to Greek mythology, humankind passed through a number of eras that were
characterised by specific events, and were known in ancient Greece as the Ages
of Man. Hesiod, a famous ancient Greek poet,
recognised five ages, while Ovid, a Roman poet,
believed there were four.
to Hesiod, the five ages
of man were:
Golden Age. During the Golden Age of Man, the ruler of gods and men was the
Mankind lived harmoniously among the gods and interacted with them. There was
an abundance of food that nature provided, and humans did not need to work; so,
they were able to live to a very old age, and when they died, it happened
harmoniously and peacefully.
Silver Age. Starting from the Silver Age until the time of Hesiod, it was
believed that Zeus was
the god of gods and ruler of the universe. Men would live as children for a
hundred years, supported by their mothers, while as adults, they lived for a
very short time as they regularly clashed with each other. They did not pay
tributes to the gods, for which reason Zeus killed
all of them.
Bronze Age. During this period, men were tough, trained, and warlike. They used
bronze to create their weapons and dwellings, and eventually destroyed each
other in wars. The end of this era was marked by the great flood of Deucalion.
Heroic Age. After three eras of the mankind deteriorating in spirit, the Heroic
Age was an improvement to the Bronze Age. This was the time that heroes and
demigods lived, great fighters whose deeds would be sung for centuries to come.
Iron Age. Hesiod believed he and his contemporaries were in the Iron Age, an
age of desolation, destruction and pain. Humans would fight against each other
and would only care of themselves. Because of lack of shame and indignation,
humankind would destroy itself, and the gods would abandon them.
to Ovid, only four ages existed, and he completely disregarded the Heroic Age.
During the Golden Age, men were unable to travel far and could not explore the
whole world. During the Silver Age, Jupiter (the Roman equivalent
of Zeus) offered the seasonal change, as well as the art of agriculture to men.
For Ovid, the Bronze Age was also marked by warfare, while in the Iron Age, men
were not only warlike, but also impious, and disloyal.