Works and Days

Works and Days (Greek Ἔργα καὶ ἡμέραι [ Erga kai hemerai ] ) is an epic poem of Hesiod and teaching arose about 700 BC

Literary starting point

As a reason for the drafting of the Works and Days of Hesiod, a dispute is headed to his brother Perses. Hesiod threw this before trying to illegally access to wealth and held his own way of life before, which was aimed to achieve through hard work peasant prosperity. Extent one can speak of a kind Mahngedicht, but is this dispute among brothers found in the poem in a much broader context, which deals with the cosmic order, the history of the human race and with their myths.


It describes first the myth of Prometheus and Pandora's Box, then the five successive world age (Golden, Silver, Bronze Age, heroic age and brazen / iron age ); It follows the story of the hawk and the nightingale (the falcon for the king and the nightingale is the poet ) and finally a vision of two kingdoms: the kingdom of justice faces the realm of hubris.

During the didactic poem Hesiod spreads his extensive knowledge of rural activities, including representing them in the context of a detailed calendar and accompanied by useful advice for the farmer; as agricultural implements are described that concern for the cattle to sowing and reaping, etc. Real life is also described the harsh winter in the mountains of Greece. Blessed is the one who will have justice and holds degree; this might come unto the end of prosperity. In contrast, become the, the grossly follows the hubris and hoping for a quick profit, lose everything.

Some philologists believe that the Works and Days of Hesiod time including after major work, the Theogony, is to be set. For this thesis it is argued that Hesiod in the Theogony emanated from an Eris, but now postulated that there whose two: one that stands for the divisive dispute and one that represents the sporty, constructive competition ( agon ).


Works and Days had on the history of literature one hardly be overestimated aftereffect. Many often sententious like quotes are still alive in the present.

Also in the science of history play a large role Works and Days, but they describe life in the small farming society of archaic Greece. In contrast to the Homeric epics, the show primarily the noble life-world, the descriptions Hesiod allow conclusions to life just above the subsistence level to: Agricultural work, administration of the estate and its dangers are just as subject as debt and neighborly solidarity that the helped to secure survival in the rural community. The survival of the small private Oikos for Hesiod was more important than access to the political process in the polis.