By Gregory Nagy

Back and forth from general to special kinds of erotic love, further variations on a theme of love-on-wings in Song 1 of Sappho and…

2020.12.25 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In Song 1 of Sappho, as our mind’s eye views the goddess Aphrodite at the moment when she starts driving her chariot drawn by birds called strouthoi and travels in a miraculous instant, with the speed of light, all the way down from the bright heavens above, down to the dark soil of our earthly human existence here below, how are we to imagine… Read more

From the heavenly to the earthy and back, variations on a theme of love-on-wings in Song 1 of Sappho and elsewhere

2020.12.18 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay, I start by considering the word strouthoi, conventionally translated as ‘sparrows’, in Song 1 of Sappho. At line 10, these birds are seen at a moment of their taking wing. They are pulling behind them, as they fly off, the chariot of the goddess Aphrodite, conveying their divine mistress from her heavenly dwelling and winging their way, full speed, through the… Read more

Some rose-colored visions of the dancing dawn goddess in the painterly art of Sappho and beyond

2020.12.11 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the “Tithonos Song” of Sappho, the fragmented text of which (“F 58”) has of late been supplemented with newly-found additional papyrus fragments, we read how the amorous goddess of the dawn, Eos, abducted the beautiful hero Tithonos to be her youthful lover—but she was unable to prevent him from slowly turning into an old man, deprived of his youth and beauty. This sad… Read more

A sweet bird for the songs of Sappho

2020.12.04 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the title of this essay, the wording ‘sweet bird’ echoes what we hear in part of a poem by John Milton, Il Penseroso (1645/1646), later set to music by George Frideric Handel (1740), whose librettist merged Milton’s poem with the symmetrical L’Allegro (1645). So, Milton’s poetry became for Handel an extended song blending the mirth of L’Allegro with the melancholy of Il Penseroso.… Read more

Thinking of further desiderata while tracing the reception of Sappho in the ancient world

2020.11.27 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Following up on my previous essay in Classical Inquiries (Nagy 2020.11.20), I offer here some further thoughts about desiderata that occur to me as I proceed in making plans to write up, as a self-standing monograph to be published by Classical Inquiries both online and as a printed “pamphlet,” the results—to date—of my attempts at tracing the reception of Sappho in the ancient world.… Read more