How Homeric poetry may help us achieve a keener appreciation of Sappho’s…

Sappho and mythmaking in the context of an Aeolian-Ionian poetic Sprachbund

2016.10.08 | By Gregory Nagy The starting point here is Song 44 of Sappho, “The Wedding of Hector and Andromache.” My focus, this time, is on Aeolian myths about Thēbē, an old walled city in northwest Asia Minor, to be located southeast of Mount Ida and northeast of the Gulf of Adramytteion. “Porcia and the Painting.” Original work by Fyodor S. Wheeler. Image via. Introduction The starting point here (as… Read more

Song 44 of Sappho revisited: what is ‘oral’ about the text of this song?

2016.08.31 | By Gregory Nagy This song, attributed to Sappho, shows the same kind of formulaic structure that we see at work in the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. Such a structure, in the case of Homeric poetry, indicates that this poetry originated from oral traditions. So also in the case of the songmaking exemplified by Song 44 of Sappho, the formulaic structure of this song indicates a parallel origin from… Read more

« Eros à nouveau maintenant » et la pragmatique mélique : note à G. Nagy, « Once again this time in Song 1 of Sappho »

2016.01.18 | By Claude Calame Jules-Élie eelaunay (1828–1891), “Sappho embrassant sa lyre.” Image via Wikimedia Commons. « Once again this time » : dans une note publiée dans Classical Inquiries (2015.11.09), Gregory Nagy revient sur l’usage réitéré et sur le sens de l’expression pronominale et déictique dēûte dans le chant qui ouvrait l’édition alexandrine des poèmes de Sappho ; c’est le poème que les modernes désignent comme « Hymne à Aphrodite » (fr. 1 Voigt). Après… Read more

Weaving while singing Sappho’s songs in Epigram 55 of Posidippus

2016.01.07 | By Gregory Nagy Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau (1837–1922), “Philomela and Procne.” Oil on canvas, 80 x 62.2 cm. Private collection. Photo, Art Renewal Center Museum via Wikimedia Commons. Once again this time, Epigram 55 of Posidippus §1. This posting for 2016.01.07 picks up from where I left off at the posting for 2015.12.03 on Epigram 55 of Posidippus. Since that posting, I have engaged in further e-conversations about… Read more

Some imitations of Pindar and Sappho by Horace

2015.12.31 | By Gregory Nagy “The Singing Swan,” by Reinier van Persijn (circa 1655) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Introduction §0.1. This posting of 2015.12.31 is based on an article of mine entitled “Copies and Models in Horace Odes 4.1 and 4.2,” which was originally published over 20 years ago in Classical World 87 (1994) 415–426. Concurrently with this posting, I am republishing an online version of that article. §0.2.… Read more

Echoes of Sappho in two epigrams of Posidippus

2015.11.19 | By Gregory Nagy Charles Fairfax Murray’s  “Replica of Beata Beatrix,” c. 1900-1910. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; “Beata Beatrix,” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, c. 1864–1870. Introduction §0.1. This posting for 2015.11.19 picks up from where I left off at 2015.11.12. That earlier posting in turn picked up from where I had left off at 2015.11.05. In the posting for 2015.11.12, I highlighted the use of the word paides in… Read more

The Tithonos Song of Sappho

2015.11.12 | By Gregory Nagy Detail from red-figure stemless kylix by the Penthesilea Painter, ca. 460 BCE. Exterior, Side A: Eos pursuing Tithonos. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 96.18.76. Purchase by subscription, 1896. Photo courtesy of the Museum’s Open Access for Scholarly Content program, §1. This posting of 2015.11.12 picks up from where I left off at 2015.11.5. There I explored the idea of a cycle from girl to… Read more

An experiment in combining visual art with translations of Sappho, Part 2

2015.11.09 | By Gregory Nagy On 2015.10.9 Classical Inquiries published the first in a series of experiments combining the artwork of cartoonist, painter, and archaeological illustrator Glynnis Fawkes with my translations of Sappho.  This second installment presents one of the “newest Sappho” fragments known as the “Brothers Song.”1 Notes 1 For more on the “newest Sappho,” including my translation of the “Brothers Song,” see “Genre, Occasion, and Choral Mimesis Revisited,” Classical Inquiries 2015.10.01. Read more

Once again this time in Song 1 of Sappho

2015.11.05 | By Gregory Nagy §1. In the posting for 2015.10.22, “Diachronic Sappho,” I argued at §3C that the occasion for each of the songs attributed to Sappho was determined by the historical circumstances that shaped the traditions of performing the songs. Such occasions were in some cases seasonally recurrent, as in the context of festivals, and I argue here in this posting for 2015.11.05 that the expression dēute (δηὖτε)… Read more

Diachronic Sappho: some prolegomena

2015.10.22 | By Gregory Nagy Detail from Attic krater attributed to the Brygos painter, 480-470 BCE. Line drawing by Valerie Woelfel. §1. It was my good fortune to be invited by Boris Maslov and Rocco Rubini to a workshop that they organized on the subject of Lyric and Epic. The workshop took place at the University of Chicago on Thursday and Friday, October 15 and 16, 2015. My friend Roland… Read more

An experiment in combining visual art with translations of Sappho

2015.10.09 | By Gregory Nagy Glynnis Fawkes has generously agreed to supplement with her visual art my working translations from the “newest Sappho” as posted 2015.10.08. While she is preparing her pictures for posting, I offer here a preview of her earlier work relating to the songs of Sappho. What we see here is her interpretation of two texts: Text A δέδυκε μὲν ἁ σελάννα | καὶ Πληϊάδες, μέσαι δὲ… Read more

The “Newest Sappho”: a set of working translations, with minimal comments

2015.10.08 | By Gregory Nagy These working translations of mine are drawn from an essay, “Genre, Occasion, and Choral Mimesis Revisited,” published in Classical Inquiries 2015.10.01. When I say the “newest Sappho” in the title here, I mean the new fragments of Sappho as published in a 2016 book edited by Anton Bierl and André Lardinois, The Newest Sappho (P. Obbink and P. GC Inv. 105, frs. 1–5). This book, which… Read more

Genre, Occasion, and Choral Mimesis Revisited—with special reference to the “newest Sappho”

2015.10.01 | By Gregory Nagy Introduction §1. This essay is the third part of a tripartite project. The first part, “Genre and Occasion,” was published in ΜΗΤΙΣ (1994), and the second part, “Transmission of Archaic Greek Sympotic Songs: From Lesbos to Alexandria,” was published ten years later in Critical Inquiry (2004). These two essays are both listed in the Bibliography below. The present essay, “Genre, Occasion, and Choral Mimesis Revisited,”… Read more

Sappho’s ‘fire under the skin’ and the erotic syntax of an epigram by Posidippus

2015.07.08 | By Gregory Nagy Flaming June, by Frederic Lord Leighton (1830-1896) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Sappho and her errant brother Kharaxos §1. In a book soon to be published, Anton Bierl and André Lardinois have collected a set of essays commenting on newly-discovered texts of Sappho’s songs, preserved in papyrus fragments originating from ancient Egypt in the Hellenized phase of its long history.[1] In the essay that I contributed… Read more

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