Old Masters of Academia
by George Knowles
If you have ever done research into ancient history then you will no doubt have seem references to some of the old time masters of academia, the writers, poets and artists whose knowledge, wisdom and foresight have inspired so many. Those whose works live on, collected on shelves in dusty old museums, where they continue to be referenced by historians and others. But have you ever wondered who these old masters are? Here is my attempt to find out about some of them:
from the 9th century BC is one of the
great early poets of Greek history, in his honour; the Hesiodic School of
ancient Greek poetry was named after him. Except
for the works of the blind poet ‘Homer’ (dates un-known but believed to be
around 700 BC), the epics of Hesiod are the earliest Greek writings to come down
to the present time. Of his two
great works that survive, ‘Theogony’ relates to the ancient myths of the
gods while ‘Works and Days’ is a book of wisdom on rural life and traces the
decline of humanity from the early golden age through the five ages of existence
to the iron age.
Hesiod portrays himself
as a Boeotian farmer and a native of the village of Ascra in Boeotia, a district
in central Greece. Legend has it he
was a shepherd until the Muses (the inspirers of poetry) endowed him with talent
and commanded him to "sing of the race of the blessed gods immortal".
What little is known of his real life is told in his Works and Days and the few
small references he makes to his family's origin during a quarrel with his
brother Perses who he criticizes for having made off with the bulk of their
inheritance. He also tells us that
he once travelled to Chalcis on the island of Euboea for a contest of poets.
Works and Days is perhaps his most famous work and is an epic of Greek rural life filled with caustic advice for his brother and maxims for farmers to pursue - “the days are days lucky or unlucky for particular tasks”, he tells us. He then speaks about justice and hard work as the only way to success and gives advice on agriculture, commerce, navigation, marriage, bringing-up children and other moral useful precepts. He also gives a discourse on the five ages of human existence, starting with the ‘Golden Age’ ruled by Kronos, a period of serenity, peace and eternal spring. He follows with the ‘Silver Age’ ruled by Zeus, less happy but with luxury prevailing, the ‘Bronze Age’ a period of strife, the ‘Heroic Age’ of the Trojan War and the ‘Iron Age’ where justice and piety has vanished.
Theogony is the earlier of his two books and relates to the
history of the gods and creation; it culminates with the triumph of Zeus as the
supreme god. "Theogony"
is an Epic poem consisting of 1022 lines in which Hesiod explains the beginning
of creation and the birth and the history of the Greek gods.
According to him Chaos was here first, then came Gaia and the Earth was
formed, then Tartarus who dwelt in the depth of Earth and last of all Eros
representing Love. Eros is a
natural power that caused the union of identical parts of matter to result in
the formation of several bodies, and by keeping them united it kept the whole
Universe in order. These four
elements are mentioned as self-made elements and not as coming from each other.
By ‘Chaos’ Hesiod means the dark that dominated
everywhere. From Chaos came forth
Erebus and Night and then night bare Aether and Day. Gaia (Earth) first gave birth to Uranus (Heaven), then after
lying with Uranus she beget six sons and daughters.
The sons were: Oceanus,
Coeus, Hyperion, Crius, Iapetus and Cronus (they were called the ‘Titans’),
the daughters were: Theia, Rhea,
Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys (called Titanides). According to Hesiod, Earth then was the centre of the
Universe and the matter by which the other bodies were formed.
Next Earth gave birth to the Cyclops’, who had only one eye in the middle of their foreheads. Then the Hundred-handed were born Cottus, Briarus and Gyes, they had a hundred arms springing from their shoulders. Uranus hid them all away in the depths of the earth to the great sorrow of his wife Earth. She then tried to rouse the Titans against their father. Cronus of all the Titans hated his father most and undertook to punish him. After he had overthrown his father, Cronus then became the King. However Cronus learned from Earth that he in turn would be overthrown by one of his own children, sired from his sister Rhea. So as each was born he ate and swallowed his own children at birth. First he swallowed Hestia, then Demeter and Hera and after them Pluto and Poseidon. His wife Rhea was in deep grief and when she was about to give birth to the youngest of her children Zeus, she left for Crete.
When Zeus grew up he came against his father with his brothers and sisters who had been brought up again by Cronus after Earth's advice. Zeus in the meantime had freed Cyclopes who as a gift gave him thunder and lightning, he also freed the Hundred-handed who helped him in his fighting against Cronus and Titans. The war that ensued was called ‘Titanomachy’ after the Titans and ended with Zeus' victory over Cronus.
Reading through the lines about Titanomachy in Hesiod's
Theogony, one cannot but admire his vivid description of war, which makes the
reader feel the full horrors of conflict and witness its destructive
consequences. Moreover the thunder
and the lightning are put before the reader's eyes as the high-powered
destructive weapons used by Zeus to defeat the enemy.
Zeus who emerged the victor became the new king and ruled with wisdom and justice. He was the father of many gods and heroes as well: By Metis he had Athena who was born out of his head after he had swallowed her mother, by Themis he had Eunomia (order), Dike (justice) and Eirene (peace), as well as the Moerae (fates): Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, by Eurenome he had the three Charities (graces): Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thaleia, by Demeter he had Persephone, then Mnemosyne bore him the nine Muses: Cleio, Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Urania and Kalliope. Leto bore Apollo and Artemis, and by Hera he had Hebe, Ares and Eileithyia. Hera also gave birth to Hephaestus but without union with Zeus. Maia, Atlas’ daughter, joined with him and gave birth to Hermes, and Semele, Cadmus' daughter bore him Dionysus. Of the Heroes, Zeus was father of Perseus by Danae, and Heracles by Alcmene.
Yet to be posted.
Best Wishes and Blessed Be.
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Sabbats and Rituals:
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In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders and Elders)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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