The term ‘work’, in the singular, did not exist in ancient Greece: Vernat noted that before the 5th century they only spoke of ‘works’ (ergestai), described by Hesiod in The Works and the Days (8th century BC) as a ‘school of excellence’ and as ‘sorrow’. Two ideas are present: agricultural work was a privileged means of ‘participation’ and communication with the gods, while also signifying labour, punishment, and ‘pain’.