“The mother, so sad it is, of the very best”: The lament…

A pseudo-Homer gets exposed by Homer

2015.06.24 | By Gregory Nagy “Homer dictating to a scribe,” Rembrandt  (1606–1669) [Public domain], Nationalmuseum, via Wikimedia Commons How a transcript of Homeric poetry may succeed or fail as a control text for Homeric performance §1. My point of departure here is a detailed study by Jonathan Ready concerning a theory that is meant to explain how Homeric poetry was made: supposedly, this poetry was first written down by way… Read more

Feeling pain and delight while hearing a song in Odyssey 8

2015.06.10 | By Gregory Nagy Achilles, grieving and veiled. Thetis, with new armor. Athenian red-figure volute crater, Louvre G482. Photo Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons (public domain) Introduction §0.1. This posting of 2015.06.10 continues from where I left off in the posting of 2015.06.03, where I was focusing on the audience’s reception of the first song of Demodokos. The song, as we saw, is paraphrased at verses 72–83 of Odyssey… Read more

A Roll of the Dice for Ajax

2015.03.13 | By Gregory Nagy Background §0.1. In the Homeric Iliad, the hero Ajax is second best in comparison with Achilles; in the Homeric Odyssey, he is second best in comparison with Odysseus. In the Iliad, it is made explicit that Achilles is ‘the best of the Achaeans’, while Ajax is only the second best. In Chapter 2 of my book The Best of the Achaeans (1979; 2nd ed. 1989),… Read more

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