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Ovid's Four Ages
The Roman poet Ovid (1st century BC - 1st century AD) tells a similar myth of Four Ages in Book 1.89-150 of the Metamorphoses. His account is similar to Hesiod's with the exception that he omits the Heroic Age.
Publius Ovidius Naso (March 20, 43 BC – 17 AD) was a Roman poet known to the English-speaking world as Ovid who wrote on many topics, including love, abandoned women and mythological transformations.
Ovid emphasizes the justice and peace that defined the Golden Age. He adds that in this age, men did not yet know the art of navigation and therefore did not explore the larger world.
The term Golden age stems from Greek mythology and legend. It refers to the highest age in the Greek spectrum of Iron, Bronze, Silver and Golden ages, or to a time in the beginnings of Humanity which was perceived as an ideal state, or utopia, when mankind was pure and immortal.
This was the Golden Age that, without coercion, without laws, spontaneously nurtured the good and the true. There was no fear or punishment: there were no threatening words to be read, fixed in bronze, no crowd of suppliants fearing the judge’s face: they lived safely without protection.
In the Silver Age, Zeus introduces the seasons and men consequentially learn the art of agriculture and architecture.
Jupiter shortened spring’s first duration and made the year consist of four seasons, winter, summer, changeable autumn, and brief spring. Then parched air first glowed white scorched with the heat, and ice hung down frozen by the wind. Then houses were first made for shelter: before that homes had been made in caves, and dense thickets, or under branches fastened with bark. Then seeds of corn were first buried in the long furrows, and bullocks groaned, burdened under the yoke.
In the Bronze Age, Ovid writes, men were prone to warfare, but not impiety.
The people of the bronze age displayed fiercer natures, readier to indulge in savage warfare, but not yet vicious.
Finally, in the Iron Age, men demarcate nations with boundaries; they learn the arts of navigation and mining; they are warlike, greedy and impious. Truth, modesty and loyalty are nowhere to be found.
The harsh iron age was last. Immediately every kind of wickedness erupted into this age of baser natures: truth, shame and honor vanished; in their place were fraud, deceit, and trickery, violence and pernicious desires.