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Swords And Ploughshares

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Chapter Summary

The first section of this chapter consists of a brief overview of modern scholarship concerning the socio-political orientation of the poems of Hesiod and Homer. Section two deals with the poets' role in the ancient opposition of fighting and farming. Both Homer's dominant image as the poet of war and Hesiod's agricultural theme in the Works and Days made the Greeks see Hesiod not merely as an expert on farming, but as a peasant himself. Section three continues the discussion of the opposition between Hesiod and Homer, but from another perspective, focusing on a political instead of a social criterion. Section 4 examines some cases of 'boundary-crossing', i.e. instances where Hesiod and Homer are presented a-typically: Homer singing of agriculture, for example, and Hesiod displaying a kingly character. It is argued that even though such anti-traditional pictures are drawn of both poets, their import is not the same.

Keywords: Hesiod; Homer

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