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Quote of the week – Hesiod

September 24, 2013

Firstly I just want to say that I am sorry for my absence. I had been working on a personal project which I finished up on Tuesday night last week and intended to return to my blog on Thursday but was struck down by the most awful cold. Continuing to go to work whilst recovering pretty much sapped all my energy and I have not been able to think in the evenings. However, today I feel a little better and am back.

I often think about the nature of goodness, particularly on days when I have witnessed bad things happen to those I consider good. I recently came across Hesiod’s interpretation of how:

between us and Goodness the gods have placed the sweat of our brows; long and steep is the path that leads to her, and it is rough at the first; but when a man has reached the top, then is she easy to reach, though before that she was hard.

(Hesiod Works and Days 289 – 294)

Goodness in this interpretation lies beyond abundant challenges set by the gods. I am not a religious person and so do not consider the challenges in my life to have been set by god; though some do and I often hear the words ‘why me god’. I do not disagree with the central premise of Hesiod’s argument, to be truly good requires effort. I have a personal morality that I follow in the hope of attaining goodness, avoiding the easy path that Hesiod considers leads only to badness (Hesiod Works and Days 288). I have shared this quote as I find it inspiring and hope to inspire others. It is only part of Hesiod’s assessment on the nature of goodness and there is a much wider argument that I would recommend reading.

The next time a moral challenge arises I will certainly approach it in a positive way and think that is one more step towards the summit.


Hesiod The Homeric Hymns and Homerica Translated by H. G. Evelyn-White Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1914.


From → Quotes

  1. Hope you’re feeling better. And thanks for sharing this inspiring quote. I think it’s something we can all think about whenever we’re faced with any of life’s challenges.

    • Hi Kelly

      I am thank you, took a while and still not 100% but thankfully not feel shattered every evening I walk through the door. I still find it amazing how many of today’s sayings stem from ancient texts.


  2. David,
    I am sorry to read that you were unwell. May I suggest a good remedy? It is Echinacea which boosts the immune system. When there is an infection take 30-50 drops in a half glass of water on the hour every hour. Alfred Vogel was told by Indians that it helped snake-bite. There are accounts that he was erroneously told that it cured colds. However Plain Indians, The Kiowa used it for coughs and sore throats, the Cheyenne for sore throats, the Pawnee for headaches, and many tribes including the Lakotah used it as an analgesic.
    My better half won’t leave home without a bottle. I think Hippocrates would approve!

    • Hello Pauline,

      Thank you for the remedy, I shall have to pick some up as although it has shifted slightly it still has not completely gone. I definitely think Hippocrates would approve of this suggestion. Also if I still had the library copy of Dioscorides De Materia Medica I would check to see if it was in there.

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