The Creation of Woman
 For when the gods and mortal men fell to disputing
at Mekone, Prometheus, acting in a spirit of kindness,
divided and dished up a great ox, deceiving the mind of Zeus.
On the one side he put the flesh and the rich and fat inner parts
hidden under the skin, concealed in the paunch of the ox;
 on the other side he put the ox's white bones, arranging them
well with skillful deception, concealed in silvery fat.
Then the Father of Gods and of Men addressed him as follows:
"Son of Iapetos, lord surpassing all others in glory,
ah my good fellow, how very unfairly you make this division!"
 Thus did Zeus, whose plans are unfailing, chidingly speak.
And Prometheus, the clever deviser, made him this answer,
gently smiling the while and mindful of skillful deception:
"Zeus, most glorious and greatest of gods eternally living,
choose for yourself of these helpings the one that your heart desires."
 Thus he spoke with deceit, but Zeus, whose plans are unfailing,
saw through the trick and wasn't deceived, but planned in his heart
evil which he would bring to fulfillment for mortal men.
Then as in both hands he took up the helping shining with fat
anger swelled in his breast, wrath entered into his heart,
 for he beheld the white bones of the ox and the skillful deception.
(This explains why the tribes of men who dwell on the earth burn white bones on the fragrant altars to the immortals.)
Then, greatly angered, Zeus of the Storm Cloud addressed him as follows:
"Son of Iapetos, you who surpass all others in planning,
 ah my good fellow, you ever are mindful of skillful deception!"
Thus in his wrath Zeus, whose plans are unfailing, spoke.
And he never forgot this act of deception but thereafter
no longer gave to the ash trees the strength of weariless fire,
which is a boon for mortal men who dwell on the earth.
 But the goodly son of Iapetos deceived him by thievery,
stealing the strength of weariless fire, that far-shining brightness,
caught in a fennel stalk's hollow - a deed that pierced to the heart
Zeus the Thunderer on High, stirring his spirit to anger,
when he beheld among men the far-shining brightness of fire.
 Immediately he made in payment of fire an evil for men,
for the famous Lame-Legged One fashioned of clay,
as Zeus decreed, and image resembling a virgin demure.
And the goddess gray-eyed Athena girdled and dressed her
in a silver-white gown and over her head dew a veil,
 one that was woven with wonderful skill, a marvel to look at;
and over this a garland of spring flowers, bright in their freshness,
Pallas Athena set on her head, a lovely adornment;
and a gold crown, encircling the brow, she put in its place,
which had been made by the famous Lame-Legged One himself,
 using the skill of his hands, gladly obliging Zeus Father.
On it were made many intricate shapes, marvels to look at,
resembling the terrible monsters spawned by earth and sea;
many of these he put there, all of them breathing with charm,
marvelous beings which seemed ot be living and able to roar.
 When he had finished this beauty, this evil to balance a good,
Hephaistos brought her among the other gods and men,
glorying in her adornment by the gray-eyed Daughter of Great Zeus.
Then the gods and mortal men were struck with amazement
when they beheld this sheer inescapable snare for men.
 From her descend the race of women, the feminine sex;
from her come the baneful race and types of women.
Women, a great plague, make their abodes with mortal men,
being ill-suited to Poverty's curse but suited to Plenty.
Compare how the honey bees in the protected cells of the hives
 garner food for the drones, conspirers in evil works-
all day long they are active until the sun goes down
busily working and storing white honey during the daylight-
while the drones keep within the protected cells of the hives and
garner into their stomachs the food that the others have worked for.
 Even so Zeus the Thunderer on High created women
as an evil for men and conspirers in troublesome works.
And in exchange for a good he gave a balancing evil.
Whoever flees from marriage and women's mischevious works,
being unwilling to wed, comes to baneful old age with
 no one to care for his needs, and though he has plenty to live on
while he is living, collateral heirs divide his possessions
when he is dead. As for the man who is fated to marry,
if he obtains a virtuous wife, one endowed with good sense,
throughout his life evil and good alternate endlessly.
 But that man who obtains a wife who is thoroughly bad
lives having deep in his breast a pain which never subsides
fixed in his innermost heart, and this is an evil incurable.
Thus to deceive Zeus's mind is impossible or to get round it,
for not even the son of Iapetos, crafter Prometheus,
 avoided his deep wrath, but he in spite of his shrewdness
suffers under compulsion great inescapable bondage.
When the gods and mortal men began fighting at Mekone, Prometheus, acting as a mediator, served a large ox, with the intent of deceiving Zeus. On one side, he put the meat and the edible inner parts, hiding them under the skin, concealed in the belly of the ox; on the other side, he put the ox's bones, arranged skillfully and concealed with the silvery fat.
Then Zeus said to him, chiding, "ah, Prometheus my good fellow, how very unfairly you've divided this!"
Prometheus responded, smiling slyly, "Zeus, go ahead and choose what you'd like from the helpings."
He spoke with deceit, but Zeus saw through Prometheus' trick and, instead of being deceived, planned a punishment for mortal men. Then Zeus took in both hands the helping shining with silvery fat, and finding that they were only bones, he became enraged and full of wrath.
Zeus shouted, "Prometheus, you tricked me!", and he never forgot the deception. (This explains why men burn the bones of the sacrifice on the altars to the immortals. The gods get the essence of the sacrifice, the men get the physical parts. The sacrifices were "burnt" because they burnt the bones and cooked the meat.)
As man's punishment for Prometheus' trickery, he took the fire from the ash trees, which was a very good thing for men. But Prometheus deceived Zeus again, this time by stealing fire from the gods, hiding it in the hollow of a fennel stalk. When he saw this, Zeus became enraged once again, and devised another punishment for man.
He went to Hephaistos and had him fashion a beautiful and demure woman out of clay. Athena dressed her in a silvery white gown and a beautiful veil, held in place with a garland of spring flowers in blume. Finally, Athena placed a gold crown, also made by Hephaistos, on her head. The crown was intricately carved and adorned with incredibly lifelike representations of the terrible monsters spawned by earth and sea. They were so lifelike that they seemed to move and even roar. When he'd finished this beauty, an evil to balance a good, Hephaistos brought her among the gods and men, praising Athena's skill in clothing and adornments. Then the gods and men alike were struck with amazement when they saw this beautiful, inescapable snare for men.
From her descend the race of women, the feminine sex; from her come the baneful race and types of women. Women, a great plague, make their home with mortal men, being badly-suited to poverty, but well-suited to plenty.
Compare how the honey bees in the protected cells of the hives eat the food for the drones, conspiring in evil works - all day long they're active, until the sun goes down, busily working and storing white honey during daylight - while the drones keep within the protected cells of the hive and eat all the food that the others have worked for.
Even so, Zeus created women as an evil for men. In exchange for the good of fire, he gave the evil of women.
Whoever flees from marriage and women's mischeif, being unwilling to wed, will become an old man with no one to care for him, though he has plenty to live on while he's still living, and brothers or cousins will divide his possessions when he's dead. As for the man who marries, even if he gets a good wife, one with good sense, throughout his life good and evil will alternate in an endless cycle. But the man who gets a bad wife lives with a pain in his heart that never subsides, and this is an evil that is incurable.
Thus to deceive Zeus is impossible, physically or mentally, for not even crafty Prometheus avoided Zeus' wrath, and in spite of his shrewdness, he suffers under a great and inescapable bondage (he's chained to a rock and an eagle eats his liver every day.).
Frazer's Comment ::
Prometheus tries to trick Zeus at Mekone (Identified with Sikyon, in the Peloponnese) by making him choose the bones instead of the meat. But Hesiod's Zeus (probably contrary to an earlier version) is not tricked; he chooses the bones with the intention of punishing men, for whom Prometheus has gained the meat. This is an aetiological myth used to explain why men obtain the meat of sacrificial victims but the gods only the bones.
Zeus punishes men by taking fire from the ash trees (which are especially good for kindling) and so men are unable to cook the meat. Prometheus counters by stealing fire in a fennel stalk, an appropriate vehichle, for we elsewhere hear of the stalk of the giant fennel being used for carrying fire. This theft results in Zeus's final punishment: woman is sent to man and (though this is not said here) Prometheus is bound and afflicted with the eagle.
Woman is created out of clay by the Lame-Legged One (Hephaistos) and dressed by Athena. Her last adornment is a crown made by Hephaistos showing representations of monstrous animals. Hesiod's remark on the very lifelike appearance of these animals is inconsistent with the fact that the art of his time was highly stylized. As Marg notes, it was an old, naïve way of praising a work of art, found also in Homer (Iliad 18.478ff.) and often in later Greek literature, to say that its representations were lifelike.
Women are an economic burden, that is, drones. Compare W.D. 302ff., where lazy men are equated with drones. Moreover, the creation of woman raises the problem of marriage, and this problem shows how the lives of men are circumscribed by fate.
A man will have a mixed life of good and bad whether he refuses to marry or even if, choosing to marry, he obtains a good wife. But if he chooses to marry and finds a bad wife, he will have an entirely bad life. These are the only two kinds of life available to him. This view of man's fate seems to have been common in Hesiod's time as well as in later Greek history. As noted in the Introduction, it occurs in the description of the jars of Zeus in Iliad 24.525ff.
The moral of the whole Prometheus story is that no one is able to defeat Zeus. A similar idea is expressed in Proverbs 19:21: "A man's heart may be full of schemes, but the Lord's purpose will prevail." The present passage should be compared with that on the creation of Pandora in W.D. 42-105, which ends with the same moral. There man's fate is explained by Pandora's opening of a great jar of evils.
Hesiod really doesn't like women much, huh?
also, he doesn't know how a bee hive works.