyr.
These are a god-sent kind,
and a great blessing to men.
But the others blow fitfully upon the seas.
Some rush upon the misty sea
875and work great havoc among men with their evil, raging blasts;
for varying with the season they blow,
scattering ships and destroying sailors.
And men who meet these upon the sea have no help
against the mischief.
Others again over the boundless, flowering earth
spoil the fair fields of men who dwell below,
880 filling them with dust and cruel uproar.


But when the blessed gods had finished their toil,
and settled by force their struggle for honors with the Titans,
they pressed far-seeing Olympian Zeus
to reign and to rule over them, by Gaia's prompting.
885 So he divided their dignities (i.e., titles, responsibilities) amongst them.

Now Zeus, king of the gods,
made Metis his wife first,
and she was wisest among gods and mortal men.
But when she was about to bring forth the goddess bright-eyed Athene,
890 Zeus craftily deceived her with cunning words
and put her in his own belly, as Gaia and starry Ouranos advised.
For they advised him so,
to the end that no other should hold royal sway
over the [everlasting] gods in place of Zeus;
for very wise children were destined to be born of her,
895 first the maiden bright-eyed Tritogeneia (Athena),
equal to her father in strength and in wise understanding;
But afterwards she was to bear a son of overbearing spirit,
king of gods and men.
But Zeus put her into his own belly first,
900 that the goddess might devise for him both good and evil.
Next he married bright Themis who bore the Horae (Hours),
and Eunomia (Order), Dike (Justice),
and blooming Eirene (Peace),
who mind the works of mortal men,
and the Moirai (Fates) to whom wise Zeus gave the greatest honor,
905 Klotho, and Lachesis, and Atropos
who give mortal men evil and good to have.

And Eurynome, the daughter of Okeanos,
beautiful in form,
bore him three fair-cheeked Karites (Graces),
Aglaea (Splendor), and Euphrosyne (the Good life),
and lovely Thaleia (the Blossom)
910 from whose eyes as they glanced flowed love that unnerves the limbs:
and beautiful is their glance beneath their brows.

Also he came to the bed of all-nourishing Demeter (Earth-Mother?),
and she bore white-armed Persephone
whom Aidoneus carried off from her mother,
but wise Zeus gave her to him.
915 And again, he loved Mnemosyne with the beautiful hai.
And of her the nine gold-crowned Muses were born
who delight in feasts and the pleasures of song.
And Leto was joined in love with Zeus
who holds the aegis,
and bore Apollo and Artemis delighting in arrows,
920 children lovely above all the sons of Ouranos.
Lastly, he made Hera his blooming wife.
And she was joined in love with the king of gods and men,
and brought forth Hebe and Ares and Eileithyia.

But Zeus himself gave birth from his own head
to bright-eyed Tritogeneia,29
925 the awful, the strife-stirring, the host-leader, the unwearying,
the queen, who delights in tumults and wars and battles.
But Hera, without union with Zeus,
for she was very angry and quarrelled with her mate,
bore famous Hephaestus,
who is skilled in crafts more than all the sons of Ouranos.

(ll. 929a-929t)30

(But Hera was very angry and quarrelled with her mate.
And because of this strife she bore,
without union with Zeus who holds the aegis,
a glorious son: Hephaestus, who excelled all the sons of Ouranos in crafts.
But Zeus lay with the fair-cheeked daughter of Okeanos
and Tethys apart from Hera.... ((LACUNA)) ....deceiving Metis (Thought)
although she was full wise.
But he seized her with his hands and put her in his belly,
for fear that she might bring forth something stronger than his thunderbolt:
therefore did Zeus,
who sits on high and dwells in the aether,
swallow her down suddenly.
But she straightway conceived Pallas Athene.
And the father of men and gods gave her birth by way of
his head on the banks of the river Trito.
And she remained hidden beneath the inward parts of Zeus,
even Metis, Athena’s mother, worker of righteousness,
who was wiser than gods and mortal men.
There the goddess (Athena) received that31 whereby she excelled in strength
all the deathless ones who dwell in Olympos,
she who made the host-scaring weapon of Athena.
And with it (Zeus) gave her birth, arrayed in arms of war.

930 And of Amphitrite and the loud-roaring Earth-Shaker
was born great, wide-ruling Triton,
and he owns the depths of the sea,
living with his dear mother and the lord his father in their golden house,
an awful god.
Also Kytherea bore to Ares, the shield-piercer,
Panic and Fear,
935 terrible gods who drive in disorder the close ranks of men in numbing war,
with the help of Ares, sacker of towns:
and Harmonia whom high-spirited Cadmus made his wife.
And Maia, the daughter of Atlas,
bore to Zeus glorious Hermes, the herald of the deathless gods,
for she went up into his holy bed.
940And Semele, daughter of Kadmos
was joined with him in love and bore him a splendid son,
joyous Dionysos, a mortal woman an immortal son.
And now they both are gods.
And Alemena was joined in love with Zeus
who drives the clouds and bore mighty Heracles.
945 And Hephaestus, the famous Lame One,
made Aglaea, youngest of the Graces, his buxom wife.
And golden-haired Dionysos made brown-haired Ariadne,
the daughter of Minos, his buxom wife:
and the son of Kronos made her deathless and unageing for him.
950 And mighty Heracles, the valiant son of neat-ankled Alkmene,
when he had finished his grievous toils,
made Hebe the child of great Zeus
and gold-shod Hera his shy wife in snowy Olympos.
Happy he!
For he has finished his great works and lives amongst the dying gods,
955 untroubled and unaging all his days.
And Perseis, the daughter of Okeanos,
bore to unwearying Helios Kirke (Circe) and Aietes the king.
And Aietes,
the son of Helios who shows light to men,
took to wife fair-cheeked Idyia,
960 daughter of Okeanos the perfect stream,
by the will of the gods:
and she was subject to him in love through golden Aphrodite
and bore him neat-ankled Medea.


Heros and Demi-gods-
And now farewell, you dwellers on Olympos
and you islands and continents and [you] briny sea within.
Now sing the company of goddesses,
965 sweet-voiced Muses of Olympos,
daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis,
even those deathless one who lay with mortal men
and bore children like unto gods.
Demeter, bright goddess,
970 was joined in sweet love with the hero Iasion
in a thrice-ploughed fallow in the rich land of Krete,
and bore Plutus,
a kindly god who goes everywhere over land and the sea's wide back,
and him who finds him
and into whose hands he comes he makes rich,
bestowing great wealth upon him.
And Harmonia, the daughter of golden Aphrodite,
975 bore to Kadmus Ino and Semele
and fair-cheeked Agave and Autonoe
whom long haired Aristaeus wedded,
and Polydorus also in rich-crowned Thebe.
And the daughter of Okeanos,
Kallirrhoe was joined in the love of rich Aphrodite
980 with stout hearted Krysaor and bore a son who was the strongest of all men,
whom mighty Heracles killed in sea-girt Erythea
for the sake of his shambling oxen.
And Eos bore to Tithonos [bronze]-crested Memnon,
985 king of the Ethiopians, and the Lord Emathion.
And to Kephalos she bore a splendid son,
strong Phaethon, a man like the gods, whom, when he was a young boy
in the tender flower of glorious youth with childish thoughts,
990 laughter-loving Aphrodite seized and caught up
and made a keeper of her shrine by night,
a divine spirit.

And the son of Aison (Jason) by the will of the gods led away from Aietes
the daughter of Aietes (Medeia) the heaven-nurtured king,
995 when he had finished the many grievous labours which the great king,
overbearing Pelias,
that outrageous and presumptuous doer of violence,
put upon him.
But when the son of Aison had finished them,
he came to Iolcus after long toil
bringing the coy-eyed girl with him on his swift ship,
and made her his buxom wife.
1000 And she was subject to Jason,
shepherd of the people, and bore a son Medeios
whom Keiron the son of Philyra brought up in the mountains.
And the will of great Zeus was fulfilled.
But of the daughters of Nereus,
the Old man of the Sea,
Psamathe the fair goddess,
1005 was loved by Aeacus through golden Aphrodite and bore Phocus.
And the silver-shod goddess Thetis was subject to Peleus
and brought forth lion-hearted Achilles,
the destroyer of men.
And Kytherea with the beautiful crown
was joined in sweet love with the hero Anchises
1010 and bore Aineias on the peaks of Ida with its many wooded glens.
And Kirke the daughter of Helios,
Hyperion's son,
loved steadfast Odysseus and bore Agrios
and Latinos who was faultless and strong.
Also she brought forth Telegonos by the will of golden Aphrodite.
And they ruled over the famous Tyrenians,
1015 very far off in a recess of the holy islands.
And the bright goddess Kalypso was joined to Odysseus in sweet love,
and bore him Nausithous and Nausinous.

These are the immortal goddesses who lay with mortal men
1020 and bore them children like unto gods.

But now, sweet-voiced Muses of Olympos, daughters of Zeus who holds the aegis,
sing of the company of women.


  1. The epithet probably indicates coquettishness.
  2. A proverbial saying meaning, “why enlarge on irrelevant topics?”
  3. Kalliope is queen of Epic poetry.
  4. Earth, in the cosmology of Hesiod, is a disk surrounded by the river Okeanos and floating upon a waste of waters. It is called the foundation of all (the qualification “the deathless ones...” etc. is an interpolation), because not only trees, men, and animals, but even the hills and seas (cf. lines 129, 131) are supported by it.
  5. Aether is the bright, untainted upper atmosphere, as distinguished from Aer, the lower atmosphere of the earth.
  6. The myth accounts for the separation of Ouranos and Earth. In Egyptian cosmology Nut (the Sky) is thrust and held apart from her brother Geb (the Earth) by their father Shu, who corresponds to the Greek Atlas.
  7. Nymphs of the ash-trees, as Dryads are nymphs of the oak- trees. Cp. note on Works and Hemeras, l. 145.
  8. “Member-loving” - the title is perhaps only a perversion of the regular PHILOMEIDES (“laughter-loving”).
  9. Klotho is she who spins the thread of man"s life; Lachesis assigns to each man his destiny; Atropos is the “Fury with the abhorred shears.”
  10. [Nereus is most probably an ancient sea deity, perhaps even Mycenaean, that remained in the Archaic vocabulary even though he has been ritually replaced by Poseidon. This is suggested by two pieces of evidence: the textural indidcation of his antiquity (i.e., he is the “eldest” child of Pontos), and the sheer magnitude of other sea deities he is paternally associated with.]
  11. Many of the names which follow express various qualities or aspects of the sea: thus Galene is “Call”, Cymothoe is the “Wave-swift”, Pherusa and Dynamene are “She who speeds (ships)” and “She who has power”.
  12. The “Wave-receiver” and the “Wave-stiller”.
  13. “The Unerring“ or “Truthful”; cp. l. 235.
  14. i.e. Poseidon.
  15. Goettling notes that some of these nymphs derive their names from lands over which they preside, as Europa, Asia, Doris, Ianeira ("Lady of the Ionians"), but that most are called after some quality which their streams possessed: thus Xanthe is the "Brown" or "Turbid", Amphirho is the "Surrounding" river, Ianthe is "She who delights", and Ocyrrhoe is the "Swift-flowing".
  16. i.e. Eos, the "Early-born".
  17. Van Lennep explains that Hekate, having no brothers to support her claim, might have been slighted.
  18. The goddess of the hearth (the Roman "Vesta"), and so of the house. Cp. Homeric Hymns v.22 ff.; xxxix.1 ff.
  19. The variant reading "of his father" (sc. Ouranos) rests on inferior MS. authority and is probably an alteration due to the difficulty stated by a Scholiast: "How could Zeus, being not yet begotten, plot against his father?" The phrase is, however, part of the prophecy. The whole line may well be spurious, and is rejected by Heyne, Wolf, Gaisford and Guyet.
  20. Pausanias (x. 24.6) saw near the tomb of Neoptolemus "a stone of no great size", which the Delphians anointed every day with oil, and which he says was supposed to be the stone given to Kronos.
  21. A Scholiast explains: "Either because they (men) sprang from the Melian nymphs (cp. l. 187); or because, when they were born (?), they cast themselves under the ash-trees, that is, the trees." The reference may be to the origin of men from ash-trees: cp. Works and Hemeras, l. 145 and note.
  22. sc. Atlas, the Shu of Egyptian mythology: cp. note on line 177.
  23. Okeanos is here regarded as a continuous stream enclosing the earth and the seas, and so as flowing back upon himself.
  24. The conception of Okeanos is here different: he has nine streams which encircle the earth and the flow out into the "main" which appears to be the waste of waters on which, according to early Greek and Hebrew cosmology, the disk-like earth floated.
  25. i.e. the threshold is of "native" metal, and not artificial.
  26. According to Homer Typhoeus was overwhelmed by Zeus amongst the Arimi in Cilicia. Pindar represents him as buried under Aetna, and Tzetzes reads Aetna in this passage.
  27. The epithet (which means literally "well-bored") seems to refer to the spout of the crucible.
  28. The fire god. There is no reference to volcanic action: iron was smelted on Mount Ida; cp. Epigrams of Homer, ix. 2-4.
  29. i.e. Athena, who was born "on the banks of the river Trito" (cp. l. 929l)
  30. Restored by Peppmuller. The nineteen following lines from another recension of lines 889-900, 924-9 are quoted by Chrysippus (in Galen).
  31. sc. the aegis. Line 929s is probably spurious, since it disagrees with l. 929q and contains a suspicious reference to Athens.