Beneath the Earth
THE DAIMONES ARGYREOI were earth-dwelling fertility spirits who proferred mankind with rich harvests. They were born as the Silver generation of men, second to the Gold, who after their deaths were transformed into beneficient daimones. The Daimones Argyreoi (Silver Spirits) were inferior to the Daimones Khryseoi (Golden Spirits)--the former dwelt within the earth, while the latter occupied the air.
|GAIA (Hesiod Great Works Frag 2)
|THE BRAZEN RACE OF MEN (by the Meliai) ? (Hesiod Works & Days 150)
Hesiod, Works & Days 121 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"They who dwell on Olympos made a second generation [of men after the Golden Race] which was of Silver and less noble by far. It was like the golden race neither in body nor in spirit. A child was brought up at his good mother's side an hundred years, an utter simpleton, playing childishly in his own home. But when they were full grown and were come to the full measure of their prime, they lived only a little time in sorrow because of their foolishness, for they could not keep from sinning and from wronging one another, nor would they serve the immortals, nor sacrifice on the holy altars of the blessed ones as it is right for men to do wherever they dwell. Then Zeus the son of Kronos was angry and put them away, because they would not give honour to the blessed gods who live on Olympos.
But when earth had covered this generation also--they are called Blessed Spirits (daimones makares) beneath the Earth (hypokhthonioi) by men, and, though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also."
Hesiod, The Great Works Fragment 2 (from Proclus on Hesiod's Works & Days) :
"Some believe that the Silver Race were born of the Ge (the Earth), declaring that in the Great Works Hesiod makes Silver to be of the family of Ge (Earth)."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 89 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Then man was made, perhaps from seed divine formed by the great Origo Mundi (World's Creator), so to found a better world, perhaps the new-made earth, so lately parted from the ethereal heavens, kept still some essence of the kindred sky--earth that son of Iapetus [Prometheus] moulded, mixed with water, in likeness of the gods that govern the world--and while the other creatures on all fours look downwards, man was made to hold his head erect in majesty and see the sky, and raise his eyes to the bright stars above. Thus earth, once crude and featureless, now changed put on the unknown form of humankind.
The Golden Age (Aetas Aurea) was that first age [of Man] which unconstrained, with heart and soul, obedient to no law, gave honour to good faith and righteousness. No punishment they knew, no fear; they read no penalties engraved on plates of bronze; no suppliant throng with dread beheld their judge; no judges had they then, but lived secure. No pine had yet, on its high mountain felled, descended to the sea to find strange lands afar; men knew no shores except their own. No battlements their cities yet embraced, no trumpets straight, no horns of sinuous brass, no sword, no helmet then--no need of arms; the world untroubled lived in leisured ease. Tellus [Gaia, Earth] willingly, untouched, ynot wounded yet by hoe or plough, gave all her bounteous store; men were content with nature's food unforced, and gathered strawberries on the mountainside and cherries and the clutching bramble's fruit, and acorns fallen from Jove's [Zeus'] spreading tree. Springtime it was, always, for ever spring; the gentle zephyrs with their breathing balm caressed the flowers that sprang without a seed; anon the earth untilled brought forth her fruits, the unhallowed fields lay gold with heavy grain, and streams of milk and springs of nectar flowed and yellow honey dripped from boughs of green. When Saturnus [Kronos] fell to dark Tartara and Jove [Zeus] reigned upon the earth, the Proles Argentea (Silver Race) replaced the Gold, inferior, yet in worth above he tawny bronze."
- Hesiod, Works & Days - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
- Hesiod, The Great Works - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.