gray hair baby

Time of the Season

The first extant account of the successive ages of mankind comes from Works and Days of the Greek poet Hesiod.

His list is:

Golden Age

The Golden Age is the only age that falls within the rule of Kronos.

Molded out of the earth through the hands of Prometheus, these humans were said to live among the gods, and freely mingled with them.

Peace and harmony prevailed during this age.

People did not labor to feed themselves, earth provided abundant food.

They lived to a youthful old age and eventually died peacefully.

Their spirits live on as "guardians".

Plato in Cratylus recounts the golden race of men who came first.

He clarifies that Hesiod did not mean men literally made of gold, but good and noble.

He describes these men as daemons upon the earth.

Since daimones is derived from daemones, meaning knowing or wise, they are beneficent, preventing ills, and guardians of mortals.

Silver Age

The Silver Age and every age that follows fall within the rule of the successor and son of Kronos, Zeus.

Zeus carved these humans out of the Ash tree.

Men lived for one hundred years under the dominion of their mothers.

They lived only a short time as grown adults, and spent that time in strife.

When men refused to worship the gods Zeus destroyed them for impiety.

After death, humans of this age became "blessed spirits" of the underworld.

Bronze Age

Men of the Bronze Age were hardened, war was their purpose and passion.

Their arms and tools were forged of bronze as was their chainmaille.

The men of this Age were undone by their own violent ways and left no named spirits; instead, they dwell in the "dank house of Hades".

This Age came to an end with the Flood of Deucalion.

Heroic Age

The Heroic Age is the one age that does not correspond with any metal.

It is also the only age that improves upon the age it follows.

These humans were forged from the bones of the earth (stones) through the actions of Deucalion and Pyrrha.

In this period men lived with noble demigods and heroes.

It was the heroes of this Age who fought at Thebes and Troy.

This race of humans died and went to Elysium.

Iron Age

Hesiod finds himself in the Iron Age.

During this age humans live an existence of toil and misery.

Children dishonor their parents, brother fights with brother.

The social contract between guest and host (xenia) is forgotten.

Might makes right, and bad men use lies to be thought good.

People no longer feel shame or indignation at wrongdoing.

Babies will be born with gray hair and the gods will have completely forsaken humanity: "there will be no help against evil."

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