The Center for Hellenic Studies

Classical Inquiries

Studies on the Ancient World from the Center for Hellenic Studies

A view of the acropolis at sunset, Athens. Photo by AussieActive.

Chorus of the Birds, by Paul Muldoon

From The Birds by Aristophanes Image by Duncan Cameron (@brokensharkcage) CHORUS: Dearest one, we love the dun of your coat, your reddish throat, you who are first flute of the forest. Let your voice ring out to Spring that it may be heard over the chorus of birds. Come, you who live in the half-light between the night-going-on-day or day-going-on-night, you poor creatures of clay, you poor spectres, you poor… Read more

Research in France on Homeric εὔχομαι since the publication of Leonard Muellner, The Meaning of Homeric EYXOMAI Through its Formulas, 1976

2021.01.23 | By Leonard Muellner §1. My revised doctoral dissertation (degree awarded in June, 1973) was published under the above title with revisions in January, 1976, and has been available online since 2017. Before it was written in 1972-1973, five detailed studies of the word had appeared, each of them taking and defending a different point of view on the meaning of the word in Homeric poetry and on its… Read more

Imagining a courtesan in the songs of Sappho

2021.01.22 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This essay, about imagining the existence of a courtesan in the songs of Sappho, refers not to various modern theories about references being supposedly made to courtesans by the “I” who speaks in her songs. It is, rather, about the imagined identity of Sappho herself in the ancient world. There existed, already then, various theories about the life and times of Sappho. I say… Read more

When self-praise connects the speaker to the universe: A diachronic view of the word eukhomai (εὔχομαι) in its Homeric contexts

2021.01.20 | By Gregory Nagy Poster for Academy of Athens Seminar 2020-2021. This text, https://classical-inquiries.chs.harvard.edu/when-self-praise-connects-the-speaker-to-the-universe/, is to be read “live” on January 20, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. Athens time, as a contribution to a seminar series organized by the Academy of Athens for 2020–2021, “(Self-)Praise and (Self-) Blame in Ancient Literature” (Κέντρον Ερεύνης της Ελληνικής και Λατινικής Γραμματείας της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών, στο πλαίσιο του μηνιαίου σεμιναρίου του). My special thanks go to… Read more

How the first word in Song 1 of Sappho is relevant to her reception in the ancient world—and to various different ways of thinking…

2021.01.15 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay, extracting what I have learned about the meaning of the first word in Song 1 of Sappho in the overall context of studying, in previous essays, the ancient reception of Sappho, I will concentrate on the erotic power of floral perfumes—a power that is driven by Aphrodite and that is poeticized in Sappho’s songs with reference to two boy-loves of the… Read more

Leaning in, by Rachel Hadas

Translated to Greek by George Chaldezos   Students all too commonly misconstrue the poem in which Sappho calls that man equal to a god who, opposite you, leans in and      whispers, etcetera,   tending to assume it’s about two people: speaker/loved one? Beloved and man near her, bending close to her, whom the poet hears as,      heads close together,   they laugh softly? Wait: that makes three. Sweat’s… Read more


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