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these things, and that they will interfere; but this very insisting, coupled with the desponding tone of the whole book, lets us see plainly what was the general feeling of the lower classes. For as to obtaining help from public opinion of any sort, even from the xaleTÌ Ônuov pîues (239) of Homer, or the grumbling in the åyópa to which Telemachus appeals—there is no trace of it. The earnest and deeply outraged husbandman never dreams of a revolution, of calling the assembly to declare its anger, or even of enlisting some of the chiefs against the rest. It speaks well for the sterner and sounder qualities of the Baotian farmers that such circumstances did not induce despair, but rather a stern resolve to avoid the wicked judgmentseats of the aristocrats, above all things to keep clear of litigation, and to seek the comforts of hard-earned bread and of intelligent husbandry. This, then, is the isolated position of the works of Hesiod—the poet of the Helots—of which I have spoken already.
And yet in the moral parts of his writings the Greeks of later ages found much that was attractive. The Works and Days' became even an ordinary handbook of education. This fact will not surprise us, when we consider that in one broad feature the moral lessons of Hesiod run parallel with the pictures of Homer, in this the exponent of the most permanent features in Greek character-I mean that combination of religion and shrewdness, that combination of the honestum and the utile', which, though it often jars
1 I have perhaps spoken too favourably of Hesiod's ethics in the text, seeing that an appeal to pure justice only takes its place in regard of the high-handed violence of the nobles. In all the rest of his book, and especially throughout his ethical maxims, the utile, the melotn xápis as he calls it, is the only sanction applied to actions. This cannot be asserted of Homer, or even of Theognis in later days. There are some good remarks on this subject in Steitz' Hesiod.
upon us, yet saved the Greeks, one and all, from sentimentality, from bombast, and from hypocrisy. The king Ulysses and the farmer Hesiod have the same respect for the gods, and the same eye to business,' the same good nature and the same selfishness, the same honour and the same meanness. Perhaps the king was laxer in his notions of truth than the husbandman; just as the Cavalier thought less of lying than the Roundhead. But perhaps this arose from his greater proximity to the gods of the epic poets, who had no difficulty at all in practising falsehood.
In another point, however, the king, owing to his manifold pursuits and interests, escaped a grave danger. No ambition whatever lay open to Hesiod and his fellows, save the making of money, and laying up stores of wealth, as he says (686), xrimata yàp yuxn πέλεται δείλoισι βρότοισι'. In those depraved days, when a verdict could be bought under any circumstances from the δωροφάγοι βασιλήες, money was power, even to a greater extent than in more civilised conditions. Hence the natural tendency among the
1 When I speak of money I do not prejudge the question whether coined money was in use in Hesiod's day. Probably not; but the precious metals in their rude state, or worked into cups, answered the purpose equally well. Men had got beyond the stage of counting their wealth exclusively by sheep and oxen, and by changes of raiment.
lower classes must have been to postpone everything to the amassing of wealth—nay, rather, there was no other occupation open to them. So we find that both Tyrtæus and Solon, early poets and political reformers, set down pitoxpnuarin as the real cause of the disorders in their respective states. The same tendency is plain enough in king Ulysses, and shows itself even ludicrously in the midst of the deepest melancholy and the greatest danger; as, for example, when he finds himself cast upon a desolate shore and abandoned (v 215), and when he sees Penelope drawing gifts from the suitors : but his lofty and varied sphere of action forces it back into a subordinate place. Yet I would have the reader note this feature carefully, as we shall meet it again in many forms throughout later Greek society.
There is another point on which Hesiod is vastly inferior in social attitude to Homer; I mean in his estimate of women. But the plain-spoken bard was not singing at courts, where queens sat by and longed to hear of worthies of their own sex; nor did he contemplate the important duties of the house-mother in the absence of her husband in wars and on the service of his state. Hence it was that Æschylus, though living in a democracy where women fared badly enough, yet found and felt in the epic poets such characters as his Clytemnestra, a reigning queen, invested with full powers in the king's absence-free to discuss public affairs, to receive embassies, and act as her judgment directed her. All these things were foreign to Hesiod's attitude; yet surely it is strange that in describing farm life and farm duties, he should not have thought more of the important duties of the housewife—duties which throughout all Greek and Roman history raised the position of the countrywoman above that of the towns-woman, whose duties were less important, and whom the jealousy of city life compelled to live in fear and darkness'. Yet the first allusion in the Works and Days' is rude enough: You must start with a house, a wife, and an ox to plough, and have your farming implements ready in the house. There is, I believe, no farther notice of the woman till the short advice concerning marriage; and here too nothing is stranger than the brevity with which the subject is noticed, and the total silence concerning the all-important duties which even Homer's princesses performed, and which were certainly in the hands of the women of Hesiod's acquaintance. We might almost imagine that some sour Attic editor had expunged the advice which Hesiod owes us on the point, and had justified himself with the famous apophthegm of Pericles (or rather of Thucydides), that
1 So Theognis bitterly exclaims (v. 699), “the mass of men know but one virtue—to be rich :'
πλήθει δ' ανθρώπων αρέτη μία γίνεται ήδε
that woman is best who is least spoken of among men, either for good or for evil.' Hesiod implies, indeed,
1 ειθισμένον δεδoικός και σκοτεινόν ζην is Plato's expression.
2 Of course Aristotle's authority is decisive for the meaning of the verse (375), οίκον μεν πρώτιστα, γυναικά τε, βουν τ' άροτηρα, as well as for the spuriousness of the false commentary added in the next line.
that a man may know something of the young women in the neighbourhood, and this supposes some freedom of intercourse; yet he seems to consider the worst feature of a bad wife her desire to sit at meals with her husband, an opinion which in his age, and his plain and poor society, seems very harsh indeed.
However, then, I may be accused of having drawn Homeric society in darker colours than it deserves, though I have given authority for every charge, yet on the Hesiodic society all intelligent students of the • Works and Days' are pretty well agreed. It pictures a hopeless and miserable existence, in which care, and the despair of better things, tended to make men hard and selfish, and to blot out those fairer features which cannot be denied to the courts and palaces of the Iliad and Odyssey. So great, indeed, is the contrast, that most critics have assumed a change of things between the states described in Homer and in Hesiod; they have imagined that the gaiety and splendour of the epic bard could not have coexisted with the sorrows and the meanness of the moral teacher. But both tradition and internal evidence should convince us that these poems, if not strictly contemporaneous, are yet proximate enough in date to be considered socially pictures of the same times, differing, as I have explained, in the attitude of the poets, but not in the men and the man
1 I am not satisfied with the epithet delavolóxov (649), nor with the rendering of the old Commentators, and think some corruption must have crept into the text, though the MSS. do not vary except in the termination, and the editors seem satisfied.