HESIOD: Theogony, Works and Days, Testimonia and HESIOD: The Shield, Catalogue of Women, Other Fragments

Edited and Translated by Glenn W. Most

HESIOD: Theogony, Works and Days, Testimonia
Loeb Classical Library (2018) h/b 326pp £19.95 (ISBN 9780674997202)
Edited and Translated by Glenn W. Most

HESIOD: The Shield, Catalogue of Women, Other Fragments
Loeb Classical Library (2018) h/b 481pp £19.95 (ISBN 9780674997219)
Edited and Translated by Glenn W. Most

This second edition of M.’s admirable Hesiod (first edition 2006) calls for no more than a brief notice. It corrects some ‘errors and infelicities’ and adds some Testimonia and Fragments (none of great import). The edition’s strengths lie in the fact that M. had available the commentaries of Martin West for Theogony and Works and Days (and the edition of Merkelbach and West for the Fragments), and in its long and comprehensive Introduction. It covers Hesiod’s Life and Times, Hesiodic Poetry, Hesiod’s Influence and Reception, and the Transmission of Hesiod’s Poetry. M. has emphasised the scope and importance of the many papyrus discoveries, as well as the importance in Hesiod’s work of oriental influences (brought out with notable detail in the introduction to West’s commentary on Works and Days (1978); Walter Burkert has also been prominent in this area). M. tells us that, while he has relied heavily on the above-mentioned works, he has ‘differed from their choice of readings whenever it seemed necessary to do so’. The volumes contain a useful, and far from excessive, Bibliography, and an all-too-necessary section of Fragment Concordances. 

The first Loeb edition of Hesiod, by Evelyn-White (1914), occupied only one volume, and included the Homeric Hymns and Homerica. It cost roughly 50p—quite likely to fall within a student’s budget—or one-eightieth of the near-£40 for the current two volumes devoted solely to Hesiod. Of course they represent a huge advance in scholarship over Evelyn-White, but one fears that students are unlikely to feature prominently among the purchasers.

Colin Leach

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