2018.07.20 | Introduced by Olga Levaniouk
This posting follows up on two previous postings (2016.01.15 by Gregory Nagy and 2016.01.31 by Olga Levaniouk), which introduced A concise inventory of Greek etymologies, an ongoing project that focuses on the cultural significance of Greek etymologies (broadly understood). The entries that are already part of the project are available in Issue 15 of Classics@. This post highlights a recent contribution to CIGE by Laura Massetti, the Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen, who summarizes her own etymologies of the names Kheírōn and Marsúās.
2018.07.20 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. In this post, dated 2018.07.20, I have put together a working retranslation of the sad story of Komaithο, priestess in love, as retold by Pausanias at 7.18.8–7.20.2. Some essential parts of this story have already been paraphrased at §1 in the post for 2018.07.13, but now I need to look at the whole story. And, for that, I need to share my working translation, which is also available in the larger context of A Pausanias Reader in Progress. Also, in the post here, I will add to my translation some comments highlighting what I argue are novelistic aspects of the story. For my argumentation, I will be using such words as novelistic, novel, and even novelist, having in mind some remarkable similarities I see between the micro-narrative I have selected from the writings of Pausanias the traveler on the one hand and, on the other, the kinds of macro-narratives that have shaped the genre known to Classicists as the ancient Greek erotic novel.
2018.07.13 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. The remarks in this post, dated 2018.07.13, pick up from where I left off toward the end of the posting dated 2018.07.06. There I drew attention to a valuable article by Giampiera Arrigoni (1983), who explores a wide variety of ancient Greek stories about amorous encounters that take place in sacred spaces. The story of one such encounter, noted in her article (pp. 15–16, 45–48), is narrated by the first-person speaker in the First Cologne Epode of Archilochus F 196a W, which has been my focus of attention in the two postings that I just cited. In those postings, we saw that there was a sad ending that awaited the two young women who had figured in the story that is told by the first-person narrator of the Cologne Epode. Now, in the present posting, we will see a comparable story about another young woman, a priestess of the goddess Artemis, who experienced premarital sex inside the sacred precinct of that goddess. In both stories, I will argue, what we see is a desecration in myth, by way of sex, and a corresponding sacralization of sex by way of ritual. Such sacralization, I will further argue, is viewed as a resacralization—in terms of the myth.
2018.07.06 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. The brief remarks in this post, dated 2018.07.06, pick up from where I left off in the post that is dated 2018.06.30. In my more lengthy remarks there, at §10, I started to argue that the erotic activity as narrated by the first-person speaker in the so-called First Cologne Epode of Archilochus, F 196a W, is ultimately not an act of desecration but rather an act of sacralization, sanctioned within a sacred space. I continue the argumentation here by analyzing situations where a narrated desecration in terms of myth can function as a sacralization in terms of ritual. In both the visual and the verbal arts, I argue, a khlaina or ‘cloak’ that covers a given depiction of erotic activity can function as a symbol of such sacralization.
Sacred Space as a frame for lyric occasions: The case of the Mnesiepes Inscription and other possible cases
2018.06.30 | By Gregory Nagy
The three terms sacred space and frame and lyric occasions in the primary title of this presentation all need to be questioned for their meanings, which depend in each case on the overall meaning of the title that combines these terms. As for the words case and cases in the secondary title, they refer to specific examples that give context to my questioning of the three highlighted terms of the primary title. The questioning is meant to provoke some friendly debate, and the questioned terms can become the main subject for the debate itself. In the spirit of such friendly debate, I will now proceed to question the highlighted terms of the primary title, going in reverse order: lyric occasions, frame, and sacred space. Of these three terms, as we will see, the third of them is relevant to the illustration placed on the cover of this post.
2018.06.21 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. When Phaedra sees Hippolytus for the very first time, she is already falling in love with him. That is what Pausanias seems to be saying as he retells the myth. The ancient Greek word that he uses in this context is erasthēnai, which is conventionally translated as ‘fall in love with’. I think, however, that this translation can be misleading—unless the relevant contexts are explained from an anthropological perspective. I attempt such an explanation here. Relevant is an observation once advanced by the anthropologist Julian Pitt-Rivers (1970:870 n. 5) in an article he wrote for a Festschrift honoring Claude Lévi-Strauss: some “brave” person, he said, should write a study on the anthropology of love or, let me say it this way, of falling in love. I attempt here some preliminaries to such a study as I now proceed to ask this question: what’s love got to do with it?