Gastêr, Nêdys, and Thauma: Feminine Sources of Deception and Generation in Hesiod’s Theogony
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Through his characterization of Gaia, Metis, Athena, and Pandora, Hesiod attributes the potential for generation and deception to feminine sources and describes how the masculine characters, such as Ouranos, Kronos, Zeus and Hesiod himself, must overcome and sublimate these feminine sources to establish political and poetic authority in the Theogony. Following the motifs of the stomach (gastêr), womb (nêdys) and wonder (thauma), I show how a fundamental tension in the cultural context of the Greek oikos influences Hesiod’s seminal text of Greek mythological thought. Hesiod uses these myths to raise his status from the station of a shepherd claiming to achieve a divine inspiration, the result of which is the ability to transgress geographical, temporal, and metaphysical boundaries and thus to achieve poetic immortality.