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Pausanias asserted that Boeotians showed him an old tablet made of lead on which the Works were engraved.If he did write or dictate, it was perhaps as an aid to memory or because he lacked confidence in his ability to produce poems extempore, as trained rhapsodes could do.Fanciful though the story might seem, the account has led ancient and modern scholars to infer that he was not a professionally trained rhapsode, or he would have been presented with a lyre instead.It might seem unusual that Hesiod's father migrated from Asia Minor westwards to mainland Greece, the opposite direction to most colonial movements at the time, and Hesiod himself gives no explanation for it.The father probably spoke in the Aeolian dialect of Cyme but Hesiod probably grew up speaking the local Boeotian, belonging to the same dialect group.However, while his poetry features some Aeolisms there are no words that are certainly Boeotian.His basic language was the main literary dialect of the time, Homer's Ionian.
Ephorus made Homer a younger cousin of Hesiod, the 5th century BC historian Herodotus (Histories II, 53) evidently considered them near-contemporaries, and the 4th century BC sophist Alcidamas in his work Mouseion even brought them together for an imagined poetic ágōn ( Imitations of his work have been observed in Alcaeus, Epimenides, Mimnermus, Semonides, Tyrtaeus and Archilochus, from which it has been inferred that the latest possible date for him is about 650 BC.His farmer employs a friend (Works and Days 370) as well as servants (502, 573, 597, 608, 766), an energetic and responsible ploughman of mature years (469 ff.), a slave boy to cover the seed (441–6), a female servant to keep house (405, 602) and working teams of oxen and mules (405, 607f.).One modern scholar surmises that Hesiod may have learned about world geography, especially the catalogue of rivers in Theogony (337–45), listening to his father's accounts of his own sea voyages as a merchant.This tradition follows a familiar ironic convention: the oracle that predicts accurately after all.The other tradition, first mentioned in an epigram by Chersias of Orchomenus written in the 7th century BC (within a century or so of Hesiod's death) claims that Hesiod lies buried at Orchomenus, a town in Boeotia.