How myths that connect the hero Philoctetes with the goddess Chryse are related to myths about a koúrē ‘girl’ named Chryseis

2021.08.16 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In two previous essays posted in Classical Inquiries (Nagy 2021.08.02 and 2021.08.09, linked here and here), I analyzed myths that connect the hero Philoctetes with the goddess Chryse, arguing that these myths can be traced back to Aeolian traditions. Here I go further by arguing that such myths are related to another myth—this one is featured prominently in the Homeric Iliad—about a koúrē ‘girl’… Read more

Glimpses of Aeolian traditions in two different myths about two different visits by Philoctetes to the sacred island of the goddess Chryse

2021.08.09 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The cover illustration for this essay is a drawing, made in the early nineteenth century of our era, which copies with some clarity and flair a picture painted on a vase manufactured in Athens in the fifth century BCE and now housed in Vienna. A follow-up illustration, immediately below the drawing, is a photograph of this ancient painting, and further below is an overall… Read more

Hermes, by Rachel Hadas

  Messenger, courier, bearer of commands, he is the god assigned to dart down to give Calypso the unwelcome news she must release Odysseus from her island. Having said his piece, he gets to zoom back up to Mount Olympus. As for the mess that nymphs as well as men… Read more

Sappho’s Aphrodite, the goddess Chryse, and a primal ordeal suffered by Philoctetes in a tragedy of Sophocles

2021.08.02 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The common thread, as it were, for this essay is the meaning of the epithet poikiló-thronos gracing the goddess Aphrodite in line 1 of Sappho’s Song 1. The persona of Sappho is addressing the goddess here, and I now interpret the epithet—hardly for the first time—as ‘[you] who wear [your] pattern-woven dress’. But how is such a ‘dress’ to be imagined if we think… Read more

Can Sappho be freed from receivership? Part Two

2021.07.26 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Continuing the essay that started with Part One, culminating in a second look at the first word in Song 1 of Sappho, where the goddess Aphrodite is invoked as poikiló-thronos, I return here in Part Two to my proposed interpretation of this word as ‘wearing [a dress decorated with] pattern-woven flowers’. In the illustration for Part One, I already showed a picturing of such… Read more