Research in France on Homeric εὔχομαι since the publication of Leonard Muellner,…

Textiles and Cinders: Reconstructing the Process of Washing with Cinders in South and Central Italy in the 20th century CE* | Appendix to the…

2020.12.23 | By Rachele Pierini and Tom Palaima §0.1. How hard was it to whiten dirty clothes in the Bronze Age Aegean? This question arose during the November MASt seminar, while discussing Anne Chapin’s presentation about the visual impact of textile patterns in Aegean Bronze Age painting. Hedvig Landenius Enegren, one of the steady members of the MASt@CHS group, took forward the debate by providing information about the process of… Read more

MASt @ CHS – Friday, November 6, 2020: Summaries of Presentations and Discussion

2020.12.23. | By Rachele Pierini and Tom Palaima §0.1. Rachele Pierini opened the November session of MASt@CHS, which was the sixth in the series and marked one year of MASt seminars—you can read here further details about the MASt project. Pierini also introduced the presenters for this meeting: Anne Chapin, who joined the team for the first time, and the regular members Vassilis Petrakis and Tom Palaima. Finally, Pierini welcomed… Read more

The love of small birds

2020.11.13 | By Natasha Bershadsky §0. I pick up here the thread of an essay by Gregory Nagy where he connects a vase painting that pictures a girl with a little pet bird, as painted by the Meidias Painter, with Poems 2 and 3 of Catullus. I will argue that there is a poetics of fluidity in identifying this little bird, and that the identities of such birds actually depends… 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

An Epic Sanskrit parallel for the representation of Patroklos as a sacrificed ram

2020.09.11 | By Riccardo Ginevra §0. The cover image of this post is a late 16th-century Mughal illustration of the Razmnameh ‘Book of Wars’, a Persian translation of the great Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata, depicting two opposed battalions led by the two heroes Arjuna and Bhishma (the warriors on the chariots) rushing into battle against each other. Arjuna and Bhishma in their war chariots. Painting; detached album leaf (1598). Image via… Read more

MASt @ CHS – Friday, June 26, 2020: Summaries of Presentations and Discussion

2020.08.07 | By Rachele Pierini and Tom Palaima Summaries of Presentations and Discussion by Elizabeth Barber, Thomas Palaima, Rachele Pierini, and Brent Vine §0. Rachele Pierini began the June seminar meeting of MASt @ CHS (the fifth in the series, begun November 8, 2019 and continued December 12, January 24, and April 27) by welcoming participants to the talk. As an example of the kinds of topics we have discussed in… Read more

Apollonius of Rhodes and Homeric Anger

2020.07.24 | By Stan Burgess §0. There have been many recent studies of various aspects of anger in Greek culture, from Homer through the Hellenistic period, and beyond. However few have examined the role anger plays in the Argonautica. There right away a striking curiosity concerning anger stands out. Apollonius of Rhodes avoids the most common term of his day for anger, ὀργή. Through the Classical period and into the… Read more

The Circle of Fame: Apollo, the Corps de Ballet, and the Song of the Muses at Delphi

2020.06.11[1] | By Domenico Giuseppe Muscianisi Harvard University, Center for Hellenic Studies / IULM University, Milan §0. The Pythian movement of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo opens with a great scene of song-and-dance on Olympus (verses 182–206), where certain deities perform together. I will argue that choral melic poetry plays a prime role in this section of the Hymn: in fact, these verses share many features in diction and imagery… Read more

Black Bile, Yellow Bile: An Essay on Warrior Dysfunctionality and the Prehistory of Greek Medicine

2020.05.28 | By Roger D. Woodard Bellerophon falling from Pegaus (anonymous, ca. 1575–1599). Rijksmuseum BK-NM-12026. Image via the Rijksmuseum.   §1. In Problemata physica 30, a work attributed to Aristotle, though typically judged to be a Peripatetic compilation,[1] the composer(s) (to whom I will refer in what follows as “Aristotle” or “the author”) addresses the mental state of dysfunctional warriors. These remarks form a part of the discussion about those… Read more

Mycenaean and Hittite Diplomatic Correspondence: Fact and Fiction

2020.05.06, updated 2020.05.15[1] | By H. Craig Melchert §1. My principal aim in what follows is to consider the possible modalities by which a Mycenaean-Hittite diplomatic correspondence might have been carried out. Since the very notion of such a correspondence is controversial, I will begin by briefly reviewing what I take to be established facts or well-founded hypotheses about the issue and what I find more speculative or totally unfounded.… Read more

Ecumenism and Globalism in the Reception of Ferdowsi and his Book of Kings: Evidence from the Bāysonghori Preface

2020.03.02, rewritten 2020.06.01 | By Olga M. Davidson A pre-edited and pre-typeset version of a chapter to appear in print, forthcoming. Cross-posted at Mizan. §A. The focus here is on two Persianate texts. The first is the Shahnama or ‘Book of Kings’, the monumental poem of a poet retrospectively named Ferdowsi, or ‘man of paradise’, who lived in the late 10th and early 11th century CE. The second text is in… Read more

A Tale of Two Elgins

2020.02.12 | By Vivian Jin In the West, the name Elgin evokes the controversial removal of the eponymous Elgin Marbles, now housed in the British Museum; however, in China, cultural memory recalls a British general under whose supervision Anglo-French troops entered the Yuanming Yuan (“Garden of Perfect Brightness,” also known as the Old Summer Palace). Although the two acts cannot be attributed to the same individual—it was the seventh Lord… Read more

A piece of the Parthenon in Washington, DC

In 2013, I spent a happy week at the Center for Hellenic Studies, where I did research on the ways in which Americans read the Odyssey in the 19th century. This was related to a book project I was beginning (now forthcoming), which investigated a long journey by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, to become the leader of a divided country that had forgotten its founding principles. In my research, I… Read more

A statue who shakes her head no

2019.06.05 | By Manon Brouillet §1. In 1966 the popular French singer Michel Polnareff reached his first audience with the song La Poupée qui fait non. A big success, the song has been translated into Italian (“Una bambolina che fa no, no, no”), Spanish (“Muñeca que hace no”), and German (“Meine Puppe sagt non”). This doll, who has never learnt to say yes, keeps shaking her head from side to… Read more

Comments on the Dog Star(s) by an Astronomer and Classicist

2019.06.02 | Introduced by Gregory Nagy The posting I wrote for Classical Inquiries 2019.05.24 was inspired by the research of my dear friend Roger Ceragioli, whose work on the Dog Star(s) is for me a perfect fusion of scientific and philological approaches. Thus I feel all the more honored and delighted that he has agreed to the posting of a response that he has written to my posting. And I find it… Read more

Fighting for survival

2019.04.12 | By Muriel Rouyer Nous entrerons dans la carrière Quand nos aînés n’y seront plus Nous y trouverons leur poussière Et la trace de leur vertu Aux Armes, etc. La Marseillaise, French Anthem, interpreted by Serge Gainsbourg in his reggae song “Aux Armes, etc.” I am a professor of political science (teaching two courses at the Harvard Kennedy School, on Global Europe and Green politics and Public Policy in a… Read more

A Turkish Angora Cat in Paris: An insight into Catullus’ ‘Sparrow Poem’ (c. 2) arising from a Modern Greek Song

This response has been inspired by Gregory Nagy’s discussion of Catullus’ famous ‘Sparrow Poem’ (c. 2) in Classical Inquiries 2018.12.13. According to Nagy, Catullus’ model was Sappho’s ‘Sparrow Song’, lost to us but not to Catullus, in which the Lesbian poet expressed her affection for her little sparrow. Taking my lead from a Modern Greek pet song, I shall explore a slightly different path, the possibility that the ‘Sparrow Poem’ is… Read more

A preview of Mages and Ionians revisited

2018.12.21 | By Gregory Nagy In Classical Inquiries 2017.06.26, I published an online essay entitled “Mages and Ionians.” This piece drew on the same research that I presented, in part, for the panel “Ethnicity and Multiculturalism in Herodotus: Through Others’ Eyes,” at the Ninth Celtic Conference in Classics, University College Dublin, June 2016. The proceedings of the discussions linked to that panel are to be published in a forthcoming volume… Read more

Fourteen poems by Agathí Dimitroúka

2018.12.12 | Introduced by Gregory Nagy It is such an honor for me to be given the opportunity of introducing a set of poems by Agathí Dimitroúka (Αγαθή Δημητρούκα), presented here in Modern Greek. The editor of Classical Inquiries, Keith Stone, tells me of plans to commission translations of these exquisite poems into other languages, including English, but for now the pristine charm of the poetry can already be savored… Read more

Two librettists, unsung heroes of Puccini’s La Bohème

2018.11.16 | By Gregory Nagy and Martha Cowan §0. This essay is a kind of dialogue between Martha Cowan and me. Paragraph §2, subdivided into §2a §2b §2c… all the way through §2k, is by MC, while paragraphs §0 §1 §3 are by me, GN. Our dialogue centers on the two writers credited with the libretto for the music of Giacomo Puccini in his opera La Bohème, first performed in… Read more

Homeric Ainoi in Latin Literature, Part II: Quintilian

2018.10.19 | By Miriam Kamil §1. In the first part of this essay, I examined a passage from the Odyssey referred to in the text as an ainos. This was the improvised story told by Odysseus to the swineherd Eumaios in Odyssey 14, wherein Odysseus’ fictitious persona forgets and then obtains a cloak while out on ambush during the Trojan War. Eumaios intuits that he is hearing an ainos and correctly interprets its… Read more

Homeric Ainoi in Latin Literature, Part I: Homer

2018.10.19 | By Miriam Kamil §1. I was a Teaching Fellow in the 2017 run of Greg Nagy’s annual course at Harvard, The Ancient Greek Hero. In this class, we examined the use of riddles in Homeric epic. The students learned about a sort of riddle called αἶνος, transliterated as ainos. Related to the verb αἰνέω (aineō) ‘to praise’, the word means, ‘praising speech’, or more basically, ‘speech act’.[1] But… Read more

Chariots on the Lelantine plain and the art of taunting the losers, Part 3: Winning the Lelantine War

2018.05.29 | By Natasha Bershadsky §0. After their victory over the Chalcidians and the Boeotians in 506 BCE, the Athenians dedicated to Athena a bronze chariot drawn by four horses. The sculpture was accompanied by an epigram. This study argues that the chariot portrayed the Athenians as victors in the age-old Lelantine War, while the epigram was constructed to taunt the defeated enemies of Athens by parodying their local traditions… Read more

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