The Iron Age
Zeus placed a 5th race of men on earth during the present, Iron Age. All manner of evils came into being during this age. Piety and other virtues disappeared and most of the gods who were left on Earth, abandoned it. Zeus will destroy this race some day.
(ll. 169c-169d) And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth.
(ll. 170-201) Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another's city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis, with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.
Hesiod Works and Days
Print Source: Early Greek Myth, by Timothy Ganz.
Introduction to Greek Mythology
- Myth in Daily Life
- What Is Myth?
- Myths vs. Legends
- Gods in the Heroic Age - Bible vs. Biblos
- Creation Stories
- Uranos' Revenge
- Olympian Gods and Goddesses
- Five Ages of Man
- Philemon and Baucis
- Trojan War
- Bulfinch Mythology
- Myths and Legends
- Golden Fleece and the Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne