2016.12.01 | By Gregory Nagy
The time has come for Achilles to re-enter the war against the Trojans. For this to happen, Agamemnon must first settle with Achilles. But the over-king feels the need to say more than simply to formulate his proposed terms of settlement. His aim is to excuse himself from responsibility for dishonoring Achilles, and the story that he tells in order to achieve this aim is a retelling of a cosmic atē ‘aberration’ that resulted in the Labors of Hēraklēs. Such a retelling, however, is destined to backfire: it will result in further damage to his own royal status and in further advancement for the heroic prestige of Achilles, for whom Hēraklēs now becomes a perfect model. [full article here]
2016.11.25 | By Gregory Nagy
The centerpiece of Iliad 18 is the shield of Achilles, envisioned as a work of art that defines the universe. The divine artisan Hephaistos makes this shield by way of metalwork, but Homeric poetry reconfigures the artistry of this metalwork by way of verbal art. And the artistry of Homeric poetry will now create or re-create a cosmos that is meant to contain the Iliad itself.
[full article here]
2016.11.18 | By Gregory Nagy
The main preoccupation of the Achaeans here in Iliad 17 is to recover the corpse of Patroklos. Their efforts are understandable, in that they are showing their sense of solidarity by trying to rescue from harm the body of a fellow warrior who has fallen in battle. But the motivation here goes deeper. Patroklos is a cult hero in the making, and the corpses of heroes are essential for establishing hero cults in their honor. And the foreseen status of Patroklos as cult hero prefigures a comparable status for Achilles himself beyond the Iliad.
[full article here]
2016.11.10 | By Gregory Nagy
It seems at first as if everything is coming together here in Iliad 16. Achilles, best of the Achaeans, sends out his other self, Patroklos, to fight Hector and his Trojans, who are now on the verge of setting on fire and destroying all the beached ships of the Achaeans. [full article here]
2016.11.03 | By Gregory Nagy
These jottings—that is all they are—stem from my notes for a talk that I am presenting 2016.11.03. The title of the talk is: “The dynamism of mouvance in the pronouncements of the Delphic Oracle.”
Why do I say mouvance in my title? It is because this term captures what I plan to argue about the verbal medium used by the Pythia in making responses to inquirers in the ritual process of their consulting the Delphic Oracle. In terms of my argument, this verbal medium was a continuation of a living oral tradition. [full article here]