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

A historical Cato caught in the vortex of an ancient biography

2015.08.05 | By Gregory Nagy Renaissance Opera is notorious for taking liberties with the facts in its portrayal of historical characters. Vivaldi’s Cato in Utica is no exception. My presentation explores here some strikingly comparable situations in ancient biographies, which value the integrity of plot and character—seemingly at the expense of historical facts. A case in point is Plutarch’s Cato the Younger, which gives us the initial impression that it… Read more

East of the Achaeans: Making up for a missed opportunity while reading Hittite texts

2015.07.22 | By Gregory Nagy In this posting, I focus on the Greek form Akhaioí, a name translated as ‘Achaeans’. Together with the names Argeîoi and Danaoí, translated respectively as ‘Argives’ and ‘Danaans’, this name Akhaioí refers in Homeric poetry to Greek warriors who lived and died in the epic world of a heroic age. But what does Akhaioí really mean? Or, to put the question in another way, what… Read more