The Catalogue of Women and the End of the Heroic Age (Hesiod fr. 204.94–103 MW)
The Catalogue of Women supplies the crucial link between Hesiodic poetry and heroic epic. The heroic world of archaic poetry cannot be fully understood without it. But the interpretation of fragment 204 MW, which describes the end of the heroic age, has long been burdened with misleading and unnecessary assumptions. This article challenges three particularly influential ones: that the passage contrasts demigods to
“ordinary” mortals; that Zeus only feigns to destroy the demigods; and that [βιοτον κα]ι is an acceptable supplement to line 103. My analysis shows that the Catalogue does not represent a departure from, but a
creative reappropriation of, traditional epic material.