700 BC

Theogony is a 1000-line Epic poem composed by Hesiod in approximately 700 BC. In it is recorded the genealogies of the gods of ancient Greece.  It is the first recorded cosmogony in the Greek mythical tradition, and thus serves to narrate the origin of the universe from its primal beginnings in Chaos and Gaia. Written as a hymn to Zeus, Theogony describes the natural world and the generations of the gods who struggle for power over the the newly-created world. In addition to the major and minor gods, Hesiod also personifies and assigns origin stories to many of the earth’s more challenging aspects such as Death, Toil, Strife, and Murder. Much of modern understanding of Greek mythology comes from the stories recounted by Hesiod in addition to the genealogical lists which populate his narrative. More than just an exercise in story-telling, Theogony is an early example of an attempt to provide a coherent explanation of the cosmology of Greek society – from its formless beginning to the ultimate mastery of the universe by Zeus.