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.

Girl, interrupted, and some possibilities for linking the hymeneal songs of Sappho with the etymologies of two Greek words, humḗn (ὑμήν) and húmnos (ὕμνος)

2020.10.23 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Ιn Fragment 114 of Sappho, we read the words of a girl who is lamenting her loss of girlhood: ‘where oh where, my girlhood, my girlhood, have you gone off to, leaving me behind?’ (παρθενία, παρθενία, ποῖ με λίποιc’ ἀποίχῃ). Diana Gibson (1996), in a thesis slated for re-publication online in Classical Inquiries, has convincingly shown that such examples of wistful singing by girls… Read more

Prospects of an Odyssean homecoming for Percy Jackson after his sojourn in Lotus Hotel: 75 minutes of intergenerational conversations with Rick Riordan

2020.10.16 | By Gregory Nagy The minutes that I have written up for this post are a record of 75 real minutes of conversations during “Hour 10” of the Harvard College course “The Ancient Greek Hero,” which took place “live” on October 13, 2020. A video-audio recording is posted here, with permission from the participants. For this “hour” at Harvard, I as the professor-in-charge chose as the main topic for… Read more

Percy Jackson’s visit to Lotus Hotel, viewed through a Homeric lens

2020.10.09 | By Gregory Nagy §0. As I was reading through the first volume of Rick Riordan’s five-volume series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Lightning Thief (2005), the story that is told there about a visit to “Lotus Hotel” by Percy and his companions Annabeth and Grover (pages 257–265) made me think of the passage in the Homeric Odyssey, Rhapsody 9 verses 82–104, where Odysseus and his companions visit the… Read more

Temporary like Achilles #2 and Kerouacts 1-6, by Thomas Palaima

Temporary Like Achilles #2 (for Leon Golden) Inspired by Achilles’ own words Iliad 1.149–171, 1.365–392, 9.308–429 'Rage,' Homer sings. 'Sing the rage of Achilles.' Twenty-three raids, twenty-three sieges of cities, all taken, feeding soldiers and the pride-lust of commanders. A true shepherd of the forces. Unique in speed afoot, strategic brilliance, endurance and making men endure and save themselves from themselves. Noble, caring even of spear captives. Briseis loved him.… Read more

Thoughts about modulations in color from purple to red and from purple to blue while previewing a seminal work by Morris Silver, with afterthoughts…

2020.10.02 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Over many weeks now I have been previewing, not yet reviewing, a heretofore unpublished work by Morris Silver, The Purpled World: Marketing Haute Couture in the Aegean Bronze Age. This work, by an economist whose vast learning includes an acute understanding of historical and archaeological approaches to the ancient world, has profoundly influenced my thinking about the Aegean Bronze Age, as he refers to… Read more

From Homer’s Odysseus to Boiardo’s Orlando: Heroic models and underlying values in the Italian Renaissance romance epic

2020.09.30 | By Jo Ann Cavallo Inspired by Gregory Nagy’s playful experiment and thought-provoking introduction to the Odyssey, I’d like to join in the fun by responding to some of the points raised in his essay from the perspective of the Italian Renaissance romance epic. Orlando and Dragontina, from La morte di Truffaldino, based on Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, by Teatroarte Cuticchio. Scandiano, Italy (July 1, 2001). Photograph: Jo Ann Cavallo.… Read more


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