In Hesiod’s Theogony, he describes many different things, such as relations that the gods had with other gods and goddesses, as well as with mortals. He also describes the wonders of their world. He talks of a world that relies on the gods and goddesses to keep them living.
The gods overall were nice to mankind, however if one person did something to make a god or goddess mad, the world suffered the consequences. There were also offspring of the gods, either immortal or mortal, who weren’t always kind. Such as the offspring of Poseidon, as many of his children were monsters who enjoyed tormenting and angering the gods. Overall, the world seemed to be a nice place for the Greeks. They imagine a world created from the gods.
First was Chaos who produced Gaia. Together they created Erebos (Shadow) and Nyx (Night). Aether (Upper Air) and Hemera (Day) were then born from Nyx and Erebos. Gaia (Mother Earth) herself also produced Ouranos (Sky), Pontus (Sea) and the mountains. This was the beginning of the world that the Greeks eventually came to know.
With Ouranos, Gaia gave birth to the twelve Titans; Okeanos, Koios, Kreios, Hyperion, Iapetos, Thea, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, Tethys, and Kronos. Once Ouranos was defeated, Nyx produced more children. Destiny, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Blame, Hesperides, the Destinies, the Fates, Nemesis, Fraud, Love, Old Age, and Strife. These children all paved the path once mankind came to exist. For the Destinies controlled the life of man from birth to death. As well as the Fates were to assign good and evil to man at the time of his birth. As more descendants came to be, the world started to shape up even more.
Pontos had more children whom could calm the winds and waves of the sea. Hera settled the Nemean lion, who was a vicious lion, a woe to mankind as Hesiod describes. Leto, daughter of Phoebe and Koios, was a gentle goddess who was kind to mortals and immortals alike. There were gods and goddesses who would switch between caring for the mortal men, and letting them suffer in one aspect or another. Hekate was an example of this.
She could present men with sufficient goods, such as herds of cattles, and flocks of fleecy sheep. Just as easily she was said to be capable of taking it away, punishing men when it was shown to be deserved. Next came the Olympian gods. The three brothers; Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, who split up the earth. Hades became the god of the underworld, also ruling over the dead. Poseidon came to be known as the god of the oceans and earthquakes, as well as ruling over horses. Finally Zeus, youngest born child of six, became the god of the sky, ruling over thunder, lightning.
He is also the king of Olympus, ruling over immortals and mortals alike. Zeus seems to generally be a decent king to mortals. However, there have been times where gods (or titans) would anger him, which in turn caused problems. One of the occurences is one that Hesiod describes in his Theogony, the story of the titan Prometheus. Prometheus had presented Zeus with a sacrificed ox.
The flesh, meat, and delicious fat was hidden inside the stomach, looking very unappetizing, whereas the bones were covered in fat, putting off a smell and sight that was pleasing. Prometheus did this to trick Zeus. When it came time for Zeus to decide what would be sacrificed to the gods, the King of Olympus chose the fat covered bones, as it looked more appetizing than the stomach. The trick angered Zeus to a point where he took away the mortals power to make fire, forcing them to suffer. However, Prometheus did not like that idea, and took a chunk of coal from under Zeus’ nose, delivering that ability to mortals once more. Again, Prometheus had angered Zeus. He decided to create a being, evil for men. Hesiod informs us that other gods and goddesses had a hand in creating this maiden as well, such as Hephaestus and Athena.
She was radiant, and captivated immortal gods, as well as mortal men. She was known as Pandora. Bringing forth womankind, an inescapable evil for the Greek mortal men. Other immortal beings that could help or harm mortals are the winds.
A few who were helpful, include the southwest, the north, Argestes, and Zephyr. They are described as a great blessing to mortals, helping them sail across the sea safely. Typhoeus on the other hand, was a storm giant. He would create harmful gusts of wind, destroying ships and injuring man. All in all, Hesiod’s Theogony describes a world full of wonder. The Greeks were benefited immensely from the gods. The gods gave them seasons, animals, high-yielding crops. Everything the mortals needed to survive.
They got the days and nights, as well as festivities from these gods, whether it be the Olympians, their offspring, or even their ancestors. However, nothing comes without a price. Some children brought about the monsters in the world, such as Famine, Homicides, Oath and Lawlessness. The world Hesiod describes gives a moral that if the gods are happy, the people of earth were happy as well. In the beginning of this poem, he describes a scene of great beauty and worship. A scene of the muses dancing around the spring on Mount Helikon, washing their feet, as they sing forth a message.
Speaking of the immortal deities of the earth; Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Hestia and Demeter. As well as Gaia, Nyx, Ouranos and many others. Hesiod says in the poem, that the Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, taught him this story and told him that he is to sing the Muses