Hesiod (/ˈhiːsiəd, ˈhɛsiəd/;[1] Greek: Ἡσίοδος Hēsíodos) was a Greek poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer.[2][3] He is generally regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject.[4] Ancient authors credited Hesiod and Homer with establishing Greek religious customs.[5] Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek mythology, farming techniques, early economic thought (he is sometimes considered history’s first economist),[6] archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time-keeping.

Three works have survived which are attributed to Hesiod by ancient commentators: Works and Days, Theogony, and Shield of Heracles. Only fragments exist of other works attributed to him. The surviving works and fragments were all written in the conventional metre and language of epic. However, the Shield of Heracles is now known to be spurious and probably was written in the sixth century BC. Many ancient critics also rejected Theogony (e.g., Pausanias 9.31.3), even though Hesiod mentions himself by name in that poem. Theogony and Works and Days might be very different in subject matter, but they share a distinctive language, metre, and prosody that subtly distinguish them from Homer’s work and from the Shield of Heracles[26] (see Hesiod’s Greek below). Moreover, they both refer to the same version of the Prometheus myth.[27] Yet even these authentic poems may include interpolations. For example, the first ten verses of the Works and Days may have been borrowed from an Orphic hymn to Zeus (they were recognised as not the work of Hesiod by critics as ancient as Pausanias).[28]