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The Story of Hesiod

By K.C. Hulsman

Once upon a time, in ancient Boeotia, there was a man named Hesiod. He lived with his father in the town of Askra, which Hesiod hated. Originally, Hesiod’s father was from Cyme, a city in Aeolis once claimed to be Aeolis’ largest and most important city — so I can see why Hesiod hated it in Askra, which was small, rural, and largely insignificant. In fact, there was very little that Hesiod didn’t hate. He hated Askra. He hated his brother. He hated women — and just wasn’t too fond of people, as a general rule, as well.

Hesiod did, though, seem to get enjoyment in some form from the things most people disliked, if only because it gave him a smug sense of superiority. He liked work, especially hard manual labour. Actually, I think that was about it. Then one day, he realised that, even more than work, he loved the Theoi. One day, Hesiod’s up on Mount Helikon, tending sheep and hating everything, and a Moisa visited him, as he was out being perfectly happy, with his own little cloud of hateful feelings hoovering above him (as one does, when one’s first, middle, last, or only name is Hesiod), and the Goddess whispered beautiful metres into his ear. “Could it be?” He thought. “Is there truly something more wonderful in life than misery?”

“Indeed,” said the Moisa with a nod, before commanding Hesiod to write it all down.

First Hesiod wrote the Theogony, a grand epic poem of no fewer than 1022 lines, detailing the geneology of the Theoi and the universe They brought together — from Everything’s humble origins as little more than a speck within the great vast tendrils of Khaos’ formless tresses (yes, She is like a Lovecraftian Old One) to the woman Pandora. Pandora was likely inspired by Hesiod’s now long-forgotten ex-wife, Synthykhe — she was one of those educated bitches from Thespiai and was the youngest of her family, with three other sisters, so her dowry was, like, two chickens and a used featherbed, and she didn’t dig Askra too well, so she took off one day when Hesiod and his brother were being weiners at each-other, leaving ol’ Hesiod even more broken and joyless than he was before — and that’s a mighty accomplishment. Now she’s a famous hetaera, and making fat cash. Basically, all those “educated Thespian bitches” stereotypes that Hesiod could think of, he put into Pandora so that he could use her as a literary device to support his notion that women can’t be trusted. Or something. Hesiod’s got issues.

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