By Gregory Nagy

A Cretan Odyssey, Part 2

2015.09.24 | By Gregory Nagy In the posting for 2015.09.17, I showed what can be reconstructed as a Minoan-Mycenaean version of Ariadne. Here in the posting for 2015.09.24, I now turn to later versions, as reflected especially in the visual arts of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. In these later versions, we can see more clearly the connectedness of Ariadne with idea of thalassocracy—an idea inherited from Minoan-Mycenaean civilization. Read more

A Cretan Odyssey, Part 1

2015.09.17 | By Gregory Nagy The concept of “the Cretan Odyssey”—or, better, “a Cretan Odyssey”—is reflected in the “lying tales” of Odysseus in the Odyssey. These tales give the medium of Homeric poetry an opportunity to open windows into an Odyssey that we do not know. In the alternative universe of a “Cretan Odyssey,” the adventures of Odysseus take place in the exotic context of Minoan-Mycenaean civilization as centered on… Read more

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

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