100 great writers (gnv64)
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FROM THE HOUSE OF MAGIC POT, MANORAMA YEAI ,AND THE MALAYALA MANORAMA DAILY
. 4 Why Is Aesop popular with children all over theworld7 You must have heard and read many of Aesop's fables, li ke The Fox and the Grapes' and The Tortoise and the Hare.' But do you know who Aesop was? He was a Greekslave who l ived about 2,500 years ago. He was a great storytel l er, and hi s master del i ghted i n hearing hi s tales. |fact, it was hi s l earni ng and hi s wit that earned hi m hi s freedom. Afer he was free, Aesop travel led to several countries, and met many wi se men with whom he hel d l ong di scussi ons. Once he was asked by the ki ng to distribute a l arge sum of gol d amongst the citizens of Del phi . However, he found them to be very greedy and unworthy of such a gift, and so he sent the money backtothe ki ng. Thi s enraged the citizens of Delphi, and they had hi m publ icly executed l i ke a cri mi nal . Thi s was a sad end for such a great man. But it is sai d that the Gods punished the citizens of Del phi for thei r cri me. Calami ty after cal amity befel l them unti l they were forced to repent havi ng ki l led Aesop. Thus the phrase 'the blood of Aesop' came to mean that the deeds of those who do wrong wi l l surely be puni shed. Aesop never wrote any of his stories down. However, many years after his death, people started to write down hi s fables. Over the centuries, Aesop's fables have been translated i nto al most every l anguage in the worl d. His stories remain popular to thi.s day bcause each one teaches us a moral i n an Interesting and unique way. Tel l Me Why 1 00 Great Writers Why Is Hesiod said to be 'a hater of women'? Hesiod lived in Greece during the ei ghth century B. C. Hi s two most i mportant contri buti ons are 'Works and Days', and the 'Theogony'. I n 'Works and Days', Hesi od di vi ded ti me i nto five ages. The first i s the Gol den Age, rul ed by (ronos, when peopl e l ived extremely l ong lives 'without sorrow of heart'. The second is the Si lver Age, rul ed by Zeus. The thi rd is the Bronze Age, an epoch of war, the fourth is the Heroi c Age, whi ch was the ti me of the Trojan War. The fifh and last age, i s the I ron Age whi ch is the corrupt present. The 'Theogony' presents the descent of the gods, and is one of the key documents for Greek mythol ogy. Hesiod i s regarded as a hater of women for his description of Pandora, the first woman. Accordi ng to his story, before Pandora, manki nd led a happy existence, free from i l l ness and suferi ng. However, Pandora changed al l that. Al though she was very beautiful, her curiosity unl eashed sickness and evi l i nto the world. So according to Hesiod, women are responsi bl e for al l the suferi ng i n the worl d. Obviously, he had a deep seated hatred for women! 5 Greek currency note portraying the epic poet Hesiod Why was Hesiod a great author of the Greek classical era? Hesiod was a Greek epic poet who flouri shed in Boeotia around 700 B.C. He, al ongsi de Homer, was the most respected of the ol d Greek poets. His epi c poem 'Theogony' describes the ori gi ns of the gods, and hi s 'Works and Days' deal s wi th subjects l i ke farmi ng, moral ity and country l ife. He was al so the author of a l arge number of lost or fragments of poems. Hesiod probably l ived shortly afer Homer, i n a vi l l age cal led Ascra. He worked as a shepherd in the mountai ns, and then, as a peasant on a hard l and when hi s father died. Whi l e tendi ng hi s flock, the Muses, 6 who were the goddesses of the Arts, appeared to Hesi od i n a mi st. Thi s mystical experience i mpel l ed Hesi od to write epic poetry. The reason for Hesi od's wri ti ng of the 'Works and Days' was a di spute between hi m and hi s brother Perses over the di stributi on of his father's l and. Afer Hesiod lost a l awsui t to hi s brother Perses, he l eft hi s homel and and moved to Naupactus. Accordi ng to the l egend about hi s death, he Tel l Me Why Why is Sappho imporant amongst ancient Greek poets Sappho i s the most famous of the ancient Greek women poets. She l i ved on the i sl and of Lesbos, and taught young women there. She i s thought to have been born around 61 0 B.C., and to have died in about 570. Sappho wrote her poems pri mari ly as a tri bute to the private worl d of women, somethi ng whi ch was very rare i n Greek l iterature. Therefore, the poems provide us with a val uabl e and remarkabl e gl i mpse i nto the l ives and aspi rations of Greek gi rl s. Sappho wrote movi ng lyric poetry. A poetic meter was named in honour of her. She wrote odes to the goddesses, especial ly Aphrodite, and sang joyful l y of the beautiful deity. I n fact, her poems are l i ke graceful gifs to thi s gol den goddess of love. Sappho al so wrote about herself, her women's community, and her ti mes. Her writi ng about her ti mes was very different from her contemporary mal e writers, whose poetry was more political . Thus, Sappho's i mportance l ies in that she gave us a woman's poi nt of view at a time when men domi nated the l iterary world. Statue of Sappho was murdered by the sons of hi s host in Oeneon. Later, hi s bones were brought to Orchomenus where a monument was erected in the marketplace in his honour. Hesiod's works are very i mportant because he spoke about his experiences through hi s poetry. He l ived duri ng the Cl assi cal Era of Greece, whi ch was an exci ti ng peri od when Greek civi l izati on fl ourished i n al l i ts gl ory. Hesi od's works give us a meani ngful i nsi ght i nto thi s momentous era. 1 00 Great Writers 7A moder Greek theatre roup performing one of the great plays of Aeschylus; Aeschylus (shown in inset) Why did Aeschylus' work become a part of the hi story of Greek drama? Aeschyl us was born i n 525 B.C. i n the city of El eusi s, and i s ofen cal led the ' Father ofTragedy'. He i s al so considered to be the person who practical l y i nvented drama as we know i t today. When Aeschylus first began writi ng, the theatre had onl y just begun to evolve. A chorus danced and exchanged di al ogue with a si ngl e actor, who portrayed one or more characters by usi ng masks. Most of the acti on took pl ace i n the ci rcul ar danci ng area or 'orchestra', whi ch sti l l remai ned from the ol d days when drama had been nothi ng more than a ci rcul ar 8 dance around a sacred object. I t was a huge l eap for drama when Aeschyl us i ntroduced the second actor. He also attempted to i nvolve the chorus di rectly i n the action of the play. Al though Aeschyl us i s sai