Category: By Gregory Nagy
|March 14, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
2018.03.14 | By Gregory Nagy
This essay recapitulates a part of a larger project concerning the craft of singing to the accompaniment of song—as the craft was practiced in Athens and its environs around the fifth century BCE (Nagy 2012). The focal point of interest is a red-figure painting, by an artist named Douris, on a drinking-cup produced between 490 and 480 BCE. I show here a line drawing of what is pictured in the painting. We see in this picture two scenes showing boys being educated in the learning and the performance of song and musical accompaniment. I will compare these two scenes with what is known about a dead man, buried in a tomb dated to the fifth century BCE, who must have been a master of such song.
|March 7, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
2018.03.07 | By Gregory Nagy
The essays in this reader are designed to supplement visits by travel-study groups to sites and museums in Greece. Each essay focuses on things to see-or at least to note if they cannot be seen-at sites to be visited. In cases where a museum adjoins a site, I offer a separate inventory of things to see. Wherever possible, I use as my primary ancient source the reportage of the ancient traveler Pausanias, who lived in the second century CE and whose Greek text is translated into English at a web-site entitled A Pausanias Reader in Progress. At that site, the original English translation of W. H. S. Jones and H. A. Ormerod (1918) is being gradually replaced by my own translation.
|March 1, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
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 divinity is comparable to experiencing a Wonder of the World, as Pausanias is moved to say indirectly at a later point, 5.10.1-2, 5.11.9-10, with reference to the statue of Zeus at Olympia. We read there the impression that Pausanias experiences when he sees at Olympia another colossal gold-and-ivory statue that matches in wonder what he saw earlier in Athens. He says that no measurements, no objective descriptions, can come to terms with the infinite grandeur of such absolute divinity.
|February 23, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
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 rock with the craggy face-yes, face-of a grieving woman whose sunken eyes are flooded with tears transformed into an eternal flow of fresh water pouring down from the mountainous heights above. Pausanias at 1.21.3 refers to this myth as he sees it visualized in artwork adorning a grotto embedded in the South Wall of the Acropolis and looming over the Theater of Dionysus. At this point, our traveler pauses for a moment to reminisce about a version of the myth that was local to his own homeland in Asia Minor, at Mount Sipylos near the city of Magnesia. Pausanias tells about a spectacular sight to be seen there: it is a natural rock formation that conjures, he notes guardedly, the sad profile of the eternally weeping Niobe.
|February 14, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
2018.02.14 (formally presented 2018.02.11) | By Gregory Nagy
This posting of 2018.02.14, on Valentine’s Day, marks the third anniversary of Classical Inquiries, which began with a posting that dates from 2015.02.14, Valentine’s Day three years ago. The author of the present posting has received permission from Niloofar Fotouhi, editor-in-chief of TheHollyfest.org, to replicate his contribution to that online publication celebrating the 66th birthday of Olga M. Davidson. The title of that contribution, “What GN owes OMD,” works perfectly for the present context as well, since “GN” owes a Valentine’s Day card to “OMD.” This posting, it is hoped, can serve as such a card, just as the same posting had served as a loving birthday card three days earlier.
|February 8, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
2018.02.08 | By Gregory Nagy
Inscribed on the surface of the stele that is pictured here is the wording of the so-called Oath of the Ephebes. This oath, it is argued here, connects the ideals of democracy with the ideals of environmentalism as it was understood in the ancient Greek world. Such an understanding, it can also be argued, needs to be studied for its relevance to the environmental crises confronting the world today.