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[140] But when earth had covered this generation also—they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and, though they are of second order, yet honor attends them also—Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees1 ; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, [145] but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs. [150] Their armor was of bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their implements: there was no black iron. These were destroyed by their own hands and passed to the dank house of chill Hades, and left no name: terrible though they were, [155] black Death seized them, and they left the bright light of the sun. But when earth had covered this generation also, Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called [160] demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven-gated Thebes when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some, when it had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf [165] to Troy for rich-haired Helen's sake: there death's end enshrouded a part of them. But to the others father Zeus the son of Cronos gave a living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the ends of earth. [170] And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep-swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom [173] the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, [169] far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them; [169a] for the father of men and gods released him from his bonds. [169b] And these last equally have honor and glory. [169c] And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another generation, the fifth, of men [169d] who are upon the bounteous earth.

1 Eustathius refers to Hesiod as stating that men sprung “from oaks and stones and ashtrees.”Proclus believed that the Nymphs called Meliae (Theogony,187) are intended. Goettling would render: “A race terrible because of their (ashen) spears.”

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