Hesiod Versus Ovid Essay

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Pages: 8

Philosophy versus Cosmology
A Comparison of Creation in Hesiod’s Theogony and Ovid’s Metamorphoses
By Catherine Franklin

To fully understand the poems; Metamorphoses and Theogony, one needs to understand more about the writers. Hesiod was a greek poet, who lived around 700BC, and was inspired by muses to write epic poetry. Theogony is considered one of earliest works and concerns itself with the cosmogony, or the origins of the world and theogony, or the gods, and pays specific detail to genealogy (West, 1996: 521). Ovid, on the other hand, was a Roman poet, born in 43 BC – the year after the assassination of Julius Caesar and lived during Augustus’s reign. It’s said that his father took him to Rome to become educated in the ways of
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To end this chaos Hesiod describes the random birth of Gods, where areas of the Earth happened by chance with no guidelines, Gods mate by chance and create things with no set purpose, for throughout Hesiod’s description of Creation, he gives no explanation of why this Creation began. Ovid’s description begins with guidance without much chaos, there is an order which is put in place by The Creator and once one element is put in order then the next one is able to follow. The Creator assigns different elements to different areas and “every region [has] its appropriate inhabitants” (Ovid, 1922: 70-71). Theogony mentions specific Gods who are given a home in Olympus (Hesiod, 1914: 115-153), so they are real beings that personify the elements such as the Sea, the Earth and the Mountains. Whereas in Metamorphoses the Gods are given no identity, and are to be purely understood as The Creator, and the elements, such as Air, Fire, Water and Stars are purely elements which are moulded and ordered by The Creator. Lastly, is the issue of man. In Theogony, men are not mentioned at all during the Creation as Hesiod’s Creation of Earth describes Earth as being divine – Gaia, and the God’s enjoy punishing the humans rather than thinking of them as being similar to themselves. Metamorphoses mentions that men are created after