Ages of Man

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According to Greek mythology, “the ages of man” are phases that humans have gone through over time, since having existed on Earth. While most are familiar with Shakespeare’s poem “The Seven Ages of Man”, many are not familiar with Hesiod’s five, and Ovids four interpretation of the stages of mankind. Hesiod and Ovid, two classical authors known in Greek mythology, have suggested different phases of how mankind has evolved over time. These stages, similarly have significantly progressed from long ago in which mankind adorned their blissful and exquisite way of life, to what is seen in the last phase of man. For both Hesiod and Ovid their last phase, is seen as a never-ending war, consisting of selfish, immoral humans, who experience sorrow and torture amongst one another. With these two well-known interpretations, from Hesiod (Greek) and Ovid (Rome), the Greeks seem to believe in a life after death. They may not be too secure with the idea, nor do they seem to know how long it will last. But the Romans looked at man like anything else created: he lives, deteriorates and dies, just as the metals begin to diminish over time in conjunction to “the decline of humankind from a blessed past to a wretched present” (Powell). In the first stage, known as “The golden age”, for both Hesiod and Ovid, besides the obvious similarity in name, in both stages, those who lived during this stage were considered “blessed” living in peace, where war was non existent and “all good things were theirs; land yielded grain in abundance, in harvests demanding no toil” (Hesiod i.116-117). Significant differences appear during this stage as well. According to Hesiod, during his golden age, “men” were seen as gods, who become “the guardians and defenders of mortals” (Hesiod i.120). On the other hand Ovid’s “men” are merely mortals having “lived entire lifetimes in peace and ease”(Straitt i.94-95) In the second stage, known as “The Silver age”, similarly they both are thought as...
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