International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Ancient Greece and Rome
Hesiod (c. 8th century BC)

Greek poet and the earliest author of didactic verse. His two complete extant works are the Works and Days dealing with the agricultural seasons, and the Theogony, concerning the origin of the world and the genealogies of the gods.

Extract from The Penguin History of Greece by A.R.Burn, © 1969-85:

Hesiod also, in his Works and Days has a theory of human history.
. . The Golden Age was in the time of Kronos, when men were innocent food-gatherers and there was neither work nor war.

[Note: the author of the above book is not at all sympathetic to vegetarianism, though even he has to acknowledge it. However it is a useful introduction to the general history of the era - ed.]

- from the 1957 IVU Congress souvenir book:

HESIOD : (8th century B.C.) - one of the earliest of the prophet poets of Greece who in old age left a populous city, retiring to a mountain to subsist on grains, berries, and fruits.

The Golden Age:

"Like Gods, they lived with calm, untroubled mind,
Free from the toil and anguish of our kind,
Nor did decrepit age mis-shape their frame...
Pleased with earth's unbough feasts: all ills removed,
Wealthy in flocks, and of the Blest beloved,
Death, as a slumber, pressed their eye-lids down:
All Nature's common blessings were their own.
The life bestowing tilth its fruitage bore,
A full, spontaneous, and ungrudging store...

The Silver Age, though less transcendentally pure, still preserved much of the primitive innocence, cultivated friendliness with the lower creatures, and wholly abstained from the slaughter of animals in the preparation of their food; nor did they offer sacrifices. But the feast of blood was inaugurated with

The Brazen Age:

"Strong with the ashen spear, and fierce and bold,
Their thoughts were bent on violence alone,
The deed of battle and the dying groan,
Bloody their feasts with wheaten food unblessed."


Ancient bronze bust, the so-called Pseudo-Seneca, now conjectured to be an imaginative portrait of Hesiod