Archive

From Athens to Crete and back

2015.09.10 | By Gregory Nagy In my posting for 2015.08.26, I spoke of a “Minoan-Mycenaean civilization,” not saying “Minoan” and “Mycenaean” separately. That is because, as we saw in the postings for both 2015.08.26 and 2015.09.03, some of the myths that we encounter about Minoan civilization as centered on the island of Crete are infused with elements that are distinctly Mycenaean as well as Minoan. And such an infusion has… Read more

Looking through rose-colored glasses while sailing on a sacred journey

2015.09.03 | By Gregory Nagy After Theseus dives into the depths of the sea, the sea-goddess Amphitrite welcomes him, enveloping the hero in a purple robe (line 112) and crowning his head of hair with a garland made of roses (line 116: ῥόδοις)—a garland that she herself as a bride of Poseidon the sea-god had received as a wedding present from Aphrodite (lines 113–116). When Theseus finally comes up for… Read more

The idea of ‘finders keepers’ as a signature for two sea-empires

2015.08.26 | By Gregory Nagy This posting for 2015.08.26 is part of a larger project concerning what we can learn about Minoan-Mycenaean civilization by reading the Homeric Odyssey. In this part of that project, I concentrate on a myth emanating from Minoan-Mycenaean civilization based on an idea that I paraphrase by way of the popular expression “finders keepers.” This same expression, as we will see, applies also to a ritual… Read more

Blond hair in the tomb of Meresankh?

2015.08.19 | By Peter Der Manuelian On April 23rd, 1927, the very last day of the season’s work in the Eastern Cemetery, the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition under George Reisner, was cleaning the east face of a tomb. Suddenly a doorway appeared in an unusual place: below ground level. Two unique inscriptions flanked the entranceway, giving the name of the tomb-owner as Queen Meresankh. Read more

About three fair-haired Egyptian queens

2015.08.19 | By Gregory Nagy Thanks to the Giza Project at Harvard as directed by Professor Peter Der Manuelian, the discoveries and discovery procedures of pioneer archaeologists like George Reisner can be analyzed and applied to such intriguing questions as the blond ambition, as it were, of queens and courtesans in Egypt. The Classical Inquiries team has succeeded in persuading the Director of the Giza Archives Project to describe the… Read more

Cato’s daughter Porcia has herself a really good cry

2015.08.12 | By Gregory Nagy The lamentations that the sisters and the wife of Cato had performed in mourning for him are symmetrical, in their dramatic force, to the lamentations that could have been performed by Porcia, daughter of Cato, for her husband Brutus. I cite here a most revealing passage I found in Plutarch’s Life of Brutus, along with my own translation from the original Greek. We see here… Read more