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.

On the eclipse of Ajax as a most eligible suitor of Helen

2021.06.14 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In fragments from Hesiodic poetry, we read that the hero Ajax was one of many heroes who came together in Sparta to compete with each other as rival suitors of Helen, who was being “given away” as a bride by not only her mortal would-be father Tyndareos but also by her semi-immortal twin brothers Kastor and Polydeukes (Castor and Pollux). Though he entered the… Read more

Perspectives from Ancient Greece on Mozart’s Queen of the Night

06.10.2021 | By Renée S. Landzberg §0. Concepts of femininity from the Classical period pervade deeply through the Classical era of classical music, latter epitomized by the composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is not surprising then to see parallel traits in the mythological construct of Hērā, Queen of the Gods, and the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s hugely popular opera, The Magic Flute. A longstanding fascination with the classical… Read more

MASt@CHS – Spring Seminar 2021 (Friday, April 16): Summaries of Presentations and Discussion

2021.06.10 | By Rachele Pierini and Tom Palaima §1. Rachele Pierini opened the Spring session of the MASt@CHS seminars by welcoming the participants to the session. In addition to the regular members of the MASt@CHS network and colleagues and students who have already attended previous session, new guests joined the April 16 meeting: Elena Dzukeska, Massimo Perna, Kim Shelton, Trevor Van Damme, and Malcolm H. Wiener. This seminar session was… Read more

How a Classical Homer occasionally downgrades the heroic glory of Ajax in order to save it: Part 3

2021.06.07 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Here in Part 3 of my three-part essay, I take up the argument I introduced at the end of Part 2 (Nagy 2021.06.01, linked here): in “our” Iliad and in “our” Odyssey, the heroic glory of Ajax needs to be safeguarded—but it cannot be completely vindicated. (Hereafter, I will stop using quotation marks in referring to these two epics, which I have also been… Read more