A placeholder for the hero Amphiaraos

Toward a more extensive commentary, on Pausanias 1.27.4–1.29.1

2018.04.26 | By Gregory Nagy This posting for 2018.04.26, on Pausanias 1.27.4–1.29.1, is a continuation of the posting for 2018.04.05, on Pausanias 1.24.8–1.27.3, but the format will now change. Besides the more focused comments that have characterized the postings on Pausanias so far, I will start to add some abridged comments that are more tentative, in need of more precision. A case in point, as we will see, is an… Read more

A sampling of comments on the Herakles of Euripides

2018.04.20 | By Gregory Nagy The comments in this posting about the Herakles of Euripides derive from a set of compressed notes I had started writing in 1999. These notes were meant as a companion to the Herakles as translated by Robert Potter—his translations of Euripides first appeared in two volumes, 1781 and 1783—and as adapted by Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott in 1999. The madness of Hēraklēs. Mosaic (3rd–4th… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.24.8–1.27.3

2018.04.05 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.03.01. I will highlight here a ritual noted by Pausanias at 1.27.3 involving two Athenian girls who are selected annually to serve the goddess Athena. The word that refers to these girls in their overall role as servants of Athena is arrhēphoroi, hereafter transcribed as Arrhephoroi. After the annual service of the two Arrhephoroi is… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.21.4—1.24.7

2018.03.01 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.02.21. I picture here a modern version of the face of the goddess of Athens, Athena Parthenos, whose statue was seen by Pausanias, as he says at 1.24.7. This picturing of the statue surely cannot do justice to the “real thing” as seen by Pausanias. The experience of seeing a colossal gold-and-ivory statue of a… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.20.4–1.21.3

2018.02.21 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.02.01. I focus here on a myth, highlighted by Pausanias at 1.21.3, about the eternal weeping of Niobe, petrified in her grief over the killing of her children by the twin divinities Apollo and Artemis. I show here on the cover page a close-up from a modern painting that pictures this Niobe as a towering… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.19.1–1.20.3

2018.02.01 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.01.25. I focus here on another Athenian myth, as mentioned by Pausanias at 1.20.3, about the abandonment of Ariadne by her lover Theseus and about her seduction or—in terms of the mention made by Pausanias—her abduction by the god Dionysus. Pausanias at 1.20.3 mentions the myth as he sees it represented on a wall painting… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.18.1–9

2018.01.25 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.01.18. I focus here on an Athenian myth, as narrated by Pausanias at 1.18.2, about the baby Erikhthonios and the young daughters of Kekrops, king of Athens. These girls had been chosen by the goddess Athena to take good care of Erikhthonios—and not to open the box in which the baby was hidden. But two… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.17.3–6

2018.01.18 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.01.11. I focus here on the details given by Pausanias at 1.17.3 describing a monumental wall painting in the sanctuary of Theseus. Depicted on this wall painting is the hero Theseus, who has just emerged from a deep-dive to the bottom of the sea. He is triumphantly holding in one hand the Ring of Minos… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.16.1–1.17.2

2018.01.12 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.01.04. I focus here on a passing mention made by Pausanias at 1.17.2 about the picturing of a famous mythological scene: it is the Battle of the Athenians and Amazons, known in other ancient sources as the Amazonomakhiā ‘Amazonomachy’. I have already commented on previous references made by Pausanias, at 1.2.1 and at 1.15.2, to… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.15.1–4

2018.01.04 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.12.28. I now focus on what Pausanias says at 1.15.3 about a monumental painting that he saw adorning a side wall in the ‘painted portico’, that is, in the Stoā Poikilē. The painting represented the Battle of Marathon, and I show in the lead illustration here a zoom-in view of that painting as reconstructed by… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.14.1–9

2017.12.28 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.12.21. Here on the cover page, I focus on what Pausanias says at 1.14.6 about the mystical birth of Erikhthonios. I show a painting that represents this birth as visualized in the fifth century BCE. Pictured here is the moment when the goddess Gē/Gaia, or Earth, who is the mother of Erikhthonios, is lifting her… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.8.2–1.13.8

2017.12.21 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.12.14. Here on the cover page, I focus on what Pausanias will be reporting at 1.11.1, where we read that a Greek king named Pyrrhos-son-of-Aiakidēs claimed as his ancestor, counting twenty generations backward in time, the Greek hero Pyrrhos-son-of-Achilles. I marvel at what seems to me such an intriguingly short span of time separating the… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.5.1–1.8.1

2017.12.14 | By Gregory Nagy I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.11.30. From the end of 1.6.1 to the end of 1.8.1, there is a lengthy digression about the dynasties founded by Attalos and Ptolemy. But I will be focusing on a passage that occurs before that digression, at 1.5.4, where Pausanias makes mention of three mythological figures: they are Procne, Philomela, and Tereus (more accurately… Read more

Draft of a declaration by the founding authors of A Homer commentary in progress

2017.11.12 / updated 2018.08.24 and 2020.01.19, 2020.07.27 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This draft of mine is meant as a first step leading toward a more formal declaration shared by the three founding authors of A Homer commentary in progress: Douglas Frame, Leonard Muellner, Gregory Nagy. The signatures for our joint declaration are represented by thumbnail images of the covers for three books of ours centering on Homer. The books are… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pindar Olympian 5

2017.11.10 | By Maša Ćulumović Olympian 5 is one of the few Pindaric odes that lack a mythical narrative. The focus, instead, is on the victor himself and on his role in the resettlement of his hometown of Kamarina. The ode refers also to other benefactions credited to the victor, especially the glory of two Olympic victories that made his homeland famous. Extended descriptions of Kamarina and of the victor’s… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.2.2–1.3.1

2017.11.09 | By Gregory Nagy My comments here continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.10.18. Among the many points of interest noted by Pausanias in this stretch of text is his reference at 1.3.1 to a myth about the abduction of the beautiful young hero Kephalos by Eos, goddess of the Dawn. Eos carrying away young Kephalos (named); kalos inscription (here unseen). Belly of an Attic red-figure… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.1.1, the first two sentences

2017.10.10 (revised 2017.10.14) | By Gregory Nagy My set of comments on the first two sentences in the text of Pausanias 1.1.1 is divided into seven paragraphs, §§1–7. Among the many points of interest noted by Pausanias in these two sentences is his mention of a temple of the goddess Athena at the headland of Sounion—a mention that seems to anticipate what he will say at a later point about… Read more

A sampling of comments on Pindar Isthmian 8

2017.10.05 | By Gregory Nagy Pindar’s Isthmian 8 highlights the hero Achilles, who is for us defined primarily by the Homeric Iliad—though he had been a prominent figure also in other epic traditions, as we see for example in the surviving plot-outline of the Aithiopis, ‘the song of the Ethiopians’, which was an epic belonging to a body of poetry commonly known as the epic Cycle. Also highlighted in Isthmian… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 24

2017.08.31 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy Before the Odyssey comes to an end, the Singer of Tales reaches back to what seems to be the beginning of the Iliad. It is as if the second epic, the Odyssey, could now restart before it ends by reaching back into the first epic, the Iliad. Still, there will be no restart here. The plot of that first epic had started… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 23

2017.08.23 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy After the killing of the suitors, Eurykleia rushes to the bedroom of Penelope, waking her up. The queen has slept through it all—the first good night’s sleep she has had in the longest time, she admits. Eurykleia goes on to tell Penelope that Odysseus has really returned and has killed the suitors, but the patient wife will need one more test, to… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 22

2017.08.17 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy At the end of Rhapsody 21, Odysseus has already passed, in rapid succession, two of three successive tests that needed to be endured by the true king of Ithaca. That is, he has already performed a stringing of his mighty bow and has already won an ultimate contest in archery by executing a perfect shot with the very first arrow that he… Read more

A sampling of comments on Odyssey Rhapsody 21

2017.08.10 / updated 2018.10.13 | By Gregory Nagy Toward the end of Rhapsody 21, Odysseus will pass an all-important test set by Penelope: he will string his famous bow—which none of the suitors could string, no matter how hard they tried—and he will shoot an arrow straight through all the holes of twelve axe-heads lined up in a row for this one-time occasion, designed to be viewed as the contest… Read more

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