Hesiod’s Monsters and the Limits of Etymological Signification
This paper explores the ways in which the presence of monstrous figures challenges etymologically ‘correct’ naming in Hesiod’s Theogony. By examining the section on the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handers (139-153), the catalogue of monsters (270-336), and the Typhonomachy (820-880), I argue that the Theogony’s monstrous characters call into question the poet’s ability to encapsulate adequately and clearly the hybrid essence of these beings by using a single, ‘correct’ name. Etymological ‘correctness’ increasingly recedes, the names of monsters sometimes capture only part of the nature of these characters, while some characters bear only generic names or no name at all. With the defeat of Typhoeus etymological ‘correctness’ returns to the narrative, thereby suggesting that Zeus’s victory has both a political and a linguistic/cognitive effect.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Athanassios Vergados, "Hesiod’s Monsters and the Limits of Etymological Signification", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2021, pp. 59-85.