Three works have come down to us bearing the name of
Hesiod - the 'Works and Days,' the 'Theogony,' and a description of the 'Shield of Hercules.' Many ancient critics believed the 'Works and Days' to be the only genuine work of Hesiod, and their opinion has been adopted by most modern scholars. We learn from this work that Hesiod was a native of Ascra, a village at the foot of Mount Helicon, to which his father had migrated from the AEolian Cyme in Asia Minor. He further tells us that he gained the prize at Chalcis in a poetical contest; and that he was robbed of a fair share of his heritage by the unrighteous decision of judges who had been bribed by his brother Perses. The latter became afterwards reduced in circumstances, and applied to his brother for relief; and it is to him that Hesiod addresses his didactic poem of the 'Works and Days,' in which he lays down various moral and social maxims for the regulation of his conduct and his life. It contains an interesting representation of the feelings, habits, and superstitions of the rural population of Greece in the earlier ages. Respecting the date of Hesiod nothing certain can be affirmed. Modern writers usually suppose him to have flourished two or three generations later than Homer.
The commencement of Greek lyric poetry as a cultivated species of composition dates from the middle of the seventh century before the Christian era. No important event either in the public or private life of a Greek could dispense with this accompaniment; and the lyric song was equally needed to solemnize the worship of the gods, to cheer the march to battle, or to enliven the festive board. The lyric poetry, with the exception of that of Pindar, has almost entirely perished, and all that we possess of it; consists of a few songs and isolated fragments.
The great satirist ARCHILOCHUS was one of the earliest and most celebrated of all the lyric poets. He was a native of the island of Paros, and flourished about the year 700 B.C. His fame rests chiefly on his terrible satires, composed in the Iambic metre. in which he gave vent to the bitterness of a disappointed man.