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HesperosStudies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday$
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P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, and N. J. Richardson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199285686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199285686.001.0001

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Hesiod’s Theogony and the Folk Tale

Hesiod’s Theogony and the Folk Tale

Chapter:
(p.66) 5 Hesiod’s Theogony and the Folk Tale
Source:
Hesperos
Author(s):

Malcolm Davies

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199285686.003.0005

It is well known that Hesiod's Theogony contains a number of folk tale motifs. West's 1966 commentary specifies Prometheus and Epimetheus, ‘the pair of brothers, one clever and one stupid, or one good and the other bad’ and the succession myth of lines 453-506, with ‘the father who tries to dispose of his children in order to prevent the fulfilment of a prophecy that one of them will overthrow him; the child who is exposed, but who grows up in safety nevertheless and returns to claim his inheritance; and the man who is swallowed by a monster or demon and afterwards rescued alive and whole from his belly. This chapter suggests that a further folk tale motif is lurking in the aetiological account of how Prometheus tricked Zeus over sacrificial portions (555-616).

Keywords:   folk tales, Greek poetry, Theogony, Epimetheus, Hesiod, Prometheus, Zeus

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