The World of Hesiod: A Study of the Greek Middle Ages, C. 900-700 B. C

The World of Hesiod: A Study of the Greek Middle Ages, C. 900-700 B. C

The World of Hesiod: A Study of the Greek Middle Ages, C. 900-700 B. C

The World of Hesiod: A Study of the Greek Middle Ages, C. 900-700 B. C

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to answer the question what manner of men the Greeks were, before they launched out on that momentous process of change which leads to Ionian rationalism and to the civilization of Athens. Such an inquiry is a necessary preliminary to any study of the great change itself that is to have its foundations firm, and therefore, however laborious, is abundantly worth making. The sources also, though scattered, are by no means so scanty as is sometimes supposed; and if our period has little of the glamour of the Heroic Age or Minoan Decline and Fall, or of the brilliant Lyric Age which was to follow, yet Hesiod and the Geometric potters and painters are company by no means to be despised.

The book is thus a continuation, in some sort, of the author's Minoans, Philistines, and Greeks. It is more intimately connected with a study of the Lyric Age itself, with its storms and revolutions, economic, political and social--an age not less brilliant and not less momentous for all future generations than any other in the history of mankind--which study, begun some years ago, has been interrupted as I realized more fully the need for this preliminary work on the Greek "middle ages". Some good work on Greece has been coloured and to some extent vitiated by a too facile acceptance of traditional or a priori views on "primitive" Greece--a phrase which, as applied to the world of Hesiod, has practically no meaning at all. If I have expressed definite views in these pages on such topics as magic, the limitation of individualism in the Hesiodic age, or changes in custom relating to sexual relations or blood- guilt between the Heroic and late Geometric periods, I can only plead that they have been formed after a patient scrutiny of the evidence; that not many years ago I was quite innocent of any dogmatically-held views on most of these subjects; and that such views as I did hold (at second hand) I have often found reason to change.

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