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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translations
M.L West is one of the great classicists. His book on Indo-European traditions, and another on the influence of southwest Asia on Greek ideas, make him truly valuable, and the breadth and density of his work is aided by the fluency and clarity of his translations (whether in Greek or Avestan!). In this short volume, West translates Hesiod's famous works very neatly...
Published on 21 Sep 2011 by Alby

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Theogony and Works and Days
As always with Oxford Classics a very good product. Not sure if this book will interest the general reader but a must have book for any student of the classical world.
Published 24 months ago by Loppydog


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translations, 21 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
M.L West is one of the great classicists. His book on Indo-European traditions, and another on the influence of southwest Asia on Greek ideas, make him truly valuable, and the breadth and density of his work is aided by the fluency and clarity of his translations (whether in Greek or Avestan!). In this short volume, West translates Hesiod's famous works very neatly without trying to claim that they are anything other than what they are: curious, relatively simple poems (here in prose) about topics of importance to early Greeks. The poems are quaint rather than sublime, but it is important to note that they were very influential, and are still worth reading.

'Theogony' is about the gods and how they came to be; West notes in his introduction that the account appears to derive from southwest Asian influence rather than an Indo-European precedent, and was actually somewhat abhorrent to later Greeks of the classical period for its presentation of warfare between the gods. 'Works and Days' is advice given, ostensibly, to Hesiod's brother, Perses, about such matters as putting to sea, growing grain, and finding a wife. This is by far the more readable and interesting work for those who aren't 8th century BCE Boeotians. Economy, agriculture, astronomy - Hesiod can't be seen as the originator of all of these subjects by any means, but the germs of ideas are clearly present in this poem, germs that, through the fertilising effect of cross-cultural transmission, grew into the flowerings we now know as the classical and Hellenistic ages. There might perhaps have been no Empedocles or Democritus without Hesiod. Who can say how the history of Greece or the world, or even of philosophy, might have developed had Hesiod's poems not been present?

These are superb translations. Anyone interested in the early Greeks, or in the origins of philosophy in the region, should give them a read, and not expect more than startlingly familiar (because influential) poems on themes wantonly mixing the domestic and the theological. Anthropologists might also benefit from reading them, and seeing the fundamental similarities between the works and, for instance, Popol Vuh.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very exciting - very informative., 5 Sep 2011
This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Theogony was really quite exciting! Hesiod goes to great length explaining all of the very many figures in Greek myth, and explaining how they are related and what they are Gods of. The war between the Titans and the Olympians is very exciting - particularly a highly colourful paragraph about Zeus' wrath that put the Titans in Tartarus. Very exciting, and very pro-Zeus!
Work and Days gives a clear insight into Hesiod's background and a sense of what 'ordinary', agricultural life was like. Hesiod is giving advice to his audience, who he seems familiar with, about how to live well - to be hardworking, efficient, and devoted to the Gods.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding translation, 22 Jan 2011
This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I cannot for the life of me understand why the only reviewer to date here for this translation by Martin West has only given the translation four stars. The original is brilliant. The translation is brilliant. Wherefore the removal of one star?

Martin West is the outstanding classical scholar of his generation. If you are in the slightest bit interested in the classics then you need to buy a copy of all his translations, even if you already have translations by other translators, just so you can compare them.

Here's an example. Many today think themselves sage-like when they repeat unthinkingly in their posts the mantra of "All things in moderation". Little do they know that the original saying comes from Hesiod. Or that it's found in Hesiod's "Works and Days" - the second work by Hesiod in this compilation. But the English translation of "moderation" from the Greek is not quite right. Martin West deftly translates the term with the, on the surface, more cumbersome but much more appropriate and accurate "opportuneness". Context of course is everything - so here's the context and you will see what I mean:

"There is another time for men to sail in the spring. As soon as the size of the crow's footprint is matched by the aspect of the leaves on the end of the fig-branch, then the sea is suitable for embarcation. This is the spring sailing. I do not recommend it; it is not to my heart's liking. A snatched sailing: you would have difficulty in avoiding trouble. But men do even that in their folly, because property is as life to wretched mortals. But it is a fearful thing to die among the waves. I suggest you bear all this in mind, as I tell you it.

And do not put all your substance in ships' holds, but leave the greater part and ship the lesser; for it is a fearful thing to meet with disaster among the waves of the sea, and a fearful thing if you put too great a burden up on your cart and smash the axle and the cargo is spoiled. Observe due measure; opportuneness is best in everything."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book in excellent condition, 13 July 2013
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This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
This publication is highly recommended. I bought it for "Theogony", but "Works and Days" is also recommended. And once again, I recommend it.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foundational stories of Greek myth, 27 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Hesiod's Thegony is an archaic Greek epic from around the time of Homer, and gives us the creation and life stories of the Olympian gods, so is an interesting read alongside the Homeric Hymns. Full of sex and violence, these are the foundational stories of Greek myth and resonate throughout classical culture.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good introductory explanation, 30 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
The intro is very good as it gives all the background to understand it - yet is not pedantic. The only qualm is that there are no references at all - so I'm not entirely sure of its credibility. But as a first contact with this text it's more than adequate
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Theogony and Works and Days, 1 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
As always with Oxford Classics a very good product. Not sure if this book will interest the general reader but a must have book for any student of the classical world.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quality disapointing, 21 April 2013
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This review is from: Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Value for money this is little more than a moderate quality paperback. I won't buy any more in this series
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Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford World's Classics) by Hesiod (Paperback - 11 Dec 2008)
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