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Old Masters of Academia


Written and compiled by George Knowles

If you have ever done research into ancient history then you will no doubt have seem references to some of the old time masters of academia, the writers, poets and artists whose knowledge, wisdom and foresight have inspired so many.  Those whose works live on, collected on shelves in dusty old museums, where they continue to be referenced by historians and others.  But have you ever wondered who these old masters are?  Here is my attempt to find out about some of them:


Hesiod from the 9th century BC is one of the great early poets of Greek history, in his honour; the Hesiodic School of ancient Greek poetry was named after him.  Except for the works of the blind poet ‘Homer’ (dates un-known but believed to be around 700 BC), the epics of Hesiod are the earliest Greek writings to come down to the present time.  Of his two great works that survive, ‘Theogony’ relates to the ancient myths of the gods while ‘Works and Days’ is a book of wisdom on rural life and traces the decline of humanity from the early golden age through the five ages of existence to the iron age. 

Hesiod portrays himself as a Boeotian farmer and a native of the village of Ascra in Boeotia, a district in central Greece.  Legend has it he was a shepherd until the Muses (the inspirers of poetry) endowed him with talent and commanded him to "sing of the race of the blessed gods immortal". What little is known of his real life is told in his Works and Days and the few small references he makes to his family's origin during a quarrel with his brother Perses who he criticizes for having made off with the bulk of their inheritance.  He also tells us that he once travelled to Chalcis on the island of Euboea for a contest of poets. 

Works and Days is perhaps his most famous work and is an epic of Greek rural life filled with caustic advice for his brother and maxims for farmers to pursue - “the days are days lucky or unlucky for particular tasks”, he tells us.  He then speaks about justice and hard work as the only way to success and gives advice on agriculture, commerce, navigation, marriage, bringing-up children and other moral useful precepts.  He also gives a discourse on the five ages of human existence, starting with the ‘Golden Age’ ruled by Kronos, a period of serenity, peace and eternal spring.  He follows with the ‘Silver Age’ ruled by Zeus, less happy but with luxury prevailing, the ‘Bronze Age’ a period of strife, the ‘Heroic Age’ of the Trojan War and the ‘Iron Age’ where justice and piety has vanished.

Theogony is the earlier of his two books and relates to the history of the gods and creation; it culminates with the triumph of Zeus as the supreme god.  "Theogony" is an Epic poem consisting of 1022 lines in which Hesiod explains the beginning of creation and the birth and the history of the Greek gods.  According to him Chaos was here first, then came Gaia and the Earth was formed, then Tartarus who dwelt in the depth of Earth and last of all Eros representing Love.  Eros is a natural power that caused the union of identical parts of matter to result in the formation of several bodies, and by keeping them united it kept the whole Universe in order.  These four elements are mentioned as self-made elements and not as coming from each other. 

By ‘Chaos’ Hesiod means the dark that dominated everywhere.  From Chaos came forth Erebus and Night and then night bare Aether and Day.  Gaia (Earth) first gave birth to Uranus (Heaven), then after lying with Uranus she beget six sons and daughters.  The sons were:  Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Crius, Iapetus and Cronus (they were called the ‘Titans’), the daughters were:  Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe and Tethys (called Titanides).  According to Hesiod, Earth then was the center of the Universe and the matter by which the other bodies were formed. 

Next Earth gave birth to the Cyclops’, who had only one eye in the middle of their foreheads.  Then the Hundred-handed were born Cottus, Briarus and Gyes, they had a hundred arms springing from their shoulders.  Uranus hid them all away in the depths of the earth to the great sorrow of his wife Earth.  She then tried to rouse the Titans against their father.  Cronus of all the Titans hated his father most and undertook to punish him.  After he had overthrown his father, Cronus then became the King.  However Cronus learned from Earth that he in turn would be overthrown by one of his own children, sired from his sister Rhea.  So as each was born he ate and swallowed his own children at birth.  First he swallowed Hestia, then Demeter and Hera and after them Pluto and Poseidon.  His wife Rhea was in deep grief and when she was about to give birth to the youngest of her children Zeus, she left for Crete. 

When Zeus grew up he came against his father with his brothers and sisters who had been brought up again by Cronus after Earth's advice.  Zeus in the meantime had freed Cyclopes who as a gift gave him thunder and lightning, he also freed the Hundred-handed who helped him in his fighting against Cronus and Titans.  The war that ensued was called ‘Titanomachy’ after the Titans and ended with Zeus' victory over Cronus. 

Reading through the lines about Titanomachy in Hesiod's Theogony, one cannot but admire his vivid description of war, which makes the reader feel the full horrors of conflict and witness its destructive consequences.  Moreover the thunder and the lightning are put before the reader's eyes as the high-powered destructive weapons used by Zeus to defeat the enemy. 

Zeus who emerged the victor became the new king and ruled with wisdom and justice.  He was the father of many gods and heroes as well:  By Metis he had Athena who was born out of his head after he had swallowed her mother, by Themis he had Eunomia (order), Dike (justice) and Eirene (peace), as well as the Moerae (fates): Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, by Eurenome he had the three Charities (graces): Aglaea, Euphrosyne and Thaleia, by Demeter he had Persephone, then Mnemosyne bore him the nine Muses: Cleio, Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Urania and Kalliope.   Leto bore Apollo and Artemis, and by Hera he had Hebe, Ares and Eileithyia.  Hera also gave birth to Hephaestus but without union with Zeus.  Maia, Atlas’ daughter, joined with him and gave birth to Hermes, and Semele, Cadmus' daughter bore him Dionysus.  Of the Heroes, Zeus was father of Perseus by Danae, and Heracles by Alcmene.




Yet to be posted.

Best Wishes and Blessed Be.


Site Contents - Links to all Pages


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About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


Sabbats and Festivals:


The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:


Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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