Study Guide for Hesiod's Theogony


(This guide is keyed to the translation of Stanley Lombard [Hackett])

INVOCATION TO THE MUSES (1-115): The 9 Muses (9 daughters of Zeus and Memory (Mnemosynê); their relationships with gods and mortals (especially Hesiod, kings, poets); Hesiod's description of himself and his meeting the Muses, as an oral poet inspired by the Muses; the subject matter of the Theogony; the purpose of song.

GENEALOGIES: Know individual names; Possible reasons for relationships between these individuals (e.g., who gives birth to whom--what's the connection or sense of cause and effect); How these families make the world what it is: geography and the cosmos; divine hierarchies

THE FIRST GODS (116-137)
Earliest deities: Chaos, Gaia (Earth), Tartaros (Underworld), Eros
Children of Chaos: Erebos (Darkness) and Nyx (Night)
I. Children of Night: Light and Day; Dreams, Death, Deceit, Love, Eris, etc.
2. Children of Eris (Strife):

THE CASTRATION OF OURANOS/ THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE/OTHER EARLY GODS (138-455)
Children of Gaia without husband (parthenogenesis): Ouranos (Sky), Pontos (Salt Sea), Mountains
l. Children of Gaia and son /husband Ouranos: l2 Titans (Kronos); 3 Kyklopes, 3 l00 Handers
2. Children of Gaia and son/husband Pontos: Nereus, Thaumas, Phorkys, Eurybia, Keto
a. Nereus (Old Man of the Sea) m. Doris; 50 daughters
b. Thaumas ('Wonder') and Elektra; Iris, Harpies
c. Phorkys and Keto: children and grandchildren (monsters associated with heroes e.g.Perseus, Herakles, Bellerophon)

Grandchildren of Gaia and Ouranos
1. Titans Tethys and Okeanos (Fresh Water River)' children: 3,000 sons (rivers) and 3,000 daughters (esp. Styx)
2. Theia ('Brightness') and Hyperion ('Going over')'s children: Helios (sun), Selene (moon), Eos (dawn)
3. Eurybia (d. of Pontos) and Titan Kreios' children; especially son Pallas and Styx' children, allied with Zeus
4. Phoibe and Koios' children, esp. Leto loved by Zeus; grandchild Hekate: honored by gods, honors for men
5. Kronos and Rheia's 6 children: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Hera, Hestia
6. Iapetos and Klymene's children punished by Zeus, especially story of Prometheus

Birth of the first Olympians (456-508)

SUCCESSION MYTH: Know reasons for conflict: who engaged in conflict; what happened; what were results
A. Ouranos, Gaia, Kronos, Giants, Meliae, Erinyes (Furies), Aphrodite
B. Kronos, Rhea, Ouranos and Gaia, Zeus (generation of Titans)
C. Zeus (generation of Olympians)

Opponents of Zeus: keep track of how Zeus is able to keep power when his ancestors could not
l. Prometheus (sacrifices, fire, Pandora as first woman, Herakles): trickester figure or hero? (508-620); see one vase painting of Pandora and another
2. Kronos (l00 Handers, Kyklopes, Styx, Olympians, Gaia; Tartaros) (621-825)
3. Typhoeus, son of Gaia and Tartaros: dragon combat; Zeus as hero (826-885); see a vase painting of this battle (ca.550 BC)
4. Metis' son-to-be and Athene; Sky and Earth (929-935)

Watch out for female deception, gifts with bad consequences, substitutions.

ZEUS' RULE CONSOLIDATED: know how he treated defeated Titans, awarded allies, made numerous marriages; who his children were, how they were subordinate to him but brought good to people; structure and inhabitants of Tartaros

THE WIVES OF ZEUS AND THE BIRTHS OF HEROES (886-1030

The poem may have continued with the Catalogue of Women whose fragments you can read here