About some kind of an epiphany as pictured in Minoan glyptic art,…

More about Minoan-Mycenaean signatures observed by Pausanias at sacred spaces dominated by Athena

2020.05.22, rewritten 2020.05.23 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the previous posting, Classical Inquiries 2020.05.15, I highlighted details that I described as signatures of a Minoan-Mycenaean phase in the evolution of the figure known in classical and post-classical times as Athena. In that posting, I concentrated on the ancient acropolis of a city by the name of Phrixa(i) in the region of Triphylia in the Peloponnesus. When Pausanias, who lived… Read more

Minoan-Mycenaean signatures observed by Pausanias at a sacred space dominated by Athena

2020.05.15 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the previous posting, Classical Inquiries 2020.05.08, I noted the obvious fact that the acropolis of Athens was not at all the only such place that was sacred to the goddess Athena, and that the traveler Pausanias, who lived in the second century CE, visited a wide variety of other places that were likewise sacred, each in its own way, to goddesses likewise named… Read more

Questions while viewing Greek myths and rituals through the lens of Pausanias, II: In Mycenaean times, was Athena a goddess who was worshipped only…

2020.04.24 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In classical Athenian visual art, we find representations of the goddess Athena in the act of conveying the hero Hēraklēs to Olympus in her chariot, as we see in the illustration that I have chosen as the cover for this essay. At first sight, it seems as if such an Athenian visualization of the hero’s apotheosis derives from an exclusively Athenian myth: after all,… Read more

Questions while viewing Greek myths and rituals through the lens of Pausanias, I: Did Athena, goddess of Athens, belong only to the Athenians?

2020.04.17, rewritten 2020.04.23 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In conversations about the ancient world, my sorely-missed friend Emily Vermeule was fond of asking this rhetorical question: in Mycenaean times, was Athena a goddess who was worshipped only in Athens? And there can be variations on such a theme. For example, I have an underlying question, formulated from a diachronic point of view. That is to say, I have a question… Read more

Echoes of a Minoan-Mycenaean scribal legacy in a story told by Herodotus

2020.01.10 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This posting for 2020.01.10 picks up from where I left off in the posting for 2020.01.03, where I analyzed some aspects of ongoing research by experts who study the practices of scribes using the Linear A and Linear B scripts in the Minoan and Mycenaean worlds of the second millennium BCE. There I focused on a scribal practice, as reconstructed by these experts, of… Read more

Minoan and Mycenaean fig trees: some retrospective and prospective comments

2019.12.27 | By Gregory Nagy (corrected 2020.01.02) §0. The photograph I have chosen to illustrate my all-too-brief comments for this posting shows a fig tree. My first impression when I look at any adult fig tree in general is that its branches seem to crisscross each other, as we can see in the photograph I show here. And this visual pattern of crisscrossing reminds me of the ideogram representing this… Read more

Thinking comparatively about Greek mythology XIX, a post-Mycenaean view of Hēraklēs as a performer of his Labors

2019.12.20 | By Gregory Nagy §0. For my brief essay here, TC XIX in Classical Inquiries, I return to an analysis, started at §4 of TC V, 2019.08.22, centering on a myth that tells how the hero Hēraklēs succeeded in clearing the stables of Augeias, king of Elis. These stables had been clogged with vast accumulations of manure produced by the king’s countless cattle. But now the hero single-handedly diverts… Read more

Mycenoan Crete—Archaeological Evidence for the Athenian Connection

2016.04.27 | By Andrew J. Koh Introduction As a budding doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, I was sternly, and repeatedly, warned that the Scylla of Aegean prehistory was the search for ethnicity in the archaeological record—i.e., equating pots with people—while Charybdis was reserved for any student who attempted to interpret this same archaeological record through the lens of well-known customs of classical and modern Greece. While the metaphor… Read more

A Cretan Odyssey, Part 2

2015.09.24 | By Gregory Nagy Introduction §0.1. In the posting for 2015.09.17, I showed what can be reconstructed as a Minoan-Mycenaean version of Ariadne. Here in the posting for 2015.09.24, I now turn to later versions, as reflected especially in the visual arts of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. In these later versions, we can see more clearly the connectedness of Ariadne with the idea of thalassocracy—an idea inherited… Read more

A Cretan Odyssey, Part 1

2015.09.17 | By Gregory Nagy Introduction §0.1. The concept of “the Cretan Odyssey”—or, better, “a Cretan Odyssey”—is reflected in the “lying tales” of Odysseus in the Odyssey. These tales give the medium of Homeric poetry an opportunity to open windows into an Odyssey that we do not know. In the alternative universe of a “Cretan Odyssey,” the adventures of Odysseus take place in the exotic context of Minoan-Mycenaean civilization as… Read more

We're trying out a new look. 🎉 Let us know what you think! Hide.