By Gregory Nagy

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

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

Can Sappho be freed from receivership? Part One

2021.07.19 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay, I make a distinction between, on the one hand, what I describe as a receivership of Sappho in the world of Classics today and, on the other hand, the variegated reception of Sappho in the world of ancient Greek song culture. In making such a distinction, I repeat a term I once used—only once ever before in Classical Inquiries (Nagy 2015.12.31,… Read more

Sappho’s looks, and how Sappho looks at beauty

2021.07.12 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Reading the words of Sappho’s songs, we cannot picture her looks, that is, we cannot imagine what she looked like—I say it here in colloquial English. But we can readily imagine what she looked at—especially the beautiful things, the beautiful people. In this essay, I can show that Sappho’s looks in the ancient world—the way she looked—could be pictured as a mirroring of the… Read more

How are the epic verses of the Hesiodic Suitors of Helen relevant to Achilles in our Homeric Iliad?

2021.07.05 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This essay picks up from where I left off in a succession of two previous essays (Nagy 2021.06.14, linked here, and Nagy 2021.06.21, linked here). In both those essays, I concentrated on evidence that I gathered from the surviving fragments of the Hesiodic composition known as The Suitors of Helen. On the basis of that evidence, I ended the second of the two essays… Read more