From Hesiod to the Fifth Century
In the literature which survives from the period between c. 700 BC and the beginning of the fifth century there are certainly instances enough of aidōs and its relatives, but these are largely heterogeneous, and many are uninformative, either replicating commonplace uses of the terms which we have met before, employing them in contexts too general to be of any interest, or, because of the fragmentary nature of the context, failing to provide necessary additional information. In general, we shall find that our best evidence for aidōs and similar concepts comes from literature in which we have the opportunity to observe fictional representations of human beings whose motives are discoverable from the texts in which they are portrayed; not all the archaic poets are moralists or social commentators, but the majority of the relevant instances of aidōs, etc. come from those who are, and all too often these tell us merely that aidōs is considered a good thing, or sketch a situation in which it is appropriate. There are, however, a few passages of sufficient interest to warrant our attention, and in these we shall observe a limited number of significant developments and modifications of the standards found in the Homeric poems.
There are several reasons for caution in drawing conclusions about the development of society and of social and moral attitudes from a comparison of Homeric with archaic literature. Most obviously, perhaps, the evidence furnished by the lyric, elegiac, and iambic poets is fragmentary, and pictures of values which emerge from it are scarcely likely to be complete. There are, moreover, differences of genre, and of the criteria of what can and cannot property be expressed in a given genre--if an archaic poet evinces attitudes different from those which would find approval in Homer this need not be a sign of development, but may be an expression of sentiments considered inappropriate for epic. The poets under consideration in this chapter, too, represent a variety of different voices, and mirror the attitudes of different sections of their communities in different places at different times; their heterogeneity cannot simply